Street Photography vs Reality

Here’s an interesting article about whether to engage your subject when photographing people in the street: is it better to ask, and thus make them aware of the camera, or to indulge in “assault photography”?

Thought provoking. Street Photography vs Reality.

One Reply to “Street Photography vs Reality”

  1. Yes an interesting analysis of ‘Assault Street Photography’ and ‘Reality Street Photography’ from the other side of the world.

    In the UK, Purist Street Photographers would say that the point is to capture the moment, unhindered, raw and as it is, regardless of the situation – this is after all what the well respected war photographers do – tell it how it is, warts and all.

    Once you interfere, the moment and mood has changed, and although this may produce a more pleasing photograph, it isn’t the ‘original’.

    Having said that, some of the classic spontaneous ‘Street’ shots from the 40s, 50s and 60s, have been revealed to be staged – the famous ‘Le baser de l’hôtel de ville (The Kiss)’ in Paris by French photographer Robert Doisneau is a well known example.

    I have photographed on the Street for many years, and there is a fine dividing line between offending people if you catch them unawares, and producing a natural shot of the moment. If I’m ‘caught out’ by someone I’m photographing, I will approach them, tell them why I have taken their photograph, always being polite and offer a free copy, which is usually sufficient to placate most.

    However, there are some unwritten rules, one of which is not to photograph homeless people laying or sleeping on the street curled up in a doorway underneath a piece of cardboard, because this is just ‘Human Safari’ photography. Instead, offer them a cup of tea or coffee, or better still work with homeless organisations.

    In the end it’s a judgement call with which you as a photographer and the subjects you photograph have to be comfortable.

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