"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression." --Henri Cartier- Bresson (1908-2004)
Street Photography: A Brief Definition It is a branch of realistic fine-art photography that records unposed scenes in public places (streets, parks, restaurants, stores, museums, libraries, airports; train, bus, and subway stations, etc.) The primary subject is people, at rest or in motion, alone or with others, going about the every-day activities of life (walking, sitting,
standing, waiting, reading, eating, talking, listening, laughing, daydreaming, greeting, parting, working, playing, shopping, viewing art, sightseeing, etc.).
The emphasis is not on the subject's personal identity, as in portraiture. And unlike photojournalism, there is no news here, rather, the commonplace; although, the line between photojournalism and street photography is often blurry. Many of the best street photographers were photojournalists. Unlike travel photography, that aims to entice the viewer to visit a certain place or to fondly remember it, location is relatively unimportant, though busy cities with interesting architecture are commonly seen in these works.
The primary emphasis is on capturing a fleeting composition, a temporary arrangement of lines, forms, textures, and tones--balanced within a rigid frame. While such photographs often document clothing styles or automobile design, these details are subordinate to the artistic elements; whereas, in strict documentary photography, content is more important than artistry.
In street photography, the image can be sharp or blurred and impressionistic. Many images feature strong graphic elements which-- considered separately--constitute interesting geometric patterns. Consistent with their overwhelming interest in composition, many street photographers--not all—shoot with a black and white final image in mind, eschewing color as a distraction. Another reason for this is the generally-conservative nature of the discipline. The early masters are revered and emulated, their styles and shooting techniques studied. Some purists not only insist on shooting un-posed scenes, they attempt to compose entirely in-camera, without cropping. Finally, the tone of these images tends to be positive, celebrating life and its fleeting nature in the very act of seeing and seizing and sharing momentary beauty and meaning with the viewer --Larry E. Fink