Contrary to what its name might seem to suggest, street photography isn’t limited to photos taken in city or town streets. Rather, street photography is just photos taken of everyday life in public places. It's usually candid, meaning subjects aren't posed and scenes are captured in a natural state.
The likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, and Saul Leiter are household names in the world of street photography. But some street photographers, despite being exceptionally talented and creating stunning bodies of work, are much more underground and may even be unknown to most of the community.
In this article, I’ll list 5 of my favourite lesser known street photographers. I’ll include their Instagram usernames so that you can follow their work for regular inspiration.
1. Ingmar Björn Nolting (@ingmarbnolting)
Ingmar is a well-decorated street and documentary photographer with images in TIME, The Washington Post, and other renowned publications. The Germany-born-and-based photographer has also won international prizes, such as the World Report Award and Getty Reportage Grant.
Not only are Ingmar’s photos instantly compelling and visually stunning, they’re normally part of long-term photo essays that “deal with issues of social, geographical and geopolitical isolation”. In 2022, Ignmar completed his The Antechamber of War in Ukraine project, for instance, which documents Ukraine during the recent Russian invasion.
2. Christophe Jacrot (@christophejacrot)
Christophe Jacrot’s work is immediately recognisable thanks to its unique style and focus on what most would regard as ‘bad’ weather – snow, rain, and heavy winds.
Some of Jacrot’s most distinctive pieces are taken from behind rain-soaked windows or in puddles on the street, capturing the feeling of a rainy day in an abstract composition.
Others feature human silhouettes amongst atmospheric lighting – often soft ambient lights in the fog or against a dark sky, making the ambient light feel warm.
The human silhouettes are often quite small, which combined with Jacrot’s excellent ability to capture the atmosphere of glum weather, creates a powerful yet delicate sense of solitude and melancholy.
Having earned his name as an award-winning short film director before transitioning to photography, it’s no surprise Jacrot’s images look straight out of a movie.
3. Zach Leon (@zachleon)
Zach is an American traveling photographer who “isn’t based anywhere”. He’s been living nomadically since 2016 and has published multiple projects in the process, including photo collections in Lisbon, Cornwall, and London, and his Transmissions from Japan photo book.
I first got into Zach’s work in 2020 and was immediately inspired. Zach’s style-defining use of colour and his ability to spot and capture interesting subjects in ordinary settings make his photos mesmerising and addictive. I feel warm when viewing Zach’s photos, and that feeling keeps me coming back for more.
In this light, I feel Zach has a particular way of seeing life and the world around him that shines through in his photos. Viewing Zach’s work feels like I’m jumping into Zach’s world, or his view of the world, rather than just seeing certain moments captured as they might look from the average passerby's perspective.
Zach’s street portraits are also thoughtfully coordinated and representative of his playful style. Everything feels light-hearted and colourful – though meaningful – and elicits positivity.
There’s a real expression of fondness and curiosity for the world in Zach’s photos. I genuinely feel inspired to get outside and explore after viewing them.
4. Jomayra Texeira (@visualmemories_)
Puerto Rican but based in Brooklyn, Jomayra Texeira is a street photographer that, like Christophe Jacrot, works a lot in the fog and rain and conveys desolation in her images. The anonymised subjects in her photos often seem alone, even when they’re not the only person in the frame.
Although technically street photography, Jomayra’s work sometimes looks more like cinematography and could be compared to that of the Blade Runner movies.
To be able to capture these scenes candidly through street photography is a rare talent and this is what makes Jomayra’s work not just compelling and touching, but immensely impressive too.
5. Nico Froehlich (@nicofroe)
Nico Froehlich is a British street photographer focused on documenting his hometown in South East London. As a fellow Brit, I don’t know many people who have done British culture as much justice as Nico has through photography.
Thanks to brilliant use of (and harmony between) light, colour, and composition, Nico’s images are visually breathtaking. But it’s Nico’s storytelling ability that really ties the images together.
There is a great sense of pride and appreciation for small, culture-distinctive details in Nico’s work. These are things that probably go unnoticed by most locals, or at least aren’t viewed from this same perspective.
A lot of people would likely see these things as normal or uninteresting and wouldn’t see the art and character in them until photographed by a personality and artist like Nico. This is why I think Nico is a great example of the fact there are many different ways of seeing and how photography can enable or enhance them.
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