Street Photography – WTF is this picture about? by Anton Candra

Photography had never been as flourished as it is now in digital era. Most people I know, they carry their own dslr camera, and I found it really interesting. We are all photographer in this age of time, telephone becomes mobile, mobile becomes camera-phone, camera phone becomes smart-camera-phone where image can be processed, printed and shared to community directly from it. Everyone carries camera nowadays, everyone is a photographer.

I consider this as a good starting point where people would take more seriously in taking pictures. Some of them love nature and do themselves a landscape or wild-life photography. Some love indulging themselves in the world of macro, some love to shoot portraits, conceptual, wedding etc.

Street Moment #15

Among many types of photography, I love street photography the most. I don’t even know why people call it a street photography, is it because we do it on the street? frankly I do not understand how people come up with this term.

This writing is about my choice, the reasons why I love street photography. I do not have any intention to put a condescending statement to any other type of photography. Every type of photography has a lot of thing in common. In fact they share huge number of similarities. I believe this is just a matter of subjectivity, my own preference in orange juice to other’s choice of tomato juice. This writing is all about why I love “orange juice”.

First thing first, in my early days I was a little bit confused in getting differences among many terms:  journalistic photography, human interest photography and street photography. They are almost the same yet have a slightly different approach. So I try to give a simple and brief explanation  one by one according to my own personal definition.

 Journalistic Photography.

The fundamental stone of this type of photography is “Being There”.  Our ability to capture important moment is the key success in photojournalism. Good journalistic pictures are those in which shows a special representation of one particular event. To capture an unexpected thing during an expected moment in an extraordinary way. Photojournalism has long become the most important genre in determining a great photographer. Among many photography awards, the journalistic photography has become the most prestigious. I think it is the most dedicated type of photography. We would not able to become a journalistic photographer without 100% committed to what we are doing. 

Human Interest Photography.

To photograph human activity, their interest, social lives, theme, story etc. A direct derivative from journalistic photography. The main purpose of this type of photography is to capture human activity. It is more into their social life than anything artistic or journalistic. To emphasize the HUMAN BEHAVIOR, their interaction with other human, with  nature and with their surrounding etc. It is all about human life, their theme, agenda, an idea of story and we make it extraordinary to show it  to the world.

Street Photography

Street photography is basically about random shoot of nothing. A street photographers tried to give a meaning out of something meaningless. It is a pursuit of unexpected thing happens during a normal everyday life. The key success of capturing a great street picture is our ability to anticipate moment that has not yet taken place, a split moment that was not created for us. We give the viewers a reason to remember those particular unimportant events. It is an art of capturing something ordinary and make it extraordinary.

Street Moment #13

These definitions are self depiction, other might have different opinions but this is at least the way I see it. Of all these three derivatives of journalism, I can only afford to love street photography. Not because I hate journalistic and human interest photography, by all means I love to see great pictures, any of them regardless its type. It is because being a street photographer enables me to engage anytime, perceptively simple preparation, and I considered it as a private time for myself.

Lost In Dance - Nanjing Lu, Shanghai.

By walking on the street, I could observe people around me, I would look for any geometrical line or shape or pattern and wait the moment to come. I would concentrate for small details in everyday life. I’d walk for hours and hours, I’d  shoot anything that interest me,  I’d  analyze where the light come from and try to get an interesting angle that works. The most challenging part is : all those things that I mentioned, all of them are ever-changing, and I need to adapt accordingly. Put it in a simple way, it makes me stay alert, one moment I miss the shot, that moment would be gone forever.

Step up - Nanjing Lu, Shanghai.

Interestingly, a good picture (by my own-standard) hasn’t come easy. There are various methods to create a good image, even more various to create a bad one. I could spend all day on the street, shooting people, building and anything in between and I’d be very grateful if I could produce only a couple of great images out of hundred number of shutter counts. It’s more like going hunting in the forest, sometime we are back with a big catch, sometime only a small rabbit or sometime none at all. We got lucky or we got nothing….tired but it’s all the fun that we are looking for.

Gathering - Nanjing Lu, Shanghai.

The picture itself, I put them on display in my blog, flickr, or facebook. Just one or two friends of mine press the “like” button and I consider it as rewarding enough, I’d be glad that at least one person like it, because I know my picture is not necessarily pretty and disappointment is part of our learning process, is it not?

3Gs - Museum

Whilst photojournalism and human-interest-photography are to provide news/answers of public’s craving for knowledge, street photography works completely in a different way. It creates a question, not an answer. It does not provoke emotion, but gives a clear definition. It does not dramatize moment but presents an arrangement.  That is why I love street photography…….nothing less than “WTF is this picture about?” Our ability to answer depends on how we individually perceive it.

Right - Central

Street Moment #17

Just my personal thought to share to all. Thank you for visiting my blog.

PS.Below are some GREAT SHOTS by various street photographers, they are not famous but their pictures are exceedingly qualified more than just amateur shots. A truly inspiration worthy to look at.

untitledCrime scene傘Las Ventas / Madridkickingstatue.
Andy&Rose...Academialife goes on.putsch 1993
..Wedding582-34-webrose  10/10/07what it's like
.La llamada..._MG_0470

About Anton Candra

Thanks for dropping by, click one of my sites and you will find out about me :)
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4 Responses to Street Photography – WTF is this picture about? by Anton Candra

  1. Gail Luevand says:

    Wohh just what I was searching for, regards for posting.

  2. Hu Cha Wei says:

    Greeting from Hong Kong. Thanks Anton for adding me to facebook. I love your articles, is there any way I get notified when there is update?

    • Anton Candra says:

      I have sent you an email. There’s a follow fill-in box on the right hand side of my blog. Just a quick email write, and you will be notified if there’s an update. Thank you for stopping, very much appreciate your feedback.

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