“Street Photography” is basically a low spot where photographers tend to settle after they run out of other ideas.
Ouch. But some truth there. It’s easy: no planning, no setup, no trip to Iceland – you can do it today, in the rain. And you might get lucky this time – unlike your previous 17 attempts…
But street photography is actually a useful and productive pursuit. No, really:
“Getting out” is a big reason for doing photography. At least in my case.
It’s a compositional exercise.
Even if you’re in Paris or NYC, you’ll eventually run out of post-card landmarks. But not streets.
Streets are always changing. Today you might find something new – or just get an image of change itself.
You may not live in a big, iconic city (I’m in Minneapolis for Pete’s sake), but streets are streets; big city or small, the elements are there.
I guess the real reason I do it is – weirdly – because sometimes I end up with photos I like. Even if no one else gets it.
My own spin on “street photography” is this: I photograph streets, not people. It’s a place, a time, a setting; I want the viewer to feel like it’s his place, like he could walk into it and it would be his story. The only reason for people in these photos is a sense of scale. They don’t own the space or the story; they’re just extras, passing through.
My favorite street photos take me into something like a Philip K. Dick story; the world is still rolling along on on its own, but something odd is happening, out there. It’s big, it’s coming, but we don’t know yet what to make of it. So we’re just standing on a random street corner, waiting…