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The Beautiful Art Of Street Photography

Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 11:04 AM

One of our resident fine art america “still life” photographers recently objected to one of my “street” images. He implied that I should have faced the ladies and taken “portraits” of them...Needless to say, that would have transformed the image into portraiture or documentary but NOT Street photography.

Street photography is defined by its candidness. Street photography produces ironic amusement. The language of street photography is subtle. Street photographers have NO definite intentions or goals beyond the production of a candid print. We are not asking our subjects to pose for us. That would be either portraiture or documentary.

Paris is widely accepted as the birthplace of street photography. The cosmopolitan city helped to define street photography as a genre and the photographer helped to form the city as well.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a 20th century photographer whose style focused on the actions of people. He was responsible for the idea of taking a picture at the ideal moment. He did NOT ask his people to pose for him.

The beginnings of street photography in the United States can be linked to that of jazz in the music domain, both emerging as outspoken depictions of everyday life.

Robert Frank, was a part of the beat movement interested in Black-American and counter cultures. Frank rose to fame with his popular book, The Americans. Raw and often out of focus, his images questioned mainstream photography of the time, such as Ansel Adams's landscapes. The mainstream photography community in America fiercely rejected Frank’s work, but it would later become a stepping stone for fresh photographers looking to break away from the restrictions of the old style.

I was a street photographer for some 4 years using Leica Rangefinder cameras and Tri-X 400 for the most part (no light meter just common sense). Even now in my dotage, if the opportunity presents itself, I take a street image...Unposed, candid, in a public place...
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Oldest Reply

Posted by: Rich Franco on 08/03/2013 - 11:44 AM

Are there 2 or 3 p's in Creepy?

Rich Franco


Posted by: Trever Miller on 08/03/2013 - 11:52 AM

I don't see anything creepy here. First shot was from a respectable distance (no low angle upwards even...) and the second really tells a story.

I'm still trying to overcome my innate shyness at pointing the camera anywhere in public for street photos, even though I specifically bought a smaller rangefinder style camera for that purpose instead of using the big DSLR.

Of the few that I have got :

An exhibitionist who would't be camera shy, and two people steadfastly ignoring him.
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At the lake. I was also waist deep in the water.
This is one of those very shallow lakes, we were about 100M from shore.
No hiding behind a tree for this shot.
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Walking to the car after work:
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At a marina on Salt Spring Island. Not sure if this one counts as street.
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Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 12:03 PM

Well done and well said...and good candid's as well. Fine Art America generally speaking is NOT the place for street photographers. It's more for still life, landscape, flowers, etc.

By the way, my street images are not all of secular ladies....
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Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 12:12 PM

I think its not so right that FAA is not a place for the street photography.. The question is its not much buyers for this kind of photography, but its a real art.

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Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 12:20 PM

Here is one of the best street photographers I ever knew, with philosophic view of life and its a real art captured with keen point and eye. Michel Verhoef. Just look at his gallery.

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Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:21 PM

i really think you should have a not safe for work on the header of this. and i still don't consider shooting the back side of a lady, and adding that title to it - street photography any more.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:22 PM

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i would consider this street photography, though be it the amount of work i did on the reflections was a bit of a pain.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 12:31 PM

thanks for your opinion. I guess this is why you prefer doing still life. Different styles for different people.

Jenny, Yep, I agree, thanks for showing us such beautiful street images...

Jenny, um, if you know anything about what is "real art," then you would know that street photography is a major art genre and has been so for the past 75 years or so.

Bresson was one of the great street photographers....His prints sell in the thousands of dollars and can be purchased by major art dealers around the world.


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 12:34 PM

I don't know if a "manipulated/changed" image can be a "true" street image. That said, it's a beautiful piece of art.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:34 PM

it has nothing to do with still lives.

you may photograph and sell people as long as you don't put them in a poor light - that's the law. and by placing a particular innuendo on them, that's a bad light.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Alfred Ng on 08/03/2013 - 12:36 PM

Well, I don't see this everyday, glad I had my camera to capture this.

man in a tutu


Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 12:37 PM

Yes, Robert Im absolutely agree and I just wondered why its not have any attention here on FAA this kind of art... I fell in love with street photography not long ago, but its so much exciting as you are deeply inside the real life, catching the hidden interaction in between the people, the unexpected situations , opening the world of intimate relations...


Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:38 PM

if i didn't mention it, you wouldn't have known. like if i used a polarizer, it may not have needed any.

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---Mike Savad


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 12:40 PM

Mike objects to my title...Why old men hating being old....(a photo of two beautiful young ladies walking)
He describes this title as "innuendo"
his innuendoes were usually just thinly veiled sexual remarks: insinuation, suggestion, intimation, implication, hint, overtone, undertone, allusion, reference; aspersion, slur.

For the life of me, I see NO innuendo, no slur, no aspersion, no insinuation, no lewdness.....
If anything, it is simply a sad fact of life for old men. they no longer have any chance of having a beautiful young lady as a girlfriend. My title may fall under that category of PATHOS...

a quality that evokes pity or sadness: the actor injects his customary humor and pathos into the role.

I am 71 years old. The ladies in my picture are what? 22? This is pathos, not innuendo.


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 12:44 PM

I love your street art and I am jealous. Great work. If I had but one artist to collect here on faa, it would be U. Hope that my wife and I win the lottery one day. We will make you rich.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:46 PM

the title is suggestive enough to say what you want it to say. and i would say its enough to be sued if pressed. it's one thing to call it - two ladies on the street, a friends day out, or something that has no other suggestive meanings. it's another to do what this is.

in a court of law, pathos won't come up, only damages to reputation and so on, provided they can prove that's them in that picture. in either case one should be careful how they title things because of the suggestive nature of things, it can come back to haunt you at unexpected times.

as pathos as it might be.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 12:51 PM

Mike, with all respect to you and what you are doing, Im afraid I wouldnt consider your images presented here as street photography at its purest, more suitable scenes of life maybe..
Its interesting, beautifully edited but not street photography.. Street photography its a breath of life, it cant be edited hardly...


Posted by: Susan Savad on 08/03/2013 - 12:55 PM

Here's a few of mine.

Robert - I'm not sure what you meant when you said that a manipulated image can't be a true "street image". Why not?

Trevor - I'm self-conscious about taking pictures of people also. That's why I just bought the Sony DSC-HX50V which has a 30x optical zoom and is a small point and shoot camera. People don't notice you that much if you're the distance of a football field away.

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-- Susan Savad


Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 12:58 PM

Susan, thats what I said, breath should be as breath as it is, as seen and done. The same with your beautiful images its scenes of life but not what call street photography..


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 1:07 PM

Mike, I see we have a 100 percent disagreement here. You have your opinion, I have mine. My title brims with PATHOS....about what healthy straight old men feel when they see beautiful young women. You seem to be reading smut into it for whatever reason of yours.

Also, just to review the legality of street photography. Here are some general guidelines...Disclaimer: My words do not constitute legal advice.

1....simply photographing a person in public view — including children and law enforcement officials — does not require either a model release or expressed consent. long as your shooting position is on public ground, you can photograph whatever you wish; this includes subjects situated on private property but within public view, such as a couple sitting on a restaurant patio that you can view from the street. Similarly, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to obtain parental or guardian consent to photograph children on or visible from public property.

3....if you had the right to photograph a subject or scene, generally speaking, you also have the authority to display the photograph as an illustration of art or news – and that includes showing those images on your blog, in print, in news media, and in your photography portfolio (print or online). Indeed, you can even sell prints or digital copies of your street photography.


Posted by: Rona Black on 08/03/2013 - 1:09 PM

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I used to think "street photography" denotes photos taken on a street -- I suppose I'm too literal-minded. Recently a buyer of this one wrote me a note about it and used the term, so my thinking has changed.


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/03/2013 - 1:10 PM

This street image also shows the artist as a young man (lower right side)....The lovely lady gave me the cold shoulder.

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Posted by: Rona Black on 08/03/2013 - 1:15 PM

Article about Arne Svenson's photos and the case to be made if someone can recognize himself/herself in a photo.


Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 1:16 PM

And Robert, Henry Cartier- Bresson (the same as Ansel Adams) its just a magic of the famous name, you cant even imagine how many more talented and unique works for now possible to find from the modern "ordinary" photographers. The famous names magnetizing but that all, photography went far far away from those times and now I can see many brilliant photos which just not valuing because the public doesnt know the names... Pity.


Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/03/2013 - 1:26 PM

Rona, here is the image which once again NOT a street photography. Street photography is the purest slice of life, non expected but caught at the flight, the fleeting story, which can be very evident or sometimes hidden and you have to watch carefully and find what attracted photographer and what he pointed to...
Here is just street, nothing more..
Your customer, Im sure he is happy with the image, but he was wrong in the meaning of street photography.

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By the way here is also not a street photography although the man staying right on the street...
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Posted by: Philip Sweeck on 08/12/2013 - 12:22 PM

"you the photographer would be the one in trouble. so him discussing it - won't prevent him from being sued if used improperly and once it's stock it can be used anywhere."

That's a common misconception. As the photographer you are perfectly fine selling images as stock or to be published in a book etc.. without a modelrelease, even when one is needed. The model release is always the responsibility of the publisher or the stock company. If a bookpublisher for example wants to use or license one of your photographs and doesn't ask for a model release, you don't have to provide it. If a modelrelase is needed in the end, it's the book publisher or company you sold the image to, that would or could get sued, and the publisher can't blame the photographer either, because it's publisher's responsibility to ask for a model release.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 08/12/2013 - 12:22 PM

Love Funny Face.....


Posted by: Philip Sweeck on 08/12/2013 - 2:19 PM

 photo Untitled19-Version2_zpsfff9e933.jpg

Palermo, 2007

"Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long."

- Walker Evans


Posted by: Louise Reeves on 08/12/2013 - 2:27 PM

"If a modelrelase is needed in the end, it's the book publisher or company you sold the image to, that would or could get sued, and the publisher can't blame the photographer either, because it's publisher's responsibility to ask for a model release."

That might be true where you live, but there have been a lot of lawsuits against photographers for allowing images to be published that the model/person did not sign releases for.
Cameron Diaz sued and won when a photographer she modeled for sold topless photos of her is the first that comes to mind.
Here, it falls on the photographer to have signed release, not a publisher.


Posted by: Philip Sweeck on 08/12/2013 - 2:41 PM

"Diaz sued photographer John Rutter in 2004 after he tried to get her to buy the photos from him for $3.3 million. And when she refused, he threatened to sell them to a European advertising agency for $5 million."

Which is something else entirely, than having an image that someone wants to buy or use. Licensing any kind of image does not require a model release. It's always better to have a model release, in case the one buying requests it, but it's not necessary in order to make a sale or to license a photograph. Most if not all stock companies will require a model release, if needed. There are many book publishers though who calculate the risk, and buy and publish images that don't have a model release. The point is, that when a company or book publisher for example wants to use a photographer's work or photograph and contacts the photographer, it's not up to the photographer to make sure the company or publisher follows the rules, or to worry about a model release, IF, the company doesn't ask for it. It will be the one using the image, which will get sued, not the photographer. Of course, it's always best to have it in contract, that when a company or book publisher does get sued over a lack of model release, that they knew they were buying and using an image without model release, but it's not a requirement for the photographer to say that the image being sold might need a model release, that's up to the publisher to demand or not.


Posted by: Vale Tek on 08/19/2013 - 10:33 AM


Posted by: Philip Sweeck on 08/24/2013 - 10:48 AM

Here's a great talk about street photography, with both its history and photographers working today in it. Thanks to Robert for mentioning it to me.


Posted by: Vale Tek on 08/29/2013 - 4:01 PM

about street photography....

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about............. loneliness

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Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/29/2013 - 4:23 PM

why doesn't this thread die already?

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 08/29/2013 - 4:32 PM

You like Zazzle, he likes Street Photography.

It's ok as long as the harangues stop.....horses for courses....Don't look !!

This is my last look !!


Posted by: Vale Tek on 08/29/2013 - 7:40 PM

Vivian .... I'll be happy ....... if you continue this topic :)

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I'm glad you like it :)

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Posted by: Mike Savad on 08/29/2013 - 7:57 PM

how is that top one at all street photography?

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 08/29/2013 - 8:03 PM

lol, Mike.......can't resist?

Um, which topic......?


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 08/29/2013 - 8:05 PM

Mike, there is no need for you to pop in here if you are not interested in the thread and think it should die

Leave it to those who want to chat properly


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/29/2013 - 9:15 PM

Street photography? Did someone say "Street Photography" ? hahahaha...oh, sorry....
Did you know that street photography is alive and well around the world with thousands of men and women taking candid pictures of people in public? Yep, it's true.

In fact, I practice this wonderful art form at least twice a week. Why just today.....

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Posted by: Miriam Danar on 08/29/2013 - 9:15 PM


Posted by: Laura Fasulo on 08/29/2013 - 9:32 PM

I love looking at everyone's street photography.

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Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 08/29/2013 - 10:04 PM

So do I. It's so "natural." A slice of life. I also like putting bible verses to some of my street images. Here is an example...Look at the baby boy...To me he seems to be leading his family and so I remembered:

Isaiah 11:6
King James Version (KJV)
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

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Posted by: Joann Vitali on 08/30/2013 - 3:26 AM

St Anthony's Feast North End, Boston.....................
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Posted by: Jenny Rainbow on 08/30/2013 - 4:01 AM


Posted by: Rosemary Williams on 08/30/2013 - 6:42 AM


Posted by: Dave Gordon on 08/30/2013 - 7:43 AM


Posted by: Dave Gordon on 08/30/2013 - 7:43 AM


Posted by: JC Findley on 08/30/2013 - 8:21 AM

If you want to put bible quotes on your art, please, by all means....

If you put them in the threads you have crossed the religion boundary.

Please take some time to review the rules here, again.



Posted by: Philip Sweeck on 09/10/2013 - 3:40 PM

Just found this site, very cool interactive before / after NYC street documentary photographs, a great sense of 'time passing', of something both ephemeral and everlasting. I wonder, would the difference / similarity look the same between places now and how they appear to people seeing photographs of them in 2093, compared to photographs of the same places in 2093. We're all just passing through...


Posted by: Chuck De La Rosa on 09/10/2013 - 4:31 PM

Philip that was a great find!


Posted by: Robert Frank Gabriel on 09/10/2013 - 9:04 PM


This discussion is closed.