Street photography – why do it?

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On one of the Internet forums, where I post my photographs frequently, a lively discussion took place on merits of street photography. The debate seems to have three sides with varied but not always opposing viewpoints to it.

Firstly, the photographers, who take street candids, see it as a form of art, which captures people in their natural environment exhibiting their natural behaviours. Secondly, the photographers who view this as a form of art, but acknowledge only a small proportion of candid photographs as worth looking at. Finally, there was a group of photographers, who see no purpose or for that matter any photographic or artistic skills in this medium at all.

Yes, this is discussion was conducted on a photographers for photographers forum and thus the audience is rather of a very narrow demographic.

The views of the first group include journalistic values, historical record, liking people, showing their contemporaries, showing characters etc. This group advocated capturing the moment is more important than technical excellence of the process or the result.

The second group usually appreciates “capture the moment” photographs, while dismissing almost all other forms listed by the street photographers.

Third group was mostly represented by professional studio photographers, who did not see any journalistic or artistic “capture the moment” values at all. It seems the photography for them has to have a purpose, which directly affects them: either profit or personal relationship/interaction. A high value is placed on technical excellence of photographs rather then their context.

  • I think it is important as time goes by to have a history of what life was like during a certain period. This time has passed and is over, the only things left are memories and photos (videos). I also think “real” photos, unstaged are important to get honesty and truth. If a street photographer can touch someone with his work, just like the studio photographer touches a family for a portrait, then it is worthwhile as well.

    http://vrod62.blogspot.com/

  • Samantha

    I think street photography is amazing just to look at and hard because you have to be quick to capture the moment and you can’t say “Can you please do that again”.. Once you get rid of the shyness of photographing complete strangers, you create exceptional images in only one shot!

  • Street Photography umm yes I am torn myself.
    I call myself a urban photographer but candid street photography requires guts and I am a little short on those.
    Having said that I admire the work of other candid photographers and enjoy thir work , I think it will always be fascinating to get snap shots of every day life oh natural as it were. Humans are essentially nosy and inquisitive beings.

  • I think it is important as time goes by to have a history of what life was like during a certain period. This time has passed and is over, the only things left are memories and photos (videos). I also think “real” photos, unstaged are important to get honesty and truth. If a street photographer can touch someone with his work, just like the studio photographer touches a family for a portrait, then it is worthwhile as well.

    http://vrod62.blogspot.com/

  • Samantha

    I think street photography is amazing just to look at and hard because you have to be quick to capture the moment and you can’t say “Can you please do that again”.. Once you get rid of the shyness of photographing complete strangers, you create exceptional images in only one shot!

  • Street Photography umm yes I am torn myself.
    I call myself a urban photographer but candid street photography requires guts and I am a little short on those.
    Having said that I admire the work of other candid photographers and enjoy thir work , I think it will always be fascinating to get snap shots of every day life oh natural as it were. Humans are essentially nosy and inquisitive beings.