My Definitions of Street Photography

Street photography by Craig Boehman.

Image by Craig Boehman

What is street photography?

For me, there’s a short definition and an even shorter one. None of them include degrees of social interaction, ethics, morale, or even legal considerations, how-to’s, rules, or clauses that would be found in an attorney’s contract (even though this is kind of sounding like one now). Short Definition #1: Street photography is public photography. It’s anywhere in the public domain that isn’t private property. The subject matter can be just about anything – with emphasis traditionally on people and/or their immediate environments. Short Definition #2: Street photography is public photography.

It’s this second definition I prefer because it’s a broad-based definition that covers basically what I and many others do whether if we’re literally photographing in the streets or in more exotic locales, like in a fishing village, for example.

There are some who prefer the term “urban photography” when they’re referring to street photography because they want a more refined classification for their imagery. This is, of course, fine. But I do find it lacking and even ridiculously inaccurate, at least for an urban setting like Mumbai, where one can view fishing villages, thickly wooded landscapes, open grasslands, beaches, caves, mangroves, and the odd hilltop with panorama views – all of this within the city limits - including a population of 18+ million residents. It doesn’t get any more “urban” than this, folks.

But for me, the terms “urban” and “public” are weaker choices for such a grand genre of photography. For me, only street photography will do, however inaccurate or wildly inappropriate.

Follow along:





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