Saturday, 24 August 2019


This is my Street Photography manifesto, what I am trying to achieve and codes of conduct for improving my technique. This is a snapshot of how I am currently working, it's subject to change, with new ideas being added, old ideas being removed or sometimes returned to the list.

1) Geometry and Shadow

Although these can be powerful elements to a photograph, if these are the main theme of the photo it can lead to a boring photograph with no underlying meaning.

2) Graffiti and Advertising

Graffiti and advertising should be used sparingly, it's not enough to take a photograph of somebody simply walking past another persons work of art. Graffiti and advertising as the primary focus of a photograph is a form of plagiarism, where the photograph can often add little or no artistic input but still achieve the illusion of having created a good photograph.

3) Permission

There is nothing wrong with asking permission, likewise there is nothing wrong in not seeking in it. However, this changes the outcome and feel of the photograph. Not asking permission enables split second timing for situations where there may not be enough time to stop and ask in the first place.

This comes with a proviso, not to take advantage of those who are in a vulnerable position, or for the purposes of making fun of.

4) Smile

Smiling and enjoying yourself in street photography is very important, it is a great enabler to allow those who may catch you forgive you quickly for stealing an image.

5) Wonky

Wonky lines and technical imperfections are acceptable and forgivable, if the subject matter and compositional arrangement are interesting and have a message to portray.

6) Faces

Having somebodies face in a photograph is important, for communicating an emotional message. Without a face it makes it more difficult to relate to a photograph.

7) Boring

Avoid a boring photograph at all costs, always ask yourself if the photograph says anything interesting.

8) Rain

Bad weather and rain is acceptable, typically any modern digital camera will be able to withstand a variety of different types of London rain. The opportunity to learn how to use your camera in less than ideal conditions is unmissable, also is such situations as umbrellas turning inside out, or the spectacle of puddle jumping.

9) Deletion

If somebody catches you taking their photograph, be civil if they ask you to remove the image from your camera. No matter how good it may be.

10) Get Closer

Get close, then get even closer than that. Get inside the action, make sure the person looking at your photograph knows what you're looking at too.

11) Be Fast, Take Risks

The key to being invisible is to be fast and blend in with the others. The moment you master this skill is the moment you start taking good photographs.

12) Emotional

The photograph must say something interesting and relatable, without emotional content the photograph is meaningless.

13) No B&W

No rules about only taking photographs in B&W, there is no value is this kind of restriction. Rejecting colour just because your photographic heroes only had the single choice of B&W isn't a good enough reason to not use colour.

15) Moderation

Don't use the camera like a machine gun. It is not practical to take thousands of photographs at once and have to edit them later. However, this should not limit experimentation with the camera. Try and be conservative with the shutter button.

16) Ambiguity

a photograph with ambiguous content can be powerful, inviting the viewer to return time and time again to decode the different meanings within the content.

17) Cliches

Avoid them, unless you can add an interesting twist to the theme. Cliches are dull and reduce your art work to the same standards as a canvas print available from Ikea.

18) Identification

Try to limit the number of identifying features to the location and historical time the photograph has been taken. Having famous landmarks within a photograph may lower it's identity to that of a snapshot rather than a crafted art work. Likewise, unique fashion of the time may ultimately become the subject of the photograph in future years, distracting from the overall original intention of the photograph.