Photography in the Street and Studio

While trying to find some background research on street photographers using colour I happened across a series of panel discussions on the Tate website. It centred around discussion on an exhibition called “Street and Studio” in 2008 and various panelists delivered short talks about different aspects of the exhibition. I found the talks very informative, the first one particularly so as it covered a brief history of documentary photography (a very succinct synopsis) and Steve  Edwards, Art History professor from the Open University offered some very interesting points about the differences between street and studio photography. There are three direct oppositions that he emphasised namely that:

  • the street represents the urban; the studio represents inside the studio (the constructed view)
  • the street is documentary; the stage (studio) is constructed
  • the street produces documents (a documentary or recording); the studio produces pictures (constructions in art galleries).
Street and Studio PT 1
Click on image above to access video

Another interesting panelist discussion was by Stephen Bull, author of one of this course’s prescribed readings, namely Photography. Bull spoke about Celebrities in the Street and Studio which is what is covered in chapter 9 of his book. Characteristics of paparazzi photography are badly composed images, strange poses (the subjects caught in a variety of compromising positions or with the wrong partner) and many that are out of focus. Because the majority of these photos are compositionally rather bad, they are regarded as unstaged and truthful, revealing what the subject is really like. What I found really interesting is that the paparazzi digitally manipulate their images to make people’s various body parts look bad and this is often featured on the front pages of tabloids, with headlines such as “stars and their cellulite” or “stars without their makeup”. I haven’t actually got to this part of the book yet, but did have a quite flip through while listening to Bull’s talk and I think he cover’s most of that particular chapter here.

Stephen Bull Click on image above to access video
Stephen Bull
Click on image above to access video

I found it really helpful to really hear an author’s explanation of his writing – straight from the horse’s mouth to use a cliche. Steve Edward’s lecture was also extremely easy to follow and simplified a few things such as the objective and subjective view.


Photography in the Street and Studio video recordings, (2008) [online] Tate Modern. Available from:

  • Session 1: Documents and Pictures.  34 min: 33 secs [Accessed 3 June, 2015]
  • Session 5: Celebrities in the Street and Studio. 36 min: 26 secs [Accessed 3 June, 2015]

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