Street photography is a tradition as old as the invention of photography itself. For a street photographer, the street is like a stage full of possibilities, the cast unknown until the shutter is pressed. And it looks easy, right? Many think it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, but as much as this is undoubtedly helpful, a lucky shot here or there won’t make you a stellar street photographer. Having a style, a mode, a daring; understanding your camera and what makes good composition, and even getting a good grip on post-processing are all vital elements to turning out consistently awesome – or at least interesting – work.
Below are 5 street photographers who’ve gone over and beyond the simple “snap” in the right time and place. They’ve each developed a style and taken it one step further. They’ve, in the words of The Flickr group Hardcore Street Photography (known for its ruthless rejection of much of the work submitted to it), ‘given us a reason to remember their photography,’ and as such have become inspirations for many.
1. Lee Jeffries
Lee Jeffries is best known for his work on his albums Homeless and Fallen Angels, in which he takes homeless people from the streets and creates startling portraiture from them. Some argue there’s a line between street photography and portraiture, but if so then Jeffries has created his own genre of “Street Portraiture” that’s left an indelible mark on the photographic world.
Vladimir ‘Boogie’ Milivojevich, was born in Serbia and began photographing the civil war that ravaged his country during the 1990s. Through this he developed an attraction to the darker side of human society, and when he came to New York in the late 90s, he set about capturing images from some of the most dangerous neighborhoods he could find. His street photography is fearless, covering gangs, drugs, skinheads and the darker areas of cities all around the world. Granted, his work is a bit different than that serendipitous street moment so many photographers are bent on capturing, but the images he does capture are unlike just about any others out there: bold, daring, and saturated with the sensations of a world we all know is out there, but few have the courage to capture.
Umberto Verdoliva is master of clean lines and lighting. His work somehow blends the art of fine photographic composition with that seductress of the street, serendipity. The photo above is from his album “Ironic Street Scenes.”
Andreas Paradise is a Greek photographer who, after a brief stint in the financial sector, made photography his first and daily priority and the main way in which he expresses himself. More of a classical street photographer (i.e. catching serendipitous moments), his work seeks out the unique and unusual embedded within everyday life. One theme that runs through much of Andreas’ recent work is that of shadow, and in blending street photography with shadow play, he’s broadened out the playing field not just for his work, but for all those inspired by him.
Yanidel is a passionate street photographer, best known for his work in Paris. In his own words, he’s
“part of the Humanist tradition yet, diverging from a purely documentary approach, I try to give a surrealist and lyric dimension to the little facts of our daily life, trying to blend in some humor and a positive spin from time to time.”
Yanidel is not only a great street photographer, he’s also one of the more passionate voices in street photography today. His blog offers insights into the art, techniques, and gear and traveling tips. He even hosts interviews and weekly polls. Definitely a feed you’ll want to check out if you’re into this art at all.
What do you think? Do you know of other inspirational street photographers we should know about? Let us know!