Have you ever seen somebody on the streets and had the irresistible urge to take a photo of them? Whether it was their face, the shadow they cast, or the background they were standing in front. Learn how to capture the beauty in the mundane of everyday life through this Introduction to Street Photography course. You will learn how to capture “Decisive Moments” as well as how to take candid photos of strangers up-close and personal.
In this course we will develop our eye for street photography by studying the masters such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and many others. We will also study street photography in a sociological context and learn how one can use the camera to explore society.
This course is based on an Open Source Photography course by Eric Kim. A big thank-you to Eric for his generosity and the inspiration.
This course is designed so that you can do this on your own, for free. However, it is best to do this in a group so that you can get feedback from others. Getting feedback from an accomplished Street Photographer would be even better. Please join us on Facebook in the “Streets I Have Walked” Group to share your images and your passion for street photography.
“There is an art to wandering. If I have a destination, a plan – an objective – I’ve lost the ability to find serendipity. I’ve become too focused, too single-minded.” – Cathy Johnson, On Becoming Lost
In this hybrid course, you will explore how to shoot street photography and how to interact with your subjects through readings, photos, videos, journals, and social experiments. Sociological theory will be used as a backbone for the concepts taught in the course, and your full participation (online and offline) is essential for gaining a personally enriching experience from the course.
How do you overcome the fear of shooting street photography and how do you create images that tell compelling stories? By the end of the course, you will build your confidence shooting on the streets, learn about the work of classic and contemporary street photographers, and understand the sociological impact of your images.
Video Lectures: For most sections there is a video lecture explaining the core principles of each section’s topic. You can see a playlist of all the video lectures on YouTube here.
Readings: The assigned readings contain the backbone of this class: sociological theory, photographic insight, and application. Therefore, all readings should be completed in a timely manner for each section. All readings (besides the main text) will be available online.
Photo Assignments/Experiments: For each section, you will be given a certain street photography assignment, which will be a combination of photo assignments and sociological experiments. Each experiment will correspond with the readings or issues discussed for the week. These are important because they will give you a fulfilling, hands-on approach to learning and experiencing street photography.
Further Study: Additional resources for students to read and learn from. Not required for the course but can be very insightful.
Journal Entries: For the course you are required to write weekly journal entries on your blog (www.wordpress.com is preferable and its free). After you have completed your assignment for the section, you are expected to type up a full two paragraph (8 sentence) response blog post. You are required to address your personal experiences with the assignment and it must also relate back to the reading. Furthermore, these journals should be posted to your blog by every Sunday midnight if you went shooting that week.
Final Project: By the end of the course, you are expected to complete a photo-essay of your choice, which will be determined by you in Section 5 of the course. The photo-essay will require a 2 page (double-spaced) essay as well as a series of 10-12 images. The paper will be due online on your blog for Section 10. You must include references to the assigned readings and assignments. Other personal experiences may be included in the paper.
For this course you will need a camera for the assignments. It is preferable that you use a digital camera, as it will make it easier for you to quickly upload your weekly assignments. However, if you prefer to shoot with film, simply make sure you can process your film and scan it each in a timely manner.
The only text that will be necessary to purchase is listed below. All the other texts, articles, and videos will be available online.
- Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1999 edition.
- A link to the book on Amazon US here.
- A link to the book on Amazon Canada here.
I do have some used copies that can be rented or purchased. Note that there are older versions of this book including a newer version that tends to sell for more money. All versions will work but note that the page numbers may be a little different.