The photographs that appear in this book are made by people that live, in most cases, hundreds or thousands of miles from each other. Wherever they happen to be based, whether they are professional or amateur, these photographers share a common love of documenting the world around them through candid, un-posed, un-staged photography. With camera in hand they react quickly to the ever-changing public environment, be it in crowded city squares, beaches, parks, museums or a million and one other places, before moving on in search of the next scene or moment that piques their interest. All of the photographers in this book, regardless of individual style and technique, are compelled to make these pictures, commonly referred to as ‘street photography’.
Some photographers do this to try and make sense of the world around them. Some do it to ask questions of society. Some do it to challenge the assumption that life is mundane, to make the ordinary look extraordinary. Some want to highlight the often unforgiving nature of modern life in huge urban areas, some want to document the day-to-day oddness of their local villages. Some don’t even know why they do it…they just do it. Every photographer here has their own outlook on life, their own reasons for picking the camera up each morning, their own take on why they have such a compulsion.
While street photography has been around for almost as long as the photograph itself (without ever really being defined as such until more recent times), the past decade-and-a-half in particular has seen a large increase in the number of photographers that practice it; the digital camera boom is one catalyst, the rise of the internet another. Thanks to the latter, it has been possible for street photographers around the world to connect with each other through websites like Flickr and social networks. For the most part this has led to the enjoyment of a very different type of peer support and encouragement than that experienced by previous generations of photographers. Collectives have been formed, friendships have been made, and a number of blogs, curated groups and online magazines have appeared. The photographers contained in this book are all members of the website www.street-photographers.com.
While you look through the photographs that follow you can bet that somewhere, whether it be the next street along or thousands of miles away, one of the photographers whose work is contained in this book is pacing up and down a dirty pavement right now, looking for the chance moment when everything falls into place for a fraction of a second. Here, however, are a few fractions of seconds that have already happened.
www.street-photographers.com - May 2012
Alfonso De Castro