Understanding street photography

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Andrew Garrard, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. No family or friends alone. They were murdered for greed of the coin.

    But still...makes you want to cry.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  2. The way things are...
  3. Just my $0.02...

    Andrew - I think you may be trying to apply left-brain criteria to right-brain appreciation. Having said that, like you, I have a technical background and like you, it sometimes escapes me why some images produced by the ‘masters’ seem to be almost-universally praised. I realize that some photos have historical and cultural significance, but beyond that, I don’t see what makes some of them special. The same holds true regarding images posted on online forums. Some images seem to be widely-praised by others on the forum, but a lot of times I just don’t get it.

    I’m okay with not seeing what others see; conversely, I’m okay with others not seeing what I see. They do converge every so often, and that works for me too. Here’s a street photo image that I took some years back — I’ve always liked this photo, but I do realize and accept that others may not. I’m good with that, especially because a big part of why I like this image is about remembering the experience of taking this photo and the time we spent in Mexico City.


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  4. I am fairly technically-minded, but I probably sound it even more on this thread because I'm trying to find my way to images I don't understand by applying analysis. I'm happy to be told how to feel about an image if anyone can work out how to do it. :)

    For what it's worth, Keith, I like that image. I can read something into the central character and his isolation from the busy scene (which may or may not be what you read into it). We all have photos we've taken to document people we met on holiday, which may mean absolutely nothing to anyone else. I'm fine with that, I just wouldn't call one a "good photo" and put it in an exhibition for strangers to look at. Your image, I think, meets both requirements.
    photo_galleries likes this.
  5. I don't like the term "street photography" but I accept it as a description of work made in urban environments normally involving people.

    Here's the thing: walking around your city, or any city, with a camera is fascinating. You look at things in ways you never looked at them before. You see things in new ways. It's very much an art of failure. Unlike anything you do in the studio you'll come home with mostly bad photographs. Which is what makes it so interesting. The hunt for anything moving, unique or new is like no other kind of photography. Beyond that, the creative process, which in other genres can develop over weeks, happens in milliseconds.

    My advice is to put a wide or moderately wide angle lens on your camera and go out and take pictures. It may be for you. It may not. Only one way to find out :D
  6. I have taken pictures my whole life.
    Always casual type of stuff.
    When I began looking at others’ photographs I began seeing better......
  7. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    hahahaha so true n real. it is amazing what you can find when you look closer. its just so hard to disconnect yourself to be able to actually see through our daily mundane world for that special shot.
    Moving On and Andrew Garrard like this.
  8. "When I began looking at others’ photographs I began seeing better...…" moving on thing"

    To be honest " moving on " jeez, get a better Avatar. Simplistic, and silly. You are a big boy now...your old dad will confirm.

    But, a good insight; a message to me 'don't judge a book by its cover".

    Sharing a few photos would be nice....but, intelligent insights are also nice.

    Perhaps we,, maybe, have a ride together in this old automobile.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  9. sunshine.jpg Or, maybe, we should contemplate....
  10. post7.jpg Let us use the big word Art.

    Street photography is Art why would it be any different from Art.

    You do the seeing….and you create your vision. Your Art.
    Brad_ likes this.
  11. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Art - I think I met him in London at The Old Black Lion...nice chap.
    Allen Herbert likes this.
  12. "Art - I think I met him in London at The Old Black Lion...nice chap". Sandy

    LOL. Word in Tombstone you are the new Sheriff…..that old tin whistle they have found.it.

    Sandy Earp.

  13. Ads...be patience.
  14. some nice BW stuff.

    Walking back in time...time frozen the power of photography...only photographs a lives within time.

    They are a time machine.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  15. The only way to do this is to just go out and take lots of photos. Reading a book won't help, nor will taking a class or a course. I could describe what a watermelon tastes like until doomsday and you would still have no idea what it tastes like, but take one bite and then you know. Most of life is like this, some things more than others. I would rather have brain surgery from a surgeon who had successfully operated on many people than have it done by the guy who had never done it, but graduated at the top of their class. We learn by doing.

    Don't over think it, and better if you don't think at all but go by your intuition. With street shooting, if you take the time to think, the shot is long gone. Don't worry about people getting riled either. You learn to be invisible, and it works. Just blend in, be confident, and work quickly. A fast 85 or 100 lens can be your friend on the street because you stay out of people's space. Practice, practice, practice! Have some fun with it and don't sweat the results. Le bon ton roule! Or as they say here in New Mexico, deja que los buenos tiempos pasen!

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  16. I appreciate all the advice. Although I should clarify: I'm not so much struggling to work out how to take a street photograph. Well, I am, but I think that problem would be solved if I spent more time wandering around and practising - I know the kind of thing I'd (currently) likely shoot.

    My issue with this thread is that there's a subset of street images (more than any other genre of photography) where I just don't understand the intent of the image - what the photographer was trying to achieve, or why the image is popular. I assume the reason for this is lack of exposure - just as pop music tends to get listened to by youngsters, and more complex layered music tends to be preferred once people have heard more. I was hoping for a bit of a short cut (and there have been some interesting insights on this thread), but at least some images may not make sense to me until I've just stared at a lot more photos.

    This won't stop me shooting, it just means I'm unlikely to shoot an image that looks like one of the ones I fail to understand. Or at least, I'm unlikely to think it successful enough to share it. Justin Bieber may not (for all I know) have an appreciation of Beethoven, and is unlikely ever to create music that sounds like Ludwig's - if he did, his fans would probably hate it. But that doesn't stop an awful lot of money being made with the current style, and at least some people seem to like his output. (Not, I'm afraid, me. But the more I understand the wider the pool from which I can develop my own style.)
  17. I think Street photography is autobiographical - it is a selfie really isn't it?;)
  18. Jeez, understand, by getting out there and taking some photos.

    Too much talk....little action.

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