Skip to main content

The Curiosity-Driven Art of Street Photography


The general consensus is that it is hard to define street photography. It means different things to different people. I want to share my perspective and then hear from you, dear reader, what street photography means to you.

For me, street photography stands out as a unique art form that embraces curiosity and instinct as its guiding principles. Unlike photojournalism or conceptual photography, street photography relies on a genuine, unfiltered response to the surrounding environment. It is an approach that transcends preconceptions and embraces the raw beauty of everyday life. 

In this blog, I'll explore the essence of street photography's ability to capture authentic moments and evoke deep emotions within us.

Curiosity: The Driving Force

More than anything else, street photography is fueled by an insatiable curiosity about the world. A street photographer ventures into the unknown, exploring the bustling streets with open eyes and heart. This curiosity becomes the driving force behind every click of the shutter. I am eager to uncover the hidden stories that unfold before me. I seek to understand and connect with the diverse tapestry of human experiences on the streets.

Instinct: The Unfiltered Response 

Street photography thrives on instinct, bypassing the constraints of conscious thought. It embraces the beauty of spontaneity, enabling photographers to capture unposed, genuine moments. By relying on my intuition, I become attuned to the rhythm of the streets, instinctively recognising when to press the shutter to capture a fleeting scene or an evocative expression. Through this intuitive and spontaneous approach, I'm able to freeze a fraction of time that might otherwise pass unnoticed.

Contrasting Traditional Photojournalism and Conceptual Photography

Street photography diverges from traditional photojournalism's deliberate focus and other genres' conceptual intentions. A photojournalist embarks on a specific journey or story with a predetermined subject to capture and convey. Similarly, conceptual photographers are driven by ideas, aiming to explore complex concepts through carefully composed imagery. In contrast, street photographers embrace uncertainty and the unexpected, remaining open to the surprising narratives that unfold before them.

Responding Visually: The Art of Observation

 The essence of street photography lies in the ability to respond visually to the environment. By observing my surroundings with a perceptive eye, I find beauty in the mundane and extraordinary in the ordinary. I seek to capture the essence of a place or a situation, revealing the intricate details that often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Through my lens, I try to capture the essence of humanity and offer a unique perspective that prompts viewers to reflect on life.

Final thoughts 

Street photography is a form of artistic expression that transcends the boundaries of intellect and is driven by curiosity and instinct. It celebrates the beauty of unfiltered moments and invites viewers to explore the rich tapestry of human experiences. By embracing uncertainty and responding visually, street photographers uncover the fleeting stories that resonate with the essence of our shared humanity. Do you recognise this in your own practice? Do you allow your curiosity to guide you and let your instinct capture the magic hidden in the everyday world around you?

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share and comment.

More to discover here

Writer and photographer: Paul Indigo


johann said…
Great definition, your definition is much in line with my thoughts about street photography. I just want to add that, for me, the art part of street photography is also very important, it is to actively seek the beauty in every scene I capture. You may also Larry E. Fink's definition of street photography (

Popular posts from this blog

Embracing Japanese aesthetics: Nine principles that will change the way you think about photography

From the refined elegance of tea ceremonies to calligraphy and the simple yet complex beauty of Zen gardens, Japanese aesthetics offer a unique perspective on the nature of beauty and its relationship to our environment, emotions, and sense of self. But can we apply these aesthetics to photography? In this blog, we'll explore nine fundamental Japanese aesthetic principles and seek to answer this question. First, here's a summary of the Japanese aesthetic principles we will cover: Kanso: The principle of simplicity, clarity, and cleanliness. Fukinsei: The principle of asymmetry, irregularity, and balance. Shibui/Shibumi: The principle of simplicity, understatedness, and refined elegance. Seijaku: The principle of stillness, silence, and tranquillity. Datsuzoku: The principle of spontaneity, freedom, and detachment. Yugen: The principle of mystery, depth, and subtlety. Shizen: The principle of naturalness, spontaneity, and harmony with nature. Wabi Sabi: The principle of embracin

Capturing the truth: The power of documentary photography to shape public opinion

Photographer, writer and artist, Paul Indigo (Photo by Magda Indigo ) Documentary photography is more important than ever because it plays a critical role in informing and shaping public opinion, particularly in today's fast-paced, information-saturated world. With the rise of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, we are bombarded with images and information daily. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. From a trusted source, documentary photography counterbalances the often sensationalised and biased coverage of social and political issues. Documentary photography can challenge dominant narratives and foster greater understanding and empathy by presenting a nuanced, humanistic perspective on complex issues. It can highlight underreported and marginalised issues, giving voice to those who are often ignored or silenced. In a world where many people feel disenfranchised and marginalised, documentary photography can help to create a sense of community and solidarity by

The portrait photographer's motivation

Easy access to the Internet and digital photography has resulted in an ever growing number of photographers uploading their images for comments and ratings from peers. Online communities evolve and these mini-societies each have their pecking order, internal groups and communal preferences. Photographers learn from each other. On sites that have a rating system there is often pressure to conform to certain styles, techniques and even subject matter. Although I participate in numerous sites (it's great fun), I recognise the danger of becoming a herd animal and losing the edge of individual creativity. There will always be the creatives that lead the way and the imitators that can only try to follow in their footsteps. This lead me to think about classifying photographers according their inner motivation. So as a bit of fun here are a few different types: The innovator Driven to always find something new, different and creative. Wants to be leading edge. Motivated by creative satisfa