One of the most commonly accepted yet least known theories of how Street Photography was born talks about an art critic in the 19th century who used the title of “impressionist” as a derogatory term. One he used to describe a group of painters who decided not only to have exhibitions on their own but who also chose to forego the themes found in classical paintings. Instead, they decided to add to their repertoire daily-life scenes. As part of this process, some of these enfant terrible turn to photography.
At first the impressionist painters used photography as a way to supplement what they saw with their eyes. But it soon became clear that these photos of common occurrences and of regular people doing regular things had a merit of their own.
The depiction of movement and capturing the Decisive Moment was one of the things that set street photography apart. However, this term, which is usually linked to Henri Cartier Bresson, was one he particularly disliked since it came from an English translation of the title one of his books: “Images à la Sauvette”, which more closely translates to “furtive glimpses or surreptitious glimpses.”
Regardless of whatever you may call them: glimpses or decisive moments. The kind of street photography images that have endured the passage of time have an innate capacity of presenting a relatable subject or place while paying close attention to light and composition. At other times these images have portrayed candid, intimate and or private moments such as a lover’s kiss or a mother’s embrace.
One way or another, good street photography manages to capture the essence of a moment as it records it for posterity. Join the ranks of those photographers who’ve left an indelible mark in this genre and point your photographic devices to the normalcy of every daily life.
By Essdras M Suarez/ million eyez Chief Photographer, Pulitzer Prizewinner