The Art & History of Street Photography – Intro & Index

 

Buckroe Beach, 1974

Buckroe Beach, 1974

Follow our ongoing series on the Art and History of Street Photography here on this blog. We will be documenting the history of Street from its inception, through the foundational years, and through all of the rule-making and rule-breaking that mark its history. We’ll also be examining the artistic roots behind the photographic art form, and demonstrating that both learned artistic principles and capabilities intrinsic to the human brain are present in the best works. Follow along as we discuss these artistic devices and how they’re applied in Street Photography.

Finally, we’ll tackle the big questions: What is Street Photography? What are its rules? Are any rules, in fact, valid? Does composition matter? (Spoiler alert: It’s art;  YES it matters.) Aren’t portraits on the street really just portrait photography? Where do you draw the line between documentary photography and street photography? What are the Schools of Street Photography?

Is Henri Cartier-Bresson the father of street photography and Leica its main tool? If you don’t work for Magnum and answered yes to either, you need to follow this series. Street started almost 100 years before HCB bought his first overpriced Leica.

Maria and I will be laying out a more detailed outline as we progress, as well as links to the posts as published. We do hope you’ll check in again and again as the series develops. Don’t be afraid to chime in and make suggestions as well. Thanks for dropping in, and we hope you’ll return. We intend on making this both fun and informative.

— Bill & María-José

Introduction – What is Street Photography

Track A – The History of Street Photography

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Track A, Part 1: History of Street Photographers

Chapter 2  – The Founding Fathers (and Mothers)

Track A, Part 2: The Foundational Epoch

Track A, Part 2 Links and Videos

Track A, Part 3: Unchained (from big cameras)

Track A, Part 4: The Transitional Epoch

Track A, Part 5: Eisenstaedt to Weegee

Track A, Part 6: Brandt to Doisneau

Chapter 3 – The Modern Era Begins

Track A, Part 7: The Rule Making Epoch–Siskind to Cartier-Bresson

Track A, Part 8: Israelis Bidermanas (Izis)

Track A, Part 9: Brassaï to Model

Track A, Part 10: Louis, Faurer, Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, and Diane Arbus.

Track A, Part 11 – Bruce Davidson

Track A, Part 12 – Robert Frank

Track A, Part 13 – Elliott Erwin

Chapter 4 – Pioneers of Color

 William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz, Saul Leiter, Helen Levitt, Stephen Shore, Harry Gruyaert, Alex Webb, Martin Parr

Chapter 5 – The Urban Explosion

Eve Arnold, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Vivian Maier, Charles Moore, Costa Manos, William Klein, David Alan Harvey, Josef Koudelka,  Daidō Moriyama, Tod Papageorge

Special Report: Top Women Street & Documentary Photographers

Track B – The Art of Composition and the Composition of Art

Track B, Part 1: An Introduction to Vivian Maier, and the Phenomenon of the Artist-Photographer.

Track B, Part 2: The Real Versus the Almost Real

Track B, Part 3: The Resolution Revolution

Track B, Part 4: The Hidden Story within an Image

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48 thoughts on “The Art & History of Street Photography – Intro & Index

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  25. Enlightening. I had no idea. I once aspired to renaissance-ness and wanted to learn photography, but didn’t, in part because most of my shots of people and things looked like snapshots (they were) and most of my “street” photos looked like snapshots without the people looking at me. Now I don’t feel so bad about that quickly abandoned and admittedly presumptuous dream.

    Like

    • I think we all take snapshots at first. The issue is too many people don’t recognize that. At the least you must have an inmate sense of composition. I wish everyone could say so.

      Thanks for reading this.

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    • Excuse the rather tardy response Chuck, life has a way about it. Bill and I are happy that you’re catching up with our series. With reference to your comment (that I can’t find – too many blogs…) about writing this as a book, the thought had crossed our minds. You’re right though, the printing rights to all the images would be hellish, although I’m sure there must be ways around that, i.e. keep the borrowed images to a minimum and use our own material where possible. The whole thing would also have to be rewritten, and written differently. Currently we are trying to keep the style casual for the sake of the blogging format, too academic and people lose interest here. In fact, not writing it in a purely academic way makes the series longer, so that’s been an interesting challenge, especially when it comes to keeping posts to a certain length. It’s nigh on impossible to write less than 1500 words per post, for either of us. History notwithstanding, the image analysis side of it is a huge subject in itself, quite fascinating too, something I began studying some years ago as part of my Linguistics Degree.
      Anyway, I’ve seen some of your photography and you have a good eye. You shouldn’t have given it up. You are always welcome here Chuck, you make us both feel normal. 🙂

      Like

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