DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Street Photography

I shot the above photo in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 19, 2016. On most devices, clicking the image will provide a larger view,

It’s an example of “street” photography I’ve been drawn to since my dad bought me my first camera at age 17.

Recently, I read a definition: “Street photography features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.”

Among favorite photographers who dabbled in the genre were Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Brisson, Diane Arbus, Gary Winogrand, Annie Liebovitz, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White and Robert Doisneau.

Between my junior and senior years in college, I decided to use most of a student loan to try street photography in New York City, where I hoped to move after graduation. (Sadly, I never became a resident). I traveled to NYC alone aboard a Greyhound bus and lived in a Times Square flophouse hotel for 109 days.

I’m biased, of course, but I still think the pictures I shot then were some of my lifetime best.


Possibly because the world was still fresh to the innocent eye of a small-town kid from North Dakota.

Earlier this year I was preparing for an exhibition of New York photos I had taken over the decades. Unfortunately, the gallery that had committed to the show went belly up.

But I may have time this winter to create a book of NYC photos as I did with my Paris pictures a year or so ago. Stay tuned.

One thought on “DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Street Photography”

  • Larry Gauper November 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Excellent shot of the hands, Dave. I would like to do street photography and have made a few attempts (lots of different people to see on the Las Vegas Strip, where we just returned from). BUT…and here’s my barrier: shooting hands or body parts without facial recognition is fine, I understand that, but don’t I need permission to post their face, either on the web or include them in some sort of article for which I might be paid? I understand too commercial use requires a release (does that include a print or web column for which I am compensated?). I always think–as I shoot a person’s face or identifiable body–do I need that release? Even if I never get paid for it? That holds me back on street photography. I’ve read a number of pieces by street photography “experts,” but I never can get a clear answer. Realizing you’re not a lawyer, Dave, would be interested in knowing how you approach this dilemma?


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