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View Poll Results: Is Street Photography Dead?
Yes 82 20.55%
No 317 79.45%
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Is Street Photography Dead?
Old 03-03-2013   #1
Carterofmars
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Is Street Photography Dead?

Is Street Photography Dead?
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Old 03-03-2013   #2
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Probably. I mean, if you have to ask...
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Old 03-03-2013   #3
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not for me...
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Old 03-03-2013   #4
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I don't know. I heard once landscape was dead?
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Old 03-03-2013   #5
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I'll shoot the sidewalks for as long as they exist.

Hm, yeah. It's probably dead in rural areas.
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Old 03-03-2013   #6
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is it dead if i still want to get "into it"
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Old 03-03-2013   #7
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Isn't all photography dead? Well, unless it's alive. Some of it appears to be gravely ill, but I hear we're on the brink of a cure - we just need to get out and shoot more and hope for the best...
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Old 03-03-2013   #8
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I think there is just as much a need for street photography as there ever was, but it's far less understood these days by those who don't know about the likes of HCB and Winogrand. One of the original goals of street photography was to capture the way people live, but we now live in a world that's almost excessively well documented and recorded. However, it's become an automatic and soulless process - think of satellite imagery, CCTV, Google Maps and Steetview - totally devoid of human commentary or aesthetic value.

Great street photographers can capture the human moments that satellites miss, serving as representations of our generation and times. It seems mundane to some, potentially creepy or criminal to others, but the value of a well executed street shot is immense, and that value will only increase with time.
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Old 03-03-2013   #9
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Nope, don't think it is... rather there's been quite a surge the past few years. There are plenty of incredible work being done in contemporary street photography right now... seriously some great stuff out there.
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Old 03-03-2013   #10
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it's still very much alive. with smaller better cameras, people are buying it up and taking alot more street photos now.
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Old 03-03-2013   #11
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No ... but it needs a transfusion IMO.
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Old 03-03-2013   #12
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Seems to be a day for ambivalent and ambiguous questions that cannot be resolved.

I'll just answer "Yes" and "No", like the Elves.

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Old 03-03-2013   #13
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how could it be dead as there are still people in the streets?
but it has become difficult to find interesting shots in the net, also here on rff.
im sick of girls staring on their cell phones, winos sitting on their plastic bags and old people passing billboards with young people on them. too many worn out stereotypes instead of characters and decisive moments.
seems as if digital makes it too easy to publish anything regardless of quality and originality.
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Old 03-03-2013   #14
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This one is half dead and half painful...
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8245/8...996dd7ba_b.jpg
201213315 by mfogiel, on Flickr
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Old 03-03-2013   #15
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no.

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Old 03-03-2013   #16
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It is not dead but i personaly lost all interest in it.
So for me it is dead.
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Old 03-03-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carterofmars View Post
Is Street Photography Dead?
Dead as its ever been.
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Old 03-03-2013   #18
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Depends on the definition of street photography ... if it means taking random picture of passing by strangers and / or using flash then I would say "street-photography" is alive and well ...
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Old 03-03-2013   #19
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Not dead, but it smells funny to some people.

But more seriously, I think that as long as there is "life" out there in public places (and I suppose there always will be), there is a role for "street" photography to sift and sort through what we do in public places and preserve it for the future.

But I agree with som eposts above, that peolpe can be much better at editing their work down before sticking a bunch of photos on the Net.
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Old 03-03-2013   #20
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Streets are empty, so people are dead. Streetphotography is alive as long as you keep the flag upright.
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Old 03-04-2013   #21
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I also say no, it's not dead, but as it was commented in another string: "I would ask the question slightly different... Today; where is the audience for the Winogrands, the Joel Meyerowitz, the Elliott Erwitts ?"

This string prompted this poll for me:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...hreadid=130015
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Old 03-04-2013   #22
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The streetpix we took today will attract attention in fifty years. I may still be dead than, but my name will be immortal
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Old 03-04-2013   #23
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Not dead, but maybe as more and more of us live in urban areas/cities, it's just not interesting to us. Maybe what was gritty and exciting in the 50s, 60s,70s is just boring now. I don't look at much street photography, as I'm sick of seeing it in real life every single day. Maybe if I lived in the countryside, I'd develop an interest.

Perhaps also, it's very hard to come up with something new in street photography. Whereas for landscape, I don't need something new, a beautiful landscape is a beautiful landscape either now or 100 years ago.
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Old 03-04-2013   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonemantis View Post
I think there is just as much a need for street photography as there ever was, but it's far less understood these days by those who don't know about the likes of HCB and Winogrand. One of the original goals of street photography was to capture the way people live, but we now live in a world that's almost excessively well documented and recorded. However, it's become an automatic and soulless process - think of satellite imagery, CCTV, Google Maps and Steetview - totally devoid of human commentary or aesthetic value.

Great street photographers can capture the human moments that satellites miss, serving as representations of our generation and times. It seems mundane to some, potentially creepy or criminal to others, but the value of a well executed street shot is immense, and that value will only increase with time.

Lonemantis has provided us a perfect answer...
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Old 03-04-2013   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonemantis View Post
I think there is just as much a need for street photography as there ever was, but it's far less understood these days by those who don't know about the likes of HCB and Winogrand. One of the original goals of street photography was to capture the way people live, but we now live in a world that's almost excessively well documented and recorded. However, it's become an automatic and soulless process - think of satellite imagery, CCTV, Google Maps and Steetview - totally devoid of human commentary or aesthetic value.

Great street photographers can capture the human moments that satellites miss, serving as representations of our generation and times. It seems mundane to some, potentially creepy or criminal to others, but the value of a well executed street shot is immense, and that value will only increase with time.
This is a very clever post, thanks for posting this.

But, yet, I second the good questions asked by Carterofmars about the interest towards whose would be the contemporary Winogrands, Meyerowitzes, Erwitts (and Leiters).
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Old 03-04-2013   #26
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Quote:
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Lonemantis has provided us a perfect answer...


I was just having a look at your homepage.

The series on 'Barbara' is fantastic!
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Old 03-04-2013   #27
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For me, it's dead in the sense that we've seen it all 1000 times before.

What else is new? Another kid chasing a balloon? Some babe in a miniskirt, lighting a cigarette and glaring at us? Another homeless person? A couple in a cafe reading the paper over espressos?

Yeh, it's a good picture, but . . . it really needs a distinct edge to stand out, you know.
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Old 03-04-2013   #28
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Paraphrasing the Talking Heads: You may find yourself in another part of the world, letting the days go by, how do I work this?

For me street photography is the aesthetic document, that is, an experiment in merging documentary photography (I'm a historian by trade) with all these everyday slices of life and decisive moments aesthetically portrayed. The photograph by nature automatically becomes a document with age, but by golly it should also be pleasing to look at.

Quoting David Byrne again: Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, time isn't holding us, time isn't after us, time doesn't hold you back.

I published a book on my hometown in Iceland, Selfoss, in 2011. One of the houses shown in the book has burned down. Many storefronts have changed beyond recognition and houses have been built were none were before. My aesthetic pursuit of the town is slowly becoming a document about how it once was. (But hopefully still pleasing to look at.)

My point being, as we humans continue to live in societies some of us find it interesting or pleasing or even necessary to walk about snapping pictures to show the others how their world looks/looked like. And that I think is not so bad. Street photography is dead, long live street photography.
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Old 03-04-2013   #29
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Dead? It's not dead, it's just sleeping!

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Old 03-04-2013   #30
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Why would it be dead? Photography exists and streets exist.

Do you mean is it dead in regard to becoming "rich" and "famous?" Seems that is what people mean when this type of question comes up. If the only reason you do something is for glory or money, then you picked the wrong approach.
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Old 03-04-2013   #31
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maybe a bit

beyond the usual ups and downs also times have changed a bit..

not so much "real" life on the streets anymore. so i think the interesting photography, which wants to show everyday life, is made in a more private space nowadays; in a documentary way, but also in a half-documentary or staged way. (e.g. i think of Beth Yarnelle Edwards, also have a look at stephanie steinkopf http://www.stephaniesteinkopf.de)

i also see a bit of a trend to go to other countries with a more vivid street-life and some exotic-factor. especially african countries.
but as these photographs are not made by domestic people, or people who have at least lived there for a long time, i see it more as travel photography in the style of "street" then as street photography.


street was too prominent the last decades. so too many people are just imitating now. it may need a break to regenerate, and people with new ideas will try it again.
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Old 03-04-2013   #32
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I just got back from NYC and I did some street shots.

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Old 03-04-2013   #33
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i also see a bit of a trend to go to other countries with a more vivid street-life and some exotic-factor. especially african countries..
One person's exotic is another person's familiar. Africans may find the streets of Sioux Falls, SD interesting.
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Old 03-04-2013   #34
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Street photography is an outdoor activity. Its going out and strolling and taking photos. The main juice is in the strolling and photographing, the images themselves are secondary...... I also think "___ is dead" is dead itself, due to overuse and abuse.
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Old 03-04-2013   #35
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Old 03-04-2013   #36
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Maybe it is dead. Has anyone practiced it at the level of a Frank or a Winogrand? Has anyone since the seventies created anything as vital with it? If they did, was there an audience?
Photography took a different turn in the eighties, away from the documentary style. It was a turn away from what interested me about the medium, but I understand that people need change. Something new.

If it is dead, maybe that is the best time to do it.

Here is an interesting related essay by Paul Graham that you might want to read...
http://www.paulgrahamarchive.com/writings_by.html
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Old 03-04-2013   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveleo View Post
For me, it's dead in the sense that we've seen it all 1000 times before.

What else is new? Another kid chasing a balloon? Some babe in a miniskirt, lighting a cigarette and glaring at us? Another homeless person? A couple in a cafe reading the paper over espressos?

Yeh, it's a good picture, but . . . it really needs a distinct edge to stand out, you know.
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).
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Old 03-04-2013   #38
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Often (and thankfully), as soon as you say that everything's been done, something comes along to surprise you.
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Old 03-04-2013   #39
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i also see a bit of a trend to go to other countries with a more vivid street-life and some exotic-factor. especially african countries.

I felt this way for a very long time, but then saw photos done in rural environments and small towns that have changed my thinking & attitude drastically.

For example: Kate Kirkwood
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Old 03-04-2013   #40
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Often (and thankfully), as soon as you say that everything's been done, something comes along to surprise you.
The Winogrands, Erwitts were used as a spring board for people to develop their own personal aesthetic. There are plenty of contemporary street photographers out there now that produce great work (not just decent or good, but great)....

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.
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