Watching some YouTube videos on the art of photography led me down a rabbit hole. I’ve fallen into the world of street photography, past and present.
My photographer husband and I started out looking at videos on focusing technique with various cameras and lenses. We viewed first one, then the other online tutorial with a master, and ended up exploring a lot of street photography. Wikipedia confirmed my notion that today’s street photographer makes art using his camera lens to capture images of life. People going about their daily lives, or a combination of line and light, might be all it takes to record a thought-provoking image that transforms the viewer.
But I recalled evidence of street photography of a different sort in our drawers and boxes of old photos. Every family probably can find images like these I’ve included of family and friends. Black and white images printed on heavyweight professional paper; all of ours measure 4” x 6”.
In the 1930’s, ‘40’s and maybe into the ’50’s, studio photographers could be found snapping photos of people on city streets. I wondered if there was some forerunner of Polaroids that allowed instant printing of the image, but a bit of research said that was not the case. These photographers were sometimes hired by big department stores, but more often were from local portrait studios. The candids were taken and a business card was given to the subject. The hope was that a visit to the studio to collect the photo would result in more portrait appointments.
I am thoroughly intrigued by the notion of both kinds of street photography. Just what I need; another hobby. But, the memories of the old images we have led to the discovery of some newer ones we have made already and I’m already incorporating one into an art quilt. Oh, my, what have I started?
Photos: black and white images are Jim’s Dad, Edwin Gilreath in Atlanta, and family friends somewhere I don’t know. The color image is one I shot of two guys on their way to watch a bicycle race in downtown Macon, GA, in 2006.