What is Street Photography?

There are many debates of what defines street photography of which elements include; does the photo have to be candid? Does the location have to be public or private? Does the photo need people in it?

Street photography, or candid photography, is the act of documenting human life and society. Although there is a difference between street and candid photography it is usually subtle with most street photography being candid in nature but not all candid photography being classifiable as street photography. Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Though people usually feature directly, street photography might be absent of people and can be of an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic (*3). Street photography reflects civilization, community and culture.  A common belief in the location debate Is that the place of photograph must be open to enter by members of the public to be counted as street photography. In regard to the candidness debate, it is not believed that the photography must be candid in order to be street photography.

Much of the time photographers will keep a distance from their subject, while others like to be close to their subject especially when expression is important.

See below photo taken by Eugene Atget in the streets of Paris (found here), an image which for many settles the debate of street photography needing people in its images as compared to no featured people.


*3 – Source of Quote – [[Colin Westerbeck]]. Bystander: A History of Street Photography. 1st ed. [[Little, Brown and Company]], 1994.


Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *