Eye Contact

According to the London Street Photography Festival, “Street photography captures people and places within the public domain….un-posed, un-staged photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings.” Rest of the definitions I found on the web tend to agree with the previous description.

So what about eye contact, when the subject being photographed makes eye contact with the photographer, is it still consider street photography, considering the subject is directly interacting with the photographer. I am not talking about staged portraits on the street, i am talking about that precise moment in which you are about to fire and everything seems to freeze, everything that is occurring on your field of view, nobody notices you except only that one person who directly stares at your camera. Some photographers consider this not to be in a purist sense SP. To me it continues to be, and honestly I tend to search for this moment, I love the magic of the subject looking directly at the camera and the rest of what is being frame ignoring you completely, as the photographer and the subject looking at the camera transcend over the rest of the scene.

Some examples of this magical moment. As always comments and critics highly welcome….




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6 thoughts on “Eye Contact

  1. i have to agree with you. eye contact does not take it away from being street photography, because street photographers are part of street life. so when the subject looks at one, who just happens to be shooting that subject, it is still life on the street. just one more event that happens out there. ;D

  2. Completely agree. If anything, it serves to highlight how un-staged everything truly is.

    I feel the opposite about film, though. I’m shooting a documentary now, as as we’re on the street, I cringe every time a passerby stops and looks straight into the camera eye. I know for myself watching a documentary, events like that pull me out of it and into consideration of how the camera may have been changing the life/surroundings of its subjects. (If the subjects look at the camera, of course, that could work depending on context.) I prefer to be completely unobtrusive while recording life in action, but when I’m taking a snapshot and people notice like this, it makes a great work in and of itself.

    1. Hi Melanie, Thanks for commenting, I haven’t don’t anything related to filming, but as in any documentary job, I also agree that the interaction with the camera, photography or video, will be complete distracting. For documentary style will be better to pass as unnotice as possible, to the point of completely merging with the surroundings. Which I guess is part of the hard job behind documentaries.

  3. I was all ready to say that I agree with you and then as I thought about writing the comment I looked back at the photos and thought of some of my own that I’ve taken and I’m actually undecided. I’ve also done some documentary filming recently and found that people’s expressions change when they realise or even just perceive a camera pointed at them. While it is still street photography and perhaps a category of street photography I think there may be a small window of time between when they spot the camera before their expressions change and capturing that is the difficult part.

  4. To me, it depends on the expression of the subject. I often scrap shots where someone is looking very uncomfortable. I feel it spoils the whole ambience, as if I am unwelcome. Looking directly at the camera also adds a kind of National Geo, feel to the shots, which may or may not be wanted by the photographer. Just depends on the composition. There are so many variables and you cannot deny that there is definitely something in eye contact.

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