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I was flipping through a street photog’s PDF book. He has a photo of himself shooting tons of posed shots of a guy on the street with an off cam flash. One contact sheet showed nearly 80 photos of this guy posing for him…and he calls it ‘street photography.’

Now, lots of street photogs may use a flash for their street work. But they do not take 80 pix of the same subject. That is more like fashion photography, not street photography. All this photog is missing is a couple of assistants to hold a diffusion screen and a tethered laptop for him. It is really pitiful what photogs promote as street photography nowadays. Since so much of this guys work is posed and staged, you can’t tell how much of it is really candid.

If your presenting a series of shots and the majority is candid street work and you mix a few street portraits in, no one will complain. But if you promoting your work as street photography and all you have are posed and staged portraits, then label it as street portraiture…for that is all it is.

There are no hard and fast rules. But in general, if a picture contains a person on the street and is posed / staged, it is street portraiture. If the photo of the person is candid,  it is street photography. Street portraiture may come under realm of street photography, but it is not to be confused with candid, non staged street work.

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Infrared flash photo

The reason street portraiture differs from street photography is this; taking great candid photos of people up close takes balls and a special skill. This is what separates the boys from the men with street photography. Sure, it takes balls to ask someone if you can take their photo. The candid street photog may not have enough balls to even ask. But be this as it may, the skill set for candid street photography is very different than street portraiture. The reverse applies as well. Just because you may have skills for good candid work does not mean you are great at posing people for staged shots.

You will see this principle of having candid skills put into textbook practice with my photos I took in Amsterdam’s De Wallen Red Light District shown below. There, you not only need brass balls, you also need extraordinary street skills or you will pay the price. These are not the type of photos you can get by pretending to fiddle with adjusting your camera and by playing dumb. (For those with tin plated balls, go across the canals to shoot, hide and use your zooms.)

With inanimate objects on the street, animals and the like, anyone generally has the balls to shoot them. They can keep shooting them for days to get a shot. With candid’s you have only a chance or two. Most people will accept a few shots of inanimate objects or animals shot on the street mixed in with legitimate street photography. But the bottom line is…street photography deals mainly with candid’s of people on the street.

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Although not exactly on the street, this is still street photography for me. Same exact skill set needed whether on asphalt, cobblestone, or dirt road. I wouldn’t make a book on street photography with all shots like this, but I would feel comfortable mixing in a few.

Copernican Heliocentrism copyright 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

This is street portraiture as I asked. If I didn’t ask it would be candid street photography.

'Last of the Spit Shinners' Copyright 1971 Daniel Teoli Jr V7 MR

Street portraiture

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Street photography

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Street photography

'Dirty Dancing' Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr V6

Street photography

13Whoop-Whoop 73 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography.

Fourth of July 2013 copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography – Again I wouldn’t make a book on street photography with all shots like this, but I would mix in a few. If you have the skill to shoot from all genres, you can get by with a few mix and match shots that blend in easy enough.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Naughty Girl Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr Vivid FAB

Street portraiture

Pigsheads Copyright 1983 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street photography…well, kinda.  OK, I am pushing it as it is in a market. But so what? If it was an outside market it would be street. Street photography mainly deals with taking candid’s of people. Same skills and balls required whether inside or out. BTW, the original neg and prints were lost in a flood. This is a scan from a drugstore snapshot.

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Street portraiture

26Whoop-Whoop 123 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (9)

Street portraiture

40 img072-V9 Getty Heir MR

Street photography

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Street photography

Twenty-Six Roadkills artists' book no.9 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography. This was gone in 2 seconds. When the dog went in for the second bite the comp was destroyed. A landscaper would not even have time to remove his lens cap and fart. That is street photography at its finest…even if on grass and no people are in the shot.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography27 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Street photography. Again at its finest. No photos allowed in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. If you get caught you may get your ass kicked or take a bath in bleach or ammonia. It wasn’t a fluke shot either…all of these are 100% candid!

25 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

50 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

De Wallen Artists' Book no. 4 Transgender Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

 Blue light special aka transvestite.

39 De Wallen Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

21 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

28 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

30 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

36 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

A ‘tag team duo’ for fulfilling a threesome fantasy.

De Wallen is kept very dark. It is like trying to photograph in a wet darkroom that is lit only by the red safelight. You have to be very discrete because the prostitutes employ enforcers or have pimps to ‘discourage’ photography.

If a prostitute has an inkling you are taking her picture, she bangs on the her display window loudly with her ring finger to alert the enforcers. Sometimes she opens the door and starts screaming and chasing down the photographer.

The enforcers will demand the memory card or film from the photographer. If a scuffle ensues the camera may get tossed into the canal. If the prostitute is of a meaner nature she might open her glass door and throw bleach or ammonia on the photographer.

Of course, dealing with all these problems IS the specialty of the expert documentary photographer whose job it is to bring home the best possible images under adverse conditions.

This underscores why there is a distinction between legitimate candid street work that takes a special set of skills. Versus street portraiture, that may understandably have its own set of skills, but should not be confused with true candid street work.

This is no different that saying just because one is a good studio photographer that are great at candid street work as well. One expertise does not guarantees success in the other genre and vice versa.

I would think the only people that push street portraiture as street photography are the ones that can’t shoot legitimate street candid’s. I’ve seen the so-called street photogs set up a camera on a tripod and shoot everyone that walks by with a remote while they hide in the corner…too scared to be upfront.

Other wannabes talk about shooting video for street work and extracting a single image out of 72,000 frames. And we have the tele pros, shooting from blocks away with high magnification. All of this smacks of no-skills street photography.

Sometimes the photog can squeak by if they keep their mouth shut. I used to think Erwitt’s shot was a nice candid grab as he walked by. Instead it borders on a studio shot.

In Magnum’s book Magnum Contact Sheets they talk of a photog that shot fifty rolls of film on a subject and didn’t have 1 good keeper in the lot of 50 rolls. I’m the other way around. I tend to undershoot a subject taking 1 – 3 shots on average.

Cornered Copyright 1973 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture. This was shot in an alley. It was not inside. You would never know unless I told you.

Bikers' Mardi Gras Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street portraiture

9 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Street photography…or is it a landscaper shot? It does have candid people in it.

You can see that people can argue all sort of things to prove their point. Photogs can be a pretentious bunch. They will try and talk great photography, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In the end, the photogs body of works sums them up, not their mouth.

On Leave copyright 1973 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street portraiture

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

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Street photography

Freemont Street no.2 Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. lr

Street portraiture

Order Women Like Pizza Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Order Women Like Pizza  This is a candid shot from less than a foot away…a world record candid shot! (I have candid’s going down to 2 or 3 inches from the subject.)

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Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Street portraiture

3Whoop-Whoop 31 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street photography

There are some street photogs that specialize in taking pix of people walking into and out of shadows or signage. They will wait around 30 or 40 minutes for people to walk into a contrived image. They make art out of their specialty. As a Social Documentary Photographer I make art out of Social Documentary Photography.

Titty Beads copyright 2014 Dnaiel D. Teoli Jr.

Street photography

The longest I wait around for people to walk in the frame is about 5 minutes. And being an ADD…5 minutes is a lifetime for me!

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Street photography

Moo project copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street portraiture…but didn’t ask, Just grabbed it. Shooting kids nowadays makes you a pedophile, so you have to be quick! Defining candid can be tough. Some say it is done without the subjects knowledge. Others say the subject can know about it but has not consent. I just define candid as the subject was unaware of me shooting them.

Homage to Weegee copyright 1974 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street photography – The original neg and prints were lost in a flood. This is a scan from a reject work print.

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Street photography

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. 2014

A postcard display in Amsterdam…Street photography

Piercing Darkness 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C v14

Street photography…as candid as you can get. Taken in the dark with infrared flash.

De Wallen Graffiti copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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