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Thread: What is Street?

  1. #1

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    What is Street?

    Does a filed count? What about someone standing in the doorways and you cropping it tight while still being in the street? What about a path in a forest? Also, does street photography have to be all-natural or can it be set-up?

  2. #2
    bvy
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    Street photography is like jazz -- every definition is either too restrictive or too all-inclusive. What isn't street is the easier question.

    Best to start by investigating those who defined the genre; Cartier-Bresson and Winogrand, for instance.

    Street photography starts in the street but it doesn't have to end up there. Typically it's candid, not set up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvy View Post

    Street photography starts in the street but it doesn't have to end up there. Typically it's candid, not set up.
    Good definition. I would add that it must occur in a city, town, or other established community (i.e. not farmland or natural areas). It could be on a traditional sidewalk, in an alley, in a shopping mall, in a park or square, from an observation deck or boat, etc. (provided it isn't just straight urban landscapes).

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    I don't know h.v..... what if I'm on a farm (and more so in a farming community) and happen to see some perfect light falling on a cow and that cow is just about to kick the farmer in the rear and I whip out my Rollei and capture the guy flying and the hooves in motion? Not street eh?

    I like the Jazz part

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    Quote Originally Posted by orlovphoto View Post
    Also, does street photography have to be all-natural or can it be set-up?
    Robert Doisneau and Brassai weren't averse to setting up shots, often using the friends they were wandering the streets with. This enabled them to create some mood shots that they mightn't have been able to make otherwise. Does it matter whether that's "genuine" street work or not? If I could do street like those guys I wouldn't give a damn.

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    Street is life. All that jazz (like Coltrane). Brassai BBQ, Doisneau Doughnuts, Weegee barfights in a dingy joint. Butterflies and kids in a park. The moments.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by orlovphoto View Post
    Does a filed count? What about someone standing in the doorways and you cropping it tight while still being in the street? What about a path in a forest? Also, does street photography have to be all-natural or can it be set-up?
    Well, I would distinguish between environmental and street. Street is really more about spontaneity within the city/town context.

    But don't worry about what you call it. Think about it: that there's already a name for the genre means that it has been thoroughly explored and developed by others and therefore probably isn't quite as full of opportunity as it once was. So start your own genre, till your own field...! Don't worry about labels.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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    "Street is really more about spontaneity within the city/town context" - hehe, I've been to many fields where spontaneity happened on regular basis through the day so then that was "field photography" then...

    I actually don't give a flying whoop about labels - pigeonholing is the only thing they are good for and I don't play golf with pigeons, I don't even play golf with regular golf balls - I do photography.

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    Street is flat place where cars drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spacer View Post


    Street is flat place where cars drive.
    Watch out for potholes.

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