Notes on Street Photography

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<ul><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 1/6</p><p>NotesonStreetPhotography(Ver.1)</p><p>By Anwrdn Macaraig</p><p>DEFINITION. As there is no universal definition of street photography or what</p><p>constitutes a street photograph, allow me to say what I understand according tomy observation on the subject:</p><p>A street photograph is a photograph of a spontaneous, candid andunaltered scene having profound coherence with humaninteraction/s or alienation where the scene is intentionallycomposed and the interaction or alienation decisively captured.</p><p>Again, the above is just based on my observation and I am not trying toredefine what others have previously made. Also, it is essential that one mustbe able to grasp at least the basic unadulterated concept of photography as afoundation.</p><p>THEJELLYMENTZ. The elements of a street photograph are: Background;Subject; and Coherence.</p><p>Background refers to the factors that surround the Subject. The backgroundeffectively reassures, emphasizes, facilitates, aids or promotes the Subject.Henry Cartier-Bresson emphasizes the importance of background in his photos</p><p>by utilizing geometric shapes as backgrounds in his works. Accordingly,geometric shapes as background are said to be pleasing to the eye andeffectively facilitates coherence with the Subject.</p><p> The Subject is the central point of interest. It may refer to either humaninteraction or alienation. Some admit animals as subjects if they are able toportray the expression of human acts or emotions. Both Background andSubject must be spontaneous, candid and unaltered. Some may not be strictlyconsidered as candid but the spontaneity of the acts and events must remain</p><p>intact. That is, without any intervention from the photographer.</p><p>Coherence refers to the overall aesthetic correlation between the Subject andthe Background. Most often than not, the background and subject or two ormore subjects are juxtaposed to present a compelling scene which admits ofthoughtful consideration and imagery. There cannot be a street photograph ifone of the above elements is not present. The presence of all of the aboveelements in one shot may be referred to as the decisive moment for thephotographer or a moment where all these elements are fixated in time through</p><p>the medium of the camera.</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 2/6</p><p>GENERALAPPROACHES. In street photography, the photographer makes thescene and takes the photograph. The photographer does this without anyintervention on his part other than being there and ready to capture themoment. Pre-visualization or the anticipation of a certain event to come</p><p>occupies a major part of street photography.</p><p>There are three ways of making a street photograph:</p><p>1) Background Fixing. The most common method of doing streetphotography is looking for a background ahead of the subject. At theoutset, there is yet no specific subject or point of interest.</p><p>Upon having chosen a background, the photographer pre-visualizes the</p><p>happening of a certain event the appearance of a desired subject. Thisis the waiting period where the adage patience is a virtue comes intoplay.</p><p>Upon the appearance of the subject, the photographer must be quick totake action. It is really helpful to have a certain mastery of ones owncamera when indulging into street photography as there should be nospace for errors because a decisive moment for a particularly desiredsubject happens in a fraction of a second and may no longer present itselfagain.</p><p>An example of background fixing is Henri Cartier-Bressons Bicyclephoto </p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 3/6</p><p>Here is a sample from Gary Winogrand </p><p>2) Subject Chasing. Many aspiring street photographers would alwaysindulge themselves in this kind of street photography chasing thesubjects - hunting them down. The hunting part could be easy but</p><p>extreme care must be exercised when indulging in this mode of streetphotography.</p><p> When subjects are chased, many photographers almost always forgetabout the two other elements of street photography Background andCoherence. That is why although the subject was captured, for the lackof background and coherence, the resulting photograph is not as strongas what the photographer intended it to be. A failure.</p><p>While chasing the subject, the background changes swiftly and almostalways instantaneously as the subject moves. Subject chasing creates amore challenging situation than background fixing because the streetphotographer is usually in a constant move and thus continuously validating or rechecks the coherence between the subject and thebackground.</p><p>Even so, with the proper skill and experience, subject chasing could bedone properly.</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 4/6</p><p>An example of subject chasing is Trent Parkes photo </p><p>Another example from Henry Cartier-BressonsAlicante</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 5/6</p><p>3) Instant Madness. This is a kind of street photography where thesubject, background and coherence appears in one instance without theneed of chasing the subject or fixing the background. Here goes thefamous excuse of great street photographers saying Its just luck. It isindeed a no-sweat exercise.</p><p>An example of this is Elliott Erwitts photo </p><p>Below is a sample from Henry Cartier-Bresson where he admittedlyhave taken this photo as he was passing by </p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 Notes on Street Photography</p><p> 6/6</p><p>Vivian Maiers photo below also exemplifies instant madness</p><p>Street photography is an ever evolving genre of photography that resonatesmans view about ordinarily extraordinary scenes and slices of life on the streets</p><p>and in public places. This notes has been my understanding of streetphotography and I am in advance asking for apologies to any blunders in myobservations, so far.</p><p>As divine as the idea of painting a picture where all the Jellymentz dance to thetune of the whole scene, street photography escapes and outwits any manmadedefinition each time a decisive moment is immortalized.</p><p>September 13, 2011.</p></li></ul>