Street Photography 101

A Page of Resources

There is at least a year’s-worth of study on this page – start if you want with a range of introductory articles  HERE but  most of all ‘do it’ – at least an hour of practice for every hour of study!

Probably the most important element of study is to look at the best of street photography a few images every day.  Study these guys to be found at iN-Public a great website started by outstanding street photographer Nick Turpin.   Or get a copy of  Street Photography Now – great writing as well as a flavour of Street Photography – now!  Nick Turpin also made a stunningly good film about Street Photography which you can get HERE.  I can’t praise this film enough – it is brilliant!

Join Flickr and check out the 1788 ordinary folk from all over the world who each sent in one shot to the competition.  You will soon find some shots you love and some where you will ask “Is that really a genuine Street Photograph?”

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MY INTRO – as a ‘101’ 9-Step Programme:

My current project, Street Photography, is new – but it’s also a fruition of a long time interest in photography.

IMAGE: Brighton street market – RP

Street photography can combine many elements, including the bizarre, strange juxtapositions, portraiture, graphic design, joie de vivre, compassion, admiration etc.

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In addition to a few bits of my own photography, which is best viewed on Flickr HERE, I am assembling my own articles and other resources on Street Photography right here on this website as a set of drop-down pages, of which this is the introductory  page . I will blog them as well.

WHAT IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY?  There is an excellent introduction HERE by  John Carvill, Guardian Camera Club member.  His own very good work on Flickr is HERE

Nick Turpin’s stimulating view is HERE

WHAT IS A GOOD WAY TO DEEPEN QUICKLY UNDERSTANDING OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY?

1 First and above all – Do it.  

If you are inhibited watch the wonderful Joel Meyerovitz dancing his dance on a New York street corner – see 3 below.  Or in an earlier incarnation, i.e. he had lots of hair, HERE – a 1 hour programme.  G with a friend.

Do a weekend course – e.g. by Tomas Leuthard or Eric Kim.

2 Read the two free e-books by Thomas Leuthard a Swiss street photographer HERE – brilliant.

3 Buy the BBC DVD The Genius of Photography HERE – it shows street photography and in a historical context and in relation to other genre.

4 Study the work of the greats

Behind the Gare St. Lazare: one of Cartier-Bresson’s most famous photographs, illustrating the ‘decisive moment’ concept which characterises much of his work

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and when possible walk in their vision by trying to emulate them (look at the legs!)

IMAGE: ‘Gucci-Primark ‘bag lady” RP (Taken on a point and shoot from a London bus I was travelling on.)

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5 Check out who’s doing what now.  

Start with Thomas Leuthard on Flickr and work out from there – on the net he’s at –  http://www.85mm.ch/

Find 85mm on Flickr – and work outwards from there

Get a copy of  Street Photography Now

6 Want to go another stage deeper?  (Warning several of these books will drive you crazy – but are worth all the effort of several readings)

Reading:

Criticizing Photographs by Terry Barrett

David Bate’s Photography: the Key Concepts

Geoff Dyer’s brilliant The Ongoing Moment

Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes – brilliant overview HERE by Kalia Houlihan (a fine photographer).

I’ve written a piece which can be related to street photography HERE

Re On Photography by Susan Sontag – I have tried to read it several times but it is so depressing.  She virtually accuses photography of being responsible for all of the ills of the last 200 years – ills that are more to do with corrupt politcians, consumerism, the human propensity for bread and circuses, out of control international corporations, manipulative popular culture & media generally etc.

Photography is simply another way of mark-making – an cultural and artistic activity that started many tens of thousands of years ago in caves and no doubt in many other places.

One real issue is the lack of appropriate education in schools to develop what many years ago I called visuacy to a comparable level to high-level iteracy.

There are several summaries of Sontag’s famous set of essays on the internet e.g. HERE

7 Want to go another stage deeper?

There are at least two books that bring together Taoism and photography.  If this path interests you then read the spiritual masters – one from each great tradition.  I’ve written  a ‘course-on-a-page HERE

8 Look around

What do you see?  You should be at or near the one summit!  The rest is Step 9.

9 Develop your practice – and be of service to others.  If you are lucky enough to have a job, share with others –  in the spirit of Thomas Leuthard – at  85mm.ch.

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