I mentioned in my earlier post that we shall be looking at the subject of Street Photography to help us to understand, learn together and grow in this genre. Thus,I think it’s only fair that I give you my definition of my personal thoughts on what Street Photography means to me.
Firstly no one really knows who coined the term ‘Street Photography’ and how it came into existence and there are as many definitions, opinions and answers as there are fish in the sea.
Some folk consider a photograph taken only in an urban environment as streetphotography, but how and when do we make a distinction between a street in a developed industrial nation and a patch of packed earth in an underdeveloped third world nation.
There are some photographers who consider images are only valid as a Street photograph when the subject matter, either people or setting are not staged or tampered with. As much as I respect their view, I do not share this belief as many photographers including HCB (Henri Cartier-Bresson), one of the pioneers of Street Photography was reputed to have staged a multitude of photograph’s with his subjects and scenes in frame to create the famous phrase ‘the decisive moment ‘.
Some photographer’s shoot urban settings without a person in frame and this may also be considered as Street Photography. I personally feel that an image comes alive with a person in view and I class any photograph taken in public, with a human element, be it in urban or non-urban setting in frame as a Street photograph. I am also of opinion that a portrait made in the street staged or otherwise,for me, also fall into the concept of street photography. I mentioned portraits as portraiture as a category of photography has many subsectors, namely in Fashion, Portraiture, Documentary, Photojournalism and Street respectively.
Finally,I find this way of photography lies in the interaction with our subjects whether we know them or not and if we choose to ask them to stand in a certain way or not; the whole process is about creating art and ultimately that’s what we should all really be focusing on and not getting too extreme on the definitions..!
I guess the point I’m making is there is no clear definition of what Street Photography is even though there has been numerous effort made by many to best describe what it is precisely. This is for me, the most beautiful aspect of Street Photography, that it is open to interpretation in so many ways.
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