Friday, January 9, 2009

Street Photography!

Posted by: Yvon Bourque

Hi Pentaxian friends,

We hear a lot about Street Photography these days. Wikipedia defines street photography as follow: "Street photography uses the techniques of straight photographs in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. This genre of photography is present in contemporary times and is usually done as black and white photographs."

Look at any of the forums (example) on photography, and you will see plenty of "Street Photographs" posted all over. You will also realize that everyone has it's own definition of what street photography is. Some photographers like to take photos of people in secret, like voyeurs, using large telephoto lenses. Some use the "right-in-your-face" approach. Although it may make some unusual photos, it might also bring some unusual black eyes as well. Others like to photograph events in general, while including people in the frame and cropping the images to isolate interesting subjects later on. I don't think that black and white has anything to do with street photography. Black and white makes the images look like they were taken many years ago.

Personally, I would never use the "right-in-your-face" approach. I'm getting a little too old to fight for a photograph, and I think it shows an extreme lack of respect. I like to use a little of all the above, but I always ask permission before I include a stranger in any of my photograph. Sometimes it costs me a few dollars, but what I'm looking for is real people, in their elements, just as they are everyday, and willing to share that with me. I would feel like I was looking down on someone by taking a picture of an embarrassing or weak moment. We are all created equal and all deserve to have our privacy respected. I don't take pleasure in photographing a passer-by with his finger up his nose or someone falling on their behind, etc.

I think that pictures, with the subject's permission, can still render good "street" photographs. I cannot judge my own images, but here are a few I took in New York and in Mexico. The subjects' character can still be revealed without me having to play voyeur or get in someone's face.


I'm poor but at least I'm honest. That will be two dollars.

Heroes get tired too.

The way things are now, You or I may be next.

Life has been a long and hard journey for this old man. You can see it in his weathered face.

Best friends. I used to have a best friend at that age "Pierre Lavigne".

Who said you had to be grown up to be street smart?

Thanks for reading,
Yvon Bourque
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