Most street photographers believe that the key to getting superb street shots is to become invisible to their subjects, blending in seamlessly with their surroundings. Bucking the trend, however, is long-time photographer Steve Huff. Huff’s approach to street photography works more along the lines of consent and rapport, than with surreptitiously clicking. This is what he has to say about it:
For those photographers who feel that taking photographs of people without their permission is invasive, Huff’s approach will feel like a breath of fresh air. He believes in engaging with his subject if at all possible before he takes their photo—and only with permission. Like Brandon Stanton in his Humans of New York project, Huff finds that getting to know a bit about his subjects and building rapport with them is an important part of the street photography experience.
“We don’t always have to look for the decisive moments when it comes to street photography. Sometimes pay attention to the people on the street and interact with them and you might come away with a very cool shot.”
Although Huff acknowledges that there are cases where interrupting the action would deplete the scene entirely, consent and rapport are important enough to him to make up about 80 percent of all his street photography.
At the same time, many would argue that any time you engage with your subject first, you’re destroying the spontaneity of the situation and are therefore doing “street portraiture,” not “street photography.”
What do you think? Is it important to get consent? Is there a difference between street portraiture and street photography?
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