I have always defined street photography as ‘taking pictures of strangers’, but I was interested how others defined it. These are my notes:
Street photography, also sometimes called candidphotography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. Wikipedia
The definition of Street Photography is actually extremely vague. The most accepted “term” states that it is a conducted art that features unmediated and randomness in public places. Something like “serendipity,” so to speak. phototraces.com
‘the decisive moment’, ‘when form and content, vision and composition merged into a transcendent whole’, Cartier-Bresson
‘When I’m photographing I see life. That’s what I deal with’ Garry Winogrand
‘To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them’. Elliott Erwitt
‘Seeing, looking at what others cannot bear to see is what my life is all about’. Don McCullin
‘To me, street photography is just documenting human life. Period. Candid or with permission? I don’t care. Colour or black and white? It doesn’t matter. Street photography is about capturing the essence of humanity’. Imran Sahid
What is street photography? You don’t need a dictionary to define it. Study the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, David Seymour (Chim), Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Brassai, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Mark Riboud, Garry Winogrand, Helen Levitt and Robert Frank, who are only a few of the masters of street, and you’ll have a much better appreciation for what street photography is than words can give you. The Luminous Landscape
This particular genre of fine photography is probably best explained as an opportunistic moment in which a photographer captures a candid public scene in front of him. …. – in order for a street photo to be genuine, it has to feature an unposed situation within a public place, regardless of where that place may be. Openwallsgallery.com
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’. Nick Turpin
There is nothing more inspirational and satisfying that a day on the streets with your camera. The definition of Street Photography has many different interpretations depending on what photographer you speak to. Personally, I like to take the simple approach and don’t like to curtail my picture taking in any way. To me if I take a picture on the street or any urban environment then it is street photography; this will include urban landscape, candid shots of people, portraits and still life. Ronnie Cairns
A recent article in the Huffington Post was entitled, ’Street Photography Has No Clothes’. As the author clearly intended, it sparked a lot of controversy. In it, he decried the lumping together in one category, of the work of time-honoured masters with the ‘hundreds of thousands of dull, hackneyed candid images of random strangers by hopeless photographers. olafwilloughby.com
I met an old friend the other day who I had not seen for years. He asked what was I doing. I told him that I was into street photography.
‘Does that mean you are a nosy parker’, he replied.
I guess that about sums it up.