When people think of street photography they often think of juxtaposition-artistic contrasts where we have two elements in an image which are opposed to each other. This has always been a big part of street photography-so much so that it’s perhaps in danger of becoming a cliche.
However, cliche or not, it’s great fun to do and setting out to purposefully spot these contrasts is a great way to develop your powers of observation. This is the purpose of this exercise: use these contrasts-which are all around you-to really “see” the world as a street photographer, picking up details and making connections between people and/or the world around them.
As well as using physical traits, also look out for contrasting emotions, or even signs (someone eating a burger next to a “healthy eating” poster, for example), and aim for a small series of between four and six photographs taken in either black and white or color.
View the images
- When you’re out shooting, walk really slowly, looking at the details around you.
- Be prepared to wait. Find the right background and then wait for any other elements you need to come into shot.
- Always have your camera switched on and ready to go.
- React instantly when you see a possible juxtaposition or interesting connection.
- Don’t forget your picture needs to look interesting! Sure, a picture of a man placed next to a woman is technically a juxtaposition, but that’s probably not enough to make it a worthwhile picture.
- This type of street photography is all about observational skills. A good way to help develop these skills is to focus on one thing-the color yellow, for example-and then put all your energy into looking for instances of that color. As well as spotting the color, you will also start to see juxtapositions.