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An Inspiring Introduction to Street Photography

11th December 2019

Lisa Taylor serves as a Trustee on the Institute’s Board and recently gave street photography her best shot!


So pleased I joined the excellent short course on Street Photography held at The Guildford Institute. The course was led by Peter Merry (behind the recent Photography from Monopoly Locations Exhibition) who took us on a whistle-stop journey through the genre.

We looked at examples of street photography from its early days in Paris to the current day, and discussed various renowned photographers.  

  • Henri Cartier-Bresson – take a look at Behind the Gare St. Lazare,  1932 – such a mesmerising photo and spot the dancers on the wall in the background.
Street Photography Workshop
Holy Trinity Church, Guildford
  • Robert Doisneau – see The Kiss, 1950 – this scene was apparently staged, but frankly who cares?! It’s a great photo.
  • Chris Killip – see photo taken on May 5th, 1981 on a Housing Estate, North Shields, Tyneside. What a sign of the times.

It was interesting to learn about the law and ethics behind the subject and needless to say what is legal is not always ethical. The laws around candid photography also changes from country to country. 

Generally, while important to be mindful when taking photos in public spaces, we should not be afraid to point and click when our imagination is stirred! Blurring faces and other identifying features is a useful technique if concerned about invading an individuals privacy. 

And so brimming with new found confidence (slight exaggeration) and armed with just our cameras, the group headed in to Guildford town centre to give street photography a proper shot. With this narrative I have included a couple of photos that I took. These are my first attempts so please do not judge me too harshly.

Street Photography
Market Street, Guildford

This is a style of photography that appeals to me. Street photography is about taking candid public shots and documenting our times in pictures. You do need to be patient – it’s about going out and watching and waiting.  You never know what is round the corner or what might happen before your very eyes! 

For more information about Peter and his work, please visit If Lisa has motivated you to pick up your camera, Peter will be delivering his Take Better Digital Photos course at the Institute in February.

What inspires you to reach for your camera? Do let us know.