Why Street Photography?

by Streets Of Israel April. 06, 2020 190 views

Recently I've begun to question myself a little. I'm feeling that I'm stagnating, my shots are too similar, there is no clear agenda or goal to what I'm shooting. So I've been asking myself, why street photography? Or, that is not totally correct, the question have more been "what?" What do I want with my street photography. Do I want do art, do I want to tell stories, do I want to document something, what? I felt that I was shooting without purpose, and it got to me, and I felt that it affected the quality of what I was doing.

A guy responds to a group of people at a party in an apartment, one of them dressed as Freddy Mercury, giving a show for the passers by. How we deal with this sudden interaction, the fleeting meeting of unknowns, can say a lot about the culture that dominates a society.

A guy responds to a group of people at a party in an apartment, one of them dressed as Freddy Mercury, giving a show for the passers by. How we deal with this sudden interaction, the fleeting meeting of unknowns, can say a lot about the culture that dominates a society.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that I'm a great photographer, that I'm the next Joel Meyerowitz, Boogie, or Bruce Gilden (I'll never have that courageous hutzpah). Nor do I feel that I have some huge impact, or that I'm a certified photographer, street or whatever other kind of photographer. I'm solely referring to myself in context of myself and whatever I have on mind to share.

We each feel like we are the most important center in the world. And we are, at least to ourselves. Taking a look at the individual in the crowd, the one person standing out, whether because of looks, light falling on them, or something third, is always an interesting exercise.

We each feel like we are the most important center in the world. And we are, at least to ourselves. Taking a look at the individual in the crowd, the one person standing out, whether because of looks, light falling on them, or something third, is always an interesting exercise.

If anything, I'm an academic with a sociological and anthropological approach to the society I live in. Maybe that's what is trying to pull me in some direction or another. I've only been doing photography since May 2018, and only with a "real" camera since July. So I'm a newbie. And I think that until now it's the newfound creative energy which has driven me. But it's settling.

The contrasts of the Israeli society. If there is one factor, which really creates contrasts here, then it's religion. Whether it's between the various religions, the religions internally, or between religion and the secular society, there will always be contrasts which are interesting to highlight.

The contrasts of the Israeli society. If there is one factor, which really creates contrasts here, then it's religion. Whether it's between the various religions, the religions internally, or between religion and the secular society, there will always be contrasts which are interesting to highlight.

I'm not saying that I'm getting tired of it. On the contrary. I'm getting more excited about it, more wanting. And that's what is getting to me, because before I felt that it was enough just going around and capturing the moments, and once in a while take more time to composing a photo (read more about that in "A Girl Under a Tree"). But I feel that I need to tell more.

Interactions, between friends, loved ones, family members, is also interesting. How do we talk with each other, how are our bodies used, our expressions. Coming from Denmark, witnessing Israelis interact is like stepping into a totally different world.

Interactions, between friends, loved ones, family members, is also interesting. How do we talk with each other, how are our bodies used, our expressions. Coming from Denmark, witnessing Israelis interact is like stepping into a totally different world.

It might seem like I've already been doing that here on the blog. Other posts have had something to tell, and the photos have added to whatever I had to say. But they, the photos, have all been momentary thoughts, suddenly appearing. What I'm hinting at is that I need to put a goal in front of me, before I go out. To have a purpose with the photography.

The umbrella lay there, broken, but standing out. It was the umbrella which caught my attention, but while standing and taking the scene in, I began to wonder why an umbrella, more than a person sitting there, caught my attention. I have a lot of thoughts on that one, which I might talk about later.

The umbrella lay there, broken, but standing out. It was the umbrella which caught my attention, but while standing and taking the scene in, I began to wonder why an umbrella, more than a person sitting there, caught my attention. I have a lot of thoughts on that one, which I might talk about later.

And not only a purpose, but also an angle, a more settled style - though that will never settle in respect of how my photos look like. More in what they are telling, the subject, theme, etc. I still don't want to settle with black and white over color, there are shots that only work as the one or the other, and there are shots that work both as monochrome and color.

Living history. That's basically what Israel-Palestine is. History is being repeated, it is being lived. We are creating history each day, but we are also walking around in history. People are the same here, whether they live now, or they lived 100, 500, or even 1000 years ago.

Living history. That's basically what Israel-Palestine is. History is being repeated, it is being lived. We are creating history each day, but we are also walking around in history. People are the same here, whether they live now, or they lived 100, 500, or even 1000 years ago.

I have some ideas, some projects I want to do. And I don't want to do projects because I think that I'm a great photographer, documenting creator, or the like. On the contrary, I want to do the projects so I can become good at what I do. To have a focus, and to have something to tell, rather than just capturing random moments, however interesting they might be. That's the answer I want to give to the why and what. I need a purpose.

Here's something. I've been talking about interactions. I have noted that there are what I think I'll call "stations of interactions". Places and spots where people meet and get to interact, more than just sharing glances or whatever one would feel like share, for example like this lotto boot.

Here's something. I've been talking about interactions. I have noted that there are what I think I'll call "stations of interactions". Places and spots where people meet and get to interact, more than just sharing glances or whatever one would feel like share, for example like this lotto boot.

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There are 9 comments , add yours!
Rachele Schneekloth 4 months, 1 week ago

I loved reading about your journey. I am really connecting with the questions in your mind, as I am having similar conversations within myself!

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Streets Of Israel Replied to Rachele Schneekloth 4 months, 1 week ago

Thanks, Rachele :)

I am getting to an answer, I think. I've getting crazily inspired by Daniel Milnor, if you've heard about him, and his thoughts on photography projects. And I think it connects with what I've always liked, to tell stories and share impressions, particularly about society and history. I'm trying now just to share impressions and thoughts connected to those impressions, and otherwise to work on larger projects, which hopefully will tell a larger story about persons or places, doing more of documentary photography, than street photography.

I like your blog, and how you let the photos talk for themselves. I'm not very good at that, but I hope I will get better at it :)

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Streets Of Israel Replied to Rachele Schneekloth 4 months, 1 week ago

And if you'd like, feel free to share the conversation :) It's always great to hear how other people are thinking about the same subjects.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Abderrahim Laab 4 months, 1 week ago

Welcome to the SP world smile , Bruce Gilden isn't a good example for me.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Streets Of Israel Replied to Abderrahim Laab 4 months, 1 week ago

Thanks :)

I don't think he's a good example to many, or rather, that he should be an inspiration. Not that I don't personally appreciate his work, I do, but it's such a special way of dealing with street photography, that people either can't copy it properly, or only do that. They will bring nothing new. It's such a special way of seeing the world, and subjects in the world, that only he can do it properly.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Abderrahim Laab Replied to Streets Of Israel 4 months, 1 week ago

You are right, maybe because he belongs to the previous street photography generation, getting too close to subjects in this era of time sounds weird to people. but as you said it is a special way of dealing with street photography.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Streets Of Israel Replied to Abderrahim Laab 4 months, 1 week ago

Totally agree with you.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Heike 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Some nights ago I already read this post, but I was too tired to comment. Whatever the reason or your goal in photography is, keep on doing it. Your photos are good!! I especially like them, because for me it seems you aren't doing them secretly, in some of your photos the people look directly to you, here in #7. So you are in contact with the people and they agree that you take a photo of them. For me, that's the most respectful way, streetphotography should be done. This is just my personal feeling and I know there are different opinions existing about it. However, I wanted to let you know, that I love love #2! This photo really touch me. No doubt, it is a beautiful lady but what I really like, is the way the light is falling on her. It's like a spotlight is illuminating her in order to show her beautiness. Have you highlighted her or was this natural light? Whatever it was, this photo is perfect!! Bravo ! clap

6 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Streets Of Israel Replied to Heike 6 months, 1 week ago

Hi Heike 🙂

I'm glad that you like my photos, means a lot.

I am actually trying not to be noticed, since I try to catch the moment uninterrupted, for the most at least. Or, that was the case while I was still shooting with Canon. For some reason my style has changed after changing to Fujifilm. Where I did it more from a distance before and liked the longer focal lengths, I prefer to get closer now and use more wide lengths. 

I am always trying to show the subject with respect however. And I've never been interested in shooting homeless, children, or other "weak" subjects. I might do it as part of a story or project, but not just to get a "good" (cheap) easy shot.

I'm working on two "stories", photo articles, the one about the Jewish morning prayer and the other about a bridge in Tel Aviv. I hope they will illustrate what I want to do with this blog and my photography. 

Regarding the bus of the woman in the bus. I only made some small adjustments to it. The sun hit her, but kept everyone else in the shadow. I do like the shot myself, it has a filmic feeling to it 🙂

6 months, 1 week ago Edited
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