Asking for a photo and posing is NOT street photography

Asking for a photo and posing is NOT street photography



© iamjeanblack

There is a trend going across the popular video social media platform TikTok that shows photographers, calling themselves “street photographers” wandering the streets and asking people on the streets for a picture, resulting in taking their portraits on the street.

This is NOT street photography, I’m sure Henri Cartier-Bresson is turning in his grave when he hears these trendy photographers calling themselves street photographers when indeed they are portrait photographers taking images on the street.

It might sound the same, but I can assure you it really isn’t and someone needs to tell them the basis of the trend is flawed!

While TikTok user iamjeanblack seems like a friendly fellow and was very polite and did take some nice images of the man he stopped, this is not pure street photography capturing candid moments on the street of unexpecting people. 

This is all intent and purpose, it’s a photo shoot or a portrait session in a park… NOT street photography. But it doesn’t stop there, hundred of TikTok users are now calling themselves Street Photographers and using the basis of this trend to take photos out in public.

While I love the idea of more people picking up a camera and getting into photography, I’d like them to understand street photography first and then decide that while it’s not street photography, they are taking great portraits and are therefore portrait photographers.

Again, amazing photos from ryukstyles, and having the portable printer with him is a nice touch…. But it’s not street photography, where are the dramatic scenes, candid moments within a slit-second of life – this just isn’t street photography.

While I sound like a boring old fart going on about how this isn’t that and why are they calling it this, in anything, there is a process, a process of learning, striving to be the best in your field and this trend just feels like a gimmick, a gimmick and a punch in the gut to the great street photographer that have been and gone, and to the great that have worked their craft for years.

I am sure this trend will continue, because who wouldn’t follow the crowd to get views, but I just think it is very weird and really does not sit well with me that people and photographers think this is street photography – for the fiftieth time – It’s NOT street photography.