The Street Photography Manifesto

Mad men. NYC, 2017

What is street photography, why is street photography important, who gets to “define” street photography— and what makes a great street photograph?


You make your own rules in street photography

Kyoto, 2017

To start, you must define “street photography” for yourself.

For myself, I define street photography as documenting humanity in public spaces.

Kyoto, 2017

To me, I am a street sociologist, or perhaps a street philosopher. I’m not really interested in pictures; I’m more interested in people.

Why I shoot street photography

Kyoto, 2017

Shooting street photography is a way for me to better understand people, society, and humanity. The purpose of street photography isn’t to make good pictures— it is to have a deeper appreciation, understanding, and love for humanity.

Therefore to start off, the good street photographer is the one that loves humanity.

A good street photographer is DYNAMIC

Flash umbrella street photograph with red and blue. Kyoto, 2017

A good street photographer is also brave, confident, and fearless.

A good street photographer knows when to be aggressive to get the shot, but also knows when to stop, slow down, and actually talk and interact with people.

Silhouette. Kyoto, 2017

A good street photographer has a strong understanding of visual art and aesthetics. A good street photographer knows how to position themselves, where to stand, when to take a picture, and from which perspective — to make dynamically compelling compositions.

A good street photographer also seeks to make street photos with dynamic emotions. A good street photographer seeks to make pictures which AFFECT the viewer — which makes the viewer change how they see or perceive the world. A good street photographer INFLUENCES the heart and mind of the viewer and encourages the viewer to see the world more keenly, more observantly, and with more appreciation.

Be proud of yourself as a street photographer

Dots. Abstract street photograph. Kyoto, 2017

As a street photographer, we need to create our own table of values for ourselves. We need to figure out how we, as individuals, like to shoot street pictures. We cannot look at others to just copy their style — we need to learn how to define our own style in street photography, our own approach, and to not be ashamed of ourselves.

Make your own rules in street photography for yourself

Woman with vent on head. Kyoto, 2017

A street photographer should come up with their own code of ethics— only for themselves, and not to superimpose their ethics and philosophy onto others. Of course, a street photographer will always be opinionated, and think their method is the best— but ONLY FOR THEM, NOT FOR OTHER STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Therefore a good street photographer is NOT DOGMATIC. A good street photographer acknowledges and realizes that everyone can and should shoot street photography for themselves, in their own style and working method.

A street photographer is harsh towards themselves, but open, and tolerant of other street photographers.

Child’s mind in street photography

Boy with pink soccer ball. Uji, Kyoto 2017

A good street photographer is curious. A good street photographer is like a child, roaming the streets with an innocent and pure eye — like seeing the streets for the first time.

A good street photographer follows their own intuition — follows their sense of smell, and goes to new streets, paths, and alleyways which interest them.

A good street photographer wants to impress themself

Man with red hat. Tokyo, 2017

A good street photographer only photographs what interests him or herself. A good street photographer is the ultimate judge whether a picture is “good” or not— by looking at their own street photograph and asking themselves,

“Do I like my own pictures?”

The street photographer seeks like-minded peers

New Orleans, 2015

A good street photographer doesn’t really care whether he or she “pleases” their audience or followers— they first care to please themselves.

They don’t seek to make generic street photographs that will gain a huge following. Rather, they seek to find other like-minded street photographers, and to create their own inner-circle or community.

A good street photographer doesn’t complain

Woman with thick glasses and green hat. BART, 2015

A good street photographer knows that he or she has unlimited possibilities. That they don’t need to live in a super exotic or “interesting” city like Tokyo, London, or New York City.

A good street photographer knows that they don’t neeed to photograph only people. That they should photograph buildings, objects, and things they see in their everyday life. That their job is to document, analyze, and record human history – through urban landscapes, architecture, human-made inorganic objects, and traces of humanity.

The good street photographer loves life

Laughing lady. NYC, 2015

Above all, the street photographer is a lover and an affirmer of life. The street photographer has an incredible and superfluous, and overwhelming sense of JOY, EXCITEMENT, and OPTIMISM for life.

The great street photographer is the “yes sayer” to life— and everything that promotes growth, progress, and evolution in humanity, or the human spirit.

The great street photographer is you.




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