Street Photography. What Is It?

The Swing © Knut Skjærven

The Swing © Knut Skjærven

Street photography. What is it?

First and foremost it is a questions of attitude. It does not need to happen in a street, but for the most part it does.  Streets are everywhere. Maybe that is the lesson. The countryside is about to be closed down for all others than local beards and seasonal visitors.

Street photography is defined here as a type of photography in which people and human interaction are the bearing elements.  No dead dogs, no plain fields, no facial portraits, no houses wide and high, no diamonds in the sky. Only plain and simple people shooting. Storytelling.

Shot in a public place of any kind. Not staged, not posed.  Not spoken to or directed. Life in the raw. People in context telling a story by their mere being there. Call it straight photography.

The idea is that a photo should be the first sentences in a story that you complete when you see the picture.  You are invited to use your creativity and play along.

Typically it will be low key photography rendering subtle moments from the flow of everyday life. Often positive moments and some even with a smile. Never harassing, rude and offending. You want to give back more than you take away.

Street photography, understood this way, is indeed a far cry from the dark rolls of photo documentation seeking crisis, seeking human suffering, seeking catastrophe.

Street photography should  always be silently surprising.

Street photography must not to be confused with street documentation. In street photography you add a little. It got to be shot for a reason and that reason have to be aesthetically distinctive. Don’t tell the story in words, show it in photographs. The thousand or more words.

We call it Itching Images. The best of moments will stick to you. Even after they are gone.

That is the ambition.

Terms to be remembered: Itching Image, low key photography, street photography, straight photography, storytelling.

August 16, 2013

© Knut Skjærven 2013. All rights reserved.

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  1. #1 by sloppy buddhist on August 17, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    i still hate strangers taking photos of me…always a tension but i love street photography…thanks for this post.

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