Recently I have read about people commenting on street photography. The comment goes like “street photography is different from photographing street”. I believe the comment arise from the fact that there are a lot of pictures of empty streets that flood the internet, and a lot of them claimed that those are street photography.
Well, I do shoot a lot of pictures of empty streets and back alleys, mostly for practice purpose on composition and technique. Do I consider them as street photography? Hmm, I’m not very sure. I believe it is important to first understand the definition of street photography, and this is where the variances come in. Everyone defines street photography differently.
I guess we are generally agreeable that the stage for street photography to occur is to be at somewhere public. It can be on the street, at a park, in the museum and etc. The scene that we captured should be spontaneous and not staged, this is another criteria which I believe everyone is agreeable too. And now comes the debating part: is humanity a necessity for street photography?
My opinion is this: humanity is not a necessity, but it really depends on what message you are trying to convey in your picture. If your purpose is to capture a moment of interaction, giving a sense of time and space, perhaps including humanity in your frame will bring a greater impact to the picture. However, if you have a distinctive subject that you would like to emphasize in your picture, then by including human in your picture may distract the viewers.
Well, why do we need to be so critical about these definitions and rules? End of the day, a good picture will still be a good picture, it doesn’t really matter whether it follows the rules and definitions or not. So, let’s just get over it and start shooting. Till then.