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6 reasons why I love street photography

Street photography is a genre that I can't stop coming back to. To walk through urban environments – as something akin to what Charles Baudelaire called the flâneur – and try to capture moments that feel part of the essence of the continual movement of the city. I find it endlessly enthralling.

I've been lucky enough to travel quite a lot and always made a point of getting out – wherever I am – to take pictures. Street photography offers a unique opportunity to observe and document the world around us, revealing stories, emotions and – I hope – moments of beauty that often go unnoticed. I find myself drawn to the streets time and again, and here are six reasons why.

1. Capturing authenticity

In the realm of street photography, authenticity is key. It's about capturing real moments, genuine emotions and unscripted scenes that convey the essence of life. As Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of street photography, famously once said about the 'decisive moment' in photography "[It is] the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression." Street photography allows us to freeze these significant moments. Each photograph becomes a tiny window into a larger story, reminding us of our shared experiences and the richness of our world.

2. Embracing the unexpected

The streets are unpredictable, ever-changing and full of surprises. Street photography embraces this chaos, allowing us to find beauty in the most unexpected places. Daido Moriyama once said, "I take photos without thinking too much, searching for the beauty of chance encounters." Embracing the unexpected enables us to discover extraordinary moments hidden within the ordinary. After all, cities are really all about possibility allied to contingency.

3. Connecting with people

Street photography presents a great opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life. Interactions may be fleeting, more prolonged or even take place when the subject doesn't know they are being photographed. But in each case, the images – I hope – tell a story, offer an insight or an opportunity to consider the multitudes of narratives within each person, and the city as a whole.

4. Exploring new perspectives

Street photography makes me experience the city differently. Noticing details that I would not have seen otherwise, heightening my sense of myself moving through the territory of the city, finding new perspectives on the place, creating a variety of frames of reference. And then, hopefully, as Elliott Erwitt, said, " It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place."

5. Documenting history/change

Cities are where human society changes and evolves most rapidly. The architecture and even the maps reflect this sense of constant flux. Indeed, one of the reasons I started the series that became the Out of Nothing Comes Something exhibition was because Watford was changing so much, even in the relatively short time that I had been living there. Photography is a way to document that change and preserve what gets removed.

6. Freedom of expression

Street photography is where I feel I first found my “voice” as a photographer. It's where I created some of the first images that I was happy enough with to share, and where I began working out the style and form of the images I wanted to take. And because it is such a diverse, multitudinous canvas, it allows you to experiment with different modes of framing, technique and storytelling.

Because there is always something happening in the streets.

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