Monday, September 16, 2013

Photographic Subject Matter - "Street" Photography

   The last category of subject matter I will be doing in this series of posts on the topic is so-called "Street" photography which has a long tradition in our medium.  The great proponents of it, like Paul Strand and Walker Evans, made the idea of recording people unawares as they went about their life a real art form.

    I have very mixed feelings about it.  The thought of photographing someone without their permission has never set well with me.  Sometimes my "street" photography is actually the street, or in this case, the dock while I waited to board the ferry to Star Island.  I loved the arrow and the old fashioned picnic baskets.  The people were going to the island to have a "Great Gatsby" luncheon at the inn.

    Every photographer has to grapple with this idea of photographing people who are unaware of your intention.  Several years ago I did do a few street images in Galway, Ireland but since then I've modified the way I work.  If I come across people that I find fascinating, like this woman spinning off her angora bunny at a craft fair, I always ask permission to make a few photographs.  I try to not include their faces and focus only on their hands or feet so I don't have to worry about release forms. I suppose it really isn't what one would categorize as true street photography but it is how I now approach it.  You have to decide how this subject matter works for you.

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