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The History of Street Photography

The History of Street Photography

Street photography is a form of documentary photography that has been around since the invention of the camera in the 19th century. It is a type of photography that captures candid moments of everyday life in public spaces, often featuring subjects in unguarded, unposed moments. It is usually shot in black and white, but can also be in color.

The first street photographers in the early 1900s were a small group of pioneering photographers who were among the first to capture the everyday life of people living in cities around the world. These photographers were inspired by the changing social and cultural norms of the era and sought to capture the fleeting moments of everyday life.

Stieglitz and the earliest street photographers

The earliest street photographers, such as Alfred Stieglitz, were part of the Pictorialist movement, which sought to bring photography into the realm of art by emphasizing composition and light. These early photographers often used large format cameras, which allowed them to capture fine details and create interesting textures within their images.

The work of these street photographers had a great influence on later photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. They helped to shape the development of modern street photography, introducing a more documentary approach which focused on capturing the essence of everyday life.

The street photographers of the early 1900s have left a lasting legacy. Their work has been celebrated and their techniques have been adapted by generations of photographers since. Their work has inspired countless photographers to capture the beauty of everyday life, and their images have become iconic.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of the New York School of street photography, which was a mix of documentary photography and abstract expressionism. Photographers such as Saul Leiter and Diane Arbus sought to capture the raw energy and emotion of the city.

Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans

Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans are two of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Both have had a profound impact on the development of photography, and their works remain highly influential today.

Cartier-Bresson’s photography is often considered to be the epitome of street photography. His photographs capture the essence of everyday life in the streets of Paris and other European cities. He was a master of capturing fleeting moments and of finding beauty in the most mundane of scenes. His photographs are often praised for their ability to capture the beauty and poetry of everyday life.

Walker Evans was a master of documentary photography. He often focused on documenting the lives of ordinary people in the American South. His photographs are noted for their subtlety and attention to detail, and for their ability to capture a sense of time and place. His photographs often take on an almost painterly quality, and his images remain some of the most iconic images of American culture.

Both Cartier-Bresson and Evans have left an indelible mark on the history of photography. Their works are both highly respected and admired, and are a testament to their skill and dedication to their craft.

The late 1960s and early 1970s

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the term “street photography” was coined by photographers such as Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Their photographs were often characterized by a sense of irony and a focus on the mundane aspects of everyday life.

Garry Winogrand (1928 – 1984) and Lee Friedlander (born 1934) are two of the most influential American photographers of the twentieth century. Both men had a strong influence on modern street photography and documentary photography, and their work has been widely influential in the field of photography.

Winogrand was born in New York City and studied painting and photography at City College of New York. He was part of the generation of photographers who helped to define street photography as an art form. His work was marked by a sense of spontaneity and immediacy, capturing everyday life on the streets of New York. His most famous series, The Animals, captured animals in zoos and urban environments.

Friedlander was born in Aberdeen, Washington and studied photography at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He also worked as a freelance photographer for magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. His work is characterized by an experimental and playful approach to photography, often featuring reflections and framing within the frame of the photograph. His most famous series, American Prospects, captured the everyday life of America in the 1960s and 70s.

Both Winogrand and Friedlander were part of the same generation of photographers who helped to shape and define modern photography, and their influence can still be felt today. While their approaches to photography were quite different, both men had a profound influence on the field of photography. Their work is still studied and appreciated by photographers today.

The 1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s and 1990s, street photography grew in popularity as a form of art, with an emphasis on capturing the beauty and poetry of everyday life. Photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz and Vivian Maier captured the nuances of the street, while others such as Bruce Gilden and Martin Parr explored the seedier side of the city.

Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is an American photographer, who has been celebrated as one of the most influential figures in modern photography. He is best known for his street photography, which he has been capturing since the 1960s. He is particularly known for his use of color photography, which was relatively rare in the 1960s.

Meyerowitz’s work has been featured in countless exhibitions, books, and magazines. He has had multiple solo shows in both the United States and Europe, and his work has been collected by major museums around the world. He has been credited as one of the primary innovators of color photography, and his work has been praised for its emotional impact.

Meyerowitz has also been a champion for the rights of street photographers, and has spoken out against restrictive laws that have been introduced to limit their ability to work. He is a strong advocate for the protection of copyright, and has been vocal about the need to protect the rights of photographers.

Meyerowitz is still actively working as a photographer, and his work is widely available for purchase. He continues to capture the everyday moments of life, and his work is a testament to the importance of capturing the beauty of everyday life.

Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden is an American documentary photographer best known for his street photography of New York City. He is a member of Magnum Photos and is considered one of the most influential street photographers of our time.

Gilden has been photographing on the streets of New York for over 40 years and his work is characterized by its gritty, gritty realism. He often uses a flash to contrast and highlight the contrast between the city’s inhabitants and their surroundings. His photographs capture the raw energy and emotion of the city and its people.

Gilden’s photographs have appeared in many books, magazines and exhibitions around the world. He is also known for his long-term projects, such as his documentation of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Gilden’s work has been highly praised, and he has won numerous awards, including the Leica Medal of Excellence, the World Press Photo Award, and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. He has also been the subject of several documentaries, including the award-winning film “Life Through a Lens”.

Gilden’s photography is an important reminder of the power of street photography and the potential it has to capture the essence of the everyday. His work has inspired generations of photographers and will continue to do so for years to come.

Martin Parr

Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist, and photobook collector. He is known for his humorous and often controversial imagery that captures everyday life in Britain, Europe, and beyond. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and his books have become essential additions to any photography library.

Parr’s photography is often described as “critical realism,” which is a combination of documentary photography and the use of irony and satire. His work often focuses on consumerism and the discrepancies between the lifestyles of the wealthy and the working class. He has also been known to experiment with various techniques, including color, abstraction, and the use of text.

Parr has been awarded numerous awards throughout his career, including the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal, the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, and has been awarded the Royal Photographic Society’s Honorary Fellowship in 2009. He has also been the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Liverpool and Dundee.

Parr’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including National Geographic, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, and The New Yorker. He has also been featured in many documentaries and television programs. His work has also been featured in several books, such as The Last Resort, Small World, and Think of England.

In addition to his photography, Martin Parr has also been an avid collector of photobooks, which he has published and contributed to. His book Parrworld includes a selection of his images from over 50 countries and is considered to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in contemporary photography.

Street photography Today

Today, street photography has become a global phenomenon, with photographers from all over the world capturing the beauty and diversity of the urban landscape. With the rise of digital technology and social media, street photography has become more accessible than ever before, allowing anyone with a smartphone or camera to capture the world around them.

Matt Stuart

Matt Stuart is an award-winning British photographer based in London. He is most well known for his street photography, which has been described as “candid, humorous, and often surreal”.

Stuart began his career in photography in 1994 when he started assisting fashion photographer Richard Burbridge. He then started his own career in photography in 1997 and has since worked for a wide range of clients, including The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Vogue, and The Sunday Times. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Stuart’s photography is characterized by his use of natural light and vibrant colors. He often captures everyday moments in unusual and unexpected ways, creating images that seem to capture a moment in time. He is also known for his ability to capture the humor and emotion of a moment, often creating images that are both humorous and poignant.

In addition to his commercial work, Stuart also creates personal projects that explore his fascination with people in motion. His 2017 project “Carnival of Souls” was a series of photographs taken at a carnival in his hometown of Bristol. The project explores the energy and joy of the carnival, as well as the darker aspects of the human condition that are present in the crowd. The series has been exhibited in galleries around the world and was the winner of the 2018 Sony World Photography Award for Street Photography.

Matt Stuart’s photography has been praised for its ability to capture the beauty and humanity of everyday life. His images have a unique style that is both candid and emotional, and his work continues to inspire photographers around the world.