What makes a good street photograph?

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by paul_cohn, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. This question may open a big can of worms ... I like street photography, I (sometimes) enjoy trying to do it, and some of my shots work and some don't. A lot of Garry Winogrand's photos captivate me, a few leave me scratching my head.
    So what makes a good street photograph?
     
  2. If you like the photograph, then to you it's a good photograph regardless of the subject matter. Why care what anyone else says or thinks? I also suggest that if you shoot street, avoid comparisons of your work to the work of others. Nothing good ever comes from this. It's ok to admire the work of others and to be inspired by it, but if you go out with the mindset that your work has to look like someone elses to be considered "good", then your work will not be your own and you will be disappointed. Just go out and have fun with it. After awhile, you'll discover where your sensibilities lean.
     
  3. If photography is indeed the art of not pushing the button, a good streetphotograph especially may be all and simply about knowing when not to push the button. At the end of his life as a streetphotographer Winogrand was known that he just had to push that button, to release & rewind that addictive build up tension of anticipation, but which not always makes for a good ( street ) photograph if it's released just because.
    " Photography is the art of not pushing the button" Frank Horvat
     
  4. SCL

    SCL

    From my point of view...compelling subject, outstanding composition, and creative or at least sensitive use of lighting, particularly as it relates to contrast and texture. NOT SNAPSHOTS.
     
  5. Depends on the mood, there are so many good photographs. At times, I prefer the impact of Klein. Sometimes, I like Erwitt's humor. I can identify with Parr's sarcasm. Like many, I too, enjoy HCB's decisive moments. Eugene Richards photos are heavy, poignant and D'agata's dark visions I dig. Lastly, for all those inbetween moods, I love Robert Frank's frank sensibility, inbetween moments and his personal, cohesive style.
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    NOT SNAPSHOTS.​
    Elliott Erwitt has called his non-assignment work "snapshots." If snapshots are good enough for Erwitt, they're good enough for me.
     
  7. hard to tell because once you attempt to define "good" you'll get in trouble. It's kind of subjective. Commitment, personal involvement, curiosity and a deep human interest however I think are some of the prerequisites.
    NOT SNAPSHOTS​
    if that is right we should indeed rewrite photographic history as we know it.
     
  8. I agree with Jeff here. Snapshots are all it really takes. Although not a street photographer (and not even a photographer by his own admission), Richard Billingham's snapshots of his home life, compiled in the book Ray's a Laugh , are remarkable.
     
  9. SCL

    SCL

    OK, OK - "snapshots" within my description of what makes street photography work. Sorry if I offended anybody by being generic.
     
  10. My criteria for a great photo is, "would I hang a 16x20 of that on my living room wall"?
     
  11. Roger, mine's a little less esoteric. My criteria is "would it make a good calendar."
     
  12. Street photographers are distinguished by their subject matter and, to a lesser extent, how they are taken, not by what makes them good. The criteria are the same as for any other kind of photograph: composition, lighting, technique, and, most of all, that they communicate something.

    --Marc
     
  13. "If I knew how to take a good photograph, I'd do it all the time". Robert Doisneau
     
  14. The approach to what is "good", as many have already said, is highly personal. For me, it is not so much a matter of prints or calendars that I might hang (I'd need either a rotating personal gallery depending on mood, or a living room the size of a barn) but more a matter of what grabs me viscerally, brings me back for repeated viewings, and then causes me to think.
    Despite the matter of subjectivity and personal taste, however, I think there is something to be said for looking at the work of those who are considered accomplished in the genre of street photography and trying to understand why their work is considered good. The trick, for me, has been to walk the line between discernment and keeping an open mind. I dislike dismissive, snap judgements in others....and yet I have been guilty more than I'd like to admit of having done the same thing. "Why do these people like X? His work is crap!" Only to look more closely at X, or have someone explicate the work of X, and realize that there was more there than I had originally thought.
     
  15. I agree with Jeff here. Snapshots are all it really takes.​
    I don't think it's exactly what Jeff said or implied Clive. Anyway, I think it takes a lot more than just snapshots. Sure, some snapshots will result in very good streetphotos but for the most part snapshots are either easy or just a matter of luck and looking at Erwitt's work (to continue the analogy) and that of a lot of other succesfull/admired photographers it's obvious they are a lot more than just snapshooters.
    Looking at maybe the best known "snapshooter" of all, Winogrand, many of his photos may appear to be snapshots (and to a lot of people they are) but there's a lot more to it. Funny that one of his best known quotes tells us that photos don't tell stories and yet, so many of his actually do.
     
  16. "Snapshots" is just semantics...and some "snapshots" taken by an expert or master is most likely going to be more interesting than some of ours, no doubt! I think Jeff meant we can not disregard *all* snapshots as average or poor because there are excellent "snapshots" as well. For all we know, Les Americain is just a collection of intimate "snapshots" at the time by Frank.
    Hey Clive! HNY (lunar as well) to you as well!
     
  17. I think it was Winogrand who said that some of his best photos were the ones that were closest to being failures...
     
  18. For a street photograph to work, it must be subversive. The manner is which this "subversion" is presented or perceived depends solely on the individual photographer and viewer.
    By "subversive," I do not mean in the political sense, although such images are not excluded, but more in the discomfort that the viewer experiences, the unsettled feeling he or she is left with, the inkling that something remains unresolved that draws that person again and again to the image in an attempt to find resolution. Such photographs are the very ones you would NOT "hang a 16x20 of" on your living room wall.
    There are some regular posters here whose work invariably hits these buttons, and there are others whose work cannot be faulted technically and compositionally but leave me thinking "and, so what?" It's like the Hallmark cards of street photography.
    I feel the same towards the street photographs of Nick Turpin, among others. Witty, clever, well-executed, but in the end reedy, superficial, facile. Give me, say, Trent Parke any day of the week.
    In my book, there's no room for twee in street photography, such as an immaculate black and white evening shot of a couple walking arm-in-arm on the cobblestone street of an historical European city. Such a passive, easy-to-digest, inoffensive, conformist image should be left to the makers of Valentine's cards.
    A very personal opinion
     
  19. What makes a good street photograph? To get some ideas have a look on other photographers' websites. For example:
    http://www.seconds2real.com, It is a site of an international collective of street photographers.

    Good luck!

    Marcin
    Signature URL removed. Not allowed per photo.net Terms of Use.
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    "Snapshots" is just semantics​
    I don't subscribe to this theory. To a great extent, most street photos are snapshots. The French title of The Decisive Moment could have been translated to Snapshots instead of DM. Most street photos don't come from arranging people, props and lights on the street. They come from seeing something and quickly taking a shot. That's what a snapshot is.
     
  21. What makes a good street?
    1. Motif is the most important subject in the picture. It is (almost) everything. Blurry photo with great motif is much better than technically excellent photo with ordinary motif.
    2. Then is composition.
    3. And then is technical quality.
     
  22. I think it was Winogrand who said that some of his best photos were the ones that were closest to being failures...​
    OK, and what does such "wisdom" tell us? Frankly, it doesn't me tell anything.
    For a street photograph to work, it must be subversive. The manner is which this "subversion" is presented or perceived depends solely on the individual photographer and viewer.
    By "subversive," I do not mean in the political sense, although such images are not excluded, but more in the discomfort that the viewer experiences, the unsettled feeling he or she is left with, the inkling that something remains unresolved that draws that person again and again to the image in an attempt to find resolution. Such photographs are the very ones you would NOT "hang a 16x20 of" on your living room wall.​
    I hope you realise you've just binned a major part of photographic history ;-)
    Taking into account that you expressed a personal opinion "must" I think is an absolute without any room for compromise. Why should anyone by definition have to feel unsettled by a streetphoto? Bollocks! Wouldn't it leave a bit more room for interpretation if you would exchange subversive for interesting because after all you pointed to the perception of the viewer as being important with which I agree btw. But by using a word like "must" you create a paradox. Also I think technical and compositional prowess isn't exactly at odds with interesting street photography. Quite the contrary in fact. I for one see too often crappy exposed, developed, printed or software-raped results that are "sold" as to be beyond all that and are supposed to live off their all overriding content which they often don't, that is if you can find it (some exempt), the point being there are no absolutes (see also the above post).
    The Hallmark cards of street photography:
    nice phrase and a apt one at that. We all shoot them, even the best do. That's why editing is so important (and difficult).
     
  23. we need some photos here. Crappy or otherwise ;-)
    00VhCT-217735584.jpg
     
  24. I don't subscribe to this theory. To a great extent, most street photos are snapshots. The French title of The Decisive Moment could have been translated to Snapshots instead of DM. Most street photos don't come from arranging people, props and lights on the street. They come from seeing something and quickly taking a shot. That's what a snapshot is.
    I think beginners's snapshots are diiferent than experienced street photographers' snapshots and a big part of the difference is the process of recognizing, seeing things in a scene then how the pic is taken.
    Furthermore, I personally associate "snapshots" with light heartedness but some might not. Some may think deeper about a picture than others depending where they are at skill/talent levelwise . Vantage point, for example, I don't care for much if I'm just taking a "snapshot". To others, it might matter.

    Most street photos don't come from arranging people, props and lights on the street. They come from seeing something and quickly taking a shot. That's what a snapshot is.
    Ask ten photogs what their version of "snapshot" exactly entails and I think you will get at least 6 or 7 similar but different answers. Jeff, your deifinition of snapshot, regarding against props, setting lights etc... maybe technically correct. But for practical purposes, I still say snapshot is semantics and highly variable among people and among photogs.
    How about asking the subject to inch to their left or fix their wind blown hair? How about moving up a staircase to elevate your vantage point? How about waiting 10 or so minutes for the right light for a portrait? Finding a large white wall to bounce your flash. Snapshot or not? I agree with you for the most part but seems like lots of gray area to me...what exactly is "quickly" to you? Is it 5 seconds or 35 seconds or say 3 minutes 50 seconds? After X seconds, it's no longer a "snapshot", huh??!! what??!!
     
  25. Yeah, there are too many boring "interesting" pics these days. More intimate, sensitive, raw subversive pics please! Give me more D'Agata!
     
  26. Thanks, everyone. I'm trying to distill all this, and I like the concept of "subversive", 'tho to me "subversive" can be either large or small, either disturbing or humorous - anything that makes you look twice; and I also suppose it can be a snapshot, as long as the snapshot has a focus, an answer to the question "so what". That seconds2real website is great.
     
  27. Well, if you like it, it's good. Doesn't really matter where it was taken..
     
  28. we need some photos here. Crappy or otherwise ;-)
    here's a couple​
    00VhJ6-217789584.jpg
     
  29. One More
    00VhJA-217789684.jpg
     
  30. Street Photography!, love it. That was my first real test after years of photography. I wanted to see if I could let my pictures talk if you will. It took me six months before I figured it out. I was not happy at all with my work for at least six months until one day I finally figured it out. I found what worked for me and from their it was easy. I thew everything out that I had worked on up until that day. Street photography can very very emotional, dangerous, cold, and so much more.
     
  31. OK, and what does such "wisdom" tell us? Frankly, it doesn't me tell anything​
    Please accept my humble apologies for wasting forum members time....
     
  32. "Please accept my humble apologies for wasting forum members time...."​
    Why? Because someone disagreed with your opinion? Don't give up so easily.
     
  33. As a manifesto, maybe Clive's statement doesn't work for all things, or all people, but I like the passion and the provocative thought behind it. I think those ideas are really something to think about. At least it's got me thinking.
    Snapshot works for me....snap.....shot..percieve react. It's one of the types of photo. You don't have to be married to any particularly one way, but a lot of shots are snaps..
     
  34. Please accept my humble apologies for wasting forum members time....​
    Steven, I was merely being sincere. It doesn't tell me anything. Winogrand, like many other photographers has made statements (soundbites) like this that are either meaningless or not consistent with their own work. In this case it tells me absolutely nothing, least of all what makes a good street photo which is the context of this thread. In other cases photographers have mocked elements of photography as being totally unimportant while their own work thrives on it. Too easy.
     
  35. but I like the passion and the provocative thought behind it​
    so do I Barry. That's why it needs to be pushed further
     
  36. OPK

    OPK

    maybe this would work for you as an example...or not ;)
    www.abtmanphoto.com
    I love street photography especially abroad where I can jump out of the context and sharpen my senses
     
  37. So what makes a good street photograph?
    The emotion it generates.
    So what makes a good photograph?
    The emotion it generates.
     
  38. "Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed", Garry Winogrand once said.
     
  39. It doesn't tell me anything
    This thread originated with an observation regarding Winogrand and I simply responded with a comment he made regarding street photography. Given this is a community photographic site, whether my comment resonates with a particular individual at his particular point in his photographic career is not the point. There may be other people for whom this comment (trite or otherwise) adds to their experience in photography.​
     
  40. To me good Street Photography very much resembles humor: it has a good story, which was well told and has found an audience with a sense of humor.
     
  41. I am not usually a street photographer but I worked for a newspaper for several years. Most of what I shot was crap that went out to the garbage with yesterday's fish. But once in a while my colleagues or I would get a decent picture while on assignment. Usually it was capturing something human like an expression, or an unexpected public happening that grabbed interest. Incidentally these were mostly B&W. We strove for decent technical excellence, however. We developed and printed ourselves for hand lay up. Some street photos I see have poor focus, blocked up shadows or burned out highlights. Almost everything I did for the newspaper was, IMO, a snapshot except for my pictures of politicians where I tried to do anti-portrait portraits with direct flash. There was a woman named Galina who used to post here that did pictures that were technically exquisite and also captured the unusual, the sad, and the ugly quite well. She is really good at this stuff. I took a couple of pictures of killers on perp walks that I thought were quite good because of expressions.and made a few papers. They were on the street so I guess they were street pictures. Those were snapshots. In my experience a good news photo, many of which are nothing more than street shots, is just plain dumb-assed luck more often than not; at least in my case.
     
  42. I am not usually a street photographer but I worked for a newspaper for several years. Most of what I shot was crap that went out to the garbage with yesterday's fish. But once in a while my colleagues or I would get a decent picture while on assignment.​
    Sorry mate, but it's not about you.
     
  43. "So what makes a good street photograph?"
    I have a loose understanding of evil but i'm not so sure about good. I always think that someone’s definition of good could also be someone’s definition of evil.
    Could it be the same with street photography? Or, are there some noble rules of composition and technical excellence that lead to the path of goodness of street photography. Perhaps being different, innovative, new, is the road to goodness in street photography...all rather confusing this good stuff? Perhaps if we replace the world good with the word popular we might travel to that magical place. So, it is popular therefore by implication it must be good? So, i think of a sunset in Cuba, with a semi naked female draped across an old Cadillac, with perhaps an old fisherman with a crusty lined face draped in a fishing net...would that be popular and good?
    I'm not really sure about this good, so, i will just have to be happy with enjoying myself pressing the big button, and let others worry about the good of it all.
    00Vhc8-217963584.jpg
     
  44. A sunset in Cuba
    No that triggers images all by itself ! For some reason it triggers also the line in a song ( Bananas & Blow, Ween ) :
    " the rainy season reminds me of Maria, the way she danced, the color of her hair "


    A good ( street )photograph should be like a good poem or verse, you have to want to read it more than one time, paraphrasing Robert Frank here more or less.
     
  45. I often think that these “golden oldies” had an equal ability with words as they had with their perceptive eyes. I wonder if the two go hand in hand in a symbiosis way not necessarily exclusive.
     
  46. I don't know. Language is a beautiful thing, the written word especially. It can prison or capture thoughts as well as express and free them effectively, like the best photographs can and do, always will...
     
  47. Fragments of a recipe for street photography:
    -anticipation
    -creativity
    -chance
     
  48. Clive, perhaps I was a little obtuse. What makes a good street photographer IMO is what makes a good newspaper photographer, or wedding photographer or any other photographer for that matter. I think photographic skills are transferable. I think Jeff Spirer is great at it because he is good in several disciplines and knows the business. And, that in fact, IMO, newspaper and street photographers are akin to one another and greatly overlap. That is why I stated my journalistic qualifications. Firstly, good technical skills are important. I really don't like badly made photographs in any discipline and I don't think street photography is an excuse for poor exposure, fuzziness, burnt out highlights, etc. Secondly, I think a street photographer has to have some people skills; at least enough to recognize, find and capture human emotion whether surreptitiously, or by asking. Galina, whom I cited before has great technical skills, captures the tenor of life, and is highly versatile as a photographer. That means she has great capability to capture what she sees and her web site, last time I saw it, showed a broad range of talent in several photographic disciplines and specifically in street. I see too many who get into a rut and stay there, taking the same pictures over and over again. I do not claim to be very good at street but after twenty years of working at many forms of photography and having my own photo business I think I, at least, know decent photography when I see it. I also, as a dues paying member, with a biography, and sixty pictures posted am pretty transparent about my background and whatever skill is evident. I also know that i am free on photonet to express myself as long as I am civil in any way that I am comfortable expressing myself about the subject at hand. The one trend I see on PN is the trend toward incivility and that personal one liners sometimes contribute to that.
     
  49. "The one trend I see on PN is the trend toward incivility and that personal one-liners sometimes contribute to that."​
    Yes, Dick, I too thought the personal nature of the one-line criticism (above) of your 10:17 a.m. post was unfair, especially since there are "I's" and "my's" in almost every post in this thread, not just in yours. Thanks for following up and explaining why you said the things you did.
     
  50. Secondly, I think a street photographer has to have some people skills; at least enough to recognize, find and capture human emotion whether surreptitiously, or by asking.​
    Street photography is NOT necessarily and only people photography. Study the pioneer of streetphotography for a minute, not only that but also the one who can be considered both the Mozart and the Rembrandt of photography, which is Atget, and any "streetphotographer " worth a damn would know that much. There's no skill in snapping random people up close on the sidewalk with a 28 or 15mm.
     
  51. Study the pioneer of streetphotography for a minute"

    I have and am…. a project of mine.
    Phylo, they are not the exclusive holders of the "Holy Grail". Methinks, they have passed it on to a lot of photographers out there doing all sorts of interesting stuff… I would include you, among others on this forum, in that thought.

    Time warps only exist on Star Trek, Phylo.
     
  52. OK Phylo I agree to the "not necessarily" part but that reduces versatility which includes people skills as they have to do with photography. My point was more that photographers skills should be inclusive and that should be inclusive for street photographers as most of street photography I see on PN has people in it. I guess I meant a broad emotional range(Beethoven didn't much like people) but he certainly displayed an enromous emotional range in his music. Atget took pictures of people. I just looked at some. As one who has owned his own portrait studio there is a lot of skill in capturing emotion even on the street at 28mm, although, I prefer longer as we did with the newspaper. Nothing like a good argument on the street or in a bar to capture some angry emotion. I loved to get a look of absolute anguish when I shot sports for example. I did a lot of tight shooting. So Phylo I agree with you. But I still think if you are going to shoot people it is good know be capable of capturing emotion. Photographs are dull without it. Now Phylo I am an old man. I remember Mann Ray in the 30s and other icons as well. In my PN gallery, there is a B&W of three Russian women during a food shortage in Leningrad in 1991. The second one in has a look for me that, although subtle, was very angry at me. There is some emotion in her glance because I pissed her off. That great but illustrative.
     
  53. I don't know what you mean by the Star Trek reference Allen, but I still consider Atget as the main guy or the main dude in ( street )photography, even though he didn't even knew or cared for it himself all that much...Of course, there are different takes, different approaches that are all equally valid, in a way. And I 'll buy that.
     
  54. So Phylo I agree with you. But I still think if you are going to shoot people it is good know be capable of capturing emotion. Photographs are dull without it.​
    And I agree with you, but capturing emotion is not the same as capturing people, for people aren't always about emotion.
     
  55. "I don't know what you mean by the Star Trek reference Allen"
    A popular TV series, Phylo.
    On one of the series they explore being locked in a time warp where they endlessly repeat themselves saying and believing the same things to infinitives. Without wishing to blaspheme i have seen many photos on this very forum which i have found, equally, or more interesting than Agat or others with names for that matter.
    It’s good to escape from a time warp.Phylo. However, religious folk tell me it is part of human nature to worship.
     
  56. i have seen many photos on this very forum which i have found, equally, or more interesting than Atget​
    No, nope, I really don't think so, : ). Seriously. That would be crazy.
     
  57. Although I don’t do much street photography, I have done a lot of photography in general. I think that “good” street photography is not different from “good” photography, as someone mentioned above. It is not a total mystery: although just scratching the surface, there are a few obvious themes that you typically see in street photography, such as people with strong emotional expressions (or none at all when they probably should), odd juxtapositions of things, unusual scenes, very usual scenes, strong compositions, eroticism, chaos, images that arouse empathy, or other strong emotion, etc. I attach a few of my own “street” photos, all different and yet all done in public places and each have a different reason for appeal (I hope, anyway!)
    00Vhp2-218119584.jpg
     
  58. "No, nope, I really don't think so, : ). Seriously. That would be crazy."

    That's what the crew of the Enterprise thought when Scotty tried to help them escape. I't near impossible to break from a embedded belief you only have to look humanity to understand.

    However, to belief that Atget is the word on the street is harmless stuff although somewhat lost in space in my opinion.
    But then some folk get excited by Madonna believing she is the final word....for sure she has a bigger fan club than poor old Atget could ever dream of….

    Perhaps the need to worship is indeed the ultimate need of humanity…..but it would seem anything will do.

    Now there's a troubled thought..
     
  59. In my Humble opinion it's all about the MOMENT, Decisive Moment...
    First, It's about something unusual, happening, it's about the being in the right place and the right time, with Your camera ready.
    Second, It's about ability to BE THERE, close enough...
    Third, Being cold-blooded and wait for the right moment even when something strange is goin' on. It's all about...
    Fourth, ... It's all about face, gesture and good croping with the camera.
    I'm far from being perfect. I didn't find it in the book, it's from my experience and from studying photography of Masters like Koudelka, Cartier Bresson, Erwitt, Winogrand...
    Get Your camera with ISO400 film, fast 50mm lens and BE THERE :)
    All the best,
    M.S.
    00Vhqk-218141584.jpg
     
  60. Let us be really honest; take away his significant part of the history of photography, the old world look….and what have we got?
    Would folk really be bursting with excitement looking at these photos in a W.NW thread?
     
  61. O.K. Last one :)
    00Vhqt-218143784.jpg
     
  62. Hey Allen, You are right. We may be excited while looking at those classic photographs from the past... I wish I would be able to take a pictures without Mc bars, Toyotas, Adi*** sportswear and crappy commercials everywhere... I don't shoot landscapes...
     
  63. www.in-public.com
     
  64. " Photography is the art of not pushing the button" Frank Horvat
    What?! That's insane! Street photography is the art of pushing that button and doing it over and over. Shoot it and keep shooting it!
    I love the opinions as varied as they are as to what street photography is, but, ultimately is is going into the street and shooting with reckless abandon.
    You're not going to get anything unless you push that button. Come on Frank! You idiot!
     
  65. Get Your camera with ISO400 film, fast 50mm lens and BE THERE :)
    Maciek, I like the way that you have boiled this down. OK, not only film, but B&W film. How about ISO 3200 T-Max, a fast 50, and be there at night .
     
  66. Thanks Christopher. I load my everyday camera ( 1.7 lens) with ISO 400 roll because it's my ,,Notepad". I am not that tuff so I prefer color negative and desaturation if needed but now I got Ilford 400 loaded.
    I can promise You I will go with ISO 3200 for a first special event ;) Take Care, M.
     
  67. Most street photos I see are rather boring. Of course there are some superb street shots but I have a suggestion. Next time you snap a guy walking down the sidewalk doing nothing or that couple sitting at a table again doing nothing keep it to yourself. I'm not a street photographer but good street captures that special moment, glance scowl smile etc. A decisive moment. The rest belongs in the trash can along with all our bad macros, landscapes and portraits.
     
  68. you leave the room for a minute and it all of a sudden goes bonkers ;-)
    instead of talking about what makes a good (street) photo now all of a sudden I see qualifications I supposedly need to have and ways I need to behave in or which people to look up to to even have a remote chance of shooting one in the first place.

    Well gentlemen, here's the thing. Actually I don't HAVE to do or be any of that, nor do you. I'll go out there and do what I like to do without any pretense or care about things I should do or about ways in which I'm supposed to act. In other words I have fun out there warm-blooded and all.
    Phylo, for you Atget may be the "main dude" in street photography but personally I think we moved quite a bit from that since then. He set a benchmark sure, but so have many others since.
    (by his own word Atget considered himself a documentarist and that's what he did, he's left us with a great and historically important catalogue of Paris notwithstanding him being taken up by the Surrealist movement)
    The point is you're not nor ever will be a Eugene Atget but he wasn't a Phylo Darin either. That answers that I think.
    Then there's the Decisive Moment. Forget it, follow your own instincts, be yourself. Have fun.
    00Vi01-218249684.jpg
     
  69. Let us be really honest; take away his significant part of the history of photography, the old world look….and what have we got?​
    Atget didn't build the castle that cannot be taken, but he lay a pretty decent foundation for it, picture by picture. Yes, we are all wondering around in it - underneath it - taking something out and putting something back in, looking for that secret space to make it our own, but the ghosts are there too.
    I see his photographs picturing the new world just as much as the old world, that's what makes them both effective and magical.
    A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent - Atget
     
  70. I'm partial to black and white street photography. Just a few examples from 45 years of shooting can be seen at http://rwgordonphotography.shutterfly.com/
    Just keep shooting. Once in a great while one of your subjects might object. Simply apologize.
     
  71. Really beautiful work, Robert!.
     
  72. Gee guys, you don't have to reject the value of Atget's work to be able to do go in your own direction. Just because
    someone lived in the past doesn't mean their work is irrelevant to today or just of sentimental value. I don't think most
    musicians are less capable because they recognize Beethoven or Miles Davis as having produced great work, or painters
    less capable because they appreciate Goya, Velazquez, or Picasso. More likely, they are enriched, and have more in their
    arsenal to work with. That doesn't mean they are trying to duplicate what's been done in the past, but just as well, art doesn't come out of a vacuum. Artists also are often consciously referential to past work and directly include those references in their work.

    The greats are great because what they produced contains things that are timeless, regardless of the date that is attached to it.
     
  73. A good street photograph does one of two things:
    (1) It captures a sense of time and place. (e.g. New York in the 1970's, Paris in the 1920's, San Francisco in the Summer of Love, New Orleans at Mardi Gras) When you look at the photograph you come away with a sense of what it would have been like to have been standing there in that place at that time.
    (2) It shows something unusual that we might find humorous, fascinating, difficult to believe, or compelling in some other way. (Theoretical examples: A very large person walking out of a gym, a very short guy holding hands with a very tall woman, two tuba players having a conversation.) This is the kind of photo that you want to show to your friends because you think they have a similar reaction.
    (3) It shows a socially relevant event or condition. (Examples: A row of abandoned businesses, a tense moment at a protest, homeless people sleeping on the steps of a famous church or building. )
     
  74. Dan, that's what I was trying to get at: that there are concrete, definable things that make photos compelling. Its not that mysterious. Some people's lists will differ of course, but there are numerous common themes that people find compelling. BTW you list three things, hehe. A good thread would be to have folks post one street photo (one's own or maybe a famous photo) and tell what it is about that street photo that makes it good. I'd bet we could all point out the salient features in most cases.
     
  75. G2ee guys, you don't have to reject the value of Atget's work to be able to do go in your own direction”
    Who has rejected Agtet’s work………. Methinks you like to put words into others mouths…or, you like telling little white fairy tales. Personally, I’m happy to do my own thing and do not feel the need to “reject to do go” anyone’s work.
    However, I not a mindless puppet which believes anything as long as enough self proclaimed important folk tell me it is so.
    “Just because someone lived in the past doesn't mean their work is irrelevant to today”
    Who said that other that the fairy at the bottom of your garden?
    “art doesn't come out of a vacuum. Artists also are often consciously referential to past work and directly include those references in their work.”
    “Really, that’s a big surprise obviously most folk are too stupid to understand that simplistic thought.” ...thanks for the understanding.
    “The greats are great because what they produced contains things that are timeless, regardless of the date that is attached to it.”
    Well, that maybe true, but it does not mean others of today are not also producing timeless work regardless of the date attached to it.
    Perhaps we should put more emphasis on today instead of the continual dwelling in the past.
     
  76. " Photography is the art of not pushing the button" Frank Horvat
    What?! That's insane! Street photography is the art of pushing that button and doing it over and over. Shoot it and keep shooting it!
    "
    The art is when to know when to push the button....however, the majority of street photographers understand that simple thought....they do not endlessly press the big button in motor drive hoping for a decent shot as you are implying . Are you a Leica man?
    Perhaps we should all use a whole plate cam with a black hood covering our heads.
    Bless you Frank for your deep words of wisdom.
     
  77. Ton asked for pics, some of us responded. How about commenting on some of them rather than endless theory of what it takes to make a good street shot or quibbling over the definition of a snapshot ?
    Mine may be crappy, that's up to you to decide. There are two above and one below this post.
    The most important thing to me is subject matter. I don't have HCB's training that allows for instant perfect composition. Highlights may be blown or shadows inky. There is seldom time to attend to all the things needed for a perfect image when what you want is happening right in front of you a few feet away.
    To me, street shooting is all about spontaneity. The background and surroundings may be preselected but what happens there is what you need to be ready for. In this case, perfect exposure and depth of field settings can be preselected . Generally though, it's a case of there it is, aim and shoot.
    Steve: I like the girl shots, I am old but not yet dead. The middle two are nice exercises in making use of reflections, but otherwise don't do much for me. The last is a little fuzzy but I would have attempted the same shot.
    Maciek: You speak of the moment, but in your first shot, there isn't much happening unless you think a jaywalker is unusual. The girl on bike picture is very good. I can't make up my mind on the third.
    Ton: I don't know what the event was but those guys are certainly having a good time. Nice shot.
    Mine: I was sitting on a bench in the square, camera in my lap waiting for something to happen. This is one of the shots. The real subject of shot two was apparent to me when printing it. He could have had a V8. The third (below) was don by prefocusing a TLR on a cafe table, long cable release in my pocket.
    00ViNC-218473684.jpg
     
  78. Roger, I think that car on the sidewalk few seconds after the accident may be more interesting than a running guy ;) Thanks for the comment.
    00ViNc-218479584.jpg
     
  79. How about... Let me think...
    00ViNf-218479684.jpg
     
  80. You got me, after I made the comment of the background guy slapping his head in my 2nd pic. The real subject isn't always what is "up front. " Your last post could have dozen captions, nice shot.
     
  81. "or more interesting than Agat"

    You can't even spell his name correctly Allen, or you're too careless to bother.
     
  82. Allen, even Newton was humble enough to say he was "sitting on the shoulders of giants". Knowing those who came before you and appreciating them in the context of historical time isn't a crutch, it's not worship, it's not even an unnatural act...
     
  83. Dan, that's what I was trying to get at: that there are concrete, definable things that make photos compelling. Its not that mysterious. Some people's lists will differ of course, but there are numerous common themes that people find compelling. BTW you list three things, hehe. A good thread would be to have folks post one street photo (one's own or maybe a famous photo) and tell what it is about that street photo that makes it good. I'd bet we could all point out the salient features in most cases.​
    Thanks, Steve. I hope that you'll start such a thread, as I would be happy to participate. After all, a picture is work a thousand words! ;-)
    P.S. I agree with your assessment of Robert Gordon's work. It's outstanding.
     
  84. Anticipation. Decisive moments... :)
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  85. A good thread would be to have folks post one street photo and tell what it is about that street photo that makes it good​
    already exists. See the Thursday review threads.
     
  86. Neven, good atmosphere in those pictures, but is that spot color stuff... Makes it look like wedding photography.
    Also, like pigeon shadow quite a bit...
     
  87. I think a good street photo should have at least one of the following:
    Dramatic lighting, composition and tonal values.
    Narrative: you could tell a story based on the interplay and expression of the subjects.
    I take a lot of steet photos, most of them not very good, but I admire the above aspects of others' photos.
     
  88. I think a good street photo should have at least one of the following:
    Dramatic lighting, composition and tonal values.
    Narrative: you could tell a story based on the interplay and expression of the subjects.
    I take a lot of steet photos, most of them not very good, but I admire the above aspects of others' photos.
     
  89. Greg Kowalczewski, above, hit the nail on the head! I was waiting for someone to say that.."the emotion it generates." That is what we want with the final results of any photo.
     

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