Street photography had become very difficult these last 15-20 years, especially since the event of 9/11 and the distrust that followed.
I remember walking the streets around San Francisco’s Union Square or Financial District in the early 1980’s during my lunch hour break, wearing my Canon FTb around my neck. The lens, a 50 mm, was set to a predetermined distance for the maximum of depth of field, with an ƒ-stop to 8 or 11, depending on the weather and the shutter to 1/125 of a second. The camera was loaded with a roll of Kodak or Ilford black and white film.
I would use a long cable release to take the exposure while wearing the camera at chest level. Sometimes I would be daring and actually look through the view finder to get the shot.
Now with smartphone cameras having become better, especially with the iPhone 4S, achieving good street photography is now possible once again, especially since so many individuals using a smartphones to photograph their daily activities, us serious street photographers no longer stand out. We can now document and capture moments for future generations to ponder upon as we do today when looking at the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau, who is best known for ‘Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville’ (Kiss by the hôtel de ville).
The Kiss — The photograph was published in
the June 12, 1950, issue of Life.
This month, if Robert Doisneau were still alive, he would have turned 100 on April 12, but he passed in 1994. Robert and other street photographers of his time, have left an indelible mark, contribute greatly to our visual history.
What I have seen in the last four weeks on Instagram, certainly proves that street photography is once again, alive and doing well.
Photographs by Robert Doisneau
In the future there will be more articles on street photography, featuring not only Henri Cartier-Bresson or Walker Evans, but also a new generation of iPhoneographers capturing life as it happens.