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Street Photography

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StrayCat
StrayCat  1014482 forum posts Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 5:44 AM

Oops! That should be, and know when to run.Smile

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11 Oct 2012 - 5:44 AM

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MediumSizeUnavailable

see what happens when I mention "Bruce Gilden". controversy and good old mud slinging guaranteed Wink

sallybea
sallybea  441 forum posts United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 - 7:44 AM

Beautifully said B_Real, such an eloquent reply to a not so nice reply. I was all for leaving this discussion but just thought I would say that most people on Photozine are more than helpful and a delight! You have a terrific day, you deserve Smile it

answersonapostcard
answersonapostcard Site Moderator 1012544 forum postsanswersonapostcard vcard United Kingdom15 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 7:54 AM

Some posts have been removed, I'm sure you can (and should be allowed) to have a discussion about anything without insults. Please use the report facility for individual comments that need addressing (you will find that in 'options' on each post, we will get to them sooner and before things get out of hand. Thanks for your cooperation.

MODERATOR POST
B_Real
B_Real  9126 forum posts United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 - 10:33 AM


Quote: [edited by epz - unnecessary]

"Now I understand that 'Street Photography' is just 'Photography' in its simplest form, it is the medium itself, it is actually all the other forms of photography that need defining, landscape, fashion, portrait, reportage, art, advertising....these are all complicating additions to the medium of Photography, they are the areas that need to be defined, ring fenced and partitioned out of the medium of 'Street Photography'.

When a child picks up a camera and pushes the button that simple spontaneous image is a Street Photograph, it is, first of all, a raw reaction to the scene in front of it, a person, a car, a color. That primitive urge to react, to make a picture is at the heart of Street Photography beyond any other area of picture making, it comes before any other agenda.

So we are all Street Photographers before we narrow our sights and impose conditions and rules on ourselves to become Portrait photographers, Fashion Photographers, Landscape Photographers, Art Photographers (whatever that really means) etc."

Oh I see what you've done now, I know where you're coming from. I get it! I finally get it. You read something on the internet, then without thinking about it for yourself and drawing your own conclusions and opinions, passed it off as fact in an open forum where people are trying to discuss the subject. And you're still not addressing my question, I asked you where you had seen the description, not what the description was. You already told me that. As it stands, all you've done is put the ramblings of some random unsourced person in quotes. Who said this? What are their credentials?

Personally, I think there is some merit in the quote. In my view, there is a degree of 'primitiveness' in street photography, but this is more to do with the feeling that the person looking at the photograph gets when they see a well taken street scene... its primitive because you feel like you're there in the picture, at the time of the photograph.... and nothing to do with the act of capturing the photograph. There is art and skill invested by the photographer to take that photograph that removes it from being a primitive act.

The rest of the quote is largely incoherent, poorly informed and badly written. When a child picks up a camera and takes a picture that's a street photograph? What on earth does that mean. When a child takes a picture of a flower or a mountain, is that a street photograph? When a child takes a picture, that is a picture. A photograph. What it sounds like the author of that quote (and you, by proxy) is getting at is that street photography is merely taking a photograph, of something. Wow. I don't even know where to begin wading in on that one. But at least now you're adding something to this conversation, albeit someone elses viewpoint.

Saying that there are no rules to street photography is pretty lame and misguided as well. It's people who don't understand the rules that produce poor images that reflect no emotion or empathy. Have a look at magnumphotos.com and tell me that the images you see on there are produced without rules and conditions being imposed on the both the photographer and the subjects.

You'll find some Gilden on there. Gilden actually had a point in one of his documentaries that is also relevant to some of the ethical / legal comments on this thread, which is important for all types of photography. When someone complained about him taking their photograph in the street, his response was along the lines of "It's a public place lady, you have no right to privacy here!". I think lobsterboy made a similar point above. Legally, you can take anyones picture in public. Morally, its a different story. I've seen street photographers being asked to remove a picture they took by a subject. They removed it, and walked on. No problem. Not sure Gilden would have reacted the sameWink If you've got the cahoonas and moral fibre to go up to a random stranger in the street and flash photograph him in the face, then good luck to ya. But you have to understand the rules of street photography, and then know when to break them... that's what differentiates street photography from photography, and the evidence of this is in the pictures you see.

mikehit
mikehit  46171 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 11:22 AM

So what are these 'rules' of street photography? Because I see precious little in the way of rules in street photograph I see on the internet.


Quote: tell me that the images you see on there are produced without rules and conditions being imposed on the both the photographer and the subjects

If steet photography is candid, how can the subject be bound by rules?


Quote: its primitive because you feel like you're there in the picture,

whereas with a landscape....?


Quote: There is art and skill invested by the photographer to take that photograph that removes it from being a primitive act.

If that is your definition, a lot of 'street photography' is not street photography at all. Most of what I see on the internet is banal reactive snapping. I am by no means saying that street photography is irrelevant - when done well, it can be powerful emotive stuff but you seem to be ascribing some higher prupose that is also applicable to every other form of photography - in other words there is nothing special about 'Street' photography.

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 11:24 AM

Doesn't 'street' itself have a meaning these days..................... as in street cred? Wink

SlowSong
SlowSong e2 Member 54226 forum postsSlowSong vcard England28 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 12:15 PM


Quote: Most of what I see on the internet is banal reactive snapping. I am by no means saying that street photography is irrelevant - when done well, it can be powerful emotive stuff but you seem to be ascribing some higher prupose that is also applicable to every other form of photography - in other words there is nothing special about 'Street' photography.

A good "street" photo I feel is one where you've seen something and have reacted quickly to capture the essence. Not at all easy and as you say, many of the images on the internet could be described as banal. I don't think there's anything particularly special about taking photographs in the street either. It just describes a method and subject matter.

keithh
keithh  1022789 forum posts Wallis and Futuna29 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 12:39 PM

Are we talking Street or Documentary? I would say that Documentary is intended to educe emotion much more than Street, which is more about irony and amusement, often even banality.

I'm not sure either has rules.

B_Real
B_Real  9126 forum posts United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 - 2:03 PM


Quote: So what are these 'rules' of street photography? Because I see precious little in the way of rules in street photograph I see on the internet.

If steet photography is candid, how can the subject be bound by rules?

I don't think there's a set list of explicit rules & conditions per se. Is there a list for landscapes? It's a subjective artform open to interpretation. But if you apply the principal that street photography is candid, you could say that's a rule, or a condition applicable to the subject... i.e. If the subject is posing, then they are no longer candid and the photograph may be more of a portrait than a street shot (or even a combination of both!).

Similarly, if there is nothing interesting about the photo, then it's just a photo. One condition that I apply is that there has to be something going on in the photo that says something. For example, in my image below there is a guy reading a paper sitting next to a tramp who is passed out.



To me this says something about different classes co-existing in society. It's sad, because there's a guy just sitting there going about his daily business while a tramp is passed out right next to him. It's as tho the tramp doesn't even exist to this guy. Yet there he is, just reading his paper, going about his daily business, all the while committing the heinous crime of wearing white socks with sandals. If the tramp was just some boring run of the mill tourist, then this photograph would just be of two people sitting there, and it would cease to be interesting. It would then become just a banal reactive photograph, and I would not classify it as a street shot.

But there are blogs and websites out there that go into way more detail and at least attempt to describe some kind of framework for street photography. Check out the streetphotographerstoolbox for one. It's a bit verbose in parts but it does get you thinking a bit differently. Also this guy has some fairly interesting stuff to say.


Quote: but you seem to be ascribing some higher prupose that is also applicable to every other form of photography - in other words there is nothing special about 'Street' photography.

I don't intend to ascribe some higher purpose to street photography, and apologies if I come across that way. I appreciate a good street shot as much as I appreciate good landscape or a good fashion shot. I just feel like it needs defended a bit here, due to some people just wading in throwing their uneducated and unresearched opinions around like its gospel (no prizes for guessing who i'm referring to!). You cant learn in forums like these if people don't contribute with constructive comments. I don't barge into threads about landscape photography with irrelevant comments like 'define landscape photography for me', 'landscape photography is not a genre' etc. and then result to petty name calling.... so I don't appreciate it when others do it on my thread.

Apologies if any of my posts have offended ..... i'll get off my horse now Smile

keithh
keithh  1022789 forum posts Wallis and Futuna29 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 2:26 PM


Quote: It would then become just a banal reactive photograph, and I would not classify it as a street shot.

But then I would describe that photo as documentary.

mikehit
mikehit  46171 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 3:01 PM


Quote: I don't think there's a set list of explicit rules & conditions per se. Is there a list for landscapes?

I'm going to quote you here:

Quote: Saying that there are no rules to street photography is pretty lame and misguided as well. It's people who don't understand the rules that produce poor images that reflect no emotion or empathy.

(my emphasis)

I think I can understand what you are saying but you don't make it easy, especially when your original comment was so emphatic.


Quote: ...and it would cease to be interesting. It would then become just a banal reactive photograph, and I would not classify it as a street shot

Hmm - so if one person finds it interesting and one person doesn't, is it a 'street photograph'?
Boy, this could get philosophical Tongue

B_Real
B_Real  9126 forum posts United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 - 4:36 PM


Quote: Quote: I don't think there's a set list of explicit rules & conditions per se. Is there a list for landscapes?

My emphasis, to hopefully make it easier. I didn't say that there are no rules.


Quote: Hmm - so if one person finds it interesting and one person doesn't, is it a 'street photograph'?

If I'm the person who doesn't find it interesting, then It's a photo to me, but it's not a street photo to me, in my humble opinion, which i'm entitled to have Tongue

MediumSizeUnavailable

If you look at a random list of good street photography shots (not on epz but sites like in-public and hcsp), it quickly becomes clear that the genre has it's own language. In that regard it is not that different at all from other genres. regrettably the word "rules" is often used instead of "language", which is a bit misleading, although often the same is meant by it. but even a language evolves, changes, mutates all the time. And languages of different genres sometimes overlap, share particularities. Irony is indeed an often recurrent feeling in street. but it's not so that there has to be irony to be street. but it is certainly a part of the language. Often good street also makes a social comment. too bad I probably am not allowed to link to examples of this on other sites. Place seems to be an important part of the genre. the city, the beach, social gatherings, suburbia are often the places for street. but it's not a rule. candid is part of the language, but it's not a rule. Gilden's pictures aren't candid as such, neither are they posed. They are taken in that nanosecond between candid and pose. just to say, candid isn't a rule. not using a long zoom almost is a rule Smile . And for me not setting up, constructing a scene, is a clear part of the language, as is very moderate pp.

bla bla bla... tired now Wink

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
mikehit
mikehit  46171 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
11 Oct 2012 - 4:47 PM

You are totally entitled to aveh that opinion (just as keithh thinks you photo above is 'documentary').
But if that is your definition of 'street photography' then (coming back to your OP), that would argue against EPZ having a 'street' category because you would be on the same category of photos that aren't. Wink

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