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Tuesday, 05 July 2011


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Is there any current commercial market for "street photography?" For example, where would cartier-Bresson publish/show his pictures today (other than "fine-art" galleries)?

Good post - looking forward to reading the rest and seeing some results.

Thank you for the wonderful report Steve. I just saw Midnight in Paris and have been dreaming about returning to Paris ever since. I just can't shake it.

I sense that when I use my Panasonic digicam, I may be somewhat less intrusive when shooting on the street. Of course at 6'3" and about the size of an out of shape NFL lineman, I doubt that I'm ever not intrusive.

Some day I'm going to take my 4x5 out on the street and see what happens.


"We didn't discuss gear, RAW vs. JPEG, photo editing software or techniques, or any of that. This is a workshop about content, context, sharing, telling a story, and connecting with the world around us and with the humanistic traditions of the photography that preceded us."

Perfect. Just perfect.

Very grateful for this timely reminder, I have just started a new contract and will have some spare cash coming in by Christmas.

This is one of those luxury discretionary expenses I think I would consider a non-tax-deductable investment.

Mind you, forcing me to stick a 28mm lens in someone's face is the kind of uncomfortable challenge I need to face up to. It's a form of aversion therapy I guess. Did I say I used to hate spiders?

I thank you for your candidness in this regard. I think many of us have the same issue.

However, apart from that, the way you described the content makes it sound enormously appealing and as for Mr Turnley, well he certainly earns my respect.

Thanks for adding this to the list of "things to do before I die" or "run out of cash again", whichever comes first....

Where's the "Like" button? :)

Interesting glimpse of how the other half lives.

My inner anarchist reared up when I heard of a class for street photography-it's like the line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-”Rules! In a knife fight?”.
But is seems the real rules weren't 1-6, but the ones you imposed upon yourself, the ones you had to break. Hooray for anarchy, at least the internal kind.
I'm anxious to read the remainder of this post.

İ have admired the portfolios of Peter Turnley that have been presented here. However, they, the one of the Spanish religous festival for example, seemed to be shot wider than 28mm. İ so wanted to know the FOV of the lens he used. İf Turnley only shoots at between 28 - 35mm that would be a revelation for me at what a 28mm lens can do up close.

Great read. Now THIS is the kind of workshop I'd love to do. No tech talk, just set the camera and forget about it. Can't wait to read the rest!

Not to be a stick in the mud, but I seem to remember reading that laws in France regarding taking pictures of people in public are much more strict than in the US. Curious to know how everyone dealt with that issue.

The whole -street photography workshop- thing...just seems sort of strange to me, not sure what to make of it. Totally weirds me out and makes me feel like this is the end of the world.

The general scene of the -Santa Fe type landscape workshop- thing...that doesn't seem strange to me.

This street thing...STRANGE..I mean, you have a camera, you go outside, anywhere...you shoot...you shoot a lot and you stay away from street fairs and little closed off street malls with sketch artists and mimes.

I also don't accept that the illustration accompanying this article qualifies as street photography...photos of break dancers working for change next to the Eiffel Tower is not street photography. It's street FAIR photography using the "gritty black and white" slider.

I don't mean to offend anyone and I do hope that Pete Turnley is making good money from this.

France reportedly has severe privacy laws regarding publishing photographs of people without their permission. As I understand it, unless there are 50 or more people in a scene, you can be sued by recognizable individuals in a photograph. Note that this doesn't apply to taking the photo, only publishing it in any way. This applies to advertising, editorial, blog, etc...any publication. Whether the subject chooses to sue is a different matter.

Was this topic addressed/updated in the workshop?

Actually, Mike, where *IS* the "Like" button? Your entries are one of the few things I might actually click it for...

It's not the end of the world.



In France its even worse then that. The owners of buildings can also sue you if these are "of artistic quality". So for instance a shot like that at night with the illumination on (made by Philips by the way as I'm told and environmentally freindly (as Philips tells)) of the Eiffeltower, would mean the lighting designer and the owners of the Eiffeltower would sue. And you could wind up in the Bastille real quickly.....now that can be photographed since Louis the 14th (or the 15th) was a houseguest there and so it the designer of the Bastille would be dead for more then 70 years and it is state owned. Now if it was lit......., again a firm Non!. Using a tripod can cause trouble with the police as well. Especially at night. And sometimes French police has to much time on their hands and use it to pester photographers. So if I were mr. Turnley I would have turned up in Amsterdam since Holland has more flexible laws.

Greetings, Ed

I like hearing about the experiences of workshop attendees. Especially from far away and personally inaccessible locations. I'd dearly love to have such an experience myself if financial obligations would permit. I can't get there myself but I do dream about a workshop in Italy or along the Adriatic some day.

We were in Paris exactly one year ago. Temps were in the 90's, and my photography was decidedly low-energy. Lots of pictures of doors. Probably oughtn't go in July, although Parisians insisted that "This never happens. It never gets this hot here."

Anyway, Steve, Sue says Hi!


You give a good recipe for practicing street photography. But like all recipes what's on paper merely hints at the actual dish. Classes can be great ways to improve ones execution of recipes. In fact, the best photography course I ever took was about street photography. I learned all kinds of tricks for overcoming my fear of offending subjects, not the least of which was, "I'm just taking pictures for a photography class!"

I'd like to reply to those who are concerned about "sticking a camera in someone's face" and privacy laws. I was one of the participants in the same workshop as Steve. First of all there are tourists and cameras everywhere. Most folks ignore the photographers. A smile and making eye contact go far. For the close-ups most people are honored to be asked to be photographed. If they do not want to be photographed then just move on. Furthermore even though you may think it, the camera isn't really right in a person's face.

Secondly, we never had a problem about privacy laws. It is my understanding that this is a little overblown.

One of the best aspects about the workshop was just wandering all over Paris visiting various neighborhoods. Peter gave us "permission" to spread our wings, both in physical location and to attempt new things. His encouragement brought out the best in all of us.

@ Brian

I believe that Peter actually asked us to use lenses with a field of view from 20-50mm, but given the lenses that most of us brought with us suggested that we concentrate in the 28-35mm range. If you are interested in the data on Peter's Spanish photographs just copy them from the web and run them through an EXIF-viewer program that reveals the meta-data and the focal length, aperture, shutterspeed, etc. will be revealed. Firefox even has plug-ins that allow you to do this on any photo you see on the web. Search for "Firefox Exif Viewer" on your favorite search engine.

@ David

The photo at the beginning of the first part of the review was not chosen by Peter Turnley or me as a prime example of street photography. I chose it because I like the photograph--I like the energy. In the second part of the article, which should be posted soon, the critique/review process that was used to help us refine our vision is presented. Peter tried to help us improve and grow as photographers, and the traditions of street photography were discussed at length, but each student was free to shoot whatever they wanted--no street photography "orthodoxy" was enforced. Of the thousands of photographs generated during the workshop many did fit with your view of what street photography should be and some did not. There is a link to the gallery of the final edits for each student at the end of the second part and you are welcome to make your own judgements about what succeeds and what does not.

The fact that there are tourists with camera's everywhere alas has no significance what so ever. Taking pictures isn't illegal unless someone clearly objects. But publishing them (via the net or via an exhibition) is. Now you can say, who is going to know but that also has no significance in a French court. Even asking (though politely) has no significance in a French court. Since who is to say who agreed or to what he or she agreed. In fact French TV anonimizes all faces in news bulletins and even a dog has been blurred in a newspaper photo because the owner garded the privacy of the pooch. Not that I agree with these laws by the way but that also is, yes you've guessed it insignificant. Even a picture of the Tour Eiffel by night can be an offence though the owners of the Eiffel tower don't bother much with amateur photographers (pfffeew). Taking pictures of houses etc. that are not clearly architectural masterpieces (or could be considered to be since beauty is in the eye of the beholder) can be photographed unless the picture obstructs the privacy of the owner. So in France you can be taken to court over a photograph wich you could freely create, print and publish in the US of A. Something to consider I guess.

There is no law which describes street photgraphy as much as some street photographers would like it. So anything that is present on a street and can be photographed is street photography in my opinion, though people should be present and the raison d'etre de la photography (pardon my French).

Greetings, Ed

Sure there are tourists everywhere with cameras. My post was not about "taking" pictures in France, only "publishing" them later. I was, I guess, a little puzzled by a workshop on street photography held in a location where the resulting pictures would not be publishable without risk of lawsuits, unless one obtained a model release. I wondered if perhaps things had changed in France since I was last there and if it was a workshop topic, since it seems the workshop output is being "published." I thought there might be an "education" exception or something.

"... There is a link to the gallery of the final edits for each student at the end of the second part and you are welcome to make your own judgements about what succeeds and what does not."


As to the approach of using one focal length for the entire workshop--that's brilliant. It would seem to move the focus (pun intended) from what you are shooting with to what you are shooting.

Another great technique is to only carry an old, small capacity memory card that limits you to no more than 50 photos. That can make you think more about each photo too.

Andres Quintero, my man. What a fine photograph.

@ Myself

David, don't be such a snarky end of the world type. Photography is for everyone and anyone, they may do as they which.

And, if what they do does cross your radar and is deemed objectionable and sort of something-or-other, by you (me), then you need to go run the stairs at your old grade school until you puke on the coach's feet.

K thx bye, see you/me at breakfast...

David's talking to himself again....[VBG]


@ David


Personally, I love these photographs. I have no experience in photography and subscribe to the theory that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Street photography of which is spoken here reminds me of the raw and sweet energy of all walks of life....I enjoy seeing things that I might not ever see OR through the lens of an artist. I happen to know Peter Turnley and his brother David and will always be a fan of their art and stories told through the voice of their cameras.

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