Street Photography is a genre of photography that encompasses numerous photographers and styles. In general, it refers to photography taken in urban public spaces, looking into streets, shops or cafés, picking out groups of passers-by or individuals, often as a snapshot, but also as an essay-like sequence and milieu study.
Eugène Atget's photographs of Paris and its suburbs, taken at the end of the 19th century, can already be attributed to street photography.
The heyday began in the 1930s with the possibilities of faster and more compact 35 mm cameras, the advent of illustrated magazines and the increased interest in everyday life and its facets. The genre of street photography in particular has produced outstanding illustrated books, including, for example, Henri Cartier-Bresson's Images à la sauvette (1952), Robert Frank's The Americans (1959), Hildegard Oche's Café Mitropa (1980) or, more recently, Bruce Davidson's Subway (1986) and Saul Leiter's Early Colors (2006).
In terms of compositional style, street photographs range from documentary-like austerity to grainy, deliberately blurred or tilted views, daring perspectives and distorting reflections. The differences between documentary and so-called creative photography were questioned in particular by photographers such as Lee Friedlander and William Klein.