A Good Street Photograph


In street photography, when your subject looks into the camera, does that make it a good or a bad image?

Answer by: Vineet Vohra, Street Photographer, Leica Ambassador, and Editor and Co-Founder, AFP Magazine

Street photography to me is simply about the impermanence of the moment, like a pause button in a movie scene. There’s a thin line between eye contact and incidental eye contact. Direct eye contact vs incidental eye contact means that we look for candid moments. So, when there’s direct eye contact, the moment seems to fly away a little, as it feels like the photographer had a lot of time to take that picture. The impermanence factor is low, but at the end of the day, these creative choices that the photographer makes affects what he wants to convey in the scene.

Incidental eye contact, on the other hand, has dynamic qualities of fleeting moments, and raises a lot of questions in the photographer’s mind, as well as a viewer’s mind.

If it’s direct eye contact, it feels as if the subject has taken a picture of the photographer. What I mean is that one was quick enough to spot the photographer. However, if it’s incidental, then there’s an uncertainty in the moment. There’s a question of what might happen next, and whenever a street photograph raises questions, it’s a great success. When one looks at an image of a street or a decisive moment, it should raise the three W’s—What the hell, Who the hell and Why the hell.