Misconceptions Around Street Photography

Street photography can sometimes go by name of candid photography where a photo is taken without creating a posed appearance but then that definition would be applying that you would have to be taking pictures of people and some people disagree on that, that is not always the case when it comes to street photography. Some articles, blogs and street photographers define street photography as a type of photography that captures daily life in a public setting. Because of the open nature of the scene, the photographer can shoot candid photographs of strangers, often without their knowledge. Street photographers are not always interested in capturing social events; instead, they try to isolate and catch moments that might otherwise go unnoticed. In essence, street photography is candid photography of people and humanity. A street shot must capture a genuine, unscripted moment. The bottom line is street photography takes so many different forms and it is that versatility that sort of makes it hard to describe or even define it, but at the end of the day we still know street photography when we see it.

Street photographers are watchers. Examining the work of great street photographers, observing how it differs for each of them, and attempting to comprehend what they were attempting to communicate, is an effective technique to learn street photography. The desire to capture people in public began with 19th- century with painters like Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who collaborated with photographers to capture the spirit of city life. In the 1850s, a French photographer Charles Nègre, used his camera to chronicle architecture as well as stores, labourers, wandering musicians, peddlers, and other unique street types, and his photographs were the first to represent street photography. He struggled to depict the hustle and bustle of the Paris streets due to the very crude technology available to him and the long exposure time necessary.

Street photography in India is immensely growing and major credit goes to social media through which many photographers can showcase their talent. Perhaps, there are still some misconceptions around street photography.

Some of them as pinpointed by a few street photographers are –

  • Street photography is not particularly related to the street pictures. It is a broader term for life photography.
  • Basically, all the beginners think that they are supposed to capture the sad faces and the poverty line to show the street and henceforth, they become street photographers. It is more like there is supposed to be a storyline, a pattern. Capturing anything is not street photography, rather there should be a proper gesture on its construction.
  • According to the street photographers, it is the toughest photography because there they are not supposed to just click random portraits but rather, they should think about different concepts while keeping a particular portrait in mind.
  • Just as we discussed above, it is not necessary to have people in the pictures, it is always about the subject, the angle and the perspective.
  • Street photography is about exploring a city, the people, and not the nature but society and everything built in that society which tells a unique story built around it. The best places the photographers believe for those are markets, gullies, and old settlements.
  • The biggest misconception clasped around this is that everyone thinks that a photographer is supposed to click a random grocery shop photo and that is street photography, which is certainly not the case, the photographer generally writes a story about the people, the place or the situation included and not just merely click a random picture.
  • Street photographers generally do not need anyone’s permission for clicking the pictures but there are certain laws in different countries around that too. Some photographers do not believe getting into faces for pictures and some do.
  • Another misconception around street photography is that you must own a high-end gear i.e., cameras and kits which is not true. Street photography can be defined over the ability of a person who can take pictures with the cheap cameras too. Having a much m more expensive camera does not help finding beautiful genres of street photography. It is about how you use the camera and how well you know it. It is not about the image quality and mega pixels that makes someone a good photographer rather, it is about how well the person can carry that camera, the knowledge of how to use it for different genres.

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