Introduction to Street Photography during the AltMedia Experience

On the 27th of July, 2011 Imad Haddad and I spoke about Street Photography as part of the AltMedia Experience. We had participants from different ages and background all interested to know more about Street Photography. We only had time to give a quick overview, share tips and tricks, talk about the workflow and go out for a bit of field practice. We also aimed to make it as simple and accessible as possible for people unfamiliar with the basics of photography and technical terms.

It is also important to point out that there is a difference between “Citizen Journalism Photography” and “Street Photography” but people confuse them a lot.

Nicholas. A. Heras wrote the following article about the workshop:

Documenting life on the streets as it is

Beirut Street Photographers Rita Kamel and Imad Haddad discuss the fun and social impact of street photography.

On Wednesday, July 27, Beirut Street Photographers members Rita Kamel and Imad Haddad led a workshop entitled “Citizen Journalism Photography From A to Z,” at AltCity. The workshop taught participants how to become effective street photographers who take pictures with a powerful message.

The workshop began with a simple question: What is street photography? “Documenting life on the streets as it is,” answered Kamel. Elaborating her point further, Kamel explained that “if we didn’t have street photography, we wouldn’t have an archive of how life was in Beirut in thepast.” Street photography, according to the presenters, is an all-encompassing lifestyle that teaches would-be street photographer to take time to slow down, and observe patiently and precisely the life of the city around them. Most importantly, street photography is not “staged” or planned ahead of time; it requires street photographers to look at every little detail in their daily life, pick an aspect of it they want to focus on, and take a photo of it. Haddad asserted this point strongly to the workshop participants, stating: “There are no rules in street photography. Go out, live the street, smell the street as you take your pictures. You should live the photo.”

The workshop also discussed two very important concerns to street photographers: the ethical and legal issues regarding taking street photos, and some tips and tricks in order to be the best street photographer possible. In Lebanon, according to the presenters, it is not illegal to conduct street photography so long as the photos are taken in a public place, do not invade the inner spaces of private homes, and are not focused on military, diplomatic, or forbidden photography areas clearly marked by signs. By its nature street photography is meant to be a candid art, capturing daily street life naturally, as it occurs. Referring to possible ethical problems with taking photos of people on the street without their permission, Kamel informed the participants, “It is up to your conscience; whatever you feel comfortable with [in order] to handle the situation, you should do it.”

At the close of the workshop, the presenters gave the participants a lively lesson on how to be better street photographers, taking them out onto Hamra Street for a hands-on lesson in street photography. Beforehand, they gave a few words of helpful wisdom to the would-be street photographers gathered before them. They stressed preparedness and a well-trained eye for the perfect picture opportunity. Emphasizing this point, Haddad explained: “Street photography is the moment you set. Once the opportunity comes, just grab it. The eye is the most important tool before the camera.”

AltMedia workshops and events continue at AltCity till Saturday July 30th. To see pictures from the AltMedia week, check out our flickr set today!

A Beirut.com representative was also there and took some pictures.

Also note that there is a photography exhibition up for the whole week, so don’t miss out on checking the photos!

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