Diane Wehr Street Photography
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A Street Photography Blog

Types of Street Photography - Geometric Street Photography

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

 

Geometric street photography is another traditional type of street photography, but the name is not as familiar as this type of art is. It is also sometimes called graphic street photography, but as the term ‘graphic’ can have a larger meaning than design, I will just stick with the term ‘geometric.’

 These are the characteristics that define geometric street photography:

Patterns, textures, shapes, lines, tones, color, and light are all used to give a visual experience. Photographer Ana Lucia Ciffoni took this beautiful photograph. She often posts a series of three related images and did in this case. Go to her Instagram account @anaciffoni to see the other two pictures in the series. You will understand how hard it was to choose my favorite.

Photo by Ana Lucia Ciffoni. Used with permission. Click for a larger image.

There is little reportage or documentation of events.

It is a pleasing combination of people and objects, but the people, or parts of people, are not usually the main subject; the emphasis is on the environment. Inger Marie Løberg took this delightful minimalist geometric street photo. You can see her gallery on Instagram at @ingeriroma.

Photo by Inger Marie Løberg. Used with permission. Click for a larger image.

This type of photography rarely tells a story, but can pique feelings. I took one look at the photo below and knew I had the example of a geometric street photo that created an emotion, at least for me. I am grateful to Roberto Burchi for allowing me to use this poignant picture. You can see work by Roberto on his Facebook page, Roberto Burchi, on his Instagram account at @robertoburchi and on his Flickr account.

Photo by Roberto Burchi. Used with permission. Click for a larger image.

The original master of using geometry in street photography is Henri Cartier-Bresson.

To quote Eric Kim in his article, 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography, “If you look at the composition of his [Bresson’s] images he integrated vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, curves, shadows, triangles, circles and squares to his advantage. He also paid particular attention to frames as well.”

One way to take this kind of photograph is to find an interesting building, staircase, door, or anything architectural; study where you will get the most dramatic light; and then wait for a person to show up there. In this type of street photography the set up typically takes some amount of time. You may have to wait a long time for the right person to walk into the frame.  The person is not the main focus. They can be included, sometimes just for a sense of scale.   You can also look for lines, shadows, bands of color, or the repetition of shapes, and again, wait for a person to enter the scene. This is not a type of street photography that requires stealth, but rather a good eye for composition.

Miriam Carrasco has a special interest and gift in geometric street photography. The picture below is what actually made me think it was time get the third installment of types of street photography ready to post. You can see her galleries on her Facebook page, Miriam Carrasco, and on her Instagram account at @lanenaesbuena.

Photo by Miriam Carrasco. Used with permission. Click for a larger image.

Geometric street photography is a great entry point for anyone interested in architectural photography. One of my most favorite architectural photographers is Kathryn Bourque, who truly shows off her home city, Toronto. In the photo below she is crossing over from architectural photography to street photography. You can see more of her work on her Instagram account at @katusha666

Photo by Kathryn Bourque. Used with permission.

Also, if you are a STEMs type (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), you will likely find this type of street photography to be the most comfortable place to start. Ironically, it is probably a good fit for the artistic types as well, because the hallmark of this type of photography is good design.

Exercise

Look through your photos. Have you taken any that would be considered geometric street photography?