Critique of Street Photography

About Critique of Street Photography

The idea for this website was developed several years ago after having spent two decades photographing London and other international street spaces as part of a wider, interdisciplinary involvement with urban research. Initially, I was very supportive of initiatives being set up by groups of photographers defining themselves as ‘street photographers’, but over recent years I have had to revise my position, and to reconsider why it is important for urbanists to make a contribution to a much-needed and long-overdue critique of this field of practice.

Critique of Street Photography provides a discussion about some of the problematics associated with defining the field, and offers a focused alternative definition based on an engaged and inclusive rethinking of a range of visual practices associated with the street-work. The website has an extended interview discussion with Roxanne Baptiste exploring some of my experiences around working in London’s street and public spaces between 1987 and 2006. In this discussion I am critical of the current state of street photography, particularly within the context of the United Kingdom, comprised as it often is, by photographers migrating from the worlds of corporate and commercial photography, seeking the thrill and excitement of ‘the real world’; a world that is all too often abstracted and viewed from a distance.

In the face of such an emerging crisis, this alternative critique aims to explore how street-based urban photography might be re-energized, re-thought – and experience a political, social and historical reclamation.

Paul Halliday