Who are some best Street Photographers of all time?

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Why people study? For street photography is studying important? Or just your own creativity would do the trick?

Truly there’s plethora of street photographer but there are many legends in the genre too. And studying their works have helped me immensely in my early process. I still am amateur to many photographers and that’s why learning is important. Watching their work will also help you understand the essence of what it’s like to document the era and the lifestyle. Here are some best street photographers from early age to explore.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: He can be considered the father of street photography. He pioneered it and also as master of candid photography, viewed street photography as capturing “decisive moment”. He was also one of the founding members of Magnum Photos.

He never clicked images with flash. To make it inconspicuous, he often wrapped black tape around his camera’s chrome body. He also disliked the manipulation of darkroom which is why he always printed his images in full frame even with the negative burn marks around the edge.

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotiv.” ~  Henri Cartier-Bresson

Robert Doisneau: The term where I say partner in crime, that can go with him and Henri Cartier-bresson. He is considered one of the founder of photojournalism alongside him. He used to take everyday life of Paris with ironic and amusing juxtapositions. Doisneau’s image has captured children’s street culture again and again.

The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” ~ Robert Doisneau

Brassaï: Gyula Halász or commonly known as Brassaï was a multi-talented Hungarian-French photographer. Brassaï captured the essence of the city in his photographs, published as his first collection in the 1933 book entitled Paris de nuit (Paris by Night). His book gained great success, resulting in being called “the eye of Paris” in an essay by Henry Miller. In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, Brassai portrayed scenes from the life of the city’s high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He had been befriended by a French family who gave him access to the upper classes. Brassai photographed many of his artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and several of the prominent writers of his time, such as Jean Genet and Henri Michaux.

He said that he used his photographs “to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night” leading to the name of his book.

Lee Friedlander: He’s a photographers from USA. He’s style focused on the “social landscape”. His photographs used detached images of urban life, store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, and posters and signs all combining to capture the look of modern life.

On a playful note, his one of the most famous work is the nude photographs of Madonna that he clicked for Playboy.

Helen Levitt: Inspired by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, she took the camera in had and saw street photography as an art. And then she became the legend herself although gaining the title “the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time.” She captured emotions and first worked on children’s street culture. She was also one of the pioneering photographer of colour photography.

There are many photographers to look at, and this is just a drop in a bucket. But watching through their work will help you immensely in your own pursuit that I can promise. Technicalities and eye, both can improve on a whole another level. I’m still learning, and what I do, I’ll make sure to update on you guys to. Comment what you think of this kind of articles so I can update more helpful info that helped me in my way.

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