Street Photography: The Old, the New and the Untold

March 29, 2017

Have you ever visited a place and immediately had this persistent feeling that you wanted to shoot photographs of people on the street? An urge to capture a unique and very specific moment in time? Then Street Photography may be the answer to your questions.


Street photography intents to capture all those “unmanipulated” scene photos which show a proof of humanity. Whether it shows a strong social message or simply society around us, Street Photography tries to stir us emotionally by capturing the small beauties of life that we pass up for granted, the people we interact on a daily basis and the hopes and dreams of everyday individuals.


The Bragdon Brothers Photography 


But why do we instantly think of New York when someone mention to us the words of Street Photography? Well, even thought the history of Street Photography dates back to the 1900s it would have never reached the popularity of nowadays if it wouldn’t be for Garry Winogrand. A North American photographer famous for staking the sidewalks of New York during the 1950s and 1960s.


When I’m photographing I see life. That’s what I deal with,” Garry Winogrand once said


New York, 1995, from the Garry Winogrand


His job could be defined as raw and poetic at the same time. But it was his use of a wide angle lens what challenged the conventional image-making at the time and defined Street Photography as we know it today.


‘Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame,’ he said. ‘When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.’


                                         Park Avenue, New York, 1959. Photograph: The Estate of Garry Winogrand



Street photography in Europe


In the 1970s, street photography reached a level of appreciation that it never received earlier. About the same time, first urban pieces known as graffiti started to appear around Europe and the United States. Graffiti which had initially been associated with street gangs, made Its transformation from an illegal tool to a true underground culture and urban social expression.


Soon photographers realised that this new cultural trend fitted perfectly with the concept of 20th century street photography. All around the globe, people started taking photos of urban works out of the necessity of express themselves and the problematic of their society through key well known locations such as New York subways, Berlin’s murals or London’s brick walls.


A precursor of modern Street Photography in Europe was the German photographer Jürgen Große who made a reputation for himself by documenting urban art found in the city of Berlin.

Große planned and purposeful observation fit perfectly with the ideas of street photography, making him an important referral for anyone investigating Europe's street art photography.


Jürgen Große - An Untitled Photo From Berlin



Edinburgh and Street Photography


Edinburgh, A city forged by volcanic forces is architecturally speaking, fascinating. The city is surrounded by galleries and museums, buildings built on top of other buildings, alleyways, closes and bridges, creating a virtual maze experience for the visitor.


Both, Victorian and Georgian styles are prominent across the city with the exception of its iconic medieval Edinburgh Castle, sitting on top of a dramatic volcanic crag formed around 70 million years ago.

Add to this, wonderful people, a modern edge and a variety of international festivals, and you will realise Edinburgh is just the perfect combo to take your camera and hit the streets.


We spoke with Gavin and Gareth Bragdon, photographer leaders of our new Street Photography Workshop, and asked them about their experience shooting in Edinburgh


The Bragdon brothers have built a reputation in the field of Street Photography since 2012, not only in Edinburgh but internationally. But, what inspired them to become Street Photographers?


"For us at that point life in this city had gotten a bit old and we were tired of passing through the same places every day.” Said Gavin. “When we picked up street photography however it gave everything here a new life and potential and with street photography being a practice based on a combination of people, places, moments and so on, it was something where the same place could constantly recycle with new potential. “


 The Bragdon Brothers Photography 


Edinburgh is such a diverse and eclectic city where the old and the new merge together and create new opportunities everyday. However, being a photographer in Edinburgh is not an easy task.


“The weather is often dull and unreliable (one reason why we often use flash) and Edinburgh is not as bustling or varied as some of the bigger metropolises such as London or New York” the brothers pointed out.  “However these are things that you learn to work with and it is often your environment that creates the photographer you end up becoming.”


And is true that our professional growth is directly connected to our personal growth and the environment around us. But, how it is then to shoot at different locations when you have formed yourself as a Street Photographer in Scotland?

“Travel is very important for growth as well. We have found that shooting in other places, in other countries, in cities of different sizes and character helps expand and sharpens ones skills and when one is in a rut with street photography, travel is often the best remedy. “ said Gavin and Gareth.


So if you want to rediscover your passion for Street Photography or simply give it a try, join us this

Spring on our new day workshop open to everyone and guided by the talented Bragdon brothers.


“We will help you find your direction, discover your passion and open your eyes to the great images in the seemingly everyday and ordinary."


For more information on the workshop, click here.


For more information about Gavin and Gareth's work, click here