So what is all the excitement about street photography anyway? We can not deny the fact that there is something nostalgic and special that we see in photographs from the 50’s and 60’s or a similar period that were taken in the streets. But why do these photographs have such an inspirational effect on us?
The answer may be twofold. First is that when we look at these photographs, those that we feel inspirational, we conclude and play with the idea that it would be great to have some of our own photographs, some of our own work that mimics the ones we have seen and admired. Since the scenes are set in the streets it seems as a doable subject matter that is achievable with relative ease. At least so it may seem.
Secondly, apart of the nostalgic feel, there is the “romantic” notion that they evoke which may be that critical trigger that calls to action.
The romantic notion is far from romanticism of the early 19th century artistic movement were the concept of the expressed felling, imagination and the subconscious with a preferred connection to nature in one way or another were seen as the main attributes.
The romantic idea In street scenes comes from interpolation of emotions with the magic of freezing moments in time that involves a familiar setting, usually with a specific action of the subjects in the photograph.
These frozen moments can have an incredibly powerful emotional concept tied to them. Time, in a brief moment, while looking at a photograph, is not seen as a temporary state of existence in some sort of a sequence or continuity, but rather as a state of existence where continuity is eliminated from the equation altogether. In these photographs the notion of time , only briefly, disappears from the equation of life. Life become timeless in the space of the composition.
It is difficult to imagine life without the constraints of time as in our world, time and space are inseparable. The past is different from the current and future.
In street photography one can revisit the same street, the same setting and if lighting conditions are favourable may come close to achieving what was photographed a few days perviously or a few years back. In other words, it may be that their timelessness and the “achievable” idea of a frozen action or behavioural moment ( in a familiar setting ) triggers that emotional creative sparks that we all know too well.