The Evolution of Street Photography in the Last Century

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As we are all aware, modern Street Photography is evolving with each day. But how exactly has it evolved?

The evolution of street photography in the last decade was quite evident. As we have all seen it growing and blooming. Thanks to technology, digital cameras and social media!

In today’s world, street photography is undoubtedly the most popular art form.

Everyone now has the skills to capture street images, thanks to the widespread availability of smartphones and digital cameras.

What is Street Photography?

Street Photography

Street Photography is an art that captures the real essence of everyone in their moments. These moments are something that goes unnoticed by a lot of people but street photographers manage to capture these moments. 

Street Photography, a genre that gets confused with candid photography. Street Photography is capturing an event, people, streets, landscape, etc for the purpose of research or art.

In this article, we’ll take a step back and dive deep into the golden history of Street photography which helps us understand how beautifully it has evolved.

The History of Street Photography that remained Untouched

The History of Street Photography that remained Untouched
Picture Courtesy: www.photoaspects.com

Many Photographers back then tried clicking street pictures. It was when Henri Cartier- Bresson tried clicking a woman and her dog moving too rapidly, which resulted in a blurry photo.

Next time, he created a scene showing a man with a briefcase blushing as he notices the camera. He laughs nervously and walks to work, clutching his briefcase even harder.

Finally, the street photographer, Henri comes upon a great match. A man leaps through the puddles, his dark suit contrasting sharply with the bright sky. Henri Cartier-Bresson has the snapshot he’s been waiting for so long.

The Favourite Camera of 1900s Photographers, Leica

The Favourite Camera of 1900s Photographers, Leica
Picture Courtesy: www.photoaspects.com

Leica is one of the most prestigious names in photography, a camera responsible for some of the most memorable images in collective memory.

Hailed as the best camera brand and pioneer of the Magnum aesthetic, Leica is one of the most prestigious names in photography, a camera responsible for some of the most memorable images in collective memory.

The Leica was a 35mm still camera that was almost exclusively used in the early 1900s.

This camera, designed by Oskar Barnack of the Leica Camera AG, ignited the street photography scene because it was compact and light to carry around.

Henry Cartier- Bresson: The Decisive Moment (1920s- 1960s)

Henry Cartier- Bresson: The Decisive Moment (1920s- 1960s)
Picture Courtesy: www.photoaspects.com

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the indisputable father of street photography, exclusively shot with a Leica camera.

He discovered his interest in photography after experimenting with a Brownie camera in his early years and obtained the Leica camera that is linked with his photographs today.

Cartier-Bresson would often cover the small camera with a handkerchief to keep it hidden from view, preferring to remain unseen.

Cartier-Bresson photographed unaware passers-by on the street during his successful career as a Humanist photographer (more on that later), recording the day-to-day life of a metropolis.

He travelled widely, taking trips to Africa, England, New York, and India from his homeland of Chanteloup, France.

Sentimental Scenes by Robert Doisneau (1940s – 1970s)

Picture Courtesy: www.photoaspects.com

Robert Doisneau, the photographer behind the widely renowned shot Le Baiser de l’hôtel de Ville (The Kiss), depicts a kiss in the streets of Paris.

Doisneau’s most famous work spans the period from the end of WWII to the 1950s, and he was fascinated by the eccentric characters he encountered on the street.

He credits Cartier-Bresson, among others, as a major influence on his photography, and he was inspired by Cartier-treatment Bresson’s of everyday life as worthy of photography.

Doisneau was merely a shy man who took photos of walkways before gaining the courage to photograph people when he first started street photography. But once he did, he never looked back.

His work is emotional, and it depicts life on the street in a childlike, almost gloomy way. He was also very conscious of the composition of his photographs, and as a member of Group XV, he dedicated himself to honing his photographic artistry.

David Alan Harvey, The Man Who Introduced Photography to Internet (the 1970s – present)

See the source image
David Alan Harvey; Courtesy: 121clicks.com

David Alan Harvey, who is still photographing at the age of 70, is recognised for bridging the gap between photography and the internet.

Harvey took advantage of the more bright world of colour made possible by more advanced camera technology, creating intensely colourful photos that served as a window into the world’s civilizations.

He was a well-known National Geographic photographer who shot street photography in a variety of locations across the world, including Vietnam, Mexico and Nairobi. Harvey filmed normal life around the world during his trips, giving many people their first view of living in another country.

Bruce Gilden’s different approach in Street Photography (the 1990s- present)

See the source image
Bruce Gilden; Courtesy: www.flickr.com

Bruce Gilden, one of the most controversial photographers of all time, is known for his unconventional approach to shooting.

Gilden, unlike Cartier-Bresson, is demanding and aggressive while photographing strangers on the street.

Fellow artists have had different reactions to him; some have called him a genius, while others, like Meyerowitz, have referred to him as “an angry bully.”

His work has been collected into six books, each featuring a different city or series of photos.

His book “Haiti” portrays the impoverished island in an intriguing perspective; he aims to depict the humanity present on the street in each photo he takes, with some photos catching strange scenarios.

Eric Kim: Street Photography’s Future

Picture Courtesy: www.photoaspects.com

Eric Kim is one of today’s most experienced and well-known street photographers.

Kim can certainly be regarded among the greats in street photography since she is well-versed in the masters, is always looking for new techniques, and has an excellent portfolio to boot.

Kim, who is based in Los Angeles, is content to photograph the streets of his city. He is a firm believer that there is no place on Earth that is uninteresting to photograph: each location has its own peculiarities, characters, and interesting scenes.

Kim describes himself as a “social-critique photographer” despite the fact that his shooting style is constantly altering. With a Sociology background, he uses his photos to convey his thoughts on society, bringing to light concerns that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Kim’s photography gives us a look into his worldview, and his work is frequently moving.

Final Words! 

The first-ever street photograph was taken by Louis Daguerre where he took pictures from a studio window of figures in the street in 1838 or 1839.

Street Photography has always been regarded as one of the most unassuming art forms since the 19th century.

From then to now, The Evolution of Street Photography is truly amazing. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you wish to read our other articles too, click here. 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more such Photography insights. 

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