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Old 03-07-2017   #81
mlu19
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If you equate shooting street with the thrill of trophy hunting, it makes sense that shooting street would be such a thrilling and intriguing experience. You're literally hunting for that decisive moment and shooting well...people at your own will. Evidently, it is also a good vehicle to teach people how to concur their fear, or how not to give a f about what others think of you

Why do you see so many so-called "mediocre" street photos these days? There might be just as many mediocre street photos back in the day but there weren't facebook/flickr or instagram to share on.
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Old 03-07-2017   #82
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If you equate shooting street with the thrill of trophy hunting, it makes sense that shooting street would be such a thrilling and intriguing experience. You're literally hunting for that decisive moment and shooting well...people at your own will. Evidently, it is also a good vehicle to teach people how to concur their fear, or how not to give a f about what others think of you

Why do you see so many so-called "mediocre" street photos these days? There might be just as many mediocre street photos back in the day but there weren't facebook/flickr or instagram to share on.
+1 Couldnt agree more there.

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Old 03-07-2017   #83
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Some replies here understand the topic but others are reading a meaning that isn't there.

I would suggest it would be helpful to comment on what I actually posted.

Street photography itself is not being criticized here.

Understanding street photography is not the topic.

No one else has been 'blamed' for anything.

I simply made an observation: everything from poor to mediocre to average street photography seems to reap inordinate amounts of praise. For example, as someone who sent me a PM phrased it: "as if the shutter was just tripped accidentally when pulling it out of the bag."

It's almost as if *any* street photography is considered *good* street photography just *because* it is street photography.

This is not something I routinely notice in other genres.
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Old 03-07-2017   #84
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Thanks for this post, Ko.
Thank you for noticing and thank you for yours!

I made few more after this one with pokes to those who reminded me then I started and knew nothing about Garry Winogrand, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Walker Evans and so on. I was at the same stage and making same comments about homeless, backs, ladies and else. Looking at the pictures taken by those whom I mentioned, reading their interviews and essays about them helped me to "get street photography" and it is helping to get where with my photography.
I also want to mention RFF memeber airfrogusmc who is real mentor for street photography to me. At the earlier learning stage I was making same arguments with him as I could see here. But he was always calm even if I wasn't.
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Old 03-07-2017   #85
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I simply made an observation: everything from poor to mediocre to average street photography seems to reap inordinate amounts of praise. For example, as someone who sent me a PM phrased it: "as if the shutter was just tripped accidentally when pulling it out of the bag."

It's almost as if *any* street photography is considered *good* street photography just *because* it is street photography.

This is not something I routinely notice in other genres.
I beg to differ. I never really noticed that crap got praised in a durable way by serious people.

It may be that nowadays, "street photography" is generally done by young people spreading the social networks with their "masterpieces", while keeping "liking" and "faving" everything.

I don't have any FB account, I don't have any Twitter account, I don't have any Instagram account, but I know what those social networks are and how they work (and how they make people lonely and unable to think by themselves after having taken some time to make their mind in an elaborated way).

When you see some profiles with dozens of thousands of "followers" and dozens of thousands of followed people, you get it all.

But, it won't be like that forever. These people will sooner or later realize that you don't create some real art with no story to tell and no real matter to make other people think of.
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Old 03-07-2017   #86
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Poor street photography often (usually) contains nothing.
I have been called the Seinfeld of Street Photography.
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Old 03-07-2017   #87
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Some replies here understand the topic but others are reading a meaning that isn't there.

I would suggest it would be helpful to comment on what I actually posted.

Street photography itself is not being criticized here.

Understanding street photography is not the topic.

No one else has been 'blamed' for anything.

I simply made an observation: everything from poor to mediocre to average street photography seems to reap inordinate amounts of praise. For example, as someone who sent me a PM phrased it: "as if the shutter was just tripped accidentally when pulling it out of the bag."

It's almost as if *any* street photography is considered *good* street photography just *because* it is street photography.

This is not something I routinely notice in other genres.
i must be a truly dreadful street photographer as my mediocre to average images get no praise, feint or otherwise.
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Old 03-07-2017   #88
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See, you get it!

HCB's shot is excellent as we see the sideways face of the man pouring the wine, inviting us to join his lunch party while we are drawn by the gaze of the others to the river.

But my well versed friend, you miss-read my second point. I said 'creeper', not 'creepy'. This Winogrand pic that you link to, however, still works on the creepy level as the rigid young lady is being stalked by the man in the shadows, while the contorted mannequins can barely hide their glee.
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Old 03-07-2017   #89
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As for the unwarranted praise that street photography receives; I have not noticed this, but then again, when I’m viewing photos, I’m doing just that, not really reading any of the comments that may or may not follow below.

Moreover, since I don’t ask for critique, I don’t give it either…I think that only fair. As such, I don’t really muck about in critique-based forums. This said, I’ve heard folks in various forums complain that praise and compliments are excessively dispensed, so this problem is not unique to street photography.

In general…

Street photography doesn’t even necessitates a human subject. But if focusing on the purpose of the candid, one aspect to consider is timing. Often, the opportune photograph materializes and dissolves nearly instantly…that whole decisive moment thing. Consequently, consent beforehand is not possible.

If folks are burning out on the decisive moment thing, that’s OK, except again, one can say that about every other type of photography, particularly given the number of photos generated on a per second basis across the globe.

As for the ethics of candid photography, it’s a personal choice. I follow my own limitations, whereby I pretty much apply the golden rule…would I want to be photographed doing that or being in that particular condition. However, I typically wouldn’t impose these restrictions on other photographers.

These street photography bashing threads are relatively common, which is fine, but I never seem to receive an alternative recommendation that doesn’t face the same flaws. No one has yet to impress me with a new exciting route, not even close.

Then again, I’m pretty much stuck on stuff from say the late 1920s to early 1970s, which is really no different than someone who prefers classical music from centuries back; there’s no rule that we all need to shove to the front.

And really, so much of this often comes down to arguing that the color blue is better than the color red; thanks, you’ve got your things, I’ve got mine.

In any event, I would hate to think that the photographic documentation of humanity should be limited to posed shots or those done with prior consent.

Still, we can continue to single out street photography if it makes y’all feel better; I'm critical too. But, aside from ethical opposition to candids, it’s simply misguided to believe that any other genre or style is immune to similar faults or criticism.

Finally, no type of photography should need to advance a social message to validate itself; that’s ridiculous. This is not to discredit any type of art that seeks to improve humanity, which needs all the help it can get, but for the love of God, I don’t need ALL art to proselytize, even if for a good cause.

Then again, I don’t believe that photos tell stories, so as you might have gathered, I have no problem with photography being appreciated for form only; there’s nothing shallow about this…that’s aesthetics, and not all art is meant “to get” because often there is nothing intended ‘to get.’
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Old 03-07-2017   #90
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Nobody can chase you down, in the US, and threaten you with legal trouble. . . .
Of course they can. They are likely to have considerable trouble in carrying out the threat, but they can still make it. Or they can just stab you...

Legally. this is a minefield. It varies from place to place, and time to time. Mostly, though, a variant on the old "reasonable man" (or woman) test is all you need to worry about. The people who are the most excited and excitable are rarely the most reasonable, or the most likely to pursue pseudo-legal threats.

Cheers,

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Old 03-07-2017   #91
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This phenomena is not referring to social media. I'm not on Instagram or twitter and don't view street photos on facebook and am not counting 'likes.'

This is a general perception common to various media, going back many, many years (the 70s to be specific) including print magazines, coffee table photo books, to modern online magazines, to photo blogs (including blogs of well-known street photographers) and photo news sites. The praise could be from random commenters on a blog, to writers in American Photographer or Pop Photo many years ago and everything in between.
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Old 03-07-2017   #92
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And once more for additional clarity, this is NOT a 'street photography bashing thread.'

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Old 03-07-2017   #93
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I get Street Photography when it is well executed, like any other genre. For me it is all about content and composition. There are very few people who can melt into the background and be the observer of human life and daily activity without drawing attention to themselves. That in itself is the cause of a lot of mediocre street shots. If you have a small pocket camera it helps as people are not threatened by them, but an SLR/DSLR with a massive zoom is another thing entirely.
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Old 03-07-2017   #94
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i must be a truly dreadful street photographer as my mediocre to average images get no praise, feint or otherwise.
Thanks for the levity, Joe. I'll have to start commenting on your stuff...
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Old 03-07-2017   #95
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I have been called the Seinfeld of Street Photography.
This and Roger's 'just stab you' was worth the whole 3 pages of reading.
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Old 03-07-2017   #96
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"First there is a mountain / Then there is no mountain / Then there is." - Donovan Leitch (from a Buddhist saying originally formulated by Qingyuan Weixin)

Just because of the shear numbers and social media etc. you are going to find a lot of [street] photos / photographers in different phases of their shooting experience. Sometimes I have to search long and hard for something positive to say about a particular photo... and if inclined to comment, in most cases I would rather be supportive. Sure a comment about (e.g.) muddy shadows is also supportive, but one might choose the time and place.

Yesterday I ran across "Sense of Place" by Motohashi Seiichi... support the good ones ; )
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Old 03-07-2017   #97
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support the good ones ; )
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Old 03-07-2017   #98
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Street photography rarely passes beyond two things: rote formalism and gawking. Neither of those things are difficult or interesting. However, some interesting things can (and have) been done with it. Often it's a lot better when collected into a book/zine/etc. so you can see common threads in the photographer's mindset. The collections themselves rarely make it much more interesting but at least it becomes cohesive.

Some quality past masters are Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, William Eggleston, and André Kertész. There are, of course, more great street photographers - but these are all solid intros into the four predominant modes of "street photography". A quality contemporary is Daniel Arnold (who has a very famous Instagram, but rarely posts his best work there now that he works for Vogue/NYT). He's still finding his legs somewhat, but he's only been doing it for three years full-time (if I recall correctly) and you can see he's chasing after something in humanity that interests him.
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Old 03-07-2017   #99
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^^^ "Gawking"
The next great Genre category?
Maybe I'll start a flickr group just to see what happens.
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Old 03-07-2017   #100
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splitimageview--I agree! It hasn't hit me yet why taking pix of complete strangers is art. My best "street" photos were of architecture--oh well...
Thanks for the opinion..
Now--what camera and film/lens is best??!! :-)
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je suis creep (she is la belle)
Old 03-07-2017   #101
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je suis creep (she is la belle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
See, you get it!

HCB's shot is excellent as we see the sideways face of the man pouring the wine, inviting us to join his lunch party while we are drawn by the gaze of the others to the river.

But my well versed friend, you miss-read my second point. I said 'creeper', not 'creepy'. This Winogrand pic that you link to, however, still works on the creepy level as the rigid young lady is being stalked by the man in the shadows, while the contorted mannequins can barely hide their glee.
Thanks for replying to me.
Do you know what calling RFF member as "my friend" is considered as offensive here buy some? I'm immigrant in Canada who has changed it and many others have changed it and we understand each other. But those who are frozen in time and single culture are not accepting it.

It is up to you to judge Winogrand as the creep. He wasn't hiding, he was using 28 mm lens and to get this close to person and as openly as Winogrand did is nothing creepy to me. It was well visible in advance what he was photographing on the street. He was not hiding, but staying in the middle of the flow.
Winogrand was from immigrant family. He mentioned what with his photographs he was "student of America". This is very close to me. I was taking pictures of Canada since we landed. It is still a lot to learn to me about Canada and Canadians. And it is changing fast.

Here is the picture I recently took openly with camera to my eye. I named it "je suis creep (she is la belle)"



Why I took it same way as Winogrand was taking it? I'm not horny creep to print and dink at it later. I'm documenting the life. Have you seen people dressed like this in Winogrand pictures or Vivian Maier photography? The world has changed and it has to be documented as it is constantly changing. Only few decades ago women in Iran were free to dress as they wanted to. It has been changed and choice was not made by them.
http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/wome...ng-hijab-1979/

Now, back to hobos and backs. This is the photo which triggered HCB to photograph.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6...eumgo1_500.jpg

I googled Henry Cartier-Bresson photography and hobos, backs photos were plenty. I'm not big fan of it, but experts think opposite. Not "street photography" experts, but museum experts.

https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...-bresson-9.jpg

https://artblart.files.wordpress.com...xique-1934.jpg

http://www.urban-photography-art.com...sson-berli.jpg

http://d2jv9003bew7ag.cloudfront.net...sbourg1945.jpg

http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/exh...otre_dame.html

So, Peace on Earth and salam alaikum.
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Old 03-07-2017   #102
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Alaikum salam Ko.Fe!
I said Winogrand's photograph is creepy. Not him. The atmosphere of his image.

Thanks for the discussion and the links. I was familiar with HCB's shot, but not Winogrand's..

(p.s. my whole premise was tongue in cheek to start with)
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Old 03-07-2017   #103
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People are learning, trying to figure something out. You do this by trying. They are excited. It is not easy to be GREAT at something. No one here is presenting these type of photos as masterpieces. You take this forum photography too seriously. Now, if you go to a good gallery or a museum and you feel the same way... that's a different story.
In the Eastern Orthodox liturgy of St Basil the Great, the priest announces readings with "Wisdom! Let us be attentive" and I feel maybe jsroclit's post should have been similarly heralded.

Even if you look at something and know it's crap it's worth bringing a little charity and humility to your discussion of it. Even if the photographer thinks it's good and other people think it's good and every bone in your body and hair on your head is bored by it, it's worth recognising that it is probably, nevertheless, the work of someone who cared about what he was doing and thought he saw something worth preserving and worth showing to others. Maybe it's someone young and learning, maybe it's someone who entirely lacks understanding of the art and will never be able to successfully convey what he saw in an image or maybe it's someone for whom what is banal to you is still new and fresh. Or maybe you've missed something in the work. We aren't all equally equipped to see the merit that's there. Chesterton said "is ditchwater dull? Naturalist friends with microscopes tell me it teems with quiet fun". Whichever it is tolerance rather than impatience is more likely to lead to the spread of insight. And anyone who is tempted to criticize a photograph, street, landscape, or other, might want to think back to his teenage years and consider how easy it was then to hint at a superior understanding and taste by savaging the songs friends and acquaintances liked and how hard it was, when a song is being ridiculed, to say no, that's good. Cynicism is a much easier pose to carry off than earnestness if you want to seem grown up and cool. But there's a lot more to be gained by thinking about and talking about why things succeed than there is in just pointing out that something's failed.
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Old 03-07-2017   #104
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“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

The street photos that catch my eye can be described this way. So many have nothing interesting, yet seem to get many kudos nonetheless.
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Old 03-07-2017   #105
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there's a lot more to be gained by thinking about and talking about why things succeed than there is in just pointing out that something's failed.
No one is being a critic here, per se.

The observation is as I posted above: it appears that street gets praised simply *because it is street.*

No one has to agree with this observation, of course.
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Old 03-07-2017   #106
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In the Eastern Orthodox liturgy of St Basil the Great, the priest announces readings with "Wisdom! Let us be attentive" and I feel maybe jsroclit's post should have been similarly heralded.

Even if you look at something and know it's crap it's worth bringing a little charity and humility to your discussion of it. Even if the photographer thinks it's good and other people think it's good and every bone in your body and hair on your head is bored by it, it's worth recognising that it is probably, nevertheless, the work of someone who cared about what he was doing and thought he saw something worth preserving and worth showing to others. Maybe it's someone young and learning, maybe it's someone who entirely lacks understanding of the art and will never be able to successfully convey what he saw in an image or maybe it's someone for whom what is banal to you is still new and fresh. Or maybe you've missed something in the work. We aren't all equally equipped to see the merit that's there. Chesterton said "is ditchwater dull? Naturalist friends with microscopes tell me it teems with quiet fun". Whichever it is tolerance rather than impatience is more likely to lead to the spread of insight. And anyone who is tempted to criticize a photograph, street, landscape, or other, might want to think back to his teenage years and consider how easy it was then to hint at a superior understanding and taste by savaging the songs friends and acquaintances liked and how hard it was, when a song is being ridiculed, to say no, that's good. Cynicism is a much easier pose to carry off than earnestness if you want to seem grown up and cool. But there's a lot more to be gained by thinking about and talking about why things succeed than there is in just pointing out that something's failed.
I was certainly attentive to your post. Wonderful to see the Orthodox liturgy invoked. To say nothing of Chesterton. Thank you.

I think there is something deeper in street photography that may often not be present, but when it is it may not be obvious. The philosophy underpinning a fine still life or interior or even landscape is possibly deeper still. The remarkable thing about RFF is that we get to see examples of all of these that really are very good. A lot of what is here is indeed better than what we see in many galleries. A colleague whose wife is a poet once said to me that there are a thousand fine poets of whom we will never hear. The same goes for photographers. Except that I see them here at RFF.
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Old 03-07-2017   #107
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The street photos that catch my eye can be described this way. So many have nothing interesting, yet seem to get many kudos nonetheless.
You have made it clear you believe this to be the case. You however have not provided any evidence.
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Old 03-07-2017   #108
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On a side note...I think street photography needs "the eye" - both the photographer and the spectator/critic need it. Most people (of both categories) don´t have it, unfortunately.
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Old 03-07-2017   #109
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I'm scared to get involved in this thread but...

I find the random snaps of strangers to be pretty boring and more like a sterile anthropological study.

This photo struck me as an excellent example of 'street' photography...

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...ter-goes-viral

It kinda reminded me of this...

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...6df9663c25.jpg

But, I got a copy of Lee Friedlander's 'Human Clay' and was disappointed at how much (I feel) were meaningless photos. They often seemed to serve only as a documentary of people (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) rather than being interesting photos.

Example...

https://www.vincentborrelli.com/pict...g?v=1473355150

There are many excellent photos in that book though
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Old 03-08-2017   #110
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excellent foto to me, makes me feel as if i am standing right in that busy corner
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Old 03-08-2017   #111
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Streetpotography is the art/mystery of story telling in just one second. In a glimps of the eyes and the impact which is caused in the onlooker's brain.

There must be a 'hook' within the scene. Most photographers thinks that photography under open sky on the streets has something to do with 'street', but it's not. ;-)
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Old 03-08-2017   #112
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Quote:
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I'm scared to get involved in this thread but...

I find the random snaps of strangers to be pretty boring and more like a sterile anthropological study.

This photo struck me as an excellent example of 'street' photography...

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...ter-goes-viral

It kinda reminded me of this...

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...6df9663c25.jpg

But, I got a copy of Lee Friedlander's 'Human Clay' and was disappointed at how much (I feel) were meaningless photos. They often seemed to serve only as a documentary of people (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) rather than being interesting photos.

Example...

https://www.vincentborrelli.com/pict...g?v=1473355150

There are many excellent photos in that book though
sorry, for me as an old-school-streetphotographer these scenarios have nothing to do with my understanding of 'streetphotography'. For me it's photojournalism as f.e. war photography.
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Old 03-08-2017   #113
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sorry, for me as an old-school-streetphotographer these scenarios have nothing to do with my understanding of 'streetphotography'. For me it's photojournalism as f.e. war photography.
Sorry, what scenarios are you referring to? Do you mean the photos I had chosen?

Would you not consider the early work of Joel Meyerowitz street photography?

What is your definition of street photography?

N.B I'm not disagreeing with you; I'm genuinely interested in your opinion
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Old 03-08-2017   #114
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I simply made an observation: everything from poor to mediocre to average street photography seems to reap inordinate amounts of praise. For example, as someone who sent me a PM phrased it: "as if the shutter was just tripped accidentally when pulling it out of the bag."

It's almost as if *any* street photography is considered *good* street photography just *because* it is street photography.
I haven't really noticed this, at least not to a higher degree than I see with any other sort of craft or art. It's usually beginners praising other beginners.
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Old 03-08-2017   #115
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Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

The street photos that catch my eye can be described this way. So many have nothing interesting, yet seem to get many kudos nonetheless.
This is all true. Here, Erwitt says pretty the same thing as Willy Ronis, for instance (but Ronis introduces the concept of the "predicted good situation" and the frustration when that good situation doesn't come out eventually).

Now, howzabout just skipping the many pictures you find nothing interesting in them and try to concentrate on pictures you find many interestng things in them, even if they belong to an unknown genre ?

When you come to listen to some music which makes your ears grind, in spite of being depicted as great contemporary music by the critics, what do you do then ?

I still can't think of highly praised photos being highly praised "because it is street" while they are obviously crap.

Of course, now we need to define what "obvious perception of art" and "crap" mean.
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Old 03-08-2017   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
It's almost as if *any* street photography is considered *good* street photography just *because* it is street photography.
two possible explanations:
- critical comments online usually leads to reputation of being an a**hole. thats why many prefer not comment at all.
- shot with exotic or expensive gear or medium, has added value to some so they choose to praise it regardless is it worth it. gear is their hobby more than photography.
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Old 03-08-2017   #117
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two possible explanations:
- critical comments online usually leads to reputation of being an a**hole. thats why many prefer not comment at all.
Yup. I find it funny the uproar that ensues when someone points out the state of "street" today. Even more ironic is the justification of bad street examples in a thread about bad street.

I'm sorry but this image doesn't do anything for me. It's exactly what the op describes. Random snap on the street. Compare the ops initial post to this image.

Apart from how the woman is dressed there is literally NO interest to this image. Even still being that I'm out looking for shots a lot, she isn't that interesting compared to real characters in the street.
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
We're all capable of taking good images. Ko I've seen you post some decent stuff. It all comes down to editing and how critical you are of your images. People seem lazy. Post whatever. I don't think there's any pro street photographers that post here often, it's all amateurs. You can't always expect magnum level **** online from amateurs.

Signed,

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Old 03-08-2017   #118
begona
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Street Photographer

I consider myself as a street photographer and I think that:

- 99% of street photos online are ****,
- 99% of my street photos are ****.

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Old 03-08-2017   #119
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I don't think there's any pro street photographers that post here often, it's all amateurs. You can't always expect magnum level **** online from amateurs.
This I would have printed and framed if I had some money to waste on ink and frames.
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Old 03-08-2017   #120
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So many comments, so many fingers pointing at the moon (as Buddha would say). Ask yourself what is "street" in a hyper gentrified neoliberal surveilled Street View world? If you can't muster up an informed response to this, do yourself a favour by reading some David Harvey and the you might realise that the genre of "street photography" has been conceptually and socially redundant since at least the OPEC crisis of 1973. In all seriousness, what is this "street" ye speak of?
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