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Photography DiscussionWhat Is Street Photography?

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Duck
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Re: What Is Street Photography?

Post by Duck » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:31 pm

St3v3M wrote:I think we are all saying the same thing, but like describing vanilla to someone we're all saying it a little different. Thank you for joining in! S-

Great analogy. There is plain vanilla, or what people would consider traditional vanilla. There's vanilla bean and French vanilla for the more European sentimentality. Then there's the stepchild to vanilla ice cream, vanilla custard. It looks like vanilla ice cream, tastes like vanilla ice cream but it's not. Oh, and lest we forget, there's also vanilla ice milk.

We can further go down the proverbial rabbit hole and talk about all the legitimate and illegitimate bastard children of vanilla ice cream. Cherry, banana, chocolate chip, butter pecan, swirl, oreo, M&M, confetti, cupcake, etc., etc., etc.

:rofl:
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Post by St3v3M » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:38 pm

Duck wrote:
St3v3M wrote:I think we are all saying the same thing, but like describing vanilla to someone we're all saying it a little different. Thank you for joining in! S-

Great analogy. There is plain vanilla, or what people would consider traditional vanilla. There's vanilla bean and French vanilla for the more European sentimentality. Then there's the stepchild to vanilla ice cream, vanilla custard. It looks like vanilla ice cream, tastes like vanilla ice cream but it's not. Oh, and lest we forget, there's also vanilla ice milk.

We can further go down the proverbial rabbit hole and talk about all the legitimate and illegitimate bastard children of vanilla ice cream. Cherry, banana, chocolate chip, butter pecan, swirl, oreo, M&M, confetti, cupcake, etc., etc., etc.

:rofl:

You are too funny! S-

- illegitimate bastard children of vanilla... laf
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Post by Duck » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:10 pm

As humans, we like to see things categorized. It gives a sense of order and a sense of place. Where do I belong? How do I measure up? What have I accomplished and how far do I need to go? It's human nature.

Before the fifties, there was no real definition or term for "street" photography (or was it the sixties the phrase was coined? I forget). As the 'fad' grew, people felt the need to give it a label. It's human nature.

Although there is a strong and clear foundation by which the term is measured, we have to also understand that it is an organic art form and things evolve and change. What was considered the rule 40, 50 years ago has morphed as more artists push the boundaries of the art form.

One single photograph can also fit into multiple categories, depending on things like subject matter, style, processing and established conventions.

The term "street" was coined simply because the majority of the images in that category came from densely populated urban areas; New York, to be more precise. But I feel "street" refers to anything pedestrians, people, in the scope of subject matter (not 'pedestrian' as in 'commonplace'). But people out in the open, interacting with (to various levels) or moving through, a public landscape. So even if a photo is taken on a ferry, it is still very public and very pedestrian. Early street photographers were drawn to the hustle and bustle of city life and the characters inhabiting them. Think of it like a kid with an ant farm. The city became a microcosm of human activity. You didn't have to travel the world to see a wide diversity of people and cultures. They were all right there in the big city; LIttle Italy, Chinatown, the Bowery, Hell's Kitchen...

Those who did not live near New York were out of luck. Or were they? Chicago is a big city. So is Los Angeles, London, Moscow, Paris, Madrid, Berlin... They all have their own diversity. These are ripe for capturing those little microcosms. Major cities are still the biggest magnet for street photographers as it puts them closer to the traditional or "purist" sense of the art form. So what about those living in the suburbs? Or those unfortunate enough to not live close to a large city center? If you distill the meaning of the term to its core, people, well, they can be found just about anywhere. There are people doing people stuff in all corners of the world. Even the most remotest of areas and this is what makes the art form so fluid and hard to lock down.

Finally there is also the presentation. Traditionally, street photography was black and white, gritty, with a straight out of camera feel. Until William Eggleston, that is. The convention of distilling an urban image down to a monochrome still persists but I feel that's more as a nod to tradition than anything else. Personally I love the look of black and white as it removes a lot of distractions and helps concentrate on the subject or action. But that's me. Joel Meyerowitz does a lot of color work and he's quite amazing.

Here is one of my favorite photos I've taken. Times Square, New York.
Image
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Post by Charles Haacker » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:02 pm

Boy, that's a toughie as already evidenced by the responses. I tend to characterize it as "I know it when I see it." I don't think of "street" in the same breath with "candid" owing to the fact that I have long been a "candid" shooter, but (to me) "candids" are what I shoot when actually on assignment, covering a wedding, a party, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, following my granddaughter anywhere... Candids are the shots that I'm expected to make and no one is apt to turn and feed me my camera for making them. "Street" is maybe "candid with an element of risk." I hardly ever do it because I am shy. Graham, a crackerjack street shooter, often engages directly with subjects, even to the extent of asking permission. So does Dave Chinn. So does Minnie, and many others here on the site I am sure. But perhaps just as often they will make the grab shot or even the stealth shot. I have not the courage to walk up and ask a total stranger if I may take their picture. I can only do the stealth shots when it's expected of me (and I frankly think I am pretty good at it after more than 30 years of experience in all venues). I have enormous respect for great street shooters, but as for strictly defining it? I know it when I see it.

These are from a reception, all totally candid, but nevertheless expected:
ImageUntitled by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
ImageMelissa by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
ImageUncle Aaron by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
(All are 100% available light, raw captures, processed in Lightroom. I used to use a lot of flash but not since the Miracle of Digital.) :love:
ImageUntitled by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Post by PietFrancke » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:17 pm

A place where people live, work, SHARE - a common. A place where strangers coexist and meet and interact. For me, the human condition as we interact with each other. Perhaps Busy-Side-Walk is better than street. Certainly not High Way, though we can easily be impersonal and be anonymous without identity in the flesh as we are in cars. A place of walk, hustle, and bustle and hangout - Street photography is when the anonymous becomes personal and emotional.

If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by

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Post by St3v3M » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:44 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:Boy, that's a toughie as already evidenced by the responses. I tend to characterize it as "I know it when I see it." I don't think of "street" in the same breath with "candid" owing to the fact that I have long been a "candid" shooter, but (to me) "candids" are what I shoot when actually on assignment, covering a wedding, a party, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, following my granddaughter anywhere... Candids are the shots that I'm expected to make and no one is apt to turn and feed me my camera for making them. "Street" is maybe "candid with an element of risk." I hardly ever do it because I am shy. Graham, a crackerjack street shooter, often engages directly with subjects, even to the extent of asking permission. So does Dave Chinn. So does Minnie, and many others here on the site I am sure. But perhaps just as often they will make the grab shot or even the stealth shot. I have not the courage to walk up and ask a total stranger if I may take their picture. I can only do the stealth shots when it's expected of me (and I frankly think I am pretty good at it after more than 30 years of experience in all venues). I have enormous respect for great street shooters, but as for strictly defining it? I know it when I see it.

You make a valid point. I'll have to think on this, thank you! S-
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Post by St3v3M » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:46 pm

PietFrancke wrote:A place where people live, work, SHARE - a common. A place where strangers coexist and meet and interact. For me, the human condition as we interact with each other. Perhaps Busy-Side-Walk is better than street. Certainly not High Way, though we can easily be impersonal and be anonymous without identity in the flesh as we are in cars. A place of walk, hustle, and bustle and hangout - Street photography is when the anonymous becomes personal and emotional.

If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by


"Street photography is when the anonymous becomes personal and emotional." I really like this!

And the poem is really touching! There's so much there, thank you for sharing! S-
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Post by St3v3M » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:48 pm

I've been thinking about this for a few days now and wonder if it's the language that separates us.

Who says Can I Shoot Your Kids without getting a second look? S-
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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:25 pm

I have to differ here on the opinions made. For me "Street Photography" as I have known it is just that, interaction that a photographer captures between people who happens to be in the street. Yes, it's a label that we have put on that sort of photography. The label "Life Photography" has me bewildered due to the fact I've never heard this term used in the History of Photography. I'm kinda of reminded of "Art Speak" that an academic might use in order for us to try and understand ART, only to be lost in their words and we end up never understanding a word they've stated.

I'm reminded of the work by Aaron Siskind who enjoy abstract work. I'm pretty sure these images were taken on the street, can we declare them as "Street Photography"? I don't feel we can.
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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:28 pm

Also the work of Fan Ho. A master of "Street Photography". He also has many images taken in the water ways that he took, I can't place them under "Street Photography"
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