The Problem with Street Photography

Order Women Like Pizza (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Note #1

This is a reprint of an old post from The Street Photographer’s Manifesto artist’s book. When this blog was changed to a zine format the spacing and layout of the photos changed from the original. I don’t have time to go back and fix thousands of photos in hundreds of old posts…but I’m sure you will still get the message.

Note #2

If a photo looks fuzzy try to click on it to see hi-res version.

You see a lot of articles disparaging street photography in its current form. Street photography is easy to get into, but hard to excel in...if you aspire to do museum quality work. A big problem I see is the garden variety street work is they are not close enough, not focused and do not contain interesting subject matter.  (When I speak of focus I am not talking about sharpness, I mean an easy to read or decipher photo.)

A still photo is not a movie. We got it get it done in one shot and capture the attention of the viewer in a world that is sickly overloaded with images. In short, the successful street photo should stand out, be interesting and have a poetic quality and simplicity about it that makes it flow. Even if it is not candid and is a street or interior portrait, the same qualities that can help ‘make’ the photo.

Of course, these are all my own feelings. There are no photo police or head photo accountants that keep score or run things. You do your street work as you want. If you like hard to read, mish-mash photos that are far away, then by all means…shoot a way!

Here are some examples of my early street work from the 1970s that exhibit close and focused qualities…

When we got to the digital age, things were a lot better for the photog. They could experiment and be free from the tedious need to develop and print the photo to see how things worked out. Very little excuse nowadays to not do decent work. Even a monkey can do it!

Some digital samples of close and or focused work…








Even mish-mashes should be simplified as much as possible for easy reading.