STREET PHOTOGRAPHYby Alex Coghe
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"Street photography is like jazz, a union of formal rigor and improvisation. Street Photography uses the raw approach of straight photography from which derives. Street Photography is unstaged photography, a challenge of the photographer with himself, an attitude, a state of mind. Street Photography is a reflection of every day life through the eye of a photographer able to document the ordinary capturing the decisive moment, or what others don't see". This is the definition Alex Coghe gives of street photography, a kind of reportage that focus on everyday life and 'on the nuances of the human comedy that is taking place in public spaces.' 'An attitude that, according to the words of the famous photographer, requires readiness, discipline, sensitivity and geometric sense'. According to Coghe "Street Photography is a genre that can't be too constrained because it would limit it. But some pickets are needed to understand what we're talking.
- Street Photographs must be taken in the public realm: streets, subways, museums, beaches, parks, events, countryside, nightclubs...
- Photographs may not be staged or posed by models.
- Photographs do not need to include people but should at the very least imply human existence or a human condition.
- Street Photography can be colour or black & white. Partially desatured images can't be considered street photography.
- Add or remove elements from street photographs is not ethic. Street Photography is a challenge with ourselves and the approach to this kind of photography is raw, like the old straight photography.
- Cropping a photo and perform colour corrections and processing in keeping with a realistic representation of the subject is fine to enhance the image. And naturally also the black and white conversion is allowed but extreme photo manipulation, stitching and combining of images is not for street photography. Also High Dynamic Range (HDR) is considered heavy post production and therefore not suitable for this photographic genre."
According to Alex Coghe 'candid street portraiture' is street photography too, and there are a few 'sub genres' of street photography (I must warn the readers that these are both highly debated and controversial themes and that I don't agree with the author ). Anyway according to Alex Coghe the sub genres of street photography focus on:
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
HARDCORE STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
The e-book approaches the issues of privacy, rights of the photographer and terrorism issues. As in many other e-books on the theme, the issues concerning psychological factors in taking street photos (hesitation, shyness, nervousness, fear of reactions or of being caught) are approached and discussed. The photographer promotes compact cameras and wide angle prime lens, it suggests shooting in RAW, and it encourages hipshot technique for street photographers. "Shoot from the hip is a technique that does mean not take the camera to the eye but near the legs or from your chest. It requires practice in angling the camera and keeping it straight and it requires zone-focus by pre-setting the focusing scale of the lens to the working distance and let the depth of field take care of the rest. A small aperture and fast shutter speed should ensure subject in focus and sharp images. The technique of hip shooting is described in detail so I suggest reading this e-book to the fans of hipshots. Also hyperfocal technique and zone focusing and the 'sunny f/16 rule' are explained to the beginner photographers.
As for how to take pictures, the author says "I don't go into the street thinking about doing street photography, but simply photography. And I never thought to work by themes or projects, even if it happens to develop projects: for example, is what is happening now with the series of shop windows...Howewer, I hardly ever know what pictures Iʼm going to take ahead of time. Street photography for me is bringing a camera with me wherever I go, constantly looking for opportunities to capture interesting moments, with my camera".
The author launches himself in a top ten parade of street masters, in 10 personal tips for the street photographer, and even in 10 zen ways to improve your street photography, which I am leaving to the willing reader, because unfortunately I am not much into lists and certainly not in a zen mood.