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Frank Jackson on Street Photography I am happy and excited to announce a new RFF forum on Street Photography mentored by Frank Jackson, one of the best producers of analog B/W prints I have ever seen. His shows include the Open Shutter Gallery, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His images are in the collections of Smithsonian Ogden Museum of Southern Art, California Afro American Museum and Xavier University New Orleans LA. He has worked for or has been featured with Visa Card, Xerox, UCLA, Eric Owen Moss, Architect, Hasselblad Forum (cover),Gordon Parks, Muhammed Ali, Million Man March Wash. DC, Lionel Hampton, jazz legion photographer , 1995-2002, Stevie Wonder, B+W Magazine (British version) twice, Rangefinder Magazine, Dahon Bicycles, Arelli Wheels, Real Product Design, Automobile Club of Southern California. Frank's online images are at fotographz.500px.com and fotographzfrankjackson.tumblr.com . "While on this diverse photographic journey…I have to say during this whole time my love for fine art black and white photography kept growing. I always found time to shoot in different cities and my own personal work…this has sustained me through some very tough times. As of 2012, with the help of a very good friend I maintain a state-of-the-art dream darkroom. The darkroom helps greatly in the on-going practice of understanding “the light”, being able to process film and print drives me to keep my digital photography “organic”. I’m curious visually and shooting what’s, what on the street feeds this curiosity. Everyday I walk out my front door to “see” the world with a digital camera, a film camera, the “cup” and an open mind (mostly).

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Street: a theory and practice of curiosity
Old 02-07-2015   #1
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Street: a theory and practice of curiosity

Hello everyone hoping this finds all of you well, "vertical", and curious. I enjoyed reading the comments and do believe in the right to speak freely...no one knows better than you what YOU like. That being said, just because we may not find something particularly wonderful does not mean it is not good. "Street Photography" to me was always going someplace to photograph an environment [i]that was not inside my front door[i] and that has not changed. Traveling is how I feed my curiosity and if I can't take a long far away trip, a small journey around town has rewarded me with some great photographic moments.

So now I have a question and a task:

What makes a Street Photograph good to you? (theory)

Will you post to this thread a Street Photograph you've taken? (practice)

Let's find the definitions "in the doing" (practice)

cheers
Frank
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File Type: jpg theory_practice2-Edit.jpg (13.3 KB, 78 views)
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Old 02-07-2015   #2
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Hi Frank,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for putting up with us, can't believe you volunteered!

Totally subjective, what makes a street photograph good to me is open space and spatially isolated subjects.
I find I'm more interested in a single subjects relation to urban space than I am in subjects relation to each other, or in catching 'interesting' scenes or moments.

I'll post a picture to this comment in an hour or so, when I get home!

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Old 02-07-2015   #3
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Hi Frank,
Street for me carries a story within, an emotion, a mood, doesn't have to have a human element....and that is what makes it hard.
Street is something i have not devoted time to, even though you do snap a few here and there.
I'll see what i got in the file cabinet.
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Old 02-07-2015   #4
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Welcome to RFF. I don't think it's usually this fiery (the other thread)..In fact I find it very erudite, even literary, and very knowledgeable. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to seeing more of your photographs. I really liked some of that first crop.

I see street as lots of things. Shapes and Theatre are the two categories I often think of. And something extra is often less obvious.

This one has a first look appeal.



What is not in the frame is also important. The parents asked them to wait here? And they did? And there's no recreational hand-held device between the three of them! But I won't take another photo like this in a year and I am not looking for this type of shot at all. So I am looking for everything, and nothing.
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Old 02-07-2015   #5
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I'm not so much into street photography, maybe this is an opportunity to give it a try. I think about it as daily a slice of life in a theater which basically is the "street" we all walk down in our life. Human presence and human activity are the "engine" of the emotions a street photo should give us.
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Old 02-07-2015   #6
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I like to think that my perception of street photography is different than others. Maybe because its very personal. I feel this intention in my photography that leads me to a meditation. But in the end, many probably share in my sentiments/interests just as people share in the joy of ice cream.

There are many different kinds of street photography that I enjoy. Some with lots of architecture, some focused solely on people.

I think what keeps me going is the layers. There should be many layers to a photo and there should be something unique and interesting in each layer.

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Old 02-07-2015   #7
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... I think they should have a bit of humour about them ... oh! and you have to be close enough to be noticed and involved ... and be focused, exposed and above all composed properly


25 0094 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity


28 0261 2 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity


Scan-110430-0005 3 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity


--- 0021 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity


--- 0042 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity
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Old 02-07-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post

Totally subjective, what makes a street photograph good to me is open space and spatially isolated subjects.
I find I'm more interested in a single subjects relation to urban space than I am in subjects relation to each other, or in catching 'interesting' scenes or moments.
I absolutely agree with this.


Steamy
by Michael Fraser Photography, on Flickr


Into the Void
by Michael Fraser Photography, on Flickr

This is precisely the type of street photography that appeals to me, and that I I'm drawn to when shooting street.
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Old 02-07-2015   #9
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Universality, or in another way, familiarity: the feeling that "I've seen that!" and that I wished I'd shot it.

Note that wishing you could have taken a picture is not the same as being able to take it...

Cheers,

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Old 02-07-2015   #10
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"Totally subjective, what makes a street photograph good to me is open space and spatially isolated subjects.
I find I'm more interested in a single subjects relation to urban space than I am in subjects relation to each other, or in catching 'interesting' scenes or moments."

... interesting idea










... but on balance I think prefer interaction







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Old 02-07-2015   #11
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... and what about colour?









... is colour allowed?
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Old 02-07-2015   #12
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... and other photographers? ... is it cheating? ... cos they can hardly kick-off at having their picture taken can they, so it takes a lot of the pressure off















... that last one was a self confessed 'street-tog' iirc ... huge fast zoom on a nikon DSLR, and a hard-core street rep I seem to recall
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Old 02-07-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotographz View Post
What makes a Street Photograph good to you? (theory)

Will you post to this thread a Street Photograph you've taken? (practice)

Let's find the definitions "in the doing" (practice)
Frank, welcome and thanks for taking this workload on your shoulders. Hope it doesn't displace your camera bag too much.

#1 - I really can't articulate it. I know it when I see a good one, though.

#2 - Linked below

#3 - "in the doing" - well i flat out need to shoot more street, and will do so. But I do like other subject matter - good god everything's compelling - and shoot other things and formats.

Nice shots, everyone. A few of mine, all shot locally (Detroit):


L9990455_edited-1-w by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr


20090801-005_edited-1-w by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr


20101024-043_edited-1-w-copy by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr
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Old 02-07-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post











1024) {this.width=1024;this.alt='Click here to see a large version';}" onmouseover="if(this.alt) this.style.cursor='pointer';" onclick="if(this.alt) window.open('https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3298/4568001686_4930546191_b.jpg');" border="0"> 1024) {this.width=1024;this.alt='Click here to see a large version';}" onmouseover="if(this.alt) this.style.cursor='pointer';" onclick="if(this.alt) window.open('https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3298/4568001686_4930546191_b.jpg');" border="0">

... that last one was a self confessed 'street-tog' iirc ... huge fast zoom on a nikon DSLR, and a hard-core street rep I seem to recall

... and has been beaten up more than once I recall. He specialises in covering far right rallies and after club/pub turn outs so its hardly surprising.

His photostream https://www.flickr.com/photos/pixel-eight/
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Old 02-07-2015   #15
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The first things I look for in a good street photo is composition and light. I also believe that the elements of surprise, humor, and compassion play a large role in the street photography that I admire and in the stuff I shoot. And sometimes I am not even sure I know exactly what street photography is. I like shooting busy, haphazard, messy shots of everyday life and I also enjoy isolating one or two people in large urban settings. It basically comes down to simply finding the right subject, setting, and lighting for a scene to interest me enough to take a photo of it.











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Old 02-07-2015   #16
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Quote:
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So now I have a question and a task:

What makes a Street Photograph good to you? (theory)

Will you post to this thread a Street Photograph you've taken? (practice)

Let's find the definitions "in the doing" (practice)
Hello Frank -- well, I could go into a long rant into what makes a "Street Photograph"™ good to me, but it's one of those things that is easier done than said, and even then it's hard to get it done once it's said. I prefer a range of examples, but I also don't like photo-dumping in threads.

I'll post a few that I've taken, but they're hardly close to what I'd consider my "best" at promoting what I think is "good":











These tend to fall into one of the many "street" clichés of motion motion motion. I'd like to find one of mine which breaks the cliché rule, but I'm lazy at this moment to go seek and find...

I'll try to "practice" a bit more, although for the past few years that has been a luxury I just cannot indulge in; soon, I hope.

Cheers
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Old 02-07-2015   #17
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The one thing all good photographs have in common is that they're interesting.

What is interesting though is subjective, but my thoughts personally as regard street photography is - the photo should show me something I wouldn't see every day walking down any street in my city. So much street photography which is just people standing around streets downtown and is not the least bit interesting. This thread is already crowded by such photos, which readily demonstrates why they're not interesting.

Amongst them there are a few that are relatively interesting for providing a scene I wouldn't see at any given daylight hour on a street in my own city. Those are the ones I enjoy looking at.
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Old 02-07-2015   #18
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I have also not formulated a opinion on what makes a good street photography. But I definately know when I see one.
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Old 02-07-2015   #19
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Quote:
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... and what about colour?









... is colour allowed?
....absolutely!
I learned to understand and shoot correct color (film) because of my black and white experience.
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Old 02-07-2015   #20
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Ok. So I managed to post one. Looks like I can only do one at a time.
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Old 02-07-2015   #21
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Gabriel, that last one struck me as very Sander-like, meaning that as high praise of course.
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Old 02-07-2015   #22
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Hello Frank & welcome. I love looking at photography but really don't know how to explain in technical words what a good street photograph is. I like most all photographs I see. I love people. When I look at a street photograph I get to look at what the photographer saw. I get to share in what interested the photographers thoughts in why they took the photo to begin with. I get to take in the surroundings that the photographer is in the moment he/she trips the shutter. I know I'd make a poor critic.

As for my photography? Well it's a work in learning but one I do enjoy. This photo here goes way back to my 1st RF camera & one of the 1st street photos I took. BTW I like your definition of what street photography is to you. I can relate. It's not about life in a big city, but life surrounding you no matter where you are at.
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Old 02-07-2015   #23
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Quote:
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Hi Frank,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for putting up with us, can't believe you volunteered!

Totally subjective, what makes a street photograph good to me is open space and spatially isolated subjects.
I find I'm more interested in a single subjects relation to urban space than I am in subjects relation to each other, or in catching 'interesting' scenes or moments.

I'll post a picture to this comment in an hour or so, when I get home!
Johann the titles of the two photographs are:

theory (man flying on bike)
practice (man and bike falling)

These where taken on KNSM Island outside of Amsterdam.

cheers
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this simplicity, pure
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Old 02-07-2015   #24
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... was always going someplace to photograph an environment [i]that was not inside my front door[i] and that has not changed. Traveling is how I feed my curiosity and if I can't take a long far away trip, a small journey around town has rewarded me with some great photographic moments.
Hi Frank - welcome to RFF. Most of the above resonates with me, although "around town" for me means a contrived excuse to fight the traffic to get away from suburbia.

So travel is also how I feed my curiosity. My actual practice is constrained by my limited mobility, so my approach is similar to wildlife photographers -- I perch at a selected spot, become part of the environment and capture whatever looks interesting. Then after 20-30 minutes, move on to another location.

I think great street photography provides context and a sense of 'place.' I don't always achieve what I want, but I keep trying. Here's an example of my street capture:

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Old 02-07-2015   #25
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Quote:
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Those are nice!

Are the critics getting you down? Sounds like it with the apologetic tone you take. If so, ignore the critics and shoot what you love.

To me a great street photo is something I want to see again and again. Cartier-Bresson sums it up best.

"Yes...Yes...Yes...photography is like that and there's no maybes. All the maybes go to the trash. There is a tremendous enjoyment in saying yes, even if it is for something you hate. It is an affirmation...Yes!"

Goggle my name, have too many pix to post here. Personally I love a wide range of street and doc work. (I'm not much for studio work and staged photos.)

Here are a few photos from other photogs I like...

http://blogsearchtest.tumblr.com/
Daniel

There was a point in my life where I found myself overlyconcerned with what people thought...my skin is now a bit thicker. (alligator, crocodile...rhino)

I will take a look.
cheers
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the dark truth-
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this simplicity, pure
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Old 02-07-2015   #26
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Hello Frank. Welcome to RFF.

Theory - Find what works for you. Trial and error. Make mistakes. Look at art, other photographers, read, go to the movies, travel… Live life by working at job, falling in love, being hurt by love, making and losing friends. Be inspired by what is inside of you, who you are, and how you feel about your place in the world.

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Old 02-07-2015   #27
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Mr. Mentor, Sir Jackson.

You put it exactly right for me. I think something is good if I like it. Sometimes I don't like something because I don't understand this "something" and now I think it is wrong to criticize something I don't understand.

If I go out from our current home, it has street at the front and naturalized area at the back.
More on the east side I go more urban it gets (more street photography), west I go it is more outdoor, nature photography.

Recently, I started to pay attention for light as one of the major factors in good street photography. Which is important factor for any type of photography anyway.



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Old 02-07-2015   #28
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... and has been beaten up more than once I recall. He specialises in covering far right rallies and after club/pub turn outs so its hardly surprising.

His photostream https://www.flickr.com/photos/pixel-eight/
... I recall thinking at the time that I'd grown out of that sort of thing
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Old 02-07-2015   #29
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Johann the titles of the two photographs are:

theory (man flying on bike)
practice (man and bike falling)

These where taken on KNSM Island outside of Amsterdam.

cheers
... that must have hurt when he hit the street
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Old 02-07-2015   #30
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Quote:
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Johann the titles of the two photographs are:

theory (man flying on bike)
practice (man and bike falling)

These where taken on KNSM Island outside of Amsterdam.

cheers
Hi Frank,

thought I saw something familiar-looking there!

Drop me a line next time you're in Amsterdam
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Old 02-07-2015   #31
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From looking at the images posted here I can already see that this 'what makes a street photograph good' is quite an interesting topic, since the images all are so different.

When it comes to color: I like using some films as much as I like B&W for street photographs. The below one is cheap Kodacolor 200 and I like it for it's old look.


But my main m.o. for the 'classical' approach to street photography always is open spaces and the relation of the subject to that. Digital, that's a whole other cup of tea actually...
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Old 02-07-2015   #32
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... that must have hurt when he hit the street
These guys where drinking beers and taking turns riding bikes off a ramp into the water so no ouch just a splash.

cheers
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Old 02-07-2015   #33
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Quote:
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Hi Frank,

thought I saw something familiar-looking there!

Drop me a line next time you're in Amsterdam
I will do that. cheers
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a photograph is:

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the dark truth-
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this simplicity, pure
stolen moments.
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Old 02-07-2015   #34
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A story. An emotion, that would include "mood" I think. I don't think that a street, per se is necessary but the inclusion of human interaction seems to be more important to me.

My humble attempts



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Old 02-07-2015   #35
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Darthfeeble I remember that first one of yours: stupendous.
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Old 02-07-2015   #36
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Heres something from 2009.



I like the image enough but its only just street...not enough going on or curious about it to be a real street photo. Its a bit one-dimensional I think.
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Old 02-07-2015   #37
lynnb
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Hi Frank and welcome to the forum. Thanks for volunteering your time, experience and knowledge!

Street photography comes in many flavours depending on the photographer's interests and approach, so what's good to one may be unremarkable to another.

Good street photography to me has more in common with Shakespeare than anything else - I like looking at street photos that resonate with the human condition, with emotion and passion, drama, happiness, humour, love, tenderness, loneliness, quiet reflection… you get the picture (and hopefully, take it )

The drama can also come from lighting and mood as much as in what the people are actually doing, like a well-lit theatre set can be full of drama even if the actors have yet to walk on stage.

Good street photography can also include social comment that is timely and relevant, and if it then withstands the test of time it might be called great street photography. Social comment is often most biting and effective if it contains humour.

When I am out trying to make street photos I am looking for Shakespeare's storytelling on the human condition, and humour. And dogs (thank you, Mr Erwitt). Pictures that people will connect with on an emotional level.

kind regards,
Lynn

Some of my attempts (apologies that editing is not my strong point)

pathos AND dogs!


loneliness/isolation


wonderment


love




the fortitude of growing old


drama


tension


gossip


Social/political comment


humour


Like a theatre set (and it was raining cats and dogs)


fleeting moments of colour magic


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Old 02-08-2015   #38
fotographz
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Please keep posting images to this thread, if you have more than 6 or 7 post half now and the rest in another day.

cheers
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moments captured
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the dark truth-
a bright lie-
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Old 02-08-2015   #39
Harry S.
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Love the umbrellas Lynn
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Old 02-08-2015   #40
lynnb
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I was just reading an article on the NPPA site about what people perceive as "quality" in photojournalism photos. Given the crossover between street and PJ, I though it might be interesting to share the survey responses here.

Quote:
Now, let’s look at the attributes of the highest quality and characteristics that people said made a photograph worth publishing:

— context, like a sense of place

— they had good access

— tells me a story vs. just capturing a scene

— the right place at the right time
— kismet, in terms of the moment

— subject matter that has some currency or relevance

— capturing the exact moment that’s crucial to the action
— a perspective I might never see
— subject matter is clearly important
— can stand alone, without a caption
— told a good story

— dramatic, human moments
— grabbed my attention

— makes you say “wow”

— something I don’t see very often
— I can identify with the subject
— people genuinely reacting
— I can see what the subject is feeling
— natural, un-posed

— clear expressions

— people interacting
— you can see the reactions of people

— emotion between people connecting

— bright, crisp, clear

— perfect framing, artfully composed
— good lighting, well exposed

— vivid colors 
— I can see everything, really sharp
— clarity of the picture, sharpness


from "A QUESTION OF QUALITY: HOW RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS DESCRIBED PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE NPPA STUDY", NPPA study, February 2015
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