Another aspect that I absolutely love about street photography is the incredible variety of subjects you can have. Since moving to Coconut Grove, I’ve wanted to spend an afternoon going around West Coconut Grove and photograph (I live just 3 blocks from here). The “West Grove”, as we locals call it, has a rich history originally settled in the late 1800’s as a largely Bahamian community.
Just 5 minutes into my wanderings, a woman yells out to me from her front yard, “Are you photographing our street?!”
This prefaced a half hour conversation with her, her children, her grand children and her 90 year old mother — all spending a perfect winter afternoon together as a family on their front lawn.
Rena Samuels, originally from Darlington, South Carolina, didn’t have much to say to me but she stared at me with the most penetrating eyes. She did say she was born on 9/22/24, “I’m 90. I have 9 children and 48 great-grandchildren.” When I asked her what’s the secret to living to 90, “Do the right thing always.”
One of the differences about me as a street photographer versus many of my peers, is that I like to stop and talk with the people I’m photographing. I really like to learn a little bit about their lives. For me it puts context to my photograph. It adds depth.
So, just what is “street photography”?……
Encyclopedia Britanica’s definition of street photography:
“Street photography, a genre that records everyday life in a public place. The very publicness of the setting enables the photographer to take candid pictures of strangers, often without their knowledge. Street photographers do not necessarily have a social purpose in mind, but they prefer to isolate and capture moments which might otherwise go unnoticed.”
Wikipedia’s definition of street photography:
“Street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. The subject of the photograph might be absent of people and can be an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic.
Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive or poignant moment. Much of what is now widely regarded, stylistically and subjectively, as definitive street photography was made in the era spanning the end of the 19th Century through to the late 1970s; a period which saw the emergence of portable cameras. The portable camera enabled candid photography in public places became an issue of discussion. Street photographers create fine art photography (including street portraits) by capturing people in public places, often with a focus on emotions displayed, thereby also recording people’s history from an emotional point of view. Social documentary photographers operate in public places documenting people and their behavior in public places for recording people’s history and other purposes. Services like Google Street Viewalso record the public place at a massive scale. Photojournalists work in public places, capturing newsworthy events, which may include people and private property visible from public places.”
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