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p3t3or

Street Photography

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biscuit

Flash all up on people, that's something I don't do. All SP is exploitive; but we each draw our own boundaries.

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weisgrau

Yeah, shooting from the hip is for the birds. If you really believe in what you're doing then 'getting comfortable with being uncomfortable' is just the cost of going about your work. Besides, hip shooting is

much

creepier, both to the people you're shooting and in the results. IMHO anyway.

Amen biscuit! Being sneaky when sooting is not the trademark of a real street photographer.

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weisgrau

Flash all up on people, that's something I don't do. All SP is exploitive; but we each draw our own boundaries.

I disagree. Capturing what takes place in a public space is not exploitative. It is documentary. It is a fact, recorded as a fact, unless it is manipulated. I that case it is no longer a fact. It may be unflattering to the subject, but that is not exploitation. It is just an unflattering fact.

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biscuit

It's exploitive in the sense that the photographer comes away with something positively to his own advantage, in terms of profit, reputation, or credibility, and more than likely to the (at least in their own perception) disadvantage of the subjects of the shot.

But in terms of the long-view value of the results, I'm willing to buy into the notion that the 'documentary' value justifies it - up to an extent. Like I said, everybody draws their own boundaries.

Getting that close and popping a flash in someone's face can be viewed as being manipulative.

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weisgrau

buscuit,

I am glad to see we do not substantially disagree. It think the use of flash negates the whole premise of street photography. Flash is OK for photojournalism, new, etc. But the street is the STREET. On the street their are winners and losers, advantaged and disadvantaged. I think the quintessence of documentary photography is FACT. Fact is truth.

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mattmaber

Ive been trying to use flash but havent quite got the balls yet to go up to someones face.

As for is it street photography? Yes I think so, but if using the flash alters the subject by their reaction then it isnt documentary (IMHO). THo of course a flash can just be used subtly to light the scene in which case its still documentary.

THough these mastabatory discusions over the definiton of SP are a bit pointless IMHO.

I love the look flash in SP quite often, esp if its dark with highlighted faces.

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steve1401

Why is flash exploitative, I don't get it? SP is what it is and is an art form in its own right; if using a flash enhances this then so be it. I also disagree that hip shots are creepy, it's just that they very rarely yeild good results.

Bruce Guilden is your man. He's done some great stuff on the streets of NY:

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/06/bruce-gilden-asshole-or-genius/

For me creepy is zoomed shots because of the voyeuristic nature of them. They don't often produce artistically or aesthetically good results and are easy, which shows.

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biscuit

Bruce Gilden is not my man.

And I did a lot of hip shooting for the first several years of the SP learning curve, with pretty good results, but over time have come to the view I have now of it's being creepy, quite apart from the loss-of-control issue. I feel creepy when I do it (very rarely now) and creepy when I see shots that obviously have that quality. Sorry, but that's just how it makes me feel.

I agree entirely re: zoomed shots.

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steve1401

@biscuit - I respect that! By 'your man' I wasn't meaning you or anyone else directly, just a figure of speech, and was hoping people would get the title: "Asshole or Genius".

I like his stuff and I admire his headstrong approach, but I do get why it might make others uncomfortable - and I couldn't act as he does... At the end of the day, to turn out the type of photos he does, you need to be like that!

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Westmill

This is more perhaps street art than street but certainly one of my faves :)

http://i1251.photobucket.com/albums/hh560/westmill/_IGP5869.jpg

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shotbyshaun

@p3t3or Thank you!

I find that most definitions of street photography leave ample room for all manner of creative expressions and techniques that record but do not necessarily document the world around us. If I had an issue with street photography then it would be the lack of creative expression that results in a 'me too' or 'I took it just because I could' shot.

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sweeze

@p3t3or did you ever get any pictures of this dude:

Mar 10, 2007 154357 PM

My main regret about that day was that I didn't pack a better camera.

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steve1401

@shotbyshaun - I agree; don't try and nail SP down to s strict 'this is and this isn't' definition. In my mind that's kinda the exact opposite of what it's about. I like the abstract and artisitc takes on SP. I especially like the pool over on the HCSP flickr group, of which I am sure you're all familiar. It had a very edgy/abstract slant and defines the type of photography that I like, call it SP or not...

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PurestBlue

@biscuit - I respect that! By 'your man' I wasn't meaning you or anyone else directly, just a figure of speech, and was hoping people would get the title: "Asshole or Genius".

I like his stuff and I admire his headstrong approach, but I do get why it might make others uncomfortable - and I couldn't act as he does... At the end of the day, to turn out the type of photos he does, you need to be like that!

In my opinion he only gets away with being so in-your-face, with flash too, because of his size. I think he's intimidating to most people. I think that, if he was 5' 8", he'd have had a few "interactions" where he came off badly enough that he'd have been persuaded to alter his method.

As the discussion has shown, we've all got differing opinions of what SP is, we've also all got different boundaries. It's my opinion that as a SP I should observe and not interact; not cause people to alter how they are because of my being there. If someone reacts after the event then that's fine and I'm happy to enter discussion, but the event that I'm recording should not be impacted by the act of my recording it (why is Schrodinger's cat coming to mind?!).

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biscuit

For clarification, it was never my intention to have any of my comments above taken as an attempt to outline a definition of SP. There are a wide variety of practices that I have no problem in accepting as being SP, but which fall outside of the boundaries of what I engage in. Games Theory - I devise for myself the rules and parameters of the project I'm committed to.

No in-your-face flash, longrange sniping, extensive PP, homeless/socially disadvantaged, etc. - that's not for me, but I'm not trying to say those are definitions of SP.

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weisgrau

Street Photography is much over-used, confused, and sometimes abused term. A review of the history of the term shows it the practice began as candid photographs of people in outdoor public places, mostly on human trafficked streets. It can be traced back to the early 1900s (maybe even a bit sooner) with the work of Eugene Atget and a few other photographers. After WWII when the pictorial magazines were no longer focused on war, the genre became wider known. By the 1960s it was a form of art, that was distinguished by its candid images that were less impeachable than documentary photographs since the latter were often not candid at all but posed with elements carefully selected to achieve a particular reaction. Over the decades it has come to include purely candid photographs of people in public places not limited to streets. The quintessential elements are candid, public, uncontrived and not manipulated beyond the norms or usual and customary photo processing in the era of darkroom processing.

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biscuit

That was pretty gutsy; what's next, the definition description of Social Documentary?

Joel Meyerowitz and Colin Westerbeck, among other things authors of Bystander: A History of Street Photography, might have objections to your timeline.

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weisgrau

That was pretty gutsy; what's next, the definition description of Social Documentary?

Joel Meyerowitz and Colin Westerbeck, among other things authors of Bystander: A History of Street Photography, might have objections to your timeline.

They certainly might, and I have not read there treatise. What photographers before Atget in the early 1900s were doing candid street photography? And, by the way, I did not attempt to define the term. I don't think that can be done accurately since Street Photography has evolved over many decades. I know the more popular conception is that it started in the 1950s and primarily in NYC, but in my opinion and from my observation Atget was doing it long before those who were branded 'street photographers' in the mid 20th Century.

Finally, I did not come here to argue or be critical or pretend to be an authority. So, if you think I am trying to define a genre of photography, take a shot at others who have an opinion, or pretend to be an expert, you got me wrong. So no, I am not going to define Social Documentary. Although I do know a good bit about it and its roots since it was hooked me on photography in the mid 1960s.

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biscuit

In the first 115 pages of their book Meyerowitz & Westerbeck identify any number of photographers as having done 'street' work prior to the turn of the 20th century.

and by my count there are at least a half dozen people here who have been 'hooked on photography since the mid 60's', myself included, so please quit throwing that out there, again and again, as if it gives your views an unquestionable weight.

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