What is Street Photography?

What is street photography? According to wikipedia….

“Street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or inquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. … Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment.”

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My photo photo (above) was selected and featured on instagram account @bcncollective they have a decent amount of followers, I believe the account is still fairly new and their selections in my opinion are pretty good. Also, I have not had many of my photos featured on other instagram accounts so this recognition was deeply appreciated.

However, an instagram user commented on my photo something to the extend that the photo is cruel and should be taken down despite many other positive comments. This is one of those polarizing photos that have received both negative and positive comments. I love this photo because of how overly tan she is and she sorts of looks like an alien so when I came across her I wasn’t sure if she came from out of space or if she was one of us earthlings….Anyways, due to this one person the collective decided to remove the image, instagram did not ask the collective to remove it. The photo does not show any nudity or inflicts any of instagram photo procedures. The collective removed it to be sensitive to that ONE comment.

How was I notified about this removal…well the collective messages me the next morning and my response was simply that they shouldn’t care about what people think is or is not a street photo. My advice to them was if you like a photo and want to feature it on your page, do it. Don’t hesitate if “well is it going to receive a negative response”…that’s the same mentality as “well is this photo going to get a lot of likes”….that’s the pitfall of social media, too many people are too worried about other people’s opinion.

You think Suzanne Stein would be anything if she was worried about people bashing her photographs on the homeless community on Skid Row? I’ve read a lot of mixed responses and reviews on Bruce Gilden’s book/series Faces…you think he cares? It’s his vision with a purpose and the best part is he can defend his work. He’s not taking random photos and calling it street photography.

My photo is part of a larger continuous project called Beach Please where I photograph unusual and absurd moments of things happening on the beach or of interesting people that’s at the beach. Whether on the beach or on the sidewalk, my instincts will naturally tell me to make a photograph if the colors are striking, the person is interesting (I don’t know how to explain this but something about them or on them just catches my eye), something is happening or taking place and may look nice in a frame of a second, and if the lighting is striking.

On the beach, there are more opportunities from my experience to come across something interesting that you can tie in with the beach. What I mean by that is for example, all marketing and promotional materials of Hawaii is of the scenery, lava, fire dancers, pristine beaches with super models on walking along shores…However, that is a false perception of Hawaii…Hawaii like any metropolitan city has it’s own set of issues with homelessness, traffic, and high cost of living…on the beach especially a touristy beach like Waikiki, there are rarely any super models. The beach is filled with homeless, over weight seniors enjoying their vacation or retirement, and families….very different then any promotional video you’ll see on the internet of Waikiki (check out my previous blog on “Street Photography on the Beach“). So with this project, my intention is to capture the reality of Waikiki beach which I’m sure the Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau would not appreciate.

Conclusion

All in all, there’s a lesson to be learned here. One, don’t give a rats ass what negative comments people make on your photo. If they give constructive feedback on how the photo could be better, then great. But take it with a grain of salt especially if you did not seek constructive feedback. Lesson two, you know what you’re intentions are, photograph with your heart, mind, and soul. I truly believe you can only make good photograph’s if it resonates with you. Yes, anyone can grab a camera, go out, and start clicking the shutter button….and have photos of anything and everything. But if you photograph with your mind, soul, and heart….which ultimately means photos that resonate with you and your initial instincts then go for it.

 
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