IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY ART? IV


Since I last wrote on this subject I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at what people describe as “Street Photography” on various web sites and blogs, and what I find is, in most cases, not art but total confusion.

The cross-over between news, documentary and street photography is indistinct and apparently mis0understood. Most of the images are banal – often beautifully composed, exposed and printed (at least as far as once can judge on the web) – but my reaction in almost every case is, why did the photographer bother?

Statistics tell us that more photographs are being taken than ever before, people are exposed to more images, visual literacy is supposed to be at an all time high;  why then are we bombarded with crap? Finding an outstanding photograph these days is worse than looking for the proverbial needle.

It may be that digital cameras, computers and the availability of cheap on-line media have dulled our perception of what is good and what is bad. It has certainly killed the editing process and inhibited printing. With film the expectation was that if one or two frames on a roll of film were worth printing then the shoot was a success.

Today people are uploading every photograph they take. A hundred images on the card? Load ’em up! Two hundred? Load ’em up. Ok, I am laying it on a bit thick as photographers, as opposed to take photographs, should have learnt to be more discerning. But the fact remains that few of the images I’ve looked at in that past couple of months that qualify as street photography qualify as art.

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One response to “IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY ART? IV

  1. I’ve said this before; since the revival of SP the genre has become a saturated.

    Curiously, it may require this “overstimulation” for a while longer before we start to get wise to the idea that it’s not a good idea to impulsively “just shoot it anyway”. Through trial and error we have to get to a point of being far more discerning and not just say to ourselves, “Perhaps I shouldn’t upload that,” but even say, “perhaps I should delete or destroy that,” or “I’m not going to bother shooting that at all.”

    Unfortunately, most of us who have a true passion for SP don’t have the knack for doing it flawlessly right away. Like most things, it takes time and practice; learning from our mistakes, to get to that stage.

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