Street Photography by Alan Horsager

How street photography is typically defined

Street photography is defined on Wikipedia as "a type of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings. This style of photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment."

For the most part, I agree with this. I do see international street photography as capturing particular moments with people in public spaces throughout international cities. However, I see a focus towards ironic and insistence on being "straight" as artificial limitations. In my images, I try to combine traditional street photography with expression and abstraction across international cities at night and dimly lit areas. Street photography is more about the approach rather than a strict set of rules defined by location (e.g., street photographs can come from interiors such as train stations or the sidewalk in front of your house) or being straight. Deviating from "straight" does not necessarily move it out of the category of street (IMHO).

At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves -- that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are. -- Alain de Botton.

How I see street photography

Over the years, I've used film and digital mediums; large, medium, and 35mm camera systems. I've ceated my own, homemade lenses for creative control over the photographs, including tilt-focus to create this gallery of street photography. I also have a bent towards low light environments, particularly night photography. Although my work is almost entirely straight from the camera (outside of toning), I see digital manipulation as no more gimmicky than attempts at being ironic. As described by Nick Turpin: "Now I understand that 'Street Photography' is just 'Photography' in its simplest form, it is the medium itself, it is actually all the other forms of photography that need defining, landscape, fashion, portrait, reportage, art, advertising....these are all complicating additions to the medium of Photography, they are the areas that need to be defined, ring fenced and partitioned out of the medium of Street Photography".

Everyday we brush by so many people. People we may never meet or people who may become close friends - Chungking Express (1994).

My photographs include international street photography from around the world, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Cartagena, Buenos Aires, Santo Domingo, and numberous cities and towns throughout Mexico and the United States. Some of these are your typical tourist sites like Shibuya Crossing, while others are a bit more out of the way like Tavares Bastos, a favela in Rio de Janeiro. All of them are somewhat abstracted from traditional street photography but are within the same vein. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to contact me if you have any comments.

The most difficult task for anyone wandering through a foreign land with the hope of gaining some insight into it is the profound need to come to terms with the lives and thoughts of strangers. -- Simon Winchester

Image Information:

  1. St. George's, Grenada, 2012 | Staircase (Staircase that has withstood several hurricanes stands alone in an empty courtyard in St. George's, Grenada.)
  2. St. George's, Grenada, 2012 | Rainy Cab Ride (A street photo taken through the rain-soaked windshield of a taxi cab of several people milling about on the street.)
  3. Los Angeles, California, 2010 | Union Station (Street photography of a man in a yellow coat and bowler hat walking through Union Station in Los Angeles, California.)
  4. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 2012 | Fishing in Ipanema (Street photography of a man walks along the dark, cloudy, and gloomy beach of Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, with a fishing net attached to a pole.)
  5. Tokyo, Japan, 2011 | Shibuya Crossing (A street photograph of people's blurry, fast-moving feet walking through the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing, in Tokyo, Japan.)
  6. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 2012 | Shoeshine & Samba (Two street photography images of men on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. One getting their shoe's shined, and the other sitting on a scooter outside of a Samaba club, listening to the music at night.)
  7. Hong Kong, China, 2011 | Wan Chai Market (A man standing in front of his booth in the Wan Chai Wet Market in Hong Kong, China at night. There is different cuts of meat hanging from hooks along the wall.)
  8. Hong Kong, China, 2011 | Wan Chai Wet Market (Two different images of people working on the street in the Wan Chai Street Market. One is cleaning up after a night of work, and the other is a fishmonger, selling fish.)
  9. Tokyo, Japan, 2011 | Passengers on the Subway (Street photography of several passengers sit on the early morning subway in Tokyo, Japan.)
  10. Cartagena, Colombia, 2010 | White Wall (Street photography of two men sit on the street along a white wall in Cartagena, Colombia.)
  11. Kyoto, Japan, 2011 | Ninen-zaka (International street photography on the street of Ninen-zaka. Two street photography images of people walking along the narrow street of Ninen-zaka at night in Kyoto, Japan.)
  12. Prague, Czech Republic, 2012 | Tram Couple (street photography of a woman with an umbrella walks up to meet the tram in Prague, Czech Rebublic. Street photo of a man waits out the rain in a doorway.)
  13. Cartagena, Colombia, 2010 | Se Vende (a man standing outside of the corner store at night in the streets of the old city of Cartagena, Colombia.)
  14. Tokyo, Japan, 2011 | Daikanyama Bicycle (Street photo of a man riding his bicycle of the Daikanyama district of Tokyo, Japan.)
  15. Berlin, Germany, 2012 | Friedrichshain (Street photograph of the sides of buildings along the River Spree on the Friedrichshain side of the river in Berlin, Germany.)
  16. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 2012 | Bus Stop (street photography of a woman watching television in a make-shift bus stop booth on a narrow hilled street in the Tavares Bastos favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.)
  17. Charleston, South Carolina, 2011 | Texting (photograph of a woman texting alone at the bar at night in Charleston, South Carolina.)