I'm a huge fan of so-called "Street Photography," but I suck at it. If you look at my pictures scattered around this blog and over on Flickr, you'll notice that in nine out of ten shots, there are absolutely zero people. That may look intentional, but most of the time it was because I was too much of a wimp to either seize a certain moment or at least ask someone if I could take their picture.
There are exceptions to that rule, of course --- like the punks in Washington Square Park up above (I couldn't let that Shawn Kerri-designed Germs tattoo get away) -- but most of the time, I just couldn't do it. That's probably one of the reasons I take so many pictures of my kids out and about the city -- they're my captive subjects.
Here in the age of the smartphone, it’s easier than ever to covertly take pictures of people on the street (or, more commonly, on the subway) without their cognizance, much less consent, but that just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s just so discourteous. Personally, I think I’d be pretty pissed off if I found out that someone had taken my picture and posted it somewhere without my knowledge or blessing. And with Instagram (a social media platform I could certainly be accused of ….abusing), you can disseminate said images globally in a veritable nanosecond.
In any case, the other day I put up an amazing shot of Lou Reed and John Cale walking down Fifth Avenue that was taken by photographer Joel Meyerowitz, a storied figure in the realm of street photography. You’ve doubtlessly seen more of his images here and there. Here’s another of my faves of his below.
In any case, I recently discovered this illuminating little film about his approach to street photography, filmed back in 1981, fitting on the very streets of Manhattan. Even if you’re not a budding shutterbug, it’s worth it just for the trip back through time.