I read somewhere that the best way to describe “street photography” is to analogize it with pornography, in that you’ll recognize it when you see it. The genre itself is not as commercial as other branches but there’s still a fascination with the visual drama of it for both the photographer and audience.
I don’t think there’s a singular way to practice this type of photography other than to not consider it to be a lesser of a category just because the perception is to just have a camera and shoot randomly. The same rules apply in that composition matters for it to be compelling and I’ve learnt a lot and gained a new found respect for it by reading Eric Kim’s blog. Lots of great articles offering tips and techniques that take away the fear I think is often given to street photography.
I’m not a self-proclaim expert in this but from my practical knowledge, I would say that the most difficult part of doing it lies more in having the confidence to photograph people, especially when they’ve noticed you’re doing it.
It’s the perfect combination of behavior and strategies that can amount to getting great shots. I was often confronted with seeing people that I felt the immediate urge to photograph but I was presented with the difficult decision whether to ask permission, to just photograph them secretly or to find some compromise between the two.
At this point, secretly has been my choice and it’s a lot easier when you have a camera that lends itself very well to it. With the Canon G11, I rarely look at the subject directly to photograph because all the framing takes place in the swivel screen without them even noticing that the camera is pointing there direction.
I generally don’t like to categorize myself as a specific type of photographer because experimenting with other genres guarantees that you’ll eventually discover which type of photography comes more natural to you. I’ve finding street photography to be very therapeutic for when I’ve gone days without shooting and just feel like going on an unknown voyage around the neighborhood to photograph and not knowing what I’m going to find or what shots I’m going to make.