I see myself more of a ‘sociologist with a camera’ than a ‘photographer’ or even a ‘street photographer’.

This is another angle in street photography: you’re a sociologist with a camera!

1. Social commentary with photos

African-american cop cutout. Downtown LA, 2013 #flash #portra400
African-american cop cutout. Downtown LA, 2013 #flash #portra400

For example, you can use street photography as a tool to tackle tricky issues of race, politics, government, or any other social issues.

2. Homelessness

Who is to blame for homelessness– the individual, or the government?

The back of a homeless man's head. Government Sucks. Berkeley, 2014
The back of a homeless man’s head. Government Sucks. Berkeley, 2014

Also, what if someone “chooses” to be homeless? (consider the cynic philosophers of the past, like Diogenes of Sinope).

"No lies there, I need a beer!" Detroit, 2014
“No lies there, I need a beer!” Detroit, 2014. Super friendly guy, gave him a $1 for his honesty. I also like his happy-face also has a chipped tooth like himself.

3. Injustice

July 14, 2013 -- George Zimmerman acquitted in shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

A photo I shot July 14, 2013 — George Zimmerman acquitted in shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

When I heard the news, I thought this was injustice at its worst. Truly shows how the justice system is broken and corrupted in America.

Photograph what feels like injustice to you.

4. Socio-economic

In around 2013 I lived in Michigan. It was an incredibly useful experience, as it truly showed a lot of the socio-economic disparity in America.

For example, what I consider is unethical:

Advertising gambling, lottery to poor individuals:

"Good things happen". Michigan lottery, 2013
“Good things happen”. Michigan lottery, 2013

Or regarding poverty in America:

“Why don’t they just stop being so lazy and get a job?”

But what if there are no opportunities? What if they want to get a job, but nothing is afforded to them?

Like my social commentary in the below photo:

Online employment application — but it is OUT OF ORDER

Lesson:

Every photo you shoot is your subjective take and personal ethics/philosophy.

5. The over-fat epidemic in America

Currently in America, around 90% of adult men are over-fat (the new and more accurate term for being ‘overweight’), and apparently around 50% of children are also over-fat. [link to article]

child French fries overfat

Now this is tricky. These are my thoughts:

  1. When children are overfat, it isn’t the child’s fault. The child doesn’t know any better. It is the fault of the parents, and perhaps their school (what lunch do schools feed the kids?)
  2. Let us assume it is the parent’s fault that the children are over-fat. Now, if the parents are always working and don’t have the knowledge to “cook healthy” at home, it isn’t really the parent’s fault– it is the cause of their poverty and lower-socioeconomic status.

Furthermore, a lot of the over-fat epidemic can be blamed on bad science, ignorance towards diet/health/fitness, and lots of myths in the popular media (for example the very very wrong idea that we get fat from the ‘calories in vs calories out’ notion).

Who is else to blame? Probably Coca Cola and similar corporations (sugar and high fructose corn syrup directly CAUSES obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, metabolic disease, etc).

The overfat epidemic is something which I am passionate about, as diet, health, fitness, and nutrition is something I care deeply about.

Conclusion

Know that when it comes to street photography, one of the many angles you can take is that of a sociologist with camera!


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