Do You Agree With These Three Common Misconceptions About Street Photography?

by Bret Hoy1 Comment

Street Photography is one of the more free form versions of the medium out there. The reason why is fairly clear as well. Street Photography is something that’s captured in the moment. It’s something that’s more about being there for the moment than manufacturing anything yourself.

That being said, lots of photographers put self-imposed rules on the form. So much so that Olivier Duong at Petapixel felt necessary to write about the three most common misconceptions about street photography.

What I love about these misconceptions that he’s listed is that they’re all ideas that limit the form. By breaking these ideas, Duong opens up possibilities and therefore the entire art form. For a form that gets most of its most valuable contributions from unorthodox shooters and perspectives, this can only be a good thing.

Are there any misconceptions that you would add to this list? In my opinion, there are a handful more that could be discussed.

3 Common Misconceptions About Street Photography

Via PetaPixel:

I’ve been a street photographer for a while now, and I would like to share what I believe are 3 popular misconceptions about street photography — things I’ve seen pop up over and over.

#1: Street photography has to be shot on the streets

I was browsing the Web the other day when I saw a pretty nice image of fishermen on boats preparing to go fishing. Great, if not stunning. I couldn’t help but read the comments, and to my surprise, almost all of the comments were about this image not being street photography.

Three Common Misconceptions About Street Photography 1

The thing about street photography is that you are boxed in right off the bat: it contains the word “street”. Therefore street photography should be about images made in the streets, right?

Well, actually, no, for that would make it a reductio ad absurdum. It’s a fancy smancy high fallutin’ way to say that an argument doesn’t stand when taken to its logical conclusion.

Three Common Misconceptions About Street Photography 2

Here’s what I mean: if street photography is about shooting streets, so what would the above image be? A beach photography image? Images made in the house… would that be house photography? You get the point!

It’s more a problem that I’d like to admit. I receive quite a few emails from photographers around the world, and there’s quite a few that lament the fact that they do not live near a big city to do street photography.

Street photography has been boxed in by its own definition. Let me humbly suggest to you that street photography is probably a bad term, and a better term would be life photography. But it doesn’t have that sexy ring to it, does it?

I talked to a photographer a while back, apparently when he was in school, there was no such thing as “street photography” — the term didn’t exist back then, and it was under the name “Life Photography”. It’s true isn’t it? Look at vintage “street photography” images, and it will dawn on you that street photography is more about life on the streets than the streets themselves.

Read full article at PetaPixel “3 Common Misconceptions About Street Photography”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy


  1. After 25 years experience as a professional, photographing almost everything, I would agree that so-called “street photography” is the most challenging and rewarding segment of photography. The only “rule” requires creating images in an uncontrolled environment where you are not influencing the situation in any manner, and not altering the content in post-production. See the NPPA code of ethics.
    It does take a lifetime to become good at it.
    Its not about exploiting people to fulfill your own ambitions. (Give that statement some thought).
    One does become humbled by the experience.
    Many times after four to five hours on the street (so to speak) I return to my car and sit quietly for about ten minutes.
    I am filled with compassion for my fellow human beings on this planet.
    That is the essence of what it is all about.

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