Are you a street photographer undergoing a creative block or just need some new doses of inspiration? I got you! Here are the top 10 of my most favorite street photography quotes that I always try to reflect on whenever I want to feel creative:
“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”— Robert Doisneau
Robert Doisneau was a French photographer who is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of street photography. He was known for his candid and playful photographs of everyday life in Paris and other cities. Doisneau’s photographs often captured the spontaneity and humor of his subjects, and his images are considered to be some of the most iconic and influential of the 20th century.
Doisneau began his career as a freelance photographer in the 1930s, and his early work focused on industrial and advertising photography. However, he quickly turned his attention to street photography, which allowed him to capture the energy and vitality of urban life. He was particularly interested in the way that people interacted with each other and with their environment, and he often captured scenes of people on the streets, in cafes, and in other public spaces.
One of Doisneau’s most famous photographs is “Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville” (The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), which shows a young couple kissing on a busy Parisian street. The photograph is a perfect example of Doisneau’s ability to capture the romance and playfulness of everyday life, and it has become one of the most recognizable images in the history of photography.
Throughout his career, Doisneau continued to document the people and places of Paris, as well as other cities around the world. His photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world, and his influence on street photography continues to be felt today.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”— Elliott Erwitt
Elliott Erwitt is a renowned American street photographer who is best known for his candid and humorous photographs of everyday life. He has an uncanny ability to capture fleeting moments that reveal the humor, irony, and pathos of human existence.
Erwitt began his career in the 1940s and 1950s, when he worked as a photographer for magazines such as Life and Look. He then went on to work as a freelance photographer, and his work has been published in many prestigious publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Erwitt’s photographs are characterized by their simplicity and directness. He often uses a wide-angle lens to capture his subjects in their environment, creating a sense of intimacy and immediacy. He has a particular affinity for dogs, and many of his photographs feature these four-legged creatures in various states of repose or playfulness.
Erwitt’s work is also marked by his keen sense of humor. He has a knack for finding the absurd in everyday situations, and his photographs often feature unexpected juxtapositions and visual puns. His work is frequently described as witty, charming, and whimsical.
“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.”— Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey is a renowned French photographer who is widely recognized for his work in street photography. Born in Morocco in 1941, Barbey began his photographic career in 1959, and he has since become one of the most prominent street photographers of his generation.
Barbey’s photographs often capture the vibrancy and energy of the streets, particularly in cities around the world. He has an eye for capturing the moments of everyday life, as well as the unique and unexpected moments that occur on the streets.
One of Barbey’s notable projects includes his work documenting the political upheaval and social unrest of the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, capturing images of student protests, political demonstrations, and other significant events.
Barbey’s photographs are known for their bold composition, use of light and shadow, and powerful visual storytelling. He often incorporates elements of humor and irony into his work, creating images that are both engaging and thought-provoking.
“Photography is a love affair with life.”— Burk Uzzle
Burk Uzzle is an American photographer known for his street photography that captures the essence of American life. He began his career as a photojournalist and later transitioned to fine art photography. Uzzle’s images are characterized by their vibrant colors and their ability to tell a story through the people and places he captures.
In his street photography, Uzzle shows a deep empathy for his subjects and an acute awareness of the social and political context in which he photographs. He is particularly skilled at capturing the unexpected, whether it be a spontaneous moment of joy or an unguarded expression of sorrow.
One of Uzzle’s most famous photographs is his 1968 image “All American City,” which depicts a group of African-American men and women in a segregated South. The photograph captures a moment of joy and camaraderie amidst the struggle for civil rights.
“Photography is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”— Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz is not generally known as a street photographer, as his photographic work is primarily associated with fine art and modernism. However, he did capture images of urban life and street scenes during his career, which spanned from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
Stieglitz was a pioneer in photography and an important figure in the development of modernism. He was known for his ability to capture the essence of a subject and convey a mood or emotion through his photographs. His street scenes were often characterized by a sense of movement and energy, as well as a focus on the people and architecture of the city.
One of Stieglitz’s most famous photographs is “The Terminal,” which depicts a busy train station in New York City. The photograph is notable for its use of light and shadow, as well as its composition, which captures the frenetic energy of the station.
Stieglitz was also known for his series of photographs of the Flatiron Building in New York City, which he captured from various angles and at different times of day. The images showcase the building’s iconic triangular shape and its relationship to the surrounding cityscape.
While Stieglitz’s street photography is not as well-known as his other work, his images of urban life offer a unique perspective on the development of modernism and the changing landscape of American cities at the turn of the 20th century.
“I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is.”— Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand was a prominent American street photographer known for his candid and dynamic photographs of people in public spaces. He is considered to be one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century and a pioneer of street photography.
Winogrand’s photographs are characterized by their raw energy, humor, and a sense of spontaneity. He often used a wide-angle lens and shot from unusual angles to capture the bustling activity of city life. His images often depict people in motion, caught in mid-stride or in the midst of some action, and his compositions are filled with intricate and layered details.
Winogrand’s work is notable for its focus on human behavior and social dynamics. He had a keen eye for capturing the subtle interactions between people and the larger cultural forces that shape our lives. Many of his images are marked by a sense of tension or ambiguity, inviting viewers to draw their own conclusions about the stories behind the scenes.
Despite his prolific output and critical acclaim, Winogrand was notoriously reticent about discussing his work. He once famously quipped, “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” Nonetheless, his influence on the field of street photography continues to be felt to this day.
“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”— Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus was an American photographer who became well known for her portraits of individuals who were considered outsiders or marginalized by society. While she did not exclusively work as a street photographer, many of her most famous photographs were taken in public spaces such as streets and parks.
Arbus was known for her ability to capture her subjects in candid moments, often portraying them in a way that was both intimate and vulnerable. She was interested in exploring the human condition and the ways in which people navigate the world around them.
One of the hallmarks of Arbus’s work as a street photographer was her use of a square format camera and a flash. This allowed her to capture her subjects in sharp focus and with high contrast, which emphasized their individual features and idiosyncrasies.
Arbus’s work as a street photographer was often controversial, as many of her subjects were considered to be on the fringes of society, such as circus performers, transgender individuals, and people with disabilities. However, her photographs were also praised for their humanity and empathy, and they continue to be studied and admired by photographers and art enthusiasts today.
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”— Ernst Haas
Ernst Haas was a celebrated photographer who is renowned for his pioneering work in color photography. While he is often associated with landscapes and abstract imagery, Haas was also a prolific street photographer who captured the energy and chaos of urban life in cities around the world.
Haas was particularly interested in the interplay of light and color in his street photography. He had a keen eye for finding moments of unexpected beauty and drama in the everyday, often using reflections and shadows to create dynamic compositions. Haas was also a master of capturing motion in his images, using blur and motion blur to convey a sense of movement and vitality.
One of Haas’s most famous bodies of work is his book “New York in Color,” which features a series of vibrant and evocative images of the city taken in the 1950s and 60s. In these images, Haas captures the energy and diversity of New York’s streets, from the bustling crowds of Times Square to the quiet moments of contemplation in Central Park.
Overall, Haas’s street photography is characterized by its vibrancy, its sense of immediacy, and its ability to capture the essence of a place and time. His work remains an inspiration to photographers today, and his legacy as a pioneer of color photography is still felt in the world of photography.
“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”— Chase Jarvis
Chase Jarvis is not primarily known as a street photographer, but rather as a commercial photographer and founder of CreativeLive, an online education platform for creatives. However, he has shared some of his street photography work on his website and social media accounts.
Based on his street photography, it appears that Chase Jarvis has a keen eye for capturing candid moments and interesting compositions. His photos often have a sense of energy and movement, and he seems to be drawn to urban environments and the people who inhabit them.
In terms of his style, Jarvis’ street photography is characterized by a use of bold colors, strong contrasts, and interesting angles. He often plays with light and shadow, and his images have a certain edginess and grittiness to them.
“Photography is not about the cameras, gadgets, and gizmos. Photography is about the photographers.”— Peter Adams
Peter Adams is a street photographer based in New York City who has been capturing the city’s diverse and ever-changing urban landscape for over a decade. His photographs are known for their gritty and raw quality, often depicting the city’s energy and its people in a candid and unfiltered way.
Adams’ style of street photography is characterized by his use of contrast, shadows, and sharp angles to create powerful and striking images. He has a keen eye for detail and composition, and his photographs often capture the beauty in the mundane and everyday moments of urban life.
Some of his most popular works include photographs of New York City subway riders, street performers, and street scenes from various neighborhoods. He has also been published in several prestigious publications, including The New York Times and National Geographic.