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View Poll Results: Is Street Photography Dead?
Yes 82 20.55%
No 317 79.45%
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Old 03-04-2013   #41
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Not dead. Just overflowing with boringness and plain bad photos. Lots of snapshots of bored people walking around on sidewalks taken with wide angle lenses. Not many people seem to show much attention to composition, or waiting for the right moment or subject to come along. Just snap snap snap anything that walks along.

If it's something I can see any day in any city on my own - there's basically no point in me looking at somebody else's photo of it.

That's not to say that there aren't people doing great street photography, just that sturgeon's law seems to have become applied pretty thickly to the genre lately since a lot more people are trying to go at it now.
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Old 03-04-2013   #42
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I agree with you in that it's all been done.... that's why it's so difficult to make a decent street photo (and decent doesn't even equate good).
Why bother with photography then? And it has not all been done. It's impossible in photography...times change and everything in the world changes with it.
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Old 03-04-2013   #43
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Just snap snap snap anything that walks along.
Most street photographers of today are more like, walk, walk, stand in a corner and look confused, yet pretend to be concentrating.

Snap Snap is the mark of a street photographer who at least has overcome the basic inhibition of snapping on the streets.

The problem with SP is too much talking, too much foruming, too much reflection, too much gear caressing and too much obsession with what others think of SP and why this and why that --- basically all the excuses in the world to compensate for lack of inspiration and courage to do SP. I mean, lets be frank here, SP is not for everyone.
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Old 03-04-2013   #44
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Why bother with photography then? And it has not all been done. It's impossible in photography...times change and everything in the world changes with it.
Yeh . . . that was the conflict that made me ask "Are we too critical?" in that other thread.
Maybe "street is dead" only really means that we the viewers don't give each image the chance it deserves, because we've seen 1000 others in the same category and have 100 more to look at in the next 10 minutes.

Maybe it's our sensitivities that are dead ?
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Old 03-04-2013   #45
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Why bother with photography then? And it has not all been done. It's impossible in photography...times change and everything in the world changes with it.
...as I had stated in response to another post:


"SP has become more than just a person walking down the street, lighting a cigarette or talking on a cell phone... Yes, these are street photos, but what makes them stand out? Is it the light, composition, repetition of different elements in the frame...?

The subject itself has been done before, but what differentiates the banal from good is the concoction of these other elements."

Yes, times change, but people will always be walking on some side street, sipping a latte, waiting for transportation.... these have all been done before. The *subject* has been done. How we arrange them and the elements we add in that 3:2 frame (or whatever format) is what keeps them alive. It's these types of photos I was speaking of...
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Old 03-04-2013   #46
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A person walking on the street is not the issue, a person walking on the street and how that is interpreted by the photographer is SP... Lets at least get the basic grammar of SP before mourning its demise...


Anyone today who buys a camera and goes out to snap a few photos automatically thinks they're a street photographer. I mean common, if things were that easy...
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Old 03-04-2013   #47
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The corollary of Sturgeon's law, if the number of people doing something increases, is that there will be an increase in the good stuff as well. Finding it is sometimes difficult!
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Old 03-04-2013   #48
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Everybody is writing as well, I mean we're writing as we post to threads, is that mean we're a threat to novelists and professional writers?

Yes, everyone takes photos on the street, but how come there are not more than five really famous street photographers? Whats going on here? HCB, Robert Frank, Winogrand, Moriyama -- not even five!
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Old 03-04-2013   #49
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Everybody is writing as well, I mean we're writing as we post to threads, is that mean we're a threat to novelists and professional writers?
Exactly... by now surely everything has been written, why write anymore?

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Yes, everyone takes photos on the street, but how come there are not more than five really famous street photographers? Whats going on here? HCB, Robert Frank, Winogrand, Moriyama -- not even five!
5 really? Either you're being cute or you need to brush up on your history.
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Old 03-04-2013   #50
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5 really? Either you're being cute or you need to brush up on your history.
Even I was surprised that I could only think of five great, and it is five, in order of merit:

1-Atget
2-HCB
3-Robert Frank
4-Daido Moriyama
5-Winogrand
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Old 03-04-2013   #51
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Even I was surprised that I could only think of five great, and it is five, in order of merit:

1-Atget
2-HCB
3-Robert Frank
4-Daido Moriyama
5-Winogrand
How about Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Martin Parr, Matt Stuart, Elliott Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Tony Ray-Jones, etc?
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Old 03-04-2013   #52
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As of last Friday night in NYC it positively wasn't dead at all.
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Old 03-04-2013   #53
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How about Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Martin Parr, Matt Stuart, Elliott Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Tony Ray-Jones, etc?
And... Fred Herzog.

http://www.google.com/search?q=fred+...w=1205&bih=919

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Old 03-04-2013   #54
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True CoM, how could I forget him.
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Old 03-04-2013   #55
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Not dead in the least. Thriving, I would say.

Unfortunately, it has become virtually impossible to see through all of the garbage work that is out there. Everyday life is more documented now than at any point in history. What this means, of course, is that there is an enormous volume of photography out there.

Most of what is out there is crap, and it is very difficult to wade through this crap to find the outstanding work that is still being produced by people like Trent Parke, Matt Stuart, and many others.

The challenge is to do things with one's street photography that elevate the work beyond the crap. I've been working in this genre for the better part of two years (an infancy, in relative terms), and I've produced maybe two images that I think are really good street photographs. The rest is just part of my learning process, for better or worse.

I find it enormously fulfilling to try to find things in public spaces that most people do not see, and that generally goes undocumented, despite the modern pervasiveness of cameras.
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Old 03-04-2013   #56
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How about Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Martin Parr, Matt Stuart, Elliott Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Tony Ray-Jones, etc?
William Klein, Trent Parke, Vivian Maier...
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Old 03-04-2013   #57
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Why bother with photography then? And it has not all been done. It's impossible in photography...times change and everything in the world changes with it.
For me, it's not that it's all been done before. Firstly, you're right, the world is always changing, so there is always something new. Secondly, I think it's OK to take photos over and over, I'll never tire of seeing some scenes.

However, I like landscapes, basically because I like nature. A good landscape to me is simple. The scene is already beautiful, so all you've got to do is accurately represent it.

Street photography, at least at first glance, is rarely beautiful. It's usually of a scene that we probably naturally find unpleasant. So then for us to want to look at it, there needs to be something else there, other than beauty. Maybe it's poignancy, or disgust, or humour, or something else. Then the problem comes that we've seen it a million times, and are bored of it.

I doubt I'd ever tire of beauty. I tire of 'look at this gritty scene' very quickly, as I see it every day.
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Old 03-04-2013   #58
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Don't forget Vivian Maier

OK everyone heres the info on my show.

Calumet Photographic Chicago (Cherry St) in the gallery.

Fleeting Moments

Opening April 4th from 6:00-8:00.
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Old 03-04-2013   #59
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I doubt I'd ever tire of beauty. I tire of 'look at this gritty scene' very quickly, as I see it every day.
See, but that comes down to what you are interested in and what you consider beautiful. I'd rather look at gritty than pretty landscapes...though I like both. I tire of some things and never get tired of others. It's sort of like music... I'll never get tired of some generes regurgitating the same old same old, but in others it drives me nuts. I guess what we strive for is something, just anything, to make it feel somewhat fresh.
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Old 03-04-2013   #60
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I wouldn't call it dead, but with the ubiquity of digital images generally, along with images from cell phone and other cameras much smaller than anything the street photographers of the last 50 years ever comtemplated, it is a lot harder to make images that are noteworthy.

Still, there are people out there who continue to make great images. One example is Chris Weeks.

I'd say it's in no way dead, but it is in transition, and it is definitely no longer living in an era as friendly to the genre as it once was.
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Old 03-04-2013   #61
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Atget and Strand killed it. Everything that followed was derivative. Harumph.
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Old 03-04-2013   #62
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Street shots are very much alive although good street work is not always easy to find. We have a generation who have no concept of composition and no clue about decisive moments. Photography has been made so easy that quality is hard to find. Street shots also become more interesting with time as the clothes and vehicles date and take on an air of antiquity.
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Old 03-04-2013   #63
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The problem is there is so little good street work. There was very little good back in the 50s and still is so little good and so little of what Bresson, Frank and many other great street photographers put into their work. There is so much going on visually in their work and those elements help elevate the work beyond the norm or average.
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Old 03-04-2013   #64
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Another problem is that many people's definition of what street photography is (or can be), is ridiculously closed minded.
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Old 03-04-2013   #65
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Another problem is that many people's definition of what street photography is (or can be), is ridiculously closed minded.
Agree but there is a reason why there is good and bad in anything. Great places to start are with those that help define the form.
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Old 03-04-2013   #66
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Agree but there is a reason why there is good and bad in anything. Great places to start are with those that help define the form.
There is no such thing as a bad photograph, just other people that don't understand them.
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Old 03-04-2013   #67
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There is no such thing as a bad photograph, just other people that don't understand them.
LOL.........
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Old 03-04-2013   #68
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Don't forget Vivian Maier

OK everyone heres the info on my show.

Calumet Photographic Chicago (Cherry St) in the gallery.

Fleeting Moments

Opening April 4th from 6:00-8:00.

Was that a shameless plug? Congrats!
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Old 03-04-2013   #69
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Was that a shamless plug? Congrats!
Yes OF COURSE..

Thanks, maybe another show in another gallery in the fall or spring next year. Same work though. Still working out the details.
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Old 03-04-2013   #70
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Street Photography (in the tradition of HCB and others) is very much alive and, in fact, you can argue that it's been going through a sort resurgence in the past few years (see the in-public collective, the Street Photography Now book, exhibits, etc.).

The argument that it's all been done or that all work after the greats is pointless is really strange to me. By that argument, why do anything in life? It's all been done, possibly (probably) better than you're doing it.
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Old 03-04-2013   #71
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Street Photography (in the tradition of HCB and others) is very much alive and, in fact, you can argue that it's been going through a sort resurgence in the past few years (see the in-public collective, the Street Photography Now book, exhibits, etc.).

The argument that it's all been done or that all work after the greats is pointless is really strange to me. By that argument, why do anything in life? It's all been done, possibly (probably) better than you're doing it.
Totally agree. Just find a way to make it yours.
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Old 03-04-2013   #72
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not dead, changing. lives are no longer unobserved and unrecorded. subjects are smarter. still, to borrow a book title, the unguarded moment is always seductive and often worthy of communication. our world changes and so do the images we care about. in this internet video crazed world, we have the outrageous popularity of the four-panel fuuuuuuuu... cartoons, i can haz cheezburger memes, instagram and emoticons. simplicity and directness of communication is at a premium in age full of noise. visual still imagery might be the best way to do that. i just don't know if anyone can get paid - no, check that, if a lot of people can get paid - for doing this thing that many of us seem to love.
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Old 03-04-2013   #73
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Is ''street photography'' the square peg that doesn't comfortably fit into the round holes of studio, portrait, still-life, fashion, sports, wildlife, architectural, macro, landscape and family snapshot photography ?

Is it ''photo-journalism'' for mavericks, malcontents and misunderstood ''artists'' ?

Is it, like patriotism, the last refuge of the photographic scoundrel ?

Didn't it used to be called ''candid photography'', that branch of the trade that the Leica was specifically designed for ...?!
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Old 03-04-2013   #74
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See, but that comes down to what you are interested in and what you consider beautiful. I'd rather look at gritty than pretty landscapes...though I like both. I tire of some things and never get tired of others. It's sort of like music... I'll never get tired of some generes regurgitating the same old same old, but in others it drives me nuts. I guess what we strive for is something, just anything, to make it feel somewhat fresh.
Precisely. I do think that because far more people live in cities now, than in any point in the past, city life is no longer new or exciting for many people.
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Old 03-04-2013   #75
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Why would street photography be dead, what is the argument for it being dead, or not dead ?
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Old 03-04-2013   #76
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I think there's a number of issues that are having an impact on street photography;

Firstly there's not a whole lot of traditional funding available or traditional outlets available for it these days, as we all know a lot of publications have all but phased out "staff" photographers. It's very interesting watching the Bill Cunningham film that he's very much one of the last doing it within that kind of framework.

There are "street style" photographers, people like The Sartorialist, Tommy Ton etc. who have taken Bill's eye for style and (for lack of a better term) taken the "street" out of it, their shots are taken on the street, but they're posed, and presumably easier to fit neatly into themed issues of the same publications that would once have sent out photographers to find a story and would make the page space for those longer form pieces that might result.

Secondly, the classic issue that "Street Photography" is a somewhat amorphous term, that everyone brings their own perceptions and prejudices to, I know I certainly do.
I entered the first version of what became the London Festival of Photography (when it specified the word "Street" in the name).
I didn't win, I wasn't remotely expecting to, I wanted to lend my support to something that at the time was spotlighting Street shooting.
When I saw the winning entries I personally found myself coming out with the predictable "That's not street photography" for a few of them, and since then I've ignored the competition simply because it didn't fit my perceptions of it.

Thirdly, I semi jokingly tweeted a couple of weeks ago that "The death of the high street is a bit of a sod for street photography", all jokes aside a lot of the streets in commercial areas are significantly quieter than they used to be, which must have an impact.
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Old 03-04-2013   #77
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Precisely. I do think that because far more people live in cities now, than in any point in the past, city life is no longer new or exciting for many people.
As a countryside dweller, I find the city a fascinating place and a welcome distraction. The sooner I finish the repairs to my campervan, the sooner I can get to one.
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Old 03-04-2013   #78
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A couple of thoughts by Bresson and I totally agree with that are really at the heart of all good photographic work, especially in good street work but what is absent in a lot of what you see today being done by the masses.

"You are asking me what makes a good picture. For me, it is the harmony between subject and form that leads each one of those elements to its maximum of expression and vigor." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

"What reinforces the content of a photograph is the sense of rhythm – the relationship between shapes and values."- Henri Cartier-Bresson

"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event, as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression." -Henri Cartier-Bresson

"..... content cannot be separated from form. By form, I mean the rigorous organisation of the interplay of surfaces, lines and values. It is in this organisation alone that our conceptions and emotions become concrete and communicable. In photography, visual organisation can stem only from a developed instinct." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

"..... This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography....."- Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Old 03-04-2013   #79
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I do street photography almost every day.
Retired from a regular work, i can enjoy the passing scene.
Capture small and large moments, in a way, as a pro, i never could.
Limitless exposures, ease of travel, small ideal tools.
Wonderful ways of sharing our images.
True most are not great images. Here and there a miracle.
We the Street Photographers have an important task!
We are recording history..don't waste the opportunity.
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Old 03-04-2013   #80
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Do you enjoy looking at it?

Do you enjoy shooting streets?

Then, no, I guess not :-)
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