Street (Video) Photography

Question: Have you seen video work that comes close to capturing everything you like best about street photography? A few examples from cinema come to mind, but I’m really interested in finding someone who’s doing small clips (and posting them online, youtubestyle) that are candid and revealing.

Naturally, video would fail to capture the 1/125th of a second moment and everything it has the potential to communicate. But I’m curious to see what can be said with a wider span of time, say five or ten seconds or so. There’s something about this video by Heather Champ (no, this one!) that comes close to what I’m imagining.

The Tokyo section in Ron Fricke’s “Baraka” has a few great examples (albeit with a crazy lens and a 70mm movie camera). The audioless clip below of a man wiping his face in slo-mo and looking at his handkerchief is a longtime favorite of mine. A few seconds later, there’s a great sequence of portraits of schoolkids looking straight at the camera (in real time, as I recall) while a subway blurs behind them.

Please leave a comment if you’ve seen videos that are close to what I’m describing.

12 thoughts on “Street (Video) Photography”

  1. Do you know Chelovek’s Man with a Movie Camera? It’s an hour and a half of what is essentially brilliant street photography…

  2. …I like the man walking, actually quite funny.

    I can see the day when we stills photographers are going to be asked to shoot video for our various publications, (instead of stills), as the move from newsprint to web continues. In fact it has already happened for some of my colleagues.

  3. I have recently begun to collect video and have yet shift my aethetic work flow to engage with it. I have attempted a few more static image to video but looking to explore this more.

  4. I trust you’ve looked at sites like mediastorm?

    Before Baraka and Koyanisquatsi there was James Benning’s “11×14” which blew me away back in my school days. Today the internet finally gives this sorts of thing a more functional venue.

    I also like Brian’s train video very much.

    There was an Erwitt-direceted car commercial a year or two ago. Looked like a collection of std Erwitt stuff then revelaed the commercial message. Telling in the way that sort of street photography style is so easily interchanged with commercial imagery.

  5. Just watched the Man With A Movie Camera, Raul. Great stuff. Thanks for the recommendation. I’d never heard of it.

    Thanks for the link to your video work, Brian. Excited to see where it goes.

  6. Thought I’d pass this along, I just saw an exhibit at the museum for photography in Berlin that seems in tune with this idea. It was Raymond Depardon’s “Villes, Cities, Stadts”, which included a massive room with 12 projectors showing 5-minute uncut videos he made of street life in 12 cities around the world. For many of them he would just stay in one spot and follow people as they walked around or did their thing, moving from one person to the next sort of as though a torch was being passed. It was very meditative and definitely felt “street.”
    Here’s someone’s photo of the installation on flickr:
    Don’t know where the exhibit is going next but there is a book out with the still images that were also in the exhibit:

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