The Emergence Of Street Photography In The 21st Century

The street photographer is thought to be the evolution of the flaneur translating literally as a “stroller” or “loafer.” A flaneur is known to be an observer. He is a “connoisseur of the street,” a bystander who roams the city to experience life as it unfolds.

And what better way to capture these personal and beautiful experiences than with a camera? We see that trendy and modern Street Photography is evolving with each day. 

The evolution of street photography in the last decade was quite evident as we have all seen it growing and blooming owing to modern technology, digital cameras, and social media! Street photography and street art are definitely on the rise in the current world amongst everyone. 

Thanks to the widespread knowledge and tools available to learn the art, street photography is making a way in modern art and culture. In this article, we’ll take a step back and dive deep into the golden history of Street photography and its beautiful evolution with certain awesome artists.   

What is Street Photography?

Street Photography is a beautiful yet exquisite art that captures the real essence of everyone in their own moments. These moments are something that goes unnoticed by a lot of people but street photographers manage to capture these moments. 

Street Photography is a genre that gets muddled with candid photography. Street Photography is seizing an event, people, streets, landscape, etc for the purpose of research or art.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular street photographers who have gained popularity in this century.

1) Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson on the other side of the camera during one of his classic photowalks

Several Photographers earlier had tried clicking street pictures and doing regular photography. It was when Henri Cartier-Bresson tried clicking a woman and her dog moving too quickly, which resulted in a blurry photo.

Next time, he created a scene depicting a man with a briefcase blushing as he notices the camera. He laughs nervously and walks to work, and eventually begins to clutch his briefcase as he nervously poses for the camera. 

Finally, the street photographer, Henri came upon a great match. A man is seen leaping through the puddles, his dark suit differing sharply from the bright sky. 

He is also known to be the indisputable father of street photography, who exclusively shot with a Leica camera.

He discovered his inquisitiveness in street photography after testing with a Brownie camera in his early years and obtained the Leica camera that is linked with his photographs today.

Bresson would often cover the small camera with a piece of cloth or thick handkerchief to keep it hidden from view, thus preferring to remain unseen from the public eye. Cartier-Bresson photographed unaware passers-by on the street during his successful career as a Humanist photographer recording the day-to-day life of a metropolis.

He later traveled widely across the world, taking trips to Africa, England, New York, and India from his homeland of Chanteloup, France, and developed the skills and experience that led him to be the best street photographer. 

2) David Alan Harvey


David Alan Harvey, an evergreen genius

David Alan Harvey, who is still going through with his career in photography at the age of 70, is recognized for bridging the gap between photography and the internet. Harvey was raised in Virginia and began photographing at age 11. He graduated from the Graduate School of Journalism, University of Missouri, in 1969, and also worked for National Geographic magazine. 

Harvey took advantage of the bright world of color made possible by more advanced camera technology, creating intensely colorful photos that served as a window into the developing world's story. 

He was a well-known National Geographic photographer who shot street photography in a combination of locations across the world, inclusive of Vietnam, Mexico, and Nairobi. Harvey filmed normal life around the world during his trips, giving many people their first view of living in another country.

3) Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden: iconic, controversial, bold and brilliant

Bruce Gilden, one of the most controversial photographers of all time, is known for his unconventional approach to shooting. Commonly known to click iconic photos with a unique style, Gilden also briefly toyed with the idea of being an actor. 

Fellow photographers have had different reactions to his passions, some have called him a genius, while others, like Meyerowitz, have referred to him as “an angry bully.”

His work has been collectively paired up into six books, each featuring a different city or series of street photographs.

His book “Haiti” portrays the impoverished island from an intriguing perspective; he aims to depict the humanity present on the street in each photo he takes, with some photos catching strange scenarios.

Written by Sara Ayoob

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