Street photography discussion

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Any Major Dude
Any Major Dude Veteran Member • Posts: 3,678
Re: Navel Gazing

Doug MacMillan wrote:

The article is typical art school piffle illustrated with banal photographs.

There were a few pompous students who took themselves very seriously when I went to art school. They usually didn't last long. My classmates who I really admired were too busy taking wonderful photos to get embroiled in self-centered "the meaning of art" discussions.

The problem nowadays is that cameras are so rare that they get noticed. I think smartphones should be the new street photography tool. It's not that I want to be stealthy, I just want folks to continue with their lives.

I prefer engagement if I'm doing street photography of people. I have a knack for getting folks to talk. I end up with new friends, great stories and better photos. I also respect folks right to not be photographed if they don't want to.

Finally, my wife and I volunteer at organizations which help the homeless. We help prepare meals for a church weekend outreach program and she founded a clinic at a day center. Because of that, I do not take "bum on the street" photos of those who are the most vulnerable.

Thank you to you and your wife for helping!

It's very easy to exploit folks when doing street photography - it's much harder to actually engage with folks as fellow human beings. This is the approach I strive to accomplish. Not disrupting folks going about their lives should be obvious - but somehow street photography doesn't get this mutual respect idea. The on-going restrictive laws on street photography are a natural result of disrespectful photographer behavior.

Photography is about visual story-telling and the visual stories depicted can be respectful or exploitive. It's up to the photographer to have an internal moral compass. Sadly, many street photographers lack empathy for their "subjects" and are okay with looking down on the rest of humanity as mere targets for their artistic genius with their cameras as emotional shields.

Empathy is the key to good street photography.

Good light to you,


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“L’exactitude n’est pas la vérité”
H. Matisse

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