M and I have begun a new series that we call the Raw, Naked World City Street Photography Ratings, Sadly, we won’t be telling you where to take street shots of nakey folks (although we might if we run across any). However, since we’ve found ourselves carrying cameras and shooting wherever we go, it made sense to put together a qualitative rating system of what we’ve found. The summary results so far look like this. (Click to make it big enough to actually read.)
- Street Shots (People) – this is our bread and butter, the traditional candid (or, rarely, posed) shot of people on the streets.
- Cityscapes / Architecture – the structure of both the buildings and the city itself. Some of the best street photography has none of them peepul things in them.
- Visual Stimuli – this was suggested by M, and encompasses things you don’t normally think of like the light and shadow on NYC streets, the pop of reds in London, or the bright beaches in Miami. It’s sort of a catch-all in that this recognizes that true shooters snap whatever’s there. This measure how much there there is.
- Getting Around – for street shooters, a lot of shooting success will depend on how easily you can get to the prime venues. This measures–to a large extent–public transport versus getting by with your footsies or a hired car.
- The Experience – the bottom line: did we like the experience? Is it worth the trip?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top draws thus far have been London and New York City, with Venice close behind. I’m sure we’ll be making more trips to each city, so it’ll be fun to see if we change our minds over time.
In terms of the scale, here’s what the color ratings mean.
Thus far, we don’t have any “Don’t Bothers” but a few have come close. Our biggest disappointment? Paris. Much of the central city’s architecture is uniform, with similar buildings of similar color and similar height dominating the landscape. The government has been on crusade against its own heritage, street photography, and so except for a-holes like me, it’s quite uncomfortable trying to shoot people on the street.
More to come. We’ll be hitting the streets when time and money permit. In the meantime, we’re looking for good places to shoot in the U.S. Maybe we’ll be coming to a city near you.