Крит, 2010 год. Это фото было сделано в деревне в Астерусийских горах. Я был на свадьбе, сделал снимок в семь утра, когда в доме ещё оставались последние гости. В конечном итоге я уснул в поле, был не в состоянии ехать на машине домой.
Лиссабон, 2010 год. В последний день той поездки я шёл по району Морария и вдруг увидел девушку с обогревателем. Было начало января — наверное, у неё дома было холодно.
Афины, 2009 год. В тот день я решил купить камеру со вспышкой, потому что устал снимать силуэты на фоне солнца. С тех пор у моих фотографий появился свой собственный свет.
Нью-Йорк, 2016 год. Манхэттен полон людей, которые говорят по телефону. В какой-то момент этот вид начинает утомлять. Места, где люди меньше зависят от технологий, интересуют меня гораздо больше. Это фото я сделал где-то в окрестностях Гарлема.
Рим, 2011 год. Я неправильно установил настройки на фотоаппарате, и эта красивая темнокожая девушка сделалась белой — снимок передержан.
Кастория, 2012 год. Этих гусей я увидел у озера и вышел из машины, чтобы их сфотографировать. К туристам они относятся не очень.
Севилья, 2011 год. Хотя в Андалусии очень сухой климат, пять дней, что я там провёл, были очень дождливыми. Позже я прочёл, что такого в апреле там не было 70 лет. Этот кадр я сделал в день, когда дождь шёл не очень сильно.
Осло, 2014 год. Я тусил ночью в парке, снимать было особо некого, так что я начал фотографировать статуи.
Стокгольм, 2012 год. Это фото сделано в стокгольмском метро, где в тот день мне встретилось множество странных типов. Однажды я сделал подобное фото в Берлине, сняв противоположную лестницу эскалатора. Парень, которого я сфотографировал, взбесился: спустился по лестнице и начал бежать по эскалатору, где стоял я. Он кричал, чтобы я удалил фото. Стокгольмский зомби оказался поспокойнее, кусаться не стал.
Брюссель, 2009 год. Стоял декабрь, и там было очень холодно. В Бельгии варят лучшее пиво в мире, так что я выпил несколько бутылок, чтобы согреться, а затем сделал на площади ряд портретов. Если честно, из той ночи я ничего особо не запомнил.
10 Years After the Lebanon War: The Photos That Moved Them Most
18 photographers reflect on the 2006 Lebanon War
As war between Israel and Hizballah loomed 10 years ago, Israeli photographer Shaul Schwarz called looking for magazine support. Large numbers of his reservist friends in Israel were getting called up. His instincts were that this would be big. But, from the early months of 2003, the magazine’s main international story was Iraq. TIME had a team of writers, photographers, and Iraqi staff rotating in and out of a Baghdad bureau, and coverage of a new war threatened our resources. Some in the newsroom feared readers, fed up with never-ending conflicts in the Middle East, would turn away. But we knew that we had to cover this war and sent photographers to Lebanon and Israel.
Many war photographers had repeatedly risked their lives covering the post 9/11 conflicts. But by 2006, it had become too dangerous to work the streets in Afghanistan or Iraq. As American military embeds became the only safe way to access the story, many opted out, choosing Beirut as a safe haven and home. With fighting now on their doorstep, the Lebanese crisis offered a new opportunity to cover the fallout, this time independently.
The pictures that resulted captured a strong and undefeatable Israeli Army leaving battle, forlorn and distraught. Hizballah demonstrated that guerrilla warfare could effectively cripple a mighty military force. Though Lebanese deaths far outnumbered those of Israeli soldiers and civilians combined, this war was a turning point—leaving many in Israel feeling more disillusioned and vulnerable than ever before.
On the 10th anniversary of the conflict, TIME asked 18 photographers to select and reflect on the images they took:
This was different from any other war. I lived in Beirut. For the first time in my life, I truly understood what it was to be a civilian caught in conflict, because I was one. Being in Lebanon wasn’t like being in Afghanistan or Iraq. I had no psychological protection, no place of safety to look forward to returning after my assignment. Day after day, Israel bombed infrastructure across the country, dropping massive bombs into densely populated urban neighborhoods just a couple of miles from my apartment.
Each time my body would grow tense and I would cover my ears. I even removed the windowpanes on one side of my flat for fear the glass would shatter. There was often no electricity or fuel for generator power. I resorted to buying truck batteries to power my computer. In the dark, I would listen to the news while transmitting my pictures to the outside world. In this photograph, Lebanese teens watch Israeli airstrikes from a hilltop overlooking Beirut at the start of the 2006 Lebanon War.
Like all images of conflict, I have mixed feelings about this picture I took in south Beirut in 2006. I see it every morning framed on a stark white wall in my Brooklyn apartment. The opaque nature of reality in the Middle East is captured in the image. The beautiful subjects in the red Mini Cooper driving through a devastated neighborhood took offense at how they were depicted. They falsely claimed to reporters that they were actually refugees. The way I was subsequently treated by numerous members of the media made me want to leave the profession and go someplace far away.
For me, this picture also stirs feelings of hopelessness for the region. War has developed a vicious tenacity in the Middle East. It seems to only get bloodier and darker with each passing year. News pictures are a hostage to time and place, liberating them from the fallout of what happens in the days and months after the click of the shutter.
One of the things that stood out about the Israel-Lebanon War was the access that was possible. It felt like three wars going on, and there were photographers covering all three areas. From Israel, to the bombardments in the suburbs of Beirut, to the bombings that were happening in the south of Lebanon, where I was working. Because of that access, there were a lot of photographers, and that may have saturated an already weary audience from seeing another conflict.
These conflicts tend to go in cycles. Look at what has happened over the years in the Gaza Strip, or the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are continuing in different ways today and have turned into different types of conflict. And of course Syria, Libya—these countries have become extremely difficult to work in.
The war in Lebanon was one of the last places I’ve worked where you could move freely and document the conflict from all sides. That is something we always strive for, and always hope for, and almost never have the luxury to do. In this photograph, residents of the village of Aitaroun, in southern Lebanon, take advantage of a temporary halt in Israeli airstrikes to flee, Aug. 2006.
This image I took, as the only embedded photographer with the Israeli Defense Forces in Lebanon (IDF), depicts a classic “sacrifice” visual narrative of a hero giving his life for his nation. I was told by several people that it was ’very Vietnam’. Since this image was not overtly gruesome and since the soldier survived his injuries, it could be prominently displayed. I later learned that this scene actually represents a victim of a friendly fire incident, though it had already circulated and had been published with the caption that this soldier had been wounded in a Hezbollah attack. Because I insisted that information be included in the caption, the image lost value as a propaganda tool.
I have come to believe that embedded “war photography” simplifies the brutal ambiguity of conflict into well-worn and widely recognized visual templates. We, “war photographers,” help in reinforcing masculine myths of war as a purging experience. As it stands, I believe my images did a great disservice to the people who died or participated in this unnecessary and farcical demonstration of force in 2006, which besides claiming the lives of more than one hundred Israeli soldiers, also killed almost 30 times more Lebanese civilians than the 44 Israeli civilian dead. This conditioned Israeli public opinion to accept similar carnage in Gaza in 2009 and 2014 as a reasonable response.
Abbas, a chubby young boy, sat on the side of narrow village road, held his injured mother’s hand and wept. “Don’t leave me, mother, don’t go, don’t go.” “Take care of your brothers and sisters,” the mother moaned softly, as her eyes closed leaving two white slits. A piece of shrapnel had cut into her chest and almost severed her right arm. Blood stained mother and child.
Abbas, his mother, brother, aunts and a grandmother, 18 in total, were cramped inside a small white minivan, fleeing their village in south Lebanon when an Israeli rocket pierced the roof of the car. Now the survivors were scattered on the road or in the shadow of a building crying, while inside the van lay the headless corpse of an uncle, a dead grandmother and a neighbor.
“Why are you leaving me,” Abbas started yelling at his mother, as her arm fell on the ground. He buried his face in his hands and wept. His brother, 12-year old Ali, stood on the other side of the mother, his hand bandaged and eyes staring into the horizon, as the Lebanese Red Cross started helping the survivors, July 2006.
There’s no one
In the village
Not a human
Nor a stone
There’s no one
In the village
Children are gone
And a mother rocks
herself to sleep
Let it come down
Let her weep
The dead lay in strange shapes
Some stay buried
Others crawl free
Baby didn’t make it
And a mother rocks
Herself to sleep
Let it come down
Let her weep
The dead lay in strange shapes
Limp little dolls
Caked in mud
Small, small hands
Found in the road
Their talking about
What a phrase
Bombs that fall
The new middle east
The rice woman squeaks
The dead lay in strange shapes
Tied head and feet
Wrapped in plastic
Laid out in the street
The new middle east
The rice woman squeaks
The dead lay in strange shapes
Water to wine
Wine to blood
“Qana” by Patti Smith
In this photograph, Qana, Lebanon, where 28 civilians were killed during an Israeli air strike in the early hours of July 30, 2006.
This was was my first conflict. I was 30 at the time and had visited Lebanon in 2004 and 2005. Because I knew people there, I felt the urge to cover this story. I arrived in Beirut at the beginning of the conflict and I travelled to Tyre, in the south of the country, with Paolo Pellegrin who guided me into the world of conflict journalism.
I have two distinct memories of the situation. My first impression was that in Tyre there was no front line. Soldiers did not face each other in combat. Israel was bombing the south of Lebanon from planes and neither the local population, nor the journalists, could anticipate when that would happen. After an explosion, there was smoke, and the reporters, mostly all together, scrambled to report what was happening. Journalists in conflict areas, I then discovered, tend to stick together, share information as much as possible, move in small groups, cover the same events, and in some cases take more or less the same pictures. I suspected, and I learned that this is what you are supposed to do.
I took this picture of a woman desperate to flee Ramesh, Lebanon at the border with Israel. The village was isolated for over a week or so, due to the Israeli bombings. The population was stuck in the village without water and food. When the news reached journalists, a large group decided to drive there despite the risk of being hit by an Israeli bomb on the road. Once we arrived, the situation was tense and surreal. The population was desperate to flee. The few locals with cars were offering rides out of the village for $100 per person. Journalists and photographers were running around to get the most poignant pictures, the best quote. We were pressed for time and had to leave to file the news and pictures. I must confess — I was excited, scared and shocked, all at the same time. Probably, this was less about the the real situation, and more about my being there. Ten years later, I still sometimes wonder what I was really doing there.
I spent four weeks in Lebanon in 2006. I have bad memories of this trip. I was always late, always on the side of events, never in the right place. As a relatively young photographer, I was selfishly running after action and strong images — without ever reaching them. The culmination of this quest was the march towards Bint Jbeil, the besieged city that was copiously bombed by the Israeli Air Force. At 12 kilometers away, we could see and hear the F-16s dropping their bombs on the martyred city. No one could enter or leave. It was all that was needed to stimulate my imagination.
I decided to walk for 12 km with another photographer and a peaceful white sheet fixed to a stick. Surrounding us, was the invisible buzz of a drone. The first burst of Israeli artillery was falling quite far from us. In a field, the earth absorbed the explosion. We were less than 500 meters from the entrance of Bint Jbeil. I decided to continue. I saw silhouettes of buildings through smoke and dust from the explosions. I could see a portrait of Hassan Nasrallah, and a few trees. The second salvo of artillery fell close enough to us that stones and earth fell on our helmets. There was half a second of fear and hesitation. It was too late to run to the city center. The next salvo would be for us. We left in the opposite direction, defeated and disappointed. There was not even a picture. Frustrated, I was missing the essential: understanding and accuracy.
I remember the 2006 war in Lebanon as pretty much driving and wandering around a certain Mediterranean picturesque but empty normality, suddenly interrupted by the extreme brutality of the war.
The two pictures that stick in my mind are the red-lit family living room. A bomb had hit not far away, and had blown out the windows. The family was gone. The place was totally quiet and eery. And the other extreme: screaming, shouting, shoving. Lebanese forces had evacuated the dead from an Israeli air raid. And suddenly they carried out these two little boys, brothers? I don’t think more needs to be said.
The most frantic time in a war zone is often when there is a lull in fighting. A scramble for resources, quick burial of the dead, and displaced people fleeing for safer refuge can create a chaotic scene where there was a ghost town of rubble just minutes before. Carloads of people, who had been cut off from all communication in the village of Bent Jbeil for days, as heavy fighting destroyed their village, were using such a lull to escape on July 27, 2006.
Visibly dehydrated children peered out of mosquito netting that covered the blown out windows of the car in which they fled. The driver slowed to ask New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid about what had been happening in the rest of Lebanon, and where they should go. I only had a beat or two to make this photograph before the car moved on. We didn’t have much to suggest to them. They were stuck, as the poor and less able-bodied often are in war. Those in power, those who fought, and even those who covered the war (of which there were many in 2006), all knew their roles at this point. The displaced people were extras in that play, being herded from one dark corner of war to another.
The momentary ceasefire was over as quickly as it started. Munitions rumbled up the valley, and the streets emptied again. I look back at this picture and shake my head at how I took for granted my ability to photograph the victims of conflict in the early 2000s. Many colleagues, including Shadid, have since died in the region as it has become prohibitively dangerous to cover. Although quick and largely forgotten, the 2006 war was at a critical crossroads of what had been happening in Iraq and Palestine, and what has since happened in Syria. It is nearly impossible to properly document conflict in the Middle East. There are millions of displaced, injured, and killed civilians that the world will never see.
Kadir van Lohuizen
A woman stands in disbelief among the remains of where her house once stood in the village of Aita Chaab, southern Lebanon.
It was quite shocking to see how destructive this very short war was between Hezbollah and Israel. The village was first bombed, and then the Israeli army brought bulldozers to completely flatten it.
This was ten years ago. It is depressing how much the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated since then.
I’m a mother of two young boys now. I understand this photograph in a way that I wasn’t capable of when I took it.
We all took advantage of a temporary halt in Israeli air strikes in the middle of the war. Journalists were finally safer to drive around, and those trapped in bombarded villages were given an opportunity to escape. We entered Aitaroun and found people emerging out of a flattened village. It was a moment of chaos as people realized it was quiet and safe to flee. At the time, there were only enough vehicles to evacuate women and children. It was a moment of true fear, as these boys knew they were leaving their father behind.
I made this photograph of families fleeing from the border towns of Lebanon through the very dangerous coastal road between Tyre and Sidon in 2006. Ten years later—and now having a little one of my own to keep safe—I feel even more acutely the stress and fear this mother must have felt when this photo was taken. I can’t imagine how agonizing a decision it must have been to make this dangerous trek, knowing armed drones flew above and were targeting suspicious cars on the road.
I wonder what those children remember of that war, now that they are all teenagers or older, maybe some with children of their own? Did they all survive the war? How was their education affected? Were any of them radicalized?
I spent most of my years in conflict zones focusing on civilians caught in the middle, trying to protect their families. With many of the wars of the past 15 years having no clear frontlines, and thus a sustained and increased sense of fear and vulnerability, it’s no wonder the region remains unstable.
When the Israel-Lebanon war started, I was an Israeli photographer living in New York. Many people thought this would be another news story that would go away in a few days, but when my friends and family called from Israel and said they had been drafted, it was not only personal, but it was also the moment I knew it was time to go home and cover this war.
This was a time when social media wasn’t pervasive and the immediacy of pictures getting to mass populations around the world existed through print magazines and newspapers, more than through internet channels. In the Middle East, wars go from zero to a hundred faster than anywhere in the world. This war became proof of that. While most people will remember the devastation in Lebanon, I remember Israel being bombarded like I had never seen before. I remember the daily deaths, the constant bombing, and the endless numbers of soldiers walking past the border north into the ugliness of war. It wasn’t long before those same soldiers would return in body bags, at least a few each day. Funerals became a daily routine. Often, they would be interrupted by sirens announcing incoming artillery. As the war continued, we photographed funerals less, as they had become old news, and a too “easy, sure thing” picture.
Looking at the grief in the eyes of the family of Israeli paratrooper Yiftach Shrayer was one of the pictures I took on assignment for TIME in the blood bath of 2006. It may have been 10 years ago, but I can remember it vividly like it was yesterday.
Looking back, I am reminded that it is the personal loss for individuals on both sides that will never heal. It is a stark reminder that we should never accept war, and as photographers we should never stop taking these pictures. Perhaps, they will remind us of the grave price we all pay.
The 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon proved one of the only times in my career when I have covered both sides of a war, across sovereign borders. Frontlines, visas, security, suspicion, broken infrastructure and travel bans generally make it extremely difficult for a journalist to cover two nations at war within the span of a few weeks.
I was in Angola when the fighting began, and by the time I made my way to the region, I was assigned to northern Israel for the New York Times. A few weeks later, I was sent to Lebanon to cover the ceasefire. The first image is of Israeli troops loading artillery, and firing their tanks into Lebanon in retaliation for Hezbollah rockets streaming into civilian areas across Israel. The second image is from south Beirut, as families made their way through the decimated southern suburbs of Hezbollah territory.
I took this picture 5 or 10 minutes after the bombing in a neighborhood in southern Beirut. I got to the site immediately with the Red Cross and there was nothing to be found. It was August 13, at the very end of the war. There was no reason for the Israeili Air Force to bomb that place. I assume that people from Hezbollah were living there. They leveled 11 big buildings, including a school. There were many casualties, and it was was a very big shock. This was basically a war fought against a non-threatening country that was laid to rubble. It was for the benefit of the right wing Israeli policy to dominate. It’s a cycle for no other reason than to consolidate the system that is in place.
It was the summer of 2006. The war between Israel and the Hezbollah had ceased, leaving ruins, destruction and death. Lots of families had been displaced. Their towns, villages and homes were turned into ruins. Despite the truce and an Israeli ban on vehicles in the southern part of the country, some had decided to take the road back to a place they called home.
It was very difficult for me to take pictures of another war in my own country. I wanted to show the absurdity of war and the resilience of the people. I feel like we live in a doomed region where war will never end.
I don’t think this is my best image from the 2006 Israel Lebanon war, but for sure it is the moment I remember the most. The Israeli soldiers had just returned from south Lebanon carrying the bodies of their friends inside the APC. I usually remember quiet, emotional moments more than the actual battle on the front line. It goes deeper when it’s quiet, and the fact we don’t see the faces of the soldiers allows the photograph to become general; it’s not a personal story.
Alice Gabriner is TIME’s International Photo Editor.
30 Inspiring Street Photographers To Motivate You to Shoot in 2016
All images used with permission from the photographers in our interviews. Lead image by Jamel Shabazz.
Street photographers are numerous on the internet–there are famous ones, up and coming ones, little known ones, and the ones that everyone immortalizes. Over the years, we’ve interviewed a number of excellent street photographers that you’ll want to check out right after the jump.
“For instagram, specifically, I’m looking for images that feel like film stills. I want them to feel dynamic, atmospheric and almost painterly in appearance. I’m obsessed with light but I’m also on the look out for reflections, steam, birds, shadows, splashes – anything that can help make an ordinary moment feel extraordinary.”
“At some point, I wanted a way to capture the New York City I was falling in love with during my walks. Still too broke to even afford a smartphone, I bought a $79 point and shoot off of Amazon (which arrived partially broken!) and started to take photos with it on every walk.”
“My work is vast and I have documented various communities and cultures over the years, both here and abroad. Every body of work I created is of equal importance to me and it is my hope to start showing more of my diverse and international work.”
“At the very end of my time in school protests broke out in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray. I dropped working on my thesis (only a few weeks before it was due) and was out on the streets shooting everyday for the next week and half. This was definitely the turning point in my photographic career that made me want to focus on documentary photojournalism.”
“…All of those shots are candid street shots and there’s fewer women walking the streets. What I got, I think, reflects the general presence of women in that culture. Plus, women are often seen with kids, and photographing children is a sensitive matter – much trickier than taking pictures of adults.”
“All people, even if they realize it or not, get affected by their surroundings and the situations that occur during their lifetime. More so, a financial crisis to such an extent as the present one, cannot leave anybody untouched, especially those who deal with art or, at least, with the documentation of life around them. After the first three years of austerity,I found myself wanting to perform less and less street photography, in the sense that fun was diminished by the day, since most people on the streets seemed troubled and sad. As a result of that, I started taking pictures in a more introverted or should I say conceptual way, that let me express more of my feelings and perceptions of the current situation.”
“Most of the time, when it appears people are looking directly at me, I think they are actually just looking through me. We can’t help but look around in all directions on the train, and sometimes we are not really staring at someone, just gazing in their direction. I’m usually not making eye contact when I shoot on the train, because the energy exchange of direct eye contact is so powerful, it creates a connection between people, which alters the situation. I don’t want to interrupt or change anyone. With my professional portraiture, I’m the exact opposite – that’s all about connecting with a subject and drawing that energy out of them. But surprisingly enough, I’ve only been noticed or called out maybe two times in 3 years.”
“I would integrate street photography into documentary work. If I just walk around a place, it is to narrate the daily life of a place in order to keep a document of it.
I am generally curious and feel quite easily connected to the grievance or hardship of the people around me. It is important for me to interact with the subjects if I want to find the right way of picturing them.”
“My approach always varies, and depends on the subject. Sometimes it starts off with a conversation, or comment, and sometimes simply candid. Regardless of the approach, it’s all about love – I never want to leave a person I engage with on a bad note, I always believe in leaving a place better than I found it. So as long as I can make a positive impact on the people I encounter, I’m content sharing that moment with them, before it fades away.”
“The commute to and from work each day became something steeped in misery and despair, which helped inspire me to follow my passion and commit to a career change, which led to me becoming a full time Photographer/Director and Content Maker.”
“With her camera in hand, she made well over 1,000 images of sun-hungry city dwellers and visitors looking to have fun. She worked digitally, shooting in color and then converting to black & white in post. Welles initially thought she would stay with color as Coney Island is an inherently colorful space, but color can often hold the viewer’s attention more than what’s actually in the frame.”
“I like to go for crazy long walks, eat some dollar pizza to refuel. But lately I’ve been trying to stay present on a corner and take in the flow of people. I have been thinking about the idea of the corner a little bit too hard lately. The best place to stand is the middle. People will go around you.”
“It mostly come from my work with street photography. I wanted to recall that same raw aesthetic of the NYC streets I acquired from street photography to this new endeavor with dancers. The idea was make it feel as a documentation of an alternate world where we could move around the urban spaces without the fear or social norms that many times hinder and condition our behavior and non verbal communication. Juxtaposing the stylized lines of a dancers bodies against the jagged edges of the city creates a dramatic balance that is almost impossible to ignore.”
“I was standing at a crosswalk and saw this guy cruising down the other side of the street. I ran into traffic to take the photo and the next thing I know he was gone. Osaka is a different kind of strange than Tokyo.”
“I love to shoot anywhere there are people, it doesn’t necessarily have to be New York. I work and live in New York so most of my images are naturally from New York. I grew up in the Bronx and was a very observant kid, people intrigued me. There was a mailbox in front of my building and as I waited for my friends to come out, I would watch people, usually for hours at a time.”
Website (at the moment Clay is going through a moment where he’s withdrawn from the net due to trolls)
“Street photography is the first thing I have done since I bought my camera. I found some of big names out there such as Vivian Maier, Eric Kim, Fan Ho, etc. Their works made me overwhelmed and had opened my eyes for seeing things in different perspectives in a regular daily life.”
“Photographing the streets and scenes of New York instantly felt like the best and most visceral way to make good on my intense feelings for the city. Also what kept me going was this zany sense that I was actually collaborating with New York. It might sound crazy or cliche, but I love that my street work is a joint effort made in collaboration with this city.”
“The Pixelated People project in an ongoing urban photography project which came to life after I recalled a brilliant piece of NYC street art entitled Pixel Pour by Kelly Goeller. This was essentially a water pipe pouring out pixelated water made of blue tiles. Being a video game obsessed teenager in the eighties has had an influence as well I guess.”
“The camera’s f192 aperture meant that every image is a long exposure. Consequently, I began by focusing on subjects common in long exposure work such as a speeding traffic. I traveled down into Philadelphia armed with a sturdy tripod and a timer. However, the images felt like the standard boring images of speeding traffic with the pinhole effect slapped on top. I was then introduced to the blurry color work of Ernst Hass and it sparked the idea of embracing rather than fighting the blur. The freedom from the tripod allowed me to capture the energy that you feel on the streets that was missing from the previous images.”
“I love unique characters and expressive faces. I love hats and old people too. Sometimes I take the pictures only for the risk of it. When the situation is risky, you will hardly see a picture similar to yours. Placing the camera in someone’s face and taking a good picture is one of the most pleasurable things in life. I also look for timeless photos – I avoid logos, brands, ads that indicates that the photo is current. I like when people can’t tell if the photo was taken today or in the 70’s for example.”
“When Hiroki photographs a person, he is genuinely interested in them. “What kind of past does the person have, and what kind of future is there? What kind of living is done, and where do you live?” are some of the questions Hiroki thinks about the people he photographs. “I’m interested in the person who walks a life different from [everyone else].” When he intentionally takes a portrait he finds that certain people have a mysterious appearance.”
“Regardless of the place that I am visiting, it’s all about the stories for me, and in that sense, to be able to tell an interesting story I always look for nice lighting, good lighting crucial for me, I think that’s the first thing that attracts me to a scene, then I look for shapes, lines, and color. If I have that, I have the stage set for me to tell a story, then, I look for a character, most of the time that is a person, but it could be an object if I feel the scene is pleasant enough or if it conveys a particular sensation or feeling. Sometimes I have a nice scene, but not the right character, or the other way around, so in that case that particular photo won’t be good enough for me, it won’t be a nice story to tell. I think every photo has to awaken some sort of feeling within me.”
“I think the thing that attracts me the most is people’s’ faces. This is what I look out for when I shoot, interesting faces that tell stories. There isn’t any particular pattern to subjects I find interesting, it could be anyone. I do think however that I have a good gut instinct, so when I get that feeling inside I just know I have to press the shutter. Other things I look out for is interaction between people, for example hand gestures or facial expressions, and quirky clothing. I’m sure everyone sees someone or something interesting somewhere every day.”
“Having the rain as an added element to street photography, it somehow creates different kinds of mood. Some people hate rain, disgruntled, some people love or enjoy in the rain. I see more drama and challenges on shooting under the rain.”
“Seeing in black and white came naturally to me as did panoramic. I got the camera to answer a yen, I had 2 or 3 panoramic images in my memory that I couldn’t shake, I could have captured them on standard 35mm film and a wide angle but it would have meant a massive crop, something I’m not comfortable with plus the quality would fall apart on enlargement. I found it intriguing that I had started to see these images, it was not a format that had ever interested me, I thought panoramic was for landscape and architecture but using it for street photography suddenly made sense. I still question as to whether the fact I am half blind has something to do with it, my eye naturally sweeps left to right and panoramic feels as natural as a classic 35mm frame.”
“This is the gut part of street photography for me. Some streets or subjects just radiate emotion. I try to be open to the possibilities and when in question, press the shutter. The process can be quite meditative: zone focusing, making adjustments blindly with confidence, and being one with my camera requires countless hours of practice and trust, especially since I shoot primarily from the hip. I try to limit my accuations and shoot as if I were shooting film. Make the clicks count. Make the failures mean something.”
“I like to experience the place I’m in, and have a keen eye for weird or unusual things. Sometimes a person is wearing strange clothes, sometimes someone’s doing some sort of unique thing, sometimes the lighting is just awesome – there’s no rules at all, it comes from the experience I’m having at that moment. I feel the mood for the street, I let people know I’m there. Sometimes they don’t even mind about me and just keep doing their thing. Sometimes they ask me out of curiosity, and sometimes they just get mad – it’s all part of the experience – and that’s this experience that drives my street photography.”
“It is first the people then the light. My pictures are not necessarily about beauty, but more about hunting people in this ‘concrete jungle’. I like strong contrasts, comic situations, and interesting faces, and this is often reflected in my style: the high-contrast look and the intimacy of the subject. I always have a little camera with me and I’m ready to use it.”
“While I was researching photography, a post on Photo.net came up that described what street photography was and my eyes widened and I became interested. Then I watched “Street Photography: Documenting the Human Condition” by Chris Weeks and read his ebook on Deviant Art called “Street Photography for the Purist”. This was towards the end of 2009 so there wasn’t much about street photography online compared to the year or two after so I went to the book store to look for more info.”
Photographer Jimmy Nelson spent the past three years exploring the most remote places on Earth to capture mindblowing photographs of the last surviving tribes on Earth. Though his work albeit with good intentions has come under fierce controversy for painting a misconstrued picture of these tribes naturally ‘passing away’ and glosses over the genocidal violence to which many of the tribes pictured are being subjected. The less fortunate story is of indigenous people struggling to survive amongst and economically obsessed ‘progressive’ society. Here’s 80 images from the full series that convey the kind of drama and emotion that testifies to the irrepressible human will to beautify.
Location: Indonesia + Papua New Guinea Photographed in 2010
The legendary Asaro Mudmen first met with the Western world in the middle of the 20th century. For countless years, the Asaro would frequently apply their mud and masks and terrorise other villages with occasional early- morning visits.
“Individually the people are all very sweet, but as their culture is being threatened they’re forced to stand up for themselves.”
– Jimmy Nelson
CHINESE FISHING TRIBE
Location: Guangxi, China Photographed in 2010
Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing method using cormorants – a species of aquatic birds . To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird’s throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish.
Location: Kenya + Tanzania Photographed in 2010
To be a Maasai is to be born into one of the last great warrior cultures. From boyhood to adulthood, young Maasai begin to learn the responsibilities of being a man and a warrior. The role of a warrior is to protect the livestock from human and animal predators and to provide security to their families. Through rituals and ceremonies, Maasai boys are guided and mentored by their fathers and other elders on how to become a warrior.
“Lions can run faster than us, but we can run farther”
Location: Siberia – Yamal Photographed in 2011
The Nenets are reindeer herders, migrating across the Yamal peninsula, thriving for more then a millennium with temperatures from minus 50°C in winter to 35°C in summer. Their annual migration of over a 1000 km includes a 48 km crossing of the frozen waters of the Ob River.
“If you don’t drink warm blood and eat fresh meat, you are doomed to die on the tundra”
Location: Indonesia + Papua New Guinea Photographed in 2010
The Korowai are one of the few Papuan tribes that do not wear the Koteka, a penis gourd. Instead, the men ‘hide’ their penises in their scrotums, to which a leaf is then tightly tied. They are hunter-gatherers, living in tree houses. They adhere to strict separatism between men and women.
Location: Indonesia + Papua New Guinea Photographed in 2010
They live in the virgin forests of the highlands. The Yali are officially recognised as pygmies, with men standing at just 150 cm tall. The Koteka, penis gourd (work by the men on each side of the image below), is a piece of traditional clothing used to distinguish indigenous identity.
Location: Ethiopia Photographed in 2011
The Omo Valley, situated in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, is home to an estimated 200,000 indigenous peoples who have lived there for millennia.
The tribes here have always traded between each other, for beads, food, cattle and cloth. More recently, the trade has been in guns and bullets. Inevitably, as roads are made through the area, other goods like beer and food find their way into the villages.
Location: Ethiopia Photographed in 2011
The tribe is typical in that it is not strictly defined by ethnicity. Anyone can be admitted.
Location: Argentina + Ecuador Photographed in 2011
For at least a thousand years, the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador, the Oriente, has been home to the Huaorani (meaning ‘human beings’ or ‘the people’). They consider themselves to be the bravest indigenous group in the Amazon. Until 1956, they had never had any contact with the outside world.
Location: Rah Lava Island, Torba Province Photographed in 2011
Many Vanuatu believe that wealth can be obtained through ceremonies. Dance is an important part of their culture; many villages have dancing grounds called Nasara.
Location: India Photographed in 2012
The Ladakhi share the beliefs of their Tibetan neighbours. Tibetan Buddhism, mixed with images of ferocious demons from the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, has been the principal religion in Ladakh for more than a thousand years.
Location: Ethiopia Photographed in 2011
“It’s better to die than live without killing”
Mursi warriors are marked with horseshoe- shaped scars on their bodies. Men are gashed on their right arms, whereas women are gashed on their left arms. Very successful warriors have their thighs marked.
Location: India Photographed in 2012
For almost 1,000 years, the Rabari have roamed the deserts and plains of what is today western India. The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds.
Location: Kenya + Tanzania Photographed in 2010
The Samburu have to relocate every 5 to 6 weeks to ensure their cattle can feed themselves. They are independent and egalitarian people, much more traditional than the Masaai.
Location: Nepal Photographed in 2011
Most of the Mustang still believe that the world is flat. They are highly religious, prayers and festivals are an integral part of their lives. Now Tibetan culture is in danger of disappearing, it stands alone as one of the last truly Tibetan cultures existing today. Until 1991 no outsiders were allowed to enter Mustang.
Location: New Zealand Photographed in 2011
“My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul”
As a polytheist culture, the Maori worshipped many gods, goddesses and spirits. Maori believe that ancestors and supernatural beings are ever-present and able to help the tribe in times of need. Myths are set in the remote past. They present Maori ideas about the creation of the universe and the origins of gods and of people.
Location: Indonesia + Papua New Guinea Photographed in 2011
Life is simple in the highland villages. The residents have plenty of good food, close-knit families and a great respect for the wonders of nature. They survive by hunting, gathering plants and growing crops. Indigenous warfare is common and men go through great effort to impress the enemy with make-up and ornaments.
“Knowledge is only rumour until it is in the muscle”
Location: Indonesia + Papua New Guinea Photographed in 2010
The indigenous groups fight over land, pigs and women. Great effort is made to impress the enemy. The largest indigenous group, the Huli wigmen, paint their faces yellow, red and white and are famous for their tradition of making ornamented wigs from their own hair.
Location: Namibia Photographed in 2011
Each member belongs to two clans, through the father and the mother. Marriages are arranged with a view to spreading wealth. Looks are vital, it tells everything about one’s place within the group and phase of life. The headman, normally a grandfather, is responsible for the rules of the indigenous group.
Location: Mongolia Photographed in 2011
The Kazakhs are the descendants of Turkic, Mongolic and Indo-Iranian indigenous groups and Huns that populated the territory between Siberia and the Black Sea.
The ancient art of eagle hunting is one of many traditions and skills that the Kazakhs have been able to hold on to for the last decades. They rely on their clan and herds, believing in pre-Islamic cults of the sky, the ancestors, fire and the supernatural forces of good and evil spirits. Here’s a fascinating video of the eagles hunting down wolves in Mongolia
Честно говоря, сам я в рейтинги не верю, уж простите. Искусство, в том числе искусство фотографии, не есть спорт, и рейтинг свидетельствует лишь о степени раскрученности того или иного персонажа, а как он этого добился, своим ли трудом, или чужими усилиями - тайна сия велика есть. По моему скромному убеждению фотографы должны быть разными, тем они и ценны, своим разнообразием, разным подходом к делу, разной манерой и т.д., а однообразие хорошо в армии и на флоте, да и то не всегда. Но тем не менее рейтинги эти существуют, и фотографы, входящие в них, видимо, неплохо справляются со своим делом, так что нелишне будет познакомиться с ними и нам, людям не обремененным особенными талантами, и оттого беспечным и безответсвеным.
The proliferation of Instagram-ready smartphones has been both a boon and a detriment to the art of street photography. On one hand, it has brought about a renewed interest in the innovators and pioneers of the genre—people like Eugène Atget, who is widely considered the godfather of the genre, or Henri Cartier-Bresson, who had a knack for catching people at the exact moment they did something interesting. On the other hand, it has convinced many wannabe shooters that anyone with a working cell phone and a decent filtering app has the ability to capture something beautiful. And maybe they’re right. But it doesn’t change the fact that there’s an art to this art, and that some folks are just more in tune with the rhythm of street photography than others.
Compiling any sort of “list” is always a challenging task, as the nature of being constrained by a number will inevitably mean that plenty of deserving talents will be left off (at least for this year). And when it comes to the 50 photographers featured here, we aimed to be as all-encompassing as possible; no restrictions were set in terms of geography, age, style, or experience. The only adamant criterion is that the artist is currently contributing to the craft.
In some cases, the photographers profiled here have decades of portfolio work under their belts. For others, street photography is a relatively newfound endeavor. Some artists are intent on introducing little seen parts of the world in their work, while others are putting fresh spins on cities we’ve all seen photographed a million times before. Whereas some of the artists gravitate toward the dark side, others are inspired by glimpses of glee. But in each case, the shooters in question are regularly producing consistently engaging work—be the focus on people, places or things—that tell a story going well beyond the moment captured on film. These are The 50 Greatest Street Photographers Right Now.
In today’s Twitter-fast universe, patience isn’t a virtue that many twenty-somethings make time for. However, 24-year-old Laurisa Galvan has spent the past two years immersing herself in the culture of South Dallas, a downtrodden section of the city, in order to create as faithful a representation of its residents as possible. Her resulting portfolio is striking in its authenticity and depth of character; for Galvan, the project has been about "pushing my own limits, and pushing at other peoples' limits. Others allowed me to push at their limits by allowing me to be a part of their lives. I pushed at my own limits by putting myself in dangerous situations. This is a project that captures visual images depicting the results of a neighborhood being socially marginalized.”
Image via Dimitris Makrygiannakis on Flickr / All rights reserved by ngravity
The art world has Flickr to thank for the work of Dimitris Makrygiannakis, who goes by ngravity on the photo-sharing site. In a May interview with fellow street photographer Eric Kim, Makrygiannakis, who was born in Crete but has been living in Stockholm for almost a decade, explained that it was an image by Lukas Vasilikos on the site that turned his interest in photography from casual to ardent.
While his full-time job as a medical doctor doesn’t allow Makrygiannakis as much free time as he’d like to be completely devoted to the craft, he knows that no amount of planning can guarantee all of the elements one needs to create a striking image. “When I ‘hunt’ for photos on the street, I try not restrict myself,” he told Kim. “I love the feeling of my eyes wandering without a specific aim. However once in a while in those few moments in life, people and things will come together magically for a moment. If I record that, it [is] enough for me.”
Image via Chris Arnade on Flickr / All rights reserved by Chris Arnade
Candid images shot with a Nikon D700 are only half of the story for former Wall Street trader Chris Arnade. The Brooklyn-based photographer, who has a deep interest in documenting the many faces of addiction, posts an accompanying essay with almost all of his human subject photos, all of them printed word for word. “I post people’s stories as they tell them to me,” Arnade says on his Facebook page. “I am not a journalist, I don't try to verify; I just listen.” For the viewer, it’s a chance to engage more than just one’s visual sense.
Though he has made an impressive career for himself as a professional photographer, with two decades’ worth of experience shooting for such esteemed publications as The Herald, Sunday Herald, Evening Times, and The Guardian, Colin Templeton admits that his true passion "is documenting everyday life, especially the urban environment. I am less inclined to shoot the classic images which abound on picture postcards; the darker corners of the city are what I find most compelling.” Whether he’s shooting people, animals, cityscapes, or architecture, Templeton works to showcase the subject in its natural environment, resulting in images that are full of intriguing details.
“Although I was born and raised in Rotterdam, a traditional working-class harbor town, I ended up alienated in my hometown,” Otto Snoek notes on his In-Public profile. “Floods of new, immigrant faces arrived, creating big changes in a town that was already in a process of endless reconstruction.” It’s from this contradictory perspective of a man who is both at home and on the outside that inspires Snoek’s work, much of it candid portraiture of the many faces of Rotterdam.
UK-based photographer Matt Johnson lets his work speak for itself. When he does try to explain it, though, he's a man of few words, preferring to use the white space in his 500px profile to simply explain his process: "People and situation, feeling not thinking." His handle on the site is "Crossing Paths," which seems appropriate, as there's a palpable anonymity to his work that helps to make it feel spontaneous and familiar.
Image via Thom Davies on Flickr / All rights reserved by davies.thom
Location: Birmingham, England
Call him a scholar with a camera. Thom Davies is a doctoral researcher studying the continued social and economic impact of the Chernobyl disaster nearly 30 years after it happened. To do this, he mixes traditional qualitative methods, such as one-on-one interviews, with photography to better illustrate the findings of his investigation. They don’t say “a picture is worth 1,000 words” for nothing.
Shawn Nee has become a bit of a folk hero in the street photography world. In the past few years, he has been detained by the police more than once simply because he was doing what every street photographer does: taking pictures! In 2011, he was one of three photographers filing suit against the LAPD (with the assistance of the ACLU) after he was harassed and detained for taking pictures of the turnstiles on the Los Angeles Metro. But in true maverick style, Lee has not let his tussles with law enforcement affect his output. His candid portraits of LA's residents and tourists (and yes, even a few cops) are a perfect representation of the city at its most energetic.
42. Johanna Neurath
Image via Johanna Neurath on Flickr / All rights reserved by johanna
When she's not busy working as the design director at art book publisher Thames & Hudson (which published the famed Street Photography Now book), Johanna Neurath is indulging in her own photographic passions. Working in color, Neurath is more interested in things than people (though she shoots portraits, too) and uses space and color to turn even the simplest everyday items into worthy works of art.
After many years of traveling the U.S. and Europe as a photojournalist, Narelle Autio returned to her native Australia in 1998 and realized that “home” had become a rather foreign concept. “Arriving back in Australia proved to be an awakening for me,” she says in her In-Public profile. “It is true what they say: you don’t miss what you have until you lose it. I realized there was so much here to photograph. Things I had grown up with, that I knew about and loved: all things that I had taken for granted. The only inspiration I needed was this country and the ability to see it with new eyes.”
Since her return, Autio, whose work gives the very real sense of a world in motion, has seen her work published and exhibited throughout the world. She has twice been named one of “Australia’s 50 Most Collectable Artists” by Australian Art Collector Magazine.
“I relish people or objects that get in the way of the otherwise ‘perfect’ shot,” says Lara Wechsler. If it’s intrusive diversions she wants, she couldn’t have picked a better geographical muse. For more than 20 years, Wechsler has stood as a silent observer on the streets of New York City—always with her camera ready and always paying attention to the people and activities that are happening all around her. Clearly she has a knack for knowing the exact second to click her wide-angle camera lens, which aids her in her endeavor to capture the everyday moments of the Big Apple (the kind you’d never see on a postcard).
Hector Isaac isn't afraid to include himself—or at least the shadow of the man with the camera—in his shots. It seems appropriate for a snapper based in Miami, a city that doesn’t regularly abide wallflowers. Though the 24-year-old FIU student is a relative newcomer to the game (he bought his first camera in March 2012), Isaac has definitely made a definite impact with his work. In less than two years, the talented newcomer has picked up awards and accolades from both Photo District News and the Miami Street Photography Festival. His style is difficult to define other than to call it eclectic, which is a direct result of his location and a key factor in his quick ascent.
With a background in art and photojournalism, Melanie Einzig knows that one only needs to capture a single moment in time to tell a much bigger story. To some, her work might seem to focus on the absurdities of New York; however, those who are familiar with Einzig's terrain know that these juxtapositions are not a source of humor so much as they are photographic reasoning for why nothing seems to surprise a New Yorker.
Image via Kostantine Karaiskos on Flickr / All rights reserved by KKaraiskos (Quassar_x)
Better known by his Flickr handle Quassar_x, Kostantine Karaiskos doesn't share much about himself as a person. Perhaps it's because he wants to let his photographs do the talking for him. They offer the viewer a visceral documentation of the world from Karaiskos' eyes, taken from a variety of places and vantage points, both in black and white and color.
Image via Ola Anotherswede on Flickr / All rights reserved by aboutsweden ON A BREAK
Though he's been interested in photography since his teen years, it wasn't until late 2012 that Ola Billmont (a.k.a. Ola Anotherswede) found his niche as a street photographer. He estimates that about 80 percent of his portraits are flash-in-the-face. "I’ve learned that you can flash someone and just keep walking, and 99 times out of 100 that’s it," Billmont said in a recent interview with Eric Kim. "Sometimes people interact with either a curiosity or anger. My usual comment is to give them a positive compliment; even though it’s not always the case, it works well."
Image via Lesley Ann Ercolano on Flickr / All rights reserved by E.Yelsel
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Living in Edinburgh creates a unique challenge for a street photographer, as Lesley Ann Ercolano has discovered. "People here in Edinburgh are often very reserved/private, and I respect that," she said in a recent interview. This explains why pets and the backs of people's heads are such a fascination for the artist. Ercolano makes it work to her advantage, waiting for just the right moment to snap a photo and framing the world in a uniquely participatory way.
Showing the world as a place that appears to be in frequent conflict between stillness and movement, Yvon Buchmann's enviable portfolio channels the humanism of post-war photography masters as Willy Ronis, Robert Doisneau, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Though he’s been known to shoot in color, Buchmann’s preference is clearly for the power of black and white photography, for which he uses natural light to turn any scenario or landmark into a vast canvas.
A documentary photographer with more than a decade of experience, Jamaica-born Radcliffe "Ruddy" Roye views photography as a means to give a voice to underserved populations. Using both black and white and color photography, Roye's raw style is a perfect complement to his stated desire to "tell the stories of the victories and ills [of grassroots people] by bringing their voices to matte fibre paper."
Image via Jack Simon on Flickr / All rights reserved by Jack Simon
Location: San Francisco
One can’t blame Jack Simon for being a bit analytical in his work. After all, the self-taught photographer who rarely leaves home without his camera has spent the last four decades working as a psychiatrist. “When I look back at the pictures I’ve taken, I notice certain echoes in theme and style that transcend the documentary specifics of the images,” Simon says of his work, which tends toward candid photos shot in public places. “These pictures are like missing pages from the same story, blown across time to different corners of the world. Without telling the full story, I’ve tried to put some of these images back together in portfolios.”
Jesse Marlow is yet another artist who doesn't let his professional gigs (he's shot for a number of top magazines and his work resides in the archives of the Victorian State Library) get in the way of his more personal creative interests. "Street photography is my main passion," he says. "The solitary experience of walking the streets seeking out ‘that’ moment—a rare emotion, a chance sight. And yet, it is often the most everyday things that I keep coming back to, such as people meeting on a summer’s day; a kiss; journeys made on the train."
Frederic Lezmi’s introduction to the world of street photography did not happen on a whim. For most of the 2000s, the Geneva-raised artist was busy learning the craft of documentary photography, first as an assistant to photographer Wolfgang Zurborn, then as a student at Folkwang University of the Arts. His tendency to travel is well-documented in his work, as is his interest in the world in motion. His thesis series, “Beyond Borders: From Vienna to Beirut,” earned him a BFF Promotion Award in 2009.
Image via dirtyharrry on Flickr / All rights reserved by dirtyharrry
Location: Rethymnon, Greece
Though he still remains somewhat under the radar, Charalampos Kydonakis, better known as Dirty Harrry, has been composing some of the street photography world’s most consistently engaging output for several years now, with a portfolio that favors mystery and the occasional dose of creepiness, but presents it all in a dramatically beautiful way. The contradictions are clear to Kydonakis even as he’s shooting. “The more I shoot, the more I realize what I want from photography, and at the same time, the more I get confused about what I want,” he says of his process.
Image via Mark Alor Powell on Flickr / All rights reserved by locaburg
Location: Mexico City
Though he is now based in Mexico City, Illinois-born Mark Alor Powell is well known for the images he has shot stateside, including a vibrant, full-color series on life in Detroit (where he grew up). In an interview with La Pura Vida magazine, Powell described himself as “a provocative intruder." He added, "I rarely make appointments and most of my work is made from my own experiences out in the world, sometimes confrontational and involving and sometimes not. I like to get access into places or unique situations and usually because of my direct involvement in these scenes, a new plane of action is created in front of me and I am hopefully able to react to make something from it.”
Christos Kapatos’ connection to Piraeus, Greece—where he was born, still lives, and photographs—is evident in his work, which typically showcases the sort of anonymous faces you’d see on the street of any city. He lights and frames them in new and intriguing ways, proving that there’s always something new to discover in the details of a place and its people, even if you’ve lived there your entire life.
Benoit Rousseau’s Twitter bio says it all: Happy to shoot strangers. There’s a gleefulness to the strangers he captures—at least those who are looking at the camera—that makes it seem as if his subjects are having just as much fun. Whereas many street photographers use their anonymity behind the camera to observe the world’s underserved populations, Rousseau’s candid snaps serve as a reminder for all of the small joys in life.
“Martin Parr is a chronicler of our age,” according to his bio. “In the face of the constantly growing flood of images released by the media, his photographs offer us the opportunity to see the world from his unique perspective.” Deeming the types of images you’d typically see published in the media as “propaganda,” Parr aims to counter this manipulative photographic tendency with three key weapons: criticism, seduction, and humor. Clearly he has a successful formula, as he’s been at the forefront of the genre for several decades now.
Polish-born photographer Maciej Dakowicz is based in Mumbai but is a man of the world, having also lived in Hong Kong and Wales and traveled extensively with his trusty camera by his side. There’s a sense of giddiness to his work—which has been exhibited around the world and included among other top street photographers in the book Street Photography Now—that transports the viewer to the time and place of its taking.
On his 27th birthday—back on February 23, 2005—Fábio Costa made a decision: he would shoot at least one photo a day, every day, for the rest of his life. So far, the Paris-based photographer has made good on that promise (which is impressive, as we roll up on the ninth anniversary of that commitment). With a dedicated interest in candid street photography and graphics, Costa’s portfolio is impressive not just in its prolificacy, but also because it stands as a personal diary for the life of an individual.
“Photography is a very important part of my space,” says Lisbon-based shooter Rui Palha. "It is to discover, it is to capture giving flow to what the heart feels and sees in a certain moment, it is being in the street, trying, knowing, learning, and, essentially, practicing the freedom of being, of living, of thinking.” In other words, it’s tantamount to breathing, which would explain why stolen moments from the lives of everyday people are what seem to inspire Palha most.
If there seems to be a certain formalism to the work of up-and-coming street photographer Umberto Verdoliva, it can be explained by the fact that he holds a degree in regional planning and urban design and spends his days working for an international construction company. It's hard for Verdoliva to let go of the need for perfect geometry when it comes to his photos, which is part of what makes his work so interesting. The symmetry is understated, but it’s there, and it gives a unique sense of order to the unpredictability of the images he captures.
There are some photographers who have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Simon Becker is the type of artist who plans to be in the right place at the right time. While there are plenty of spur-of-the-moment shots in his portfolio, Becker’s most impressive work seems to happen when he places himself squarely in the face of a particular moment in time, as he did during the Turkish protests that broke out in May of 2013 in Taksim Square. While there were plenty of global media outlets on the scene, Becker’s personal investment in the outcome is evident in his focus on the individual protesters and the entire event's aftermath.
There’s a maturity to the work of Severin Koller that belies the 27-year-old photographer’s youth. A graduate of Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts, Koller is rarely without a camera (he has shot all over the world) and is clear this his creativity knows no bounds. His goal? “As an artist, I never want to be understood,” he says.
There are few street photographers whose images are as iconic as Alex Webb’s. Getting his start while still in high school, Webb began working as a photojournalist in 1974 and became an associate member of Magnum Photos two years later. In the early days of his career, including a mid-1970s series documenting the American south, he focused mainly on black and white imaging.
However, as his interests spread to the Caribbean and Mexico, so did his appetite for color photography. In the decades since, Webb has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, his work has been exhibited around the world, and he has helped to define the face of America in both the 20th and 21st centuries.
Originally from Bourdeaux, Elaine Vallet's appreciation for the visual side of life is part of her genetic disposition. Now based in Paris, her work—in which the City of Light is featured prominently—puts an elegant spin on the images and landmarks that make the city so famous (such as the Eiffel Tower). When seen through Vallet's lens, the focus is not quite where you expect it to be, creating an extraordinary new view on one of the world's most photographed cities.
16. Shane Gray
Image via ShaneGrayPhotography.com
Location: New York
London-born photographer Shane Gray may prefer to shoot in the streets of New York, but that's only because he sees them as a microcosm for the world, describing the city as “an intoxicating discovery of the conventional and eccentric alike.” Whipping his camera out at every possible location—from the subway station to an anonymous street corner—Gray’s tendency to shoot wide angles in full color only adds to the authenticity of his images, making it so that you can almost hear the beautiful cacophony of sound that surrounds each picture.
It takes a brave individual to embark on a full-time career as an artist. Particularly when the artist in question—in this case Ming Thein—is actually a physicist. And a physicist who graduated from Oxford at the age of 16, no less. In 2012, Thein decided to take a leap of faith and abandon a career in the corporate world to indulge his creative passion and states that, so far, he’s “been lucky enough not to regret it.” Thein employs the same exacting eye that led him to a career in science to his street photography, creating flawlessly composed and balanced portraits of people and objects that might not otherwise get a second look.
Constantine Manos realized at a very young age—13, to be exact—that photography was in his future. Within just a few years, the teenager was booking professional gigs, like landing the coveted role of official photographer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood at the tender age of 19. For the past six decades, he’s been at the forefront of the documentary photography genre, with his work hanging among the permanent collections at MoMA, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Daring to venture where few other photographers would go, Manos’ sometimes shocking, often heartbreaking, and always striking images have become a part of America’s history.
13. 13th Witness
Image via 13thWitness.com
Location: New York
Street art runs in the family for photographer Tim McGurr, better known as 13th Witness. As the son of legendary street artist Futura, McGurr has understood from an early age that there's no better canvas for a forward-thinking artist than the streets that surround him. The rise of Instagram that helped 13th Witness find a wider audience, where he has amassed more than 280,000 followers.
Pioneering street photographer Jeff Mermelstein exists with one foot firmly planted in the more traditional world of professional photography, where he has shot for the likes of adidas, Topshop, Red Stripe, and The New Yorker. He’s never lost the lust for creating more personal work, letting his camera stand still and observing the world zoom by around him.
The rhythm of the street is second-nature to Bruce Gilden, who grew up in Brooklyn, so it’s no surprise that he has gravitated toward the streets in his photographic work, as well. A member of the famed cooperative Magnum Photos since 1998, Gilden is one of the best known photographers on this list, having seen his work exhibited at some of the world’s top art institutions. Even if he just recently celebrated his 67th birthday, Gilden shows no signs of slowing down. On his website, he notes that, “I'm known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get.” Whatever he’s doing, it seems to be working. In 2013, he was named a Guggenheim fellow.
10. Anna Delany
Image via AnnaDelany.com
Location: New Zealand and New York
As she divides her time between two continents, Anna Delany's camera is her constant companion, helping her to capture what she describes as "fleeting moments in time and the gradual dilapidation of urban decay." With her black and white images, she creates a unique intimacy with the people, pets, and places that inhabit the darker corners of the world's urban areas.
Image via 9shots on Facebook
It would be easy to classify the faces of the people who occupy the bulk of 9shots’ work as emotionally exhausted. And that’s the entire point. He’s not attempting to make a connection with a stranger in order to create a pretty picture. He’s doing his best to capture his subjects at the very second they've realized that they’re being observed—in all their nonplussed, annoyed, or totally oblivious glory. His tendency toward a slightly filtered black and white further distinguishes the subject from the viewer, giving each piece a voyeuristic feel.
An eye for composition runs in the family for Estevan Oriol, son of well-known photographer Eriberto Oriol. In fact, it was with one of his father’s old cameras that the younger Oriol began taking pictures, documenting his travels as a tour manager for Cypress Hill and House of Pain. Though he has gone on to shoot a ton of celebrities over the past 20 years (Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin, among them), Oriol has maintained his connection to the streets of Los Angeles, bringing it to life in a uniquely glamorous-meets-gritty style.
There’s a science to Jesse Wright’s artwork—literally. The self-described “lapsed scientist” took a turn to the creative side after earning a B.A. in Biology and a PhD in Bacterial Genetics, when he opted to translate the concept of variables to a career behind the camera. His portfolio is wide-ranging in both its composition and content; the one constant is what his bio describes as “the interplay between the conceptual and the mundane with a focus on the subtle interactions of people with their environment.”
When he isn't shooting for clients like Nike, Vice, and Rolling Stone, Sha Ribeiro uses his camera to explore what he categorizes as "State of Mind." From people to places to rodents attempting to eat an entire discarded cake, any subject that is within its natural environment can pique the artistic interest of Ribeiro.
Filter your cell phone snaps all you want—they’ll never look anything like the work that trashhand creates as he explores the Windy City with nothing more than an iPhone and an eye for a great angle. As one of Instagram’s earliest adopters, the self-taught photographer has amassed more than 260,000 followers (and counting). We did a portfolio review with him recently, in case these three photos aren't enough.
“Simple, bold, classic, and true” is how professional photographer—and father of four—Zack Arias describes his photography style. And even just a quick glance at a sampling of his work will prove that to be true. By paying equally detailed attention to both person and place, Arias’ images offer visual cues that allow a viewer to easily fill in his subjects' back stories.
Rebellion is the theme at the heart of Boogie's portfolio. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, it was the civil war within his own country that first inspired him to pick up a camera in the 1990s. But even since relocating to New York City in 1998, Boogie has continued to be fascinated by those who contribute to the unrest of a country, with entire portfolios dedicated to gangs, guns, and drugs—all of it in black and white,= and created in a shockingly personal and close-up manner.
Considering that JR uses the streets as his creative inspiration, then exhibits his images on the very same structures he’s out there capturing, “street gallerist” might be a better descriptor for what he does. And he’s not afraid to stir up a little controversy. In 2007, he co-created "Face 2 Face," an illegal exhibition where he posted enormous portraits of Israeli and Palestinian citizens face to face in eight cities and along both sides of the countries’ separation wall. In 2011, he was honored with the TED Prize, which allowed him to create the international participatory art project, "Inside Out." For his part, JR describes his work as “pervasive art,” explaining that, “In that art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.”
Humans of New York might be best described as a photographic experiment in social media. Founded in 2010 by then-26-year-old Brandon Stanton, the idea for the blog—or what Stanton calls a “photographic census of New York City”—was to tell the story of New York City’s residents with a collection of 10,000 photos, all of them plotted out on a map of the city. “Somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character,” says Stanton. “I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following.”
“Large” might be an understatement; HONY’s Twitter feed has more than 45,000 followers and its Facebook page has been liked by more than 50 times as many people. Stanton’s followers come from all over the world to match faces to the essays he includes with many of the photos, some of them confessional (“I don't know why I'm not able to throw myself 100% into things”), others political (“Overthrow the government”), and some just plain fun (“I better not show up with boobs on Facebook”).