Adam’s Street: The Online World of Street Photography

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Let’s talk a little about street, I mean the genre of photography. Of course street is a very popular subject and a very popular thing for people to write about.

You see street’s pretty unique in all the photographical disciplines… for although you might, just maybe, perhaps, make a name for yourself doing it – you’ll be doing very well, exceedingly well in fact to actually earn a living from it.

And if you are making your living from street, it may very well be from things like running workshops rather than selling prints


But overall, rejoice you may think… a photographical genre that’s like untouched snow and exists purely for the unadulterated joy of participation, you might imagine that fledging street photographers anticipate a world filled with likeminded souls, all harmoniously unanimous in their pursuit of the least commercial of the photographical crafts?


You see street is filled with opinion, rhetoric and frankly, drama queens that would have you believe they were true royalty.

Once you become immersed in the world of street you’ll quickly see many comments about true street, clichéd street, pure street, Fine Art Street.

It can be hard to cut through the white noise.

One thing you’ll quickly read again and again is that the “last thing street needs is yet another shot of the homeless/someone walking by an advertising board/someone on their phone/someone smoking”

To be honest – the last thing street needs is more people saying what street needs 

Now the problem arrives online, when people take the trouble to set up groups and receptacles for people to share their street photos, but with the caveat that it aligns with the group owner(s) vision of what street it. A sort of my house, my rules which is hardly unreasonable.

You want some irony? I wrote the above paragraphs in MAY 2017. Yet the story below shows just how prophetic they were…

…..I was until very recently an admin of a popular Street Photography Facebook group.

Why until recently? Well the group became a free-for-all for people to share pictures of nearly anything (pets, selfies, garden gates). The group owner wanted to tighten down the submissions a little bit… and I’ve never seen people kick back so hard… seriously, people who were perfectly reasonable street photographers, getting highly irate and a tiny bit nasty over the notion that just maybe someone (someone who had every right to tell them what was wanted in his group) would tell them that their picture wasn’t street. Seriously, people who had NEVER had one of their photos declined were suddenly throwing about terms like dictators

The owner of the group clearly didn’t need the stress. The group was doing well. Prizes and magazine features for the ‘pictures of the month’ and all killed off within a week. Because the group owner dared to suggest that submitted photos should actually be “street”

Defining street. A dangerous game.

So I’ll refrain… seriously, street isn’t necessarily something that needs defining.

On that note… OK screw it… next time I’ll attempt to define what street means to me (so YMMV) 🙂

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6 Replies to “Adam’s Street: The Online World of Street Photography”

  1. Now, I exactly know what you are talking about…. there are tons of photo sites, facebook groups and whatever. Some even have that special “Street” section. Bit you know, Henry Cartier-Bresson would not get a single good voting or comment (if posted anonymous), simply because of the so many ways to define the genre.
    Having said that – I would be very interested to share some of my street shots, even more to see others work and learning by that. Do you know any good (or at least reasonable) site dedicated to street? I don’t care about facebook, so anything other than a fb group please 🙂


    1. What makes an engaging photo (in any genre) hasn’t changed I think, but what has changed is the way people see pictures. I think people tend to give more attention to hard copy (say min A4) sized pictures than they do little thumbnails on the internet.

      I tend to be on Flickr when I want to see some quality photography by predominantly unknown people. That’s not to say that Flickr is full of quality 😀 but it is at least aimed at photographers, and is a place where followers and stats doesn’t really count for much and is organised around groups of genre rather than (just) tags


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