cap·ta·tion [kapˈtāshən]
definition:  An attempt to achieve or acquire something especially artfully; reaching after

by Essdras M Suarez, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer

Essdras M Suarez for photowrkshop dir

me by tom for Nikon

 

A two-time Pulitzer prizewinner, Essdras M Suarez worked as a photojournalist for over 20 years, the last 12 with the Boston Globe.  He’s also received multiple awards for his portrait, food, product and travel photography.  His images have been published in such well-recognized publications as the National Geographic, Time Magazine, New York Times and Washington Post and many more national and international publications. Having worked in over 50 countries around the world, he is now based Alexandria, VA, where he established EMS Photo Adventures to enable the sharing of the diverse experience and knowledge gained as a photojournalist to the photo enthusiast.
Website:  www.essdrasmsuarez.com

Street Photography: Timeless Classics

November 2017

Photographers have at some point or another pointed their camera down a street or city sidewalk to document a scene or a subject. Be it nearby in their own backyard or in some far away land.  

One of the most common misconceptions of this genre is that it requires a street in the photo in order to be called as such. However what most good street photography requires is a decisive moment within the frame.

The most commonly accepted and yet least known theory of how this style of photography was born talks about an art critic in the 19th century who used the title of “impressionist,” as a derogatory term, to describe a group of painters who decided not only to have exhibitions on their own but who also chose to forego the themes found in classical paintings.  Instead, they decided to add to their repertoire daily-life scenes. And as part of this process, some of them, enfant terrible, turn to photography.

At first they used photography as a way to supplement what they saw with their eyes. But it soon became clear that these photos of common occurrences and of regular people doing regular things had merits of their own.

The depiction of movement and capturing the Decisive Moment was one of the things that set street photography apart. However, this term, which is usually linked to Henri Cartier Bresson, was one he particularly disliked since it came from what e considered to be a shoddy English translation of the title one of his books: "Images à la Sauvette", which more closely translates to “furtive glimpses” or “surreptitious glimpses.”

Harlem, NY 052211    On a Sunday morning a crowd hails for taxis at 121st and Lenox Ave in Harlem on May 22, 2011.

Harlem, NY 052211 On a Sunday morning a crowd hails for taxis at 121st and Lenox Ave in Harlem on May 22, 2011.

Regardless of whatever you may call them: glimpses or decisive moments. The kind of street photography images that tend to cause and impact and endure the passage of time have an innate capacity of presenting a relatable subject or place while paying close attention to light, composition, and sometimes to unique and/or quirky situations.  At other times these images have portrayed candid, intimate and or private moments such as a lover’s kiss or a mother’s embrace.

Anniversary Trip: 09/16/16  Picasso museum, walk around with Marion through Opera District, Deux Padeux, and 2nd arrondisement.  (photo by Essdras M Suarez/ EMS Photography©)

Anniversary Trip: 09/16/16 Picasso museum, walk around with Marion through Opera District, Deux Padeux, and 2nd arrondisement. (photo by Essdras M Suarez/ EMS Photography©)

One way or another, good street photography is that which manages to capture the essence of a moment in a unique and aesthetically appealing manner.

If you haven’t yet, give it a try. Come and join the ranks of those photographers who’ve left an indelible mark in this genre and point your photographic devices to the normalcy of every daily life. Challenge yourself to document the common anew and to elicit the interest of those looking at your work.

And like always… remember:  “Keep shooting, keep moving, keep adjusting.”


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