Last week, street photographer Joshua Rosenthal visited the Ventura County Fair in Ventura, California. Since he is, well, a street photographer, he used the opportunity to take some candid portraits of people at the fair. When he woke up the following day, he saw something extremely unsettling: photos of him were shared across Facebook, along with vicious and disturbing accusations from local vigilantes.
I believe we all hate it when we get stuck in a creative rut. But hey, it happens, and there are ways to overcome it. One of the ways to get out of it is to try a different genre, and that’s exactly what Manny Ortiz did. The portrait photographer hit the streets and tried something new – street photography. It didn’t go quite as he expected, but he learned a lesson that will be valuable to all of you who are currently experiencing the creative block.
Street Photography is hard to do well. Really hard. Even if you are great, most of your shots will not be.
The internet is filled with boring street photography. The biggest problem is people thinking any photo taken on the street is now Street Photography. There is so much more to Street Photography than that so how do you capture more in your Street Photography?
One way to strive for great Street Photography is by avoiding some of the habits of boring Street Photography.
Here are 7 of the Most Common Habits of Boring Street Photography:
As a street photographer, I accept that I have a bias towards the kind of work and criticisms I prefer to seek out as an audience to the work of others – although there are examples of landscape or portraiture that I do enjoy it is street photography and photojournalism that take up the majority of my interest.
I know that photographers and the photography community, in general, is a passionate one and that there is no shortage of critiques available for any work or opinion that creators choose to share. However despite knowing that there is criticism in every area of the art I still feel that some of the criticisms leveled against street photography as a genre as well as specific examples of street photographs are harsher than any I’ve seen in, for example, landscape, or portraiture.
Photographs are as much about what is not included as the subjects in frame. Being aware of the things I avoid is as helpful to me as the things I gravitate towards when it comes to composing an image. Adding or removing elements through composition is one of the most significant parts of adding/removing/changing the context of an image. Including or choosing not to include certain things can alter a story in very serious ways, so it is always important to have ownership over those choices.
Street photography is important, versatile, and in my opinion – one of the most challenging genres there is. But there are some problems with street photography that largely revolve around ethics. In his latest video, Jamie Windsor talks about these problems and discusses the situations when it’s best not to pick up your camera.
There are plenty of ways to grow as a photographer and improve your skills. In this video, Martin Kaninsky shares three techniques for street photographers that will help you up your game. But, I think it’s useful to have these techniques in mind no matter your preferred photography genre, so make sure to take a look.
The world’s largest fetish event, the Folsom Street Fair, is controversial in and of itself. But still, it has managed to spark controversy among the photography community. In 2014, the Ask First Campaign originated at the event, telling photographers to “ask first” before taking photos. Since the fair is held in a public space, many photographers believe that they have the right to take photos without asking for permission. And the question is – is this really true? Should you just shoot what you please, or should you ask first?