Street Photography

Real street photography.

Now, this is street photography.

A picture of the street.

Nah. That’s not what the photographic world means.  In actual fact, the photo world doesn’t know what it means. It’s a catchall for just about every kind of unplanned work. A friend of mine thinks that you just stick your camera out there and push the button while trying to remain anonymous. What happened to the decisive moment? Or, photographer and subject interaction? Then, I guy I follow on WordPress started posting art museum pictures that he took secretly, saying this was a street photography technique.

I can tell you that some of the greatest working photographers do not work secretly.  They work in fairly close with ether a 28mm, 35mm or 50mm lens. You can’t miss them. One thinks when he is working with a 50mm lens that he is using a telephoto.  It’s funny. But, real.

Caution. Rant coming. Sorry too. This is normally a family blog.

Cut the bullshit. Stop the gutless, scared approach to photography. Stop taking pictures from across the street with a telephoto lens. Stop traveling to foreign countries to stick your camera in some surprised person’s face who won’t say no. Because they don’t speak English.

Engage your subject a little, even if all you do is hold your camera out and point to them. And, make sure they can see your work. I once made a picture in Thailand of a farmer way in the back country. He spoke little or no English. After, I was done and was thanking him, he looked at me and asked, “Digital?” So, I showed him what I did. I left him smiling. And, if you can, give your subject a print. Even if you have to mail it to them 8,000 miles away.

See that line about leaving them smiling? Do that.

Some photographers will say that’s not street photography without being to define what street photography really is about. I’m not buying that.

That’s it. Rant over.

The picture. It really is of the street. It’s funny what you can see if you live in the moment. Just a little. I made it with an iPhone. I promised myself that I would stop doing it. This picture shows why. Technically it’s terrible. It looks great on the phone’s screen. But, anywhere else…



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      • I thought about you and yes I’m sure you’re happy to be away…maybe you are back now I’ve been slow responding…I had to put down my dog before the family wedding weekend…so I’ve been sad and happy and happy and sad…this week I will play with my one mutt she was also very sad but today she seems more herself ahhhhh life and all the waves to ride…hugs and you know you can always come up north 🤓✌️😊


      • Not back until end of month. I’m very sorry about your dog. It’s hard. When my favorite dog passed in 2012, it took a long time to feel better even though there were other dogs to take care of me. They were sad too… it seemed to take them some time. I finally had to gather up her toys and that helped. North? That sounds good as long as its cooler. Even Europe is hot. I didn’t think Switzerland ever got hot… 🐩🐕💐

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s empty without her for sure…having just one dog is something I’ve not experienced since my teens I’m use to a pack 🐶 enjoy Switzerland it’s lovely from what I’ve seen….smiles Ray ☺️💫☀️


  1. Hi. I love photography, the advice you give is to interact more with the subject right? That is a good.
    In my pics I use my cellphone and then I use an app to apply some effects. In your post do you mean that pics with cellphones are not good 😦 ?
    I post them in my page and now I feel a little disappointed because while I am thinking I am getting better, perhaps the true is no. Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lori, I’m glad that you asked. Interaction is important. As far as your phone goes, it’s fine for most things. A lot of my flower and semi-nature pictures were made with one, while I was walking my dog. But, for anything bigger than a small picture or an online posting, the quality really just isn’t there. But, I often make 6 x 4 feet pictures. That’s where you see the difference.

      You are getting better. I always say practice, practice, practice. Look at other photographers’ work, try to. Understand what they are doing and then go take your picture. The more that you do that, the better your work becomes.

      And… feel free to ask me anything.


  2. Ray,

    I totally agree with your comments. I usually give them my business card and tell them if they send me an email, I will send them the photo or photos.

    I once photographed a Gilley (fishing guide) on the river Tay in Scotland and got his card. I made several 8X10 prints and mailed them to him. One day I answered the phone and a voice said this in is Archie in Scotland. I just wanted to thank you for the photos.It really made my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Doug. You and I kind of work the same way. We have to engage our subjects and I like to leaving them smiling when we part. My post was in response to a bunch of emails asking me for my secrets. What secrets? Study, work, study, work…


  3. Thank you Ray. This “rant” is much needed. Folks seem to forget what a difference some basic manners can make. And the golden rule – treat others how you want to be treated. I am often unsettled when overseas “photographers” come to my country (Japan) and forcefully take snapshots of people who cannot say No in English. (In Japan, people are very sensitive about privacy and most do not want their photos taken and posted on a blog without permission) Now, I will stop my rant and return to photographing birds (while not invading their privacy, hopefully)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Birds demand privacy. 🙂 You are absolutely correct. If I hold my camera up and point to a person and if they shake their head no, I smile and nod and go away. It’s the best thing to do. If they say yes, I show them the pictures on the lcd. If they want, I’ll send them prints. It’s the least that I can do.

      Liked by 1 person

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