The Case For Side Profiles In Street Photography (or Who Wrote the Rule Book?) . . .

. . . There’s a craze currently doing the rounds of many photography websites and forums. You know, the one concerning the ‘holy book’ of Street Photography Rules?

Usually served up in groups of 10, they often contain a wide ranging array of stifling and dumbfounding restrictions. Don’t show color and black & white in the same set. Don’t show different angles of the same subject. Don’t use a focal length longer than 50mm. Don’t post photos without consulting someone else. Above all else, only show shots with people in and more importantly, make sure they’re facing the camera. The list goes on . . .

When were these rules written, by whom and what fate awaits those stupid enough to ignore them?

I’ve heard and received them all at some point and take it from me, they’re all hogwash.

two men watch preganant woman millom street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xf35

Nothing original ever came from doing the same as everyone else. If you follow the ‘well trodden’ path, you’ll find it’s very crowded indeed.

I’ve always been sub-consciously drawn to alternative or ‘left field’ ways of looking at and doing things. ‘Lateral Thinking’ my old headmaster called it, much to his eternal disgruntlement.

hunchback man stomps barrow high street street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xf35

That’s another thing. There’s no worse deed than failing to live up to the expectations of others. 😀

Which brings me to the ‘Side Profile’.

People come in all shapes, colors and sizes and they all have more than one side. So why not photograph it. I’m a huge fan of the side profile and through it, you will literally see another side of that person.

One rule says to not repeat yourself. So in direct defiance of the golden rule book, here’s that ‘Grinning Butcher’ again.

man and dog look in shop window barrow high street street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xf35

I buried my copy of the Street Photography bible some time ago and as a final nail in the coffin, here’s a color shot thrown in with the black & white photos.

large woman in colorful dress millom street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xf35

Shoot what ‘you’ see, what ‘you’ are drawn to and what ‘you’ like, not what the ‘status quo’ says is acceptable. Otherwise you’ll be forever frustrated and artistically unfulfilled.

So ends the sermon.

Author: Kevin Shelley

Street Photography. eBooks. Blog. Shoots and reviews cameras. Develops film. Writes novelesque articles.

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