Street Photography no-nos?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Rah Q5, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Rah Q5

    tony cooper Guest

    Top-posting here because I don't want to force anyone to read this
    drivel just to see what has been added.

    Only Floyd could write something like this and - with a presumably
    straight face - accuse someone else of using gratuitous insults.

    I have struggled to find at least one point wherein I can be in
    agreement with Floyd and finally found one: It is not necessary to
    have a street in the image in "street" photography. "Street" is the
    genre, not the location. It is similar to usage of the term "street
    smarts". It doesn't mean you are smart enough not to play in traffic.
    Or, "street cred" not meaning that you find the concept of a paved
    vehicular path to be credible.

    For anyone who thinks that Floyd has regained his senses and stopped
    claiming that his image of a truck is "street" photography, I'll save
    you the effort of reading. He hasn't.
    tony cooper, Jul 30, 2012
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  2. Re-read what you quoted; what he is saying is not what you think he is
    saying. What he is (accurately) saying is that no property owner in the
    U.S. has ever successfully litigated a copyright infringement claim
    against a photographer for photographing and subsequently using an image
    of their property. However, it's really expensive to defend against such
    lawsuits, so as photographers we have to ask ourselves if a particular
    building is worth it if we know in advance that they have their panties in
    a twist.

    Ryan McGinnis                         @bigstormpicture
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at
    [email protected]:        [email protected]
    The BIG Storm Picture:    PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Ryan McGinnis, Jul 30, 2012
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  3. You can of course call it whatever you want -- call it glamour if you
    like. However, most photographers and art critics would not classify that
    shot as "street photography". I do not think it is street photography.
    What this says about me is that my definition of street photography is
    closer to the normative social standard definition than is your

    Ryan McGinnis                         @bigstormpicture
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at
    [email protected]:        [email protected]
    The BIG Storm Picture:    PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Ryan McGinnis, Jul 30, 2012
  4. There seems to be a lack of people and urban environment in the photograph
    which would disqualify it as "street". In the purely abstract sense I can
    accept that a truck on road is "street" in the sense that a lavatory in a
    gallery can be art but this particular work lacks the insight and narrative
    theme to transcend the definition.
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Jul 30, 2012
  5. If you have a point, make it. I'm not going to look up
    Stewart or that decision.

    My point is that most who claim to be a long time Street
    Photographer have a very well formed opinion on what
    *their version of SP* is, and in addition will have a
    very distinct concept of what is *not* SP.

    I am not sure why, but as noted above you don't seem to
    have a well formed idea of what it is or isn't.
    Come on now, that is not an accurate description of my
    words or meaning. I said it does not require people in
    the picture, but that the picture necessarily describes
    the interactions of people.

    I assume your "shadow or reflection of people" is a
    figurative statement, not a literal one. Regardless,
    your comments are vague, mine where not.
    You are selectively choosing a dictionary definition for
    "interaction" that is other than what the word in the
    sentence obviously means.

    On a higher level, that "lack of interaction" *is an
    interaction*. A person isolating themselves *is*
    interacting with the surroundings.

    There is a difference between a photograph of an
    isolated person, and using photography to isolate the
    person. The first can be Street, the second will likely
    be a portrait.
    Another illogical idiotic comment. The sun has not set
    here for 2-1/2 months, the *are no Northern Lights* this
    time of year.

    It's like everything else, couched in assumptions that
    are not valid due to ignorance.
    And as noted, that isn't true. It is intrinsic to Street.

    "un-posed, un-staged photography which captures,
    explores or questions contemporary society and the
    *relationships between individuals and their
    You aren't grasping the difference between "isolation"
    as an interaction with the environment, which can be
    photographed, and using the technology of photography to
    isolate a subject (which is the "visual thing").
    Why make up such claims. I've clearly never said that!
    Really now. Did you ever examine the work of Walker
    Evans. Dorothea Lange is another to look at. You can't
    find a good text on Street that doesn't mention them.
    Why bring it up. It's a non-sequitur.
    So you not only don't know what Street is, you don't
    know what Candid is either?
    At least you know that! But what has that got to do
    with *anything* that I've said?

    Once again, let me repeat: Candid is not part of the
    definition of Street Photography.

    Here's a dictionary definition of "candid photography".
    Clearly Street Photography need not be caught off guard
    or unprepared, or even informal, or natural necessarily.

    2: informal or natural; especially caught off guard or
    unprepared; "a candid photograph"; "a candid interview"

    Street Photography *might* be any or all of those... but it
    need not be any of them. It isn't part of the definition!

    Here is a short list of synonyms from one dictionary:

    Syn: Fair; open; ingenuous; impartial; just; frank; artless;
    unbiased; equitable.

    Which one of those is *required* for Street Photography???
    Generally speaking if the interaction is that high
    between a photographer and a subject, it is a portrait
    not Street. Perhaps if the subject is typically "giving
    a finger" to others, and also does it to the photographer,
    that is Street. If only the camera gets the finger,
    it's either just documentation or a portrait.
    Evidently I do understand it, but after you include it
    in and include it out alternatively from one subtopic to
    the next, I have no idea what *you* think it is!

    The point is that you have no idea what you think it is!
    Nice squirm, but that's not what you said. You said in
    two places it is not required in the photograph and in
    another said it is.
    Well, there you missed it again! The *significance* of
    the photograph is that the perception of what is
    photographed is a joke.

    Savageduck, as one example, fell right into that! Your
    take is a little different, but still not well taken in
    terms of the definition of Street Photography.
    And there is nothing at all similar about the meaning of
    the two images.
    Of course one definition of Street Photography is that
    it has *entirely* to do with the mind set of the
    photographer at the time it is taken.

    So you are wrong any way you want to shake it!
    That is all in *your* mind, because there is nothing in
    the photograph to suggest "bullying" or a need for
    "tolerating", or any connotation of "big shot".

    I guess you've never seen cultural interaction between
    age groups that is not competitive, but rather
    supportive as the norm.
    It is Street Photography, not portraiture. You describe
    what it isn't, except what it isn't is a portrait.
    Clearly it is a *great* example of Street. (By your own
    description, even though you don't know what you've
    What have I ever said that suggests anything like that?
    Why do you make up such things?

    Portraiture *is* about the person... Street is *not*.
    Pretty darned difficult!

    Regardless, saying "Not at all" is absurd.

    You need to learn what it is we are talking about. Here
    is an authoritative definition for Street Photograph:

    You cannot reconcile what you've been saying with what they define
    it as.

    Look at these contradictory comments you made:

    I don't think you need interaction with other
    people or with the environment. Isolation from
    either can make an interesting shot and is
    sometimes the thing that makes the photograph

    but "street" has a sense of setting that must be

    The "street" version would be in-camera framed
    down, or cropped down, to the subjects. The
    "documentary" version shows the setting including
    the signage. "Street" says more about "who" and
    "documentary" adds "where".

    You're confused!
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jul 30, 2012
  6. Well, I snipped everything that was insignificant, but
    there is anything left to respond to...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jul 30, 2012
  7. Rah Q5

    Savageduck Guest


    Get some sleep Floyd.
    Savageduck, Jul 30, 2012
  8. On 7/29/2012 10:37 PM, Floyd L. Davidson wrote:

    I have never been in Barrow. But I have been in Kaktovik,
    at the eastern end of Alaska's Arctic coast.

    While I took only a couple, there were plenty of possible
    Street Photography shots, with no quibbles.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Jul 30, 2012
  9. Rah Q5

    tony cooper Guest

    I do. I'm just not arrogant enough to assume that my understanding is
    the same understanding that everyone has. In general, most of us
    agree, but we can differ. I have a very distinct concept that your
    truck shot is *not* "street".
    Well, some of us don't have rigid ideas about everything and an
    assurity that our own concept is the only possible consideration.
    We may look at your truck shot and know absolutely that it is not
    "street", but we are not so rigid about all shots.
    No, it's literal. An image showing just the shadow of a person can be
    "street". An image of reflections of people in windows, where no one
    person is really a subject, can be "street".
    Oh, I see. You ignore dictionary definitions when viewing words in
    sequence used in sentences. You have some definition of "interaction"
    that is different from the one that other's use.
    Wow. Twenty words arranged in such a way that present no sensible
    interpretation. Very Zen.
    But not as an example of a "street" photographer. He was basically a
    documentary photographer. Some of his output would fit in "street",
    but not all of it.
    Why bring up Evans?
    Which of those is present in any appearance of Floyd Davidson in a

    I have to laugh, though. A few paragraphs above you whinge about using
    a particular dictionary definition of "interaction" that you don't
    feel is appropriate. Here, you pick a definition of "candid" that
    doesn't apply to photography.
    tony cooper, Jul 30, 2012
  10. And in that way Barrow and Kaktovik are very much the

    Thanks for your perspective Doug!
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jul 30, 2012
  11. That's not the Zen I recognise or practice. Tah. Kindly, bugger off and
    insult your own superstitions.
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Jul 30, 2012
  12. You demonstrate otherwise, and this article was no exception.

    You wander around, with illogical responses that
    repeatedly reach the level of dishonesty. This is the
    last time I'll respond to you in this thread, but I will
    run through this one showing exactly why.
    But your concepts, as expressed, don't fit with any
    reasonable definition of Street Photography. Your
    reasons contradict what authoritative sources say Street
    is, you repeated post non-sequiturs, and your discussion
    is filled with self contradiction on the points of
    In that case it's just so much noise. A reflection or
    shadow of a person *is* the inclusion of a person in the
    image. The entire point that I made, and have shown
    that others who are experts and do understand this topic
    agree with, is that including the physical presence of a
    person is not a requirement for Street Photography.

    I even provided you with a pretty good example image!
    That is a dishonest statement. You are purposely
    ignoring what was said, acting as if something entirely
    different was meant.

    There are several dictionary definitions for most words,
    and that includes the word "interaction". The
    Collaborative International Dictionary of English gives
    4 different definitions for "interaction". The cute
    habit you have of purposely reading something with one
    definition when the writer clearly meant a very
    different and very correct definition... indicates a
    lack of integrity.
    I don't know about Zen, but it is very accurate. Any
    person making an effort to isolate themselves from their
    surroundings is interacting with those surroundings in
    the process. The fact that the type of isolation they
    wish to create is one related to "interaction" doesn't
    change that.

    Sorry if that is not within your ability to perceive...
    but I think it is, and you just don't like the
    unavoidable connotation it brings with it. But then
    again, denying that it has meaning is another indication
    of lacking of integrity.
    That is not true. The reason Evans and Lange are
    discussed in virtually any and every good work on Street
    is *because* they did Street. And a lot of it too!
    Moreover, it is because they did "classic" Street, in
    the sense that their work fits the definition very
    tightly, even though it is not the traditional locale.
    Sheesh. Street *is* documentary. And so what if Evans
    (or Lange) didn't do only Street. You've just conceded
    the point! Why argue when you know it is true???
    He was a Street Photographer, and therefore the
    references to Evans and his work are useful to this
    Another insipid attempt at gratuitous insults. In fact
    though, one of the reasons you don't like virtually
    anything I write is simply that most of what I write
    hits 6 out of 7 of those words dead on. I do try to
    avoid "ingenuous" because while that has its uses, it is
    also usually impossible to be clear enough for all
    Dishonesty seems to be your only way to make a point.
    You deleted the definition that I listed, and claim the
    list of synonyms is the definition that I picked! In
    fact, here is the text without your dishonest editing:

    " 2: informal or natural; especially caught off guard or
    unprepared; "a candid photograph"; "a candid interview"

    Street Photography *might* be any or all of those... but it
    need not be any of them. It isn't part of the definition!

    Here is a short list of synonyms from one dictionary:

    Syn: Fair; open; ingenuous; impartial; just; frank; artless;
    unbiased; equitable."

    As can be seen I gave the *only* definition that
    actually does apply specifically to photography!

    You appear to have no integrity Tony. There are other
    possible explanations for these repeated lapses in
    honesty, but I don't engage is gratuitous imaginative
    attempts at analysis of your mental condition the way
    you do.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jul 30, 2012
  13. Rah Q5

    tony cooper Guest

    I participate in a few online forums for "street" photography, and
    have done so for years. One of those is led (but not moderated) by a
    person who teaches photography at Harvard, runs seminars on the
    subject, provides insightful comments on the efforts of others. He
    has a book in the works.

    You would get laughed out of those forums claiming the truck shot is
    "street". Most of your comments would meet with silence, though.
    Not in agreement, but in a polite effort to avoid confrontation with a

    "Street" is full of contradictions. In any lively discussion of a
    "street" image, viewers may well see the "story" differently than
    other viewers. The borderlines are fluid - but not so fluid as to
    include a truck on the horizon - and very subject to individual

    Your "boys on bicycles" image is a good example. Most "street"
    photography enthusiasts would see that - as I do - as more in the
    "documentary" area and not in the documentary subset of "street".
    It could be "street" if it had been shot differently or processed
    differently; the subjects qualify.

    The fact that you stated in another post that you don't see anything
    in that image that could be interpreted as what the boys are engaged
    in indicates how shallow your view is. You have simply memorialized
    the scene without having any sense of what you might of photographed.

    I've gone through your website and see nothing that indicates this
    long-standing interest and participation in "street" that you claim.
    You have some nice images, and some good documentary presentations,
    but nothing in the way of "street".

    You seem to think that any disagreement with your view or opinion is
    based on dishonesty or lack of integrity. It's a convenient view for
    you in order dismiss opinions that contradict yours, but no more than
    It is called "reading what is written", not "reading what the writer
    thought but did not write".
    tony cooper, Jul 30, 2012
  14. Why are you so dishonest?

    I did not say there is nothing that could be used to interpret what the
    boys are engaged in. I suggested in fact that there are obvious things
    there to indicate exactly what they are engaged in.

    The exchange was:

    Tony Cooper said:
    "he physical setting, in that instance, is the group
    of boys, the range of ages, and attention seemingly
    focused on the small boy. The "what", or the story
    setting, is about them being friends, bullying the
    small boy, tolerating him in their big shot older

    And I responded [emphasis added]:
    "That is all in *your* mind, because there is nothing in
    the photograph *to suggest "bullying" or a need for*
    *"tolerating", or any connotation of "big shot"*.

    Why can you not engage in honest discussion?
    The above is not a "disagreement", has nothing to do
    with our views and/or opinions.

    It is simply that *you are dishonest*. If you did it
    once in awhile it might be a simple mistake, but you
    repeatedly argue anything and everything that way. Some
    of your articles, such as this one or the last one, are
    based almost totally on such dishonesty. It's clearly not
    just an accident.
    You refuse to read what others write, make no attempt at
    discerning what they were thinking, and *purposely*
    insert clearly opposite definitions to change the
    meanings. And when that isn't available you just use
    your imagination, as above, to dishonestly distort
    other people's statements.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jul 30, 2012
  15. Rah Q5

    PeterN Guest

    He has! But only in the sense that a table of contents is a piece of
    furniture. :)
    PeterN, Jul 31, 2012
  16. Can't accept you're an ignorant **** and making a sideways dig?

    Irony is the fifth fundamental force, grasshopper.
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Jul 31, 2012
  17. Rah Q5

    tony cooper Guest

    Why can you not recognize honest discussion when you see it?

    One of the things that I like about "street" is that they present a
    potential story for the viewer. An interesting street shot sets the
    viewer thinking about what that story is.

    When you tell me that there's nothing in that photograph to suggest
    those things, that tells me you neither understand nor appreciate
    "street". (Although, identifying that truck photograph as "street" was
    a pretty good clue)

    "Street" encourages the type of speculation I brought up. You are
    seemingly incapable of engaging in that. With that lack of
    imagination, it's doubtful that you will ever see what an image can
    be. To you, they are just lifeless recordings of a moment in time.
    You seem content that you have recorded the image.

    What you should be looking for are responses that some people saw
    something in that image *in their mind* that encourage speculation.
    tony cooper, Jul 31, 2012
  18. Why can you not apologise for being an ignorant **** about my religion? I
    bet you'd rather eat your own children before apologising because you'd have
    to have to concede power. Not that it matters. I just want to test whether
    you're paying attention or not.
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Jul 31, 2012
  19. Rah Q5

    tony cooper Guest

    What are you on about now?
    Something to do with my use of "Zen"? If so, you are right. I am
    completely ignorant about the subject.
    tony cooper, Jul 31, 2012
  20. Well, I'm sorry I broke your jaw over it earlier but thank you.

    If it's any assistance koan are tools for stimulating spontaneous insight,
    and words are poor conveyors of reality. (To some degree this is relevant to
    photographs and discussion of photographs as I'm sure you appreciate from
    the discussion so far.)
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Jul 31, 2012
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