What Makes Street Photography Work?

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    Topic: What Makes Street Photography Work? Read 203 Times
  • Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
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    on: October 26, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    Russ Lewis: In all five pictures, ambiguity raises questions you must answer for yourself. The pictures don’t tell you what to think. That, more than anything else, is what makes street photography work its poetry.

    Yes: a good “street” photograph makes the viewer ask, “what’s going on here?”

    I did my best to draft a clear definition some years ago:

    Street photography documents ephemeral, unposed interactions in public spaces between people, or between people and their surroundings, in a way that implies a narrative instead of simply depicting what was in front of the camera’s lens.  The narrative may be explicit or implicit, obvious or subtle, literal or ironic, and subject to varying interpretations by different viewers.  Animals or objects may take the place of people if their relationship with other elements in the photograph contributes to the narrative.  Similarly, the interaction need not take place in a street or an urban environment or even outdoors.

    I think this still works reasonably well today, but I’m open to suggestions for improvement.

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