Street photography is a type of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places.
Street photographs are mirror images of society, displaying “unmanipulated” scenes, with usually unaware subjects.”
Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment. On the other hand, much street photography takes the opposite approach and provides a very literal and extremely personal rendering of the subject matter, giving the audience a more visceral experience of walks of life they might only be passingly familiar with.
Street photography v documentary photography
Street photography and documentary photography are two very similar genres of photography that often overlap while having distinct individual qualities. Street photography has the ability to document while documentary has the definite intention of recording history. Documentary photography can be candid, but street photography is defined by its candidness. Street photography produces ironic amusement while documentary provides emotional intensity. The language of street photography is subtle and not as loud and outspoken as documentary photography often is.
In the 19th century, the peak of street photography, most photographers were naïve to the fact that they were “documenting” history. As street photographers they had no definite intentions or goals beyond the production of a candid print. Documentary style is defined by its premeditated message and intention of documenting particular events in history. The documentary approach includes aspects of journalism, art, education, sociology and history. In documentary’s social investigation, often the images are intended to pave way to social change. Documentary’s underlying motives complicate its ability to give a clear, impartial vision of the world. Street Photography is disinterested in its nature, allowing it to deliver a true depiction of the world.
Street photographs are mirror images of society, displaying “unmanipulated” scenes, with usually unaware subjects.
More info here: A Guide to Street Photography