Ignore The Pretentious Street Photography Critics

Street photography is a snapshot in time, and it captures the human condition as seen through a small rectangle frame. Because this is an artistic expression, street photography critics need to shed the pretentiousness, and instead embrace the artistic vision.

Because the field of view is artificially limited by the lens, the size of your camera’s sensor, and other factors, we are able to make sense of the chaos of the street. The photograph captured by a street photographer can reduce complexity to simple elements, allowing us to focus on the emotion and beauty of the street.

But not every street photograph needs to tell a story beyond the obvious, and not every street photograph needs to evoke an emotion. Yes, some of the best street images do both, but a good street photograph can simply capture the beauty that is a slice of life on the street, and it can serve as a record of how a city or town looked at the time the photo was taken.

So if you are an aspiring street photographer, don’t let the pretentious critics lead you astray, or deter you from your own artistic vision. Street photography is what you make it, and it is not defined by a rigid set of rules created by the self-important. So hit the streets, and capture the things that grab your eye, and ignore the pretentiousness.

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This entry was posted in Humans Being, Photography, Street Photography and tagged , , , , , , , .
  • Paul Donohoe

    Quite right! I think there is a lot of pretension, a lot of ego driven rubbish published by so called street photography “experts”, most of whom are really only good at marketting on social media. Common sense I hope will prevail. thanks for this post!!

    • You are so right. And thanks for commenting and sharing!

      I couldn’t help but write this post after seeing more than my fair share of this on various forums and photography sites. I have no problem with constructive criticism, but I think it stops being constructive when those doing the critique decide for someone else what does or doesn’t qualify as street photography or even art. The first thing anyone getting into the arts (whether it be painting, sculpture, music, photography, or whatever) should realize is that art is highly subjective. I say this: Offer criticism, and advice, but don’t pigeonhole people and their work as worthy or unworthy of some ill-defined standard.