Can you imagine a world without street photography? Think of the legacy that Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson, and lesser known pioneers of the genre left for us to enjoy for generations to come. We can all play a part in documenting the world around us, one photograph at a time.
One of the most common reservations people have about shooting street photography is the feeling of invading their subjects’ privacy. It’s a legitimate concern and one that can be addressed by following simple rules of respect. I always urge my workshop students to refrain from photographing people in vulnerable or embarrassing situations. It’s a simple rule: You should be able to put yourself in your subject’s shoes and be okay with your photograph being shared on social media. Photographing a beautiful story in a public place should never be a concern, anywhere in the world, if it is done with respect.
Unfortunately, as the genre gains more and more popularity, many photographers forget those essential rules of respect. That makes it even more difficult and intimidating for others to make their first steps in the exciting world of street photography.
If you are still hesitant, there are ways to include the human element in your photography without revealing their identity. Those methods can be very rewarding and make for very artistic images. So here are a few tips to help you do more anonymous street photography.
Photograph the back of people
Not every subject photographed from behind will make a strong image. Gesture will be the biggest factor to consider. Background and light are also strong elements. Basically, your image should be stronger shot from behind than if you had photographed the same subjects while facing them.