Street Photography is for Street People

I know. You are a street photographer. You have been walking around and shooting in the vicinity of your town’s recently constructed “avenue” shopping plaza, never further than 800 feet from Starbucks or Panera Bread. You have been snapping photos of the backs of people’s heads and of carefully placed coffee cups. You even get aggressive sometimes and shoot old people while they are looking at you.


I’m no bully, despite my aggressive, confrontational nature. Still, I find myself feeling like I want to somehow attack geeks and weasels who call themselves street photographers. I understand the allure of street photography, and I covered a few reasons people try street photography here. It mostly boils down to laziness, the more I think about it. Many street shooters have ZERO desire to engage in the guerrilla marketing strategies required to launch and cultivate a career as a wedding or a portrait photographer. I don’t like the idea of marketing myself constantly either. So to many, the organic nature of street photography is appealing. There are no deadlines, no clients, no bosses. It is just you and the streets. The only problem is many folks actually are never or have never been in the streets.

I don’t have a contact sheet but I do have a rap sheet. I’ve sold crack. I’ve driven stolen cars. I’ve been in a number of fights and a couple of gun battles. I’ve spent a significant number of days and months in county and city jail. Basically, I’m a street guy. Sure, I can speak in complete sentences and I went to college for a year but I have far more in common with a felon than I do a financial advisor. So when I walk the streets with a camera I feel in no way a potential victim. There is no fear of people spotting me taking their photo, besides maybe the fear of rejection by pretty females, but the thought of such rejection fuels me more than anything. In fact, when I’m out there shooting people are wary of me. Women clutch their purses and hurry by. I wear Jordans and baseball caps. I suppose I look like a common thug. I suppose I am a common thug.


There are many prominent street photography luminaries who are complete hipster geeks. I could name names but why bother? They are not street and that’s fine, and I wish them the best as long as their interests don’t conflict with mine. I cant help but to be annoyed by them, however. They were probably never robbed at gunpoint or jumped and beaten by a gang of guys or shot with a .38 caliber bullet or sucker punched….. or maybe all of these things happened to them and they remained good guys. I am no longer a good guy. These things made me into a monster. To each his own.

Me with one of my 3 sisters….


4 thoughts on “Street Photography is for Street People

  1. There are some streets in my city where I obviously don’t belong. A part of me would love to go photograph them. They need to be photographed. But I have no idea how to be on those streets.

    I feel pretty good that I also don’t know how to be on the not-so-mean streets of the new suburban downtown-style shopping centers either. I’m kind of in between. Unfortunately, the in-between streets to which I belong just aren’t that interesting.


  2. Pingback: The Streets Lately

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