Street photography has exploded within the last decade or so due to social media, Instagram to be specific. Every person is a photographer, you see the same styles and photographs done in different countries. Whether it’s your own idea or inspired by another photographer you admire, sooner or later the street photography bubble is going to pop. The popularity of street photography is at its peak but in my opinion, it will eventually trend down as the genre gets more saturated. Maybe we’ll discover that there are more people staging shots or photo-shopping their photos to get the perfect shot. Many people that start off in street photography end up getting burnt out and quit shooting after three years or so. If boosting your Instagram and other social media following is your main motive, you will soon lose interest. You must do it for the love of the art!
You might think you’ve shot an amazing photo or innovative style, then come to find you see someone online with a similar if not better shot. That’s the good and bad of social media. It’s great because we all have this community and we can see what other people are doing around the world, but at the same time nothing is new. Classic street photography has more of a documentary approach. But now days it seems a lot of photos surfacing are almost like fine art photography due to everyone wanting to be like Alex Webb.
I feel to be the best “modern day” street photographer you need to find that sweet spot that captures a documentary style, like Garry Winogrand, along with Alex Webb that’s more fine art street style. If you can find that middle ground your work will truly stand the test of time. Ultimately, I do believe the street photography bubble will soon burst. Just like how the housing market crashed in 2011, as supply increased, demand decreased. Although the popularity of street photography has increased, the demand for street photography is not there. It’s still a niche genre and many galleries don’t recognize it as an art-form like other genres of photography. After a while though I do believe street photography will emerge again and the classic documentary style will be the more popular way to go.
4 thoughts on “The Street Photography Bubble”
We did the binge with the street photography lived as a belonging to a tribe. Social networks have encouraged a tendency to seek approval, something deeply human, and the origin of the issues also for street photographers. We can see it with the winning photos of the SP festivals around the world, not anymore a surprise the kind of stuff (aesthetics) celebrated there. At the point people produces photos with the same approach, photos for the contests. I can see still photographers able to bring out one’s inner voice, but usually are not the ones screaming everyday, they are not the ones participating in any festivals and awards, they are not the ones hashtagging 10000 words, they are not the ones present in millions of street photo groups on facebook. I can see how the color matching and the “jokegraphy” of these times has 0 value for the future. Time, as always, will make justice of this. You write: “the classic documentary style will be the more popular way to go” I agree, so only photographers able to do it will last.
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