“Benediction”, or, “Yeah, But Is It Street?”

I shot this the summer I got my first Nikon DSLR (D80..my faithful backup workhorse). I  was a noob and had posted it in an online photographers’ community under the category of “Street”.  In this online photography community we were to encourage each other in our works and sometimes offer critiques, so, this other photographer posted how I could make the photo better by opening up and actually facing the building so that I could get a better shot of the building.


I kindly explained I was going for “Street” and thanked them.

They wrote back that didn’t I think the photo would be ever so much better if I was actually facing the building, got the entire building in the shot so that I could show the angels full on.

I wrote back, Yeah, but then it would be an architectural photo and I would have to place it in the Architecture category and since I was going for Street and got Street I was placing it in the Street category.

The other photographer then lost his mind, but in a nice, polite Canadian way; he went to get the site moderator. It seems I was not accepting my criticism like a good trooper. Everyone was reallllly polite. I took the photo down. I wanted to shoot Street and they, the both of them, thought that meant I should stand in the street and shoot from that vantage point. Lo, these many years later I’m still mystified.  I dunno.

It’s not ‘gritty’ street but I do like me some whimsy. When I shot this I truly thought the big teen kids on bikes intended to do me some harm but they just buzzed on by me to receive their ‘Benediction’. It reveals the photographer I was going to be.

Yeah, but is it street?

Published by dunelight


13 thoughts on ““Benediction”, or, “Yeah, But Is It Street?”

  1. Funny, when you find people soooo polite than a normal person pass for a rebel 😀 I don’t like to classify in genres but I’d say it’s urban more than street. At least the former I classify as the portrait of the city as a living organism and the latter as the living of the people inside the city. Seeing the photograph I get a sense of time across the old building and the modern cyclist…
    Genres apart thanks for an enjoyable reading and an interesting photograph, Kim.

    1. Ahhhh so you see it as Urban. It is a small city street. Time and again I return to the figure in landscape and the landscape was a street and there was implied interaction between the hard goods (buildings and such) and the living. There are some very good photographers who argue the fine points of street photography. To me it is a slice of life on the street, action on the street frozen in a moment of time. There were 3 cyclists but this was the best shot for interaction with the angel.

      Is it a cultural thing? In Peru this is Urban. In Canada they thought I was doing a really bad architecture shot. Interesting. I hope some street photographers from Germany post an opinion..and I was cutting my photog teeth…a baby.

      I pulled this up because I plan to do some street photography AND architectural shots in Chicago soon. Thanks!

      1. Chicago is one of the best cities on the world for architecture, I know because it has an entire chapter in Architecture history, so there are chapters dedicated to Greece, India, Japan, Mexico, and at the same level of a whole country a chapter for Chicago.
        Said that I’m not photographer, and never got a course of photography in my country so I couldn’t say if that would be the opinion of Peruvian photographers, but I had studies in urbanism and I classify it in terms of scale, so in street photography the human is the main scale of reference, for urban the main scale are the buildings, in the photograph the building seems to be the main protagonist. But, then again, is my Urbanism teacher speaking by my words and not a real photographer. I’d love to read more opinions as well 🙂

      2. Ahhh..again..interesting point..’scale’. Yeah, scale, makes sense, this was Manistee, Michigan a port town on Lake Michigan. You can probably find this church on Google Earth. It is still a bit of a small town/city to me so the scale is small. It’s not Chicago. I’ve had GREAT success in both street and architecture in Chicago. It is a feast. You can wander for days with your lens leading you. I hope you get to shoot there someday.

  2. Not only is it totally street but it is a lovely composition. The community you posted sounds VERY narrow minded and a bit silly. I think it is wonderful to provide feedback but ridiculous to chastise someone for saying ‘thanks but this is what I intended’. Nonsense.

    1. THANK you! At the time I was recovering from an auto accident and feeling fragile and on guard around these kids who were much larger than I. I was relieved when they blew past me after watching me for some time. The angels gave their blessings. 🙂 I felt such a relief and I felt all that tied up in the drama of Street. I think someone could write a dissertation on What Is Street?

      1. 😀Sounds scary! Sometimes you can run into some shady characters when shooting street. I am glad you had the protection of the angles and were left alone by the kids

  3. Definitely Street. Maybe Street with a dash of architecture. Who are these people who actually think they can tell someone what photos to take?. To stand at the front and take the most predictable photograph of the angels has probably been done a thousand times already. ( I bet if you had put that in Architecture some wise bod would have said it should be in Street as you had a chap on a bike there!)

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