ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​The Borrowed Gaze in Street Photography

As photography is increasingly democratised, how do we shake off the colonial gaze?

Street photography has occupied a rather troublesome position in the wider canon of photographic documentation. Having the flexibility to conveniently accommodate within itself other sub-genres/styles of photography, street photography, in its essence, forms the photographers’ interpretation of the space in sight. Depending on the topic under study, even facets of a documentary photography project can edge towards the realm of street photography, holding within itself the power to highlight the people, cuisine and culture of a given setting in its end game.

Like most modern art forms, street photography, too, has been shaped by the colonial era, which has transformed its narrative of representation from 19th-century functional portraits to the fast-moving imagery that we see today. Documentary photography’s immensely intertwined history with colonialism and colonial representation has had a massive influence on what has come to constitute a “good image” today. The nature and gaze of the subject portrayed, tones used in the image, all create a certain homogeneous visual standard that traces its history to viewing and representing cultures through specific lenses of oriental categorisation.

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Updated On : 16th Sep, 2020

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