I’m starting to go through my collection to find choices, and this week I decided on The World Atlas of Street Photography. The fun part about collections is that you can get a sampler of a lot of artists and if one catches your fancy you can always Google them and/or buy a collection (if they have one).
Street photography is a form I find attractive, but I’m also wary of it. On the one hand it shares many of the traits I find attractive in my portraiture work: it has the four bare minimums (the subject, the camera, the light, and me), it’s real life, and if you catch that fleeting moment you’ve immortalized something visually or even emotionally meaningful, one of those singular tears that would be lost in the rain but for the fateful click of a shutter.
On the other hand it can violate one of the key principles to which I subscribe: I believe in MAKING photos, not TAKING them. I want to use my talent for the building up of the individual, for making them see their own strength and beauty and value in their image. I want them to give to me freely only what they are willing to share, and the hope is that over time they trust me more and share more that WE may show it to the world.
Street photography is the antithesis of this: I’m out with a camera stealing moments. I know the argument that public domain is a free-for-all; you know if you go out and make a fool of yourself the world is going to see it. It’s quite different to spill your latte on yourself on the street vs doing it in your house. Admittedly, the vast majority of good street photos are simply moments that most of the participants wouldn’t find particularly embarrassing, but I wrestle with the principle of it the few times I’ve done it.
Below I’m attaching a handful of street photos from Japan; not because they are good, but as an admission that I’ve done it.