What is street photography?

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Brad_, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Let’s look at it this way, Brad, so as not to be obtuse for others reading who aren’t familiar with your prior writing. You introduced this discussion by laughing at two photographers who created drama by insisting on particular restrictions for a group and then you went on to suggest that such restrictions are made out of a desire for comfort. I presented examples of cases where your suggested motivation doesn’t hold. One of my examples points directly at your own often talked about restrictive use of a cell phone camera for a period of time. Now, you want to arbitrarily eliminate what you’ve chosen as your own restriction from the discussion and don’t even address the motivations of an important historical photographic group. These undermine what you claim is the motivation for restrictions.
  2. FWIW,I think 'Street photography' means whatever it means to individual photographers. The only common element is that 'street photographers' take photos (outdoors) of whatever attracts their attention. I find most 'street photos' cliched and boring but occasionally I find some that I like.

    Given (as in any other genre ) the wide range of 'street photographers' (qua knowledge, experience() it seems to me to be impossible to answer the OP's question. It's a very fuzzy boundary.
  3. Hahaha. Doublespeak. They were obviously not naturally imposed since photography existed through Pictorialism long before these supposedly natural rules were recognized and exists long after the f64 rules became a memory.

    What the f64 group recognized was that photography didn’t have to mimic painting to be a legitimate art form and they did think it was a less artificial and more natural way to use a camera. They weren’t right or wrong. It was a belief that motivated some great photography. Not much about using a camera is natural so I don’t buy theories of what’s more natural in photography or art. Manipulation is manipulation and it’s quite natural for humans to practice it in art. There’s nothing more inherently natural about practicing straight or manipulated photography. The f64 group came up with an approach to photography based on a passionate set of beliefs (not truths) just as the Pictorialists who they were reacting to. Neither way is more naturally imposed by the medium of photography.
  4. There’s plenty of great street photos taken inside restaurants, shops, churches ...
  5. Shadow, you're still not getting it, intentionally so I suspect.

    My "restrictive use" (as you put it) had nothing to do with SP or any other type of photography I engage in. Being a phone and in my pocket it's simply handy and works well enough for me for the photos I like to make. Seems you want to make something more out that, which is not surprising. But really, there is no there, there. It's just a camera. And that's still the only camera I use today.

    Please...feel free to blather on and ascribe all sorts of noise about why I use a phone cam. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    BW, I am kind of amused you hold my "prior writing" so dear. That does seem a little weird.
  6. Isn’t that ultimately what Ian is probably asking. I took him to be asking to get personal input from each of us. He’s not writing the Street Photographer’s Bible. He’s seeking out fellow photographers’ thoughts. It’s not impossible to answer the OP. Just talk about your own impression of street photography. By doing that and looking at the work of others and hearing the thoughts of others maybe your own thinking about street photography will be affected.
  7. You get amused often. It’s how you started the thread and you return to it often. But it’s really condescension in a not very good disguise.

    Anyway, some of the more self-impressed and vocal street photographers on PN, even ones with good eyes and street photo instincts, show repeated content-oriented and aesthetic restrictions in their very unchanging bodies of work. Those may be cases where your suggestion of comfort as the raison d’etre of restriction in street photography could apply. On the other hand, there have been and still are street photographers on PN (I’m remembering Billy K. very fondly and I think Phil’s street work is a good example of this) who seem committed to and empowered by their own visions without falling into aesthetic and visual traps and habits.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  8. Well, ok...If you want to equate "twice" with "often," please be my guest.

    Seriously though, my previous writings having such a strong impression on you, while totally missing my motivation for using a phone camera (of all things and a genuine nothingburger), did rise to the level of a genuine hoot. I'm pleased you recognized the condescension that accompanied.
  9. You’re not hard to read, Brad.
  10. As you have noticed, I’m talking about your writings beyond this thread. So it ought to be obvious “often” wasn’t based on this thread alone. It was based on my having read many of your posts over the years.
    I didn’t say I hold them dear, but I do read and digest what you say. We’ve sparred enough over the last several years and I’ve often read you carefully as an aid in formulating opposing thoughts, which I often have. Not agreeing with you doesn’t lead to my not paying attention to you and none of this should translate to my holding your thoughts dear, though I understand that characterization is just another means of snark condescension.

    In any case your condescension hasn’t actually addressed my points about restriction in street photography not primarily being due to wanting a comfort zone, but I just assume you shot from the hip on saying that and have no intellectual justification for it other than, of course, condescension, the seeming comfort zone you, yourself, have settled into.
  11. Phil, any chance of examples of ‘amalgam of interest’ ?
  12. You’re a peer, who was invited to discuss and flesh out a point you made.
  13. No problem (I suspect Phil copied the text from elsewhere) but maybe Brad, who thought Phil’s post was “Spot on”, could provide some examples.
  14. Oh, but it was.
  15. I can’t and won’t speak for Ludmilla, but I understand what you’re saying about amalgam of meaning and street photography not being about visual puns or a distillation of superficial serendipitous facts. I understand these to be your rules or preferences, just as Turpin and Jorgensen have their rules and preferences and Brad has his judgments and preferences many times stated about surreptitious street shooting and sneaking shots.

    What bothers me is the hypocrisy of laughing at and judging others for the very same kind behavior and attitudes that those doing the judging display. Those doing the judging simply think their rules, preferences, restrictions and judgments are better than everyone else’s.
  16. Then, fine, your preference is to embrace amalgamated meaning in street photography and put down visual puns in street photography. That’s all it is, preference and put down (in Brad’s case, being amused). What you’re doing is no more right and no more lofty than what others are doing when they form a group to do straight street photography or they go out and shoot visual puns. And your preference for amalgamated meanings in street photography doesn’t make that what street photography is and doesn’t make visual puns what street photography isn’t. It simply states one man’s preference.
  17. You said it before and you’ve said it again. “It isn’t about ...” The problem is you’re wrong, because for many it is about this. You just don’t think it should be because you see yourself as the master of the universe, determining what street photography is and isn’t in a single bound.
  18. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Give it a rest.
  19. I actually prefer street photography that is an amalgam of meaning and don’t like visual puns as much. But I recognize that as my preference and not to be what street photography is. And, while I didn’t love the exhibit of Elliott Erwitt I saw a while back, he did do some great visual puns that didn’t need or want much more meaning than that. They were what they were and I respected them well enough for that.
  20. Turn the channel if you don’t like it.

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