street photographs

Man with bread pillow at The Golden Mile, South Africa

Street Photography: What differentiates a good photo from a bad one?

In 2009,  street photographer Blake Andrews famously wrote a blog post stating that “99.98% of street photographs are crap” in response to Nick Turpin on street photography. You can read more on the subject here.

This got me wondering, what exactly differentiates a good street photograph from a bad one? People say that art is subjective, but when it comes to st reet photography (and other forms of photography), I find it uncanny that there is a general consensus in the street photography public what constitutes a good and bad street photograph.

Man with bread pillow at The Golden Mile, South Africa
"Man with bread pillow at The Golden Mile, South Africa" - Michelle Sank

Recently in the news, the British Journal of Photography recently awarded this image, “Man asleep on the Golden Mile, Durban, South Africa.”, by South African photographer Michelle Sank as the best single image category of its International Photography Award.There was a ton of unrest on the internet with some people calling the piece “a joke” and others calling it “rubbish.” Honestly when I saw the image, I was a bit turned off too. I didn’t see the strong merit of the image, when there were tons of other great photographs that were submitted.

In searching for the truth of what makes a good street photograph, I will chronicle some of the aspects that I have noticed of all award-winning and inspiring street photographs.

The 5 Most Inspiring Street Photographs of the Week

Recently I have started a Flickr group titled “Aspiring Street Photographers.” Here are the 5 most inspirational photos that I chose (although there are a lot of other great images in the pool). Check them out and hopefully they inspire you to continue taking great street photographs as well!

Untitled By Exi87
"Untitled" - Exi87

"Move!" - lempkin

Fakes and Ladders
"Fakes and Ladders" - chad^michael

94/365 by Eugene Lum
"94/365" - Eugene Lum

Paris by Wenn
"Paris" -

Want to be included in next week’s post? Join Aspiring Street Photographers and add your best images! Also remember to not just add photos to the pool without commenting on others! We are a community, not view-whores :)

"UFO" - Santa Monica

My 5 Best Street Photographs of All-Time (and the story behind them)

I have always looked at many great street photographs and have always wondered what the story was behind them. Interesting enough, I also get many questions about what was going on in my head when I shot certain photos of mine. Therefore I thought it might be a good thing to show you my 5 best street photographs of all-time, and explain a little more about the backround story as well as what was going on in my mind at the time.

1. “The Conductor” – Downtown Los Angeles

"The Conductor" - Downtown Los Angeles
"The Conductor" - Downtown Los Angeles

This is actually one of my first street photographs that I took. I was in Downtown LA with my girlfriend Cindy, and we went to go watch a show at the Ahmensen Theater, which is right next to the LA opera house. In the courtyard, there is this beautiful fountain that shoots streams of water at different intervals. Cindy exclaimed how beautiful it looked, and I ran over with my camera in hand, and snapped a few photos. I recall seeing the near-perfect silhouettes of the two people, and waited for the moment where either the man or woman would do something interesting. My wish was blessed, and the man on the left raised his hands as if explaining something to the woman. I snapped the photo and recall thinking, “It almost looks as if the man is conducting the streams of water to shoot up”. I then thought of the title, “The Conductor” and it has just stuck.


101 Things I Have Learned about Street Photography

In lieu of the popularity of my last post about the “100 Things I Have Learned about Photography,” I decided to make a new list that pertains to street photography specifically. Also if you don’t know, I am currently writing a book titled: “Street Photography 101,” and the excerpts are being posted here. This new list is a homage to the Street Photography 101 book that I am writing.

Note that there is some overlap of some of these points with the previous list that I wrote, but I thought it may be essential for new-readers to note. Also, feel free to critique, comment, and share this list with anybody you want. I would love to hear your feedback.

101 Things I Have Learned from Street Photography