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Douglas Houck | profile | all galleries >> cities >> New York >> Street Photography or Voyeurism tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Street Photography or Voyeurism

These models were shooting an ad for Pretty Polly leggings in the SOHO district.

I have used these images in a discussion on Street Photography or Voyeurism.


From Wiki, "Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings."

Street photography is not about having the person know and or approve beforehand of having their image taken. The great street photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andres Kertesz, and Garry Winnograd all went to lengths to be inconspicuous. Cartier-Bresson didn't like having his picture taken so that people would not recognize him on the street.

I found a comment on why this is needed:
"But all of my photos would have turned into snapshots: people conscious of the camera and probably smiling into the lens."

So on a technical basis the four images are examples of Street Photography, and technically are quite good. But what about all the woman reviewers who felt there was some level of stalking involved.

I found a further comment that addressed this issue.
"The potential for street photography to be rude and exploitative is monstrous and this is something that I struggle with everytime I step outside. .... But every situation is different and there are times where I have refused to expose any film because it did not feel right and I have subsequently missed incredible opportunities. There cannot be any edict dictating what is right or wrong. These decisions are up to each photographer to make according to their own system of values."

One of the more interesting aspects of street photography is that in being a single frozen piece of time of a complex set of interactions, the image will show things that the photographer didn't see. This is shown in the second and third images.

The second image gives the information on what these women were doing out on the street. Pretty Polly, the name on the pink bags, is the company that sells fashion tights. This is a shoot for an ad for Pretty Polly tights. (They have a website).

The third image is to me the most interesting as the women are split in two by the car. The upper headshot of the brunette is such that she looks strongly like a man. It's the angle of her nose and that her hair is partially blocked making it look like a man's hair-cut. But the pose of the legs and hand as shown through the lower car window are very feminine. Trust me she was a woman.

My final piece of evidence of overall not having crossed the line into stalking is the final shot. The blonde has finally noticed me and looks my way. It lasted only a second before she went back to work, but to me its a cross between a smile and a smirk. I got close but didn't cross the line. I also liked the counter point between the models and the young girl with the head scarf.

So technically these images are good basic Street Photography but the subject matter, which included sex, is what puts it on the borderline of being rude and exploitative.

Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC
Models, NYC