What Is "Street"?

by Terry Voss January. 06, 2018 856 views

Hi, and greetings from Jerico Station, Texas, a place so small the mapmakers can't find it. But that's OK, because I'm not interested in being found. I'm only interested in photographing people while they're being people, and I can do that anywhere.

The genre I prefer is "Street Photography." So, what is it besides photographing streets? There are various thoughts on this, but here are some typical and authoritative ones:

National Geographic: Street Photography is ... a way of seeing, a way of experiencing life. At its very essence, Street photography is capturing life without interrupting it. Witnessing and capturing a once-in-a-lifetime moment as it unfolds in front of you. A pursuit that intrinsically means photography without permission.

Wikipedia: Street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places.

Colin Westerbeck (coauthor of Bystander: A History of Street Photography): Street photography is ... [taking] pictures of people who are going about their business unaware of the photographer's presence... [Making] candid pictures of everyday life in the street.

James Maher (Street photographer): Street photography is the art of capturing life, culture, and humanity, in a candid manner.

Boiling it all down, we can say that in general Street is taking photos of people doing what people do. The photos can be taken anywhere (on streets, beaches, farms, opera houses, anywhere people are, in public places). They should be candid photos rather than posed ones. There should be at least one person in the photo, or, at least, some object that strongly suggests the presence of a person. Finally, the photo should emphasize the relationships among objects in the photo rather than the personality of the human subject. (That is, it should not be a street portrait.) And to clear up a common misconception, a Street photo does not require the presence of a street. Think of the term "Street photo" as being like the term "street smarts." They refer to a state or condition, rather than literally to a street.

And this is just a quick overview.

And I hope you enjoy the photos that I post.

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Camellia Staab 1 year, 5 months ago

One of my most favorite genres of photography. I like National Geographic and James Maher's definition the best, although your explanation covers all. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to more posts smile

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Terry Voss Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm glad you like it, Camellia, and more will be forthcoming.

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 1 year, 5 months ago

One of the best explaination of street I have read. Thanks. Nice work

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Terry Voss Replied to Berckmans Peter 1 year, 5 months ago

Thanks, Peter.  (Sorry if I got the name wrong.)

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
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