I don't get street photography. Please explain

Started May 3, 2013 | Discussions
DaveOl
DaveOl Veteran Member • Posts: 3,186
Re: Never seen a good "street" shot
1

I think there is room for all kinds of interpretation of photography.  Whether you or I care for it is not important.  What is important is that photographers are not limited in what they photograph.

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lukaw Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: Ethics of Street Photography?
2

Midwest wrote:

Daisy AU wrote:

Decency should prevail

One person in a particular superzoom forum was able to take photos through the open window of a house of someone partially clothed. The justification seemed to be 'because I can'. Some people even responded that if the person in the house wanted privacy they should close their drapes or stay away from the windows. Fortunately most others rejected that whole idea as nonsense. One should not have to hide from their own windows to be free of having photos taken of them.

And some regular street shots are just creepy. Or exploitative.

Right on.

Limburger
Limburger Senior Member • Posts: 7,758
Yes and no.

lukaw wrote:

Midwest wrote:

Daisy AU wrote:

Decency should prevail

One person in a particular superzoom forum was able to take photos through the open window of a house of someone partially clothed. The justification seemed to be 'because I can'. Some people even responded that if the person in the house wanted privacy they should close their drapes or stay away from the windows. Fortunately most others rejected that whole idea as nonsense. One should not have to hide from their own windows to be free of having photos taken of them.

And some regular street shots are just creepy. Or exploitative.

Right on.

This is not my style but...

People should be aware of the fact that somebody might do so if given the opportunity.

There is an ethics and awareness side to this.

It's like right of way, you may or may not get it.

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Cheers Mike

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lukaw Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: Never seen a good "street" shot
1

DaveOl wrote:

I think there is room for all kinds of interpretation of photography.  Whether you or I care for it is not important.  What is important is that photographers are not limited in what they photograph.

I don't think that there is room for invasive " PEEPING TOM" voyeurism activity.

rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,422
Or you could watch the video and learn (nt)
1
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Hindsight is better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,422
Street can be anything as long it's street - wrong

Street photography has been about beaches, markets, malls, streets, restaurants.....  Again watch the video in "Watch this" post above, it traces the history of street photography and where images have been made.

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Limburger
Limburger Senior Member • Posts: 7,758
Re: I feel somewhat the same way

TrapperJohn wrote:

I find the destitute people shots, those composed to be 'shock' or pity generating, to be somewhere between patronizing and exploitation for personal amusement. Perhaps some can rationalize this as 'drawing attention', but that belongs as an adjunct to a story, not as art unto itself.

It's not that people live in a condition that most of us might find unpleasant, it's that someone chose that as a subject for pity, thereby conveying an elitist judgment.

OTOH, the more typical street scenes in metropoli far from where I live, shots that show the typical bursts of color and energy found in a bustling city, that I find very interesting.

If you do this for a profit, fair point.

But what if camera's weren't allowed to shoot suffering or misery?

That world is out there, it's real.

One of my interests is history. So I have seen many documantories about WW 1 & 2.

I am sure that the perception of things would be very differen't than is today.

When war became a hot item on tv (Vietnam) it changed the public opinion on war almost instantly.

The thing that should and must be considered is the impact of what one does with the photo's.

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Cheers Mike

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DaveOl
DaveOl Veteran Member • Posts: 3,186
Re: Never seen a good "street" shot

lukaw wrote:

DaveOl wrote:

I think there is room for all kinds of interpretation of photography.  Whether you or I care for it is not important.  What is important is that photographers are not limited in what they photograph.

I don't think that there is room for invasive " PEEPING TOM" voyeurism activity.

I didn't mean to imply that that was alright.

For example, look at the story of the American tourist who took a picture of a North Korean child begging in the street.  He was arrested and may be put in prison for 15 years for trying to undermine the government.  He was originally going to be given the death penalty!

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One River Regular Member • Posts: 341
Re: I don't get shots of flowers, but it doesn't BOTHER me that others do...

Ray your work is great. I always enjoy viewing it when you post.

Limburger
Limburger Senior Member • Posts: 7,758
Re: Street can be anything as long it's street - wrong

rsn48 wrote:

Street photography has been about beaches, markets, malls, streets, restaurants.....  Again watch the video in "Watch this" post above, it traces the history of street photography and where images have been made.

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Hindsight is better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

It's my favourite kind. Street should be called candid outside or something but that's a matter of definition.

Great video, will watch it this weekend.

Thanks for bringing it up.

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Cheers Mike

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 51,985
I watched it

She talks a lot without saying much.  This person took this.  This shot (or era) is about that.

It was a history lesson and a slide show.  It was about "what", not about "why".  And much of it was not street photography.  A good bit was architecture.  Some was portraiture.  Some was travel.  Some was even event photography.  According to her, anything that documents anything is street photography.

Like I said, lots of talk, not much information.

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richardplondon
richardplondon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,506
Re: Never seen a good "street" shot

Thanks to GOOD street photographers you have that chance to see those other people. Thanks to the BAD ones we know that most peoples' backsides from 20 feet walking away from the camera look about the same.

Most people's kittens, sunsets, even children look generally speaking about the same, even when seen from the front (grin). But these picture subjects don't all MEAN the same to the various people who take pictures of them. Same is true for the things that are seen and experienced in the street, subway, sporting event, marriage, or wherever.

If photographers have the heart and artistry (let's not use the art word until we have to) to make someone else care about something that was in front of their cameras, based only on what is evident in the photos ...

...then I don't see why a specific experience from their public world (that we know of only through the photo) should be any less interesting to us, than a kitten or child or bug on a flower from his/her private world (assuiming we also know that only through the photo).

I think a lot of people are (IMO) sentimentalists, if believing that a picture of something cute will succeed only if it is a cute representation - and are unadventurous, if believing that a picture of something "depressing" is going to be at best a successfully depressing representation.

(The key words, there, are "of" and "representation". How many comedians can make us laugh all the harder at more and more dire situations - incidents from their own lives btw, and not from our own - purely through talented and insightful storytellling?)

The miracle of the best street photography, is how it transcends its specific subject matter and alludes to more universal forms of experience. It's similar to how - no, it's the exact same thing as how - the best portraiture transcends the bare facts of bouncing light rays off a few kilograms of flesh and bone onto a light-sensitive surface, and speaks not only about the totality of the person recorded, but also about the complex rapport between subject, and photogapher, and viewer.

If photographers lack this heart and artistry it will make no difference what they point the camera at.

On the other hand, if viewers of photographs lack interest in and receptivity to the purely photographic stories and emotions that are being laid out for them, and are interested only in seeing the physical subject by vicarious means - then it is not surprising if they do not value the photos differently than how they regard the physical subjects. Their loss.

RP

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fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 15,422
Re: Ethics of Street Photography?

Daisy AU wrote:

Good post!!  Decency should prevail, even when taking images of the less fortunate people.

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Thanks,
Daisy AU - Brisbane
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ney_images/

Daisy, I hate to break it to you, but art is often rude and disturbing, and exploits our vulnerabilities and weaknesses.    If it's not to your taste, don't look at it.

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Frank
shot in downtown Manhattan.
http://sidewalkshadows.com/blog/ (street photos)

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fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 15,422
I quite agree

Ray Sachs wrote:

I don't get macros. Or most landscapes. Or photos of CATS, for god sake. But if someone else gets off on them, that's no hair off of my a$$. And street photography is like most types of photography - about 99% of of it sucks, but some is really good. Even a few flower shots are really quite beautiful. But not cats - never saw a cat shot I liked. OK, maybe one or two.

I DO GET street photography. I love doing it. I try to tell a story with it, but sometimes I just got shots of people I find interesting. I don't much care if anyone else likes it - I do it for myself.

I'd post some of my stuff and maybe some would GET it and some wouldn't, but the server isn't taking it at the moment, so maybe the DPR server doesn't get street photography either...

-Ray
-------------------------
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/collections/72157626204295198/

My wife loves gardening.  I don't get it all.   My brother goes to stamp shoes.  To me they are a great yawn.

So what is it about Street Photography that calls out all the Yahoos.

Maybe because it holds up a mirror to ourselves?  Maybe because it is spontaneous art, and the lack of control frightens people?  Personally, I can't think of anything more harmless.   Maybe I am underestimating our impact?   ***Nah.  It's not possible to underestimate our impact.

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Frank
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http://sidewalkshadows.com/blog/ (street photos)

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richardplondon
richardplondon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,506
Re: I watched it

Perhaps what makes something "street" photography is not the subject, but the self-assigned role or motivation or attitude within which the photographer has worked. Or, it may be something to do with who is the consumer of the photo - what kind of appreciation or judgement is it destined for.

Similarly, a candid photo of some people and vehicles in a city street might be classified as "street photography", or "tourist snapshot", "journalism", an anti-crime measure, a technical test of the equipment, or whatever - not because of which particular items are in front of the lens, but because of the circumstances around, and the purpose of, taking a picture of those items.

RP

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yellodog Senior Member • Posts: 1,855
Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain

Look up Henti Cartier Bresson and Robert Doisneau. If you still don't get it then, fine, different strokes for different folks. Most of the shots that are labeled as street photography are surreptitiously shot from the hip because the photographers are too shy to do it properly (which is why they are tilted and out of focus) and they are more into voyeurism than photography.

Glassfish Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: I watched it

I do not think that what she intended to tell in this class. Her messages are in those works, IMO.

rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,422
From Wiki
1

Wikipedia has a good summery of the street photography genre, what we have in this thread is folks who really haven't done their homework, giving opinion as though it were fact, why I emphasize the video.

As to the person who said, "It was about "what", not about "why".  And much of it was not street photography.  A good bit was architecture.  Some was portraiture.  Some was travel." Most of her lecture was about the "why."

Perhaps if folks did their homework as to what street photography is about, they would understand it better, don't be deceived by the word "street."  Street photography here at dpreview is included with documentary photography which is a partial explanation of it.

From Wiki:

Street photography is a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. 'Street' simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.

Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive or poignant moment. Alternatively, the street photographer may seek a more prosaic depiction of the scene, as a form of social documentary.

Much of what is now widely regarded, stylistically and subjectively, as definitive street photography was made in the era spanning the end of the 19th Century through to the late 1970s; a period which saw the emergence of portable cameras. During the course of its evolution, street photography has provided a diverse and detailed record of street culture. The advent of digital photography, combined with the exponential growth of photo-sharing via the internet, has greatly expanded an awareness of the genre and its practitioners.

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rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,422
Re: Street can be anything as long it's street - wrong

I posted this above, but I'll repost in my reply to you, this entry from Wiki, which is a good summary of street photography:

Street photography is a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. 'Street' simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.

Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive or poignant moment. Alternatively, the street photographer may seek a more prosaic depiction of the scene, as a form of social documentary.

Much of what is now widely regarded, stylistically and subjectively, as definitive street photography was made in the era spanning the end of the 19th Century through to the late 1970s; a period which saw the emergence of portable cameras. During the course of its evolution, street photography has provided a diverse and detailed record of street culture. The advent of digital photography, combined with the exponential growth of photo-sharing via the internet, has greatly expanded an awareness of the genre and its practitioners.

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Hindsight is better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 51,985
Re: From Wiki
2

rsn48 wrote:

From Wiki:

Street photography is a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. 'Street' simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.

Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive or poignant moment. Alternatively, the street photographer may seek a more prosaic depiction of the scene, as a form of social documentary.

Much of what is now widely regarded, stylistically and subjectively, as definitive street photography was made in the era spanning the end of the 19th Century through to the late 1970s; a period which saw the emergence of portable cameras. During the course of its evolution, street photography has provided a diverse and detailed record of street culture. The advent of digital photography, combined with the exponential growth of photo-sharing via the internet, has greatly expanded an awareness of the genre and its practitioners.

Almost any photography could be classified as street photography according to that definition.  Candid, with people, without people, whatever.  And yet, in the video you showed, she made a point of pointing out that some of the subjects were actively posed.  So it's also non-candid.  So, street is candid or non-candid, with or without people, but somehow showing something about humans.  Here's my street photography contribution according to that definition.  12 people visited there, and hundreds of thousands of people dedicated a couple decades to making that happen.

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Lee Jay
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