I take to the streets, at times, and attempt to photograph moments of “here and now”. Of course the eye is drawn to subject that can be easy understood, with good light, nice lines, perhaps with a bit of historical past (if you are living in such a city), interesting scenes in an empty cathedral, things like that, you know.
Many photographs taken in the street look like there is a certain script on which they are sought and snapped. Many more are instant choices, made on the spot, to shoot this image or that. Both situations are all right, and I always enjoy roaming a neighbourhood in my city (or other, if I am traveling) and put my film and camera to the use of both situations, and then some.
Minox IIIs – London
However, what I do not enjoy so much is street photography devoid of humans. I have seen a lot of architecture and landscapes (ok, perhaps these are not exactly street photography, but you get my meaning) streets and buses, parks and trees and lamp posts and railway stations, the odd statue or a littered pavement, derelict places and planes taking off, but it seems to me that there are plenty of places and things with no humans to be seen. Or too few.
Minox IIIs – Milan
Minox IIIs – Romania
Minox IIIs – Romania
In my amateur opinion, the humans are part of the street. They are the reason on why the street exists, in the first place. We built those buildings, that park, those derelict stuff of long ago, and we built them for us and for those to come after us. Street photography is also some sort of a frozen in time moment which should tell things to those who will replace us on this Earth.
Of course we enjoy these moments ourselves, by displaying them publicly on our websites and forums, but these images are actually a repository of the days we live in. We may well not be aware of this purpose while we’re happy-snappy on the street, but they are nonetheless pages in that chronicle and we are but some “chroniclers” writing with film and light those pages.
OK, so to make this rather long rant shorter, I believe that at the center of street photography the human being should be the main focus. Streets mean nothing without the humans who walked them at a given moment in time. That given moment is a piece of history. Good or bad, ugly or wondrous, it is history nonetheless.