I see you guys. I see what you say about street photography. I see you explaining away garbage projects and ungodly photos by saying street photography is for your personal enjoyment only. You insist that since you don’t have clients, like a wedding photographer has for instance, that you only have to uphold your own personal standards as to how your street photos look.
Let me back up a bit because I know it seems like I’m being a toolbox right now. I know that there are at least a handful of supposed Guru’s who have strong opinions about what street photography is supposed to be. Some of these Guru’s insist that it is a personal experience, and the most important part of the street photography process is breathing the air outdoors, snapping photos, and walking. I don’t disagree that these features are valuable areas on the street photography landscape but…..this isn’t wilderness photography where you take pictures of dying trees and abandoned road signs and no people. This is street photography and our subjects are indeed people, and just like any other gig where we photograph people, comparisons, evaluations, and judgements can be made by people outside ourselves about our photos and these opinions matter.
Sentimental values are fine. If a certain collection of photos you have put together over time has some personal meaning to you then I can understand that. My only thing is: if the photos are not any good then don’t share them publicly. If you have lost the ability, or never acquired the ability, to evaluate your good from bad photos then I suggest you ask peers what they think, and be prepared if they don’t like your stuff. It may not matter to you if they hate your work but the fact that it doesn’t matter should not prevent you from seeking their opinion. This millennial softness whereby people can’t take any artistic criticism has become far too pervasive.
I’m just skimming the surface of what I really want to say but I’ll keep this post brief. Last night we elected a new Commander in Chief for America and social media is not exactly the place I want to be right now, checking to see if folks are reading my post. I’ll just say that calling what you do street photography does not give you the license to call everything you shoot in an urban environment street photography. There are standards that must be established, and once established, a level of quality that must be upheld. It seems like these days most guys don’t have the right mindset, look, attitude or level of content to call themselves elite street photographers.
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