What is street photography?
Street photography shows people, or remnants of human interaction in unmediated chance encounters, random incidents, or photographic opportunities within public places.
For me, there are similar elements to those of urban photography. The difference, is that the subject involves a person, or people as the subject. Urban photography has the environment as the subject.
Examples of street photography subjects
I believe good street photography should do at least one of the following things:
- Tell a story
- Ask a question
- Encourage thought in the viewer
- Show juxtaposition, or interaction with the surroundings
- The viewer can relate to the subject
(I’d love to know your thoughts on what you think makes a good street photograph. Let me know in the comments.)
Here’s some example images
Can street photography be about animals?
Many street photographers have collections that contain animals, in particular, dogs. But they generally have a human element too.
One street photographer, Alan Schaller has a complete collection, where dogs are the subject. Although he refers to the collection as dog portraits, even though they are taken on the street.
Most animal photography taken in public, contains a human element somewhere. Even if it’s just by seeing the dog lead exiting the edge of the frame. You are intimating that there is a human presence, even if you can’t see it.
For me, this makes it a street photograph.
I guess street photography’s as subjective as any photographic genre. And in the end, the decision as to what to include in that definition has to be yours.
The most important part of photography is that it’s enjoyable for you. So, does the name you give your style really matter? I don’t think so.
When I’m asked what type of photography I enjoy, I simply say “urban and street photography”.
I’d love to know your thoughts.