What is Street photography ?
The official statement will be that Street photography is a genre of photography that captures candid, unposed, and often spontaneous moments of everyday life in public spaces, such as streets, parks, and urban environments. It typically focuses on the people, architecture, and culture in urban areas, and seeks to capture the essence of a moment rather than staging or manipulating it.
But if you ask 10 different photographers everyone will have his own idea what street photography is! And it’s highly likely that all of them will be correct.
In my work, I emphasize candid street photography, involving people photographed in public places in unposed, candid situations.
As part of documenting the scene , I’m always looking to add some small twist in to it , a moment that elevates from the simple happening . Like the expression on the face of the man holding the cross and the two hands in the foreground . Without these two elements the photo would degrade in it’s impact.
What are the most common street photography styles?
Street photography is an art form that captures the essence of everyday life, and style allows you to convey your personal interpretation of that life through your images.
There are several styles ,to photographic focus areas in street photography, here are some of the most common:
Candid: The essence of the moment : This style focuses on capturing people in natural and unposed situations, often emphasizing their expressions, gestures, and body language.
Urban Landscape: This style highlights the architecture and environment of the cityscape, often emphasizing patterns, lines, and shapes.
Documentary: This style seeks to document a specific event, situation, or social issue, often with a focus on the people and their experiences.
Street Portraiture: This style focuses on capturing portraits of strangers on the street, often with an emphasis on the subject’s character or personality.
Abstract: This style is purely visual , it uses unusual angles, reflections, shadows, and other techniques to create abstract and surreal image.
Hummor: This style captures humorous or ironic moments in everyday life, often with a touch of satire or irony. All the head replacements and funny moments that can occur on the street.
Color: In color street photography, it’s important to pay attention to the color relationships within the frame, as well as how colors interact with each other..
Still life in Street Photography: While still life photography is not typically associated with street photography, it is possible to incorporate elements of still life into street photography by capturing images of objects or scenes found in the urban environment.
Focusing on details: One way to use details in street photography is to capture images that suggest a larger narrative or context. For example, a close-up shot of a fortune teller’s hands. Hands are very powerful tool in story telling.
These are just few styles to give you an idea , street photography is broad and almost any photographer can find a way to express him by using the people or elements on the street.
Is street photography legal ?
The legality of street photography depends on the laws and regulations of the specific country or region where it is being practiced. So it is highly recommended to check before traveling to a place if you are eligible to take photographs there.
In most places, street photography is legal as long as it is conducted in a public space where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. You can photograph people, buildings, and other elements in public areas, such as streets, parks, and sidewalks.
However, there may be certain restrictions or guidelines that vary depending on the location. For example military zones,some places don’t allow you to photograph law enforcement agents (police).
In India for example photography is not allowed in train stations (even if you see a lot of photographs from there, it’s forbidden)
It’s sometimes hard to take pictures for security reasons in other places you might need a permit.
Street photographers need to be aware of the laws and regulations in their area, and respect the privacy and personal space of the subjects they photograph. Yes, I know it sounds contradictory, but with time, you will develop a gut feeling that tells you which situations are okay and which are not.
So to simplify , it is usually allowed to take photos on the street. However, once you point your camera at someones house or window it can be considered an invasion to privacy .
Can you photograph children on the streets ?
Is it legal to photograph children on the street? Check the legality of the place you plan to photograph, I know that some European laws do not favor street photography so much.
How about Ethics? Some people would have ethical issues with someone taking a picture of their child, while others are fine with it. As best practice, when parents are around it is always wise to ask permission. It is very important how do you feel , if you feel you are doing something wrong an unethical , just don’t do it.
So can I take photos or not ? I would say it really depends on the location and your attitude . If you photograph with a long lens in the park, you are highly likely to be perceived as perv. But if you do it at a basketball match, it could be fine.
You are less likely to get resistance to photographing a child in most countries in Asia. However, parents in Europe and the United States are not uncommon to call police on photographers.
There is also the factor of your gender to consider, as society is more tolerant of female photographers who photograph children.
So What is street photography ?
The best way to describe it is to say that, street photography is a captivating art form that allows us to document the world around us and tell visual stories through our images.
It photography provides an opportunity to connect with other people and places in a more meaningful way. And offers a chance for photographers to express their unique perspectives and creativity.
Books about street photography
These are some of the books I’d recommend to looking into.
For disclosure: The links are Amazon affiliate links and I might receive small commission if you decided to purchase one of the books in the list.
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