Seems weird, isn’t it? Corporate street photography. The words don’t seem to work together. The internal characteristics, the meaning the words convey seems so different from one another. Street photography is raw, artistic and in a way somehow elusive. Considering how many techniques and styles street is shot with, everyone will probably have a different opinion on what street photography is but most of us will agree that it’s very far from anything that can be described as corporate. Corporate carries a more structured and organised feeling and it doesn’t have anything to do with this noble and artistic photography style.
We know street can be shot anywhere. Supposedly someone said that If you can smell the street in the photograph, it is a street photograph. It also has so many styles and approaches. We have documentary and portrait, environmental images, contextual, architectural, events and so on. It can show people, architecture, moments, events big and small, emotions, but it can also be focused strictly on composition, light or colour to the point of conceptual art. It can carry any kind of emotion and any kind of message with any kind of style.
It almost seems like street photography can include every other kind of photography. It certainly doesn’t mean that every image is a street shoot, but you can shoot virtually anything with the street approach.
Look at this :
Metal Recycling, Dublin Port ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Solitude2,Moore lane, foggy night, Dublin, ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Street photography, Barcelona 2016, ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
420, Dublin, Garden of Remembrance ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Abstract 1, Dublin ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Abstract 2, Dublin, ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Ivy, punk, Galway, ongoing project about Subcultures ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
Stephen, skinhead, Dublin ongoing project about Subcultures ( Credit: Instagram @mariandidthis)
All of these are the work of a street photographer Marian Zidaru. If you want to see more of his work click here https://www.instagram.com/mariandidthis/
This few images that I chose from some of his older and more recent work are a great example of how versatile street photography is and how many different hats it can wear. These images ware shoot for different reasons, in different ways, and in a different style, but they are all undoubtedly street images.
I believe the balance lies in certain candidness of the image, in control, or rather in the lack of it. The absence of control over a situation, light and environment. Not necessarily complete deprivation of control, as there are many photographers creating guided portraits that still clearly are street images. Purposely putting yourself in the role of an observer creates street. Taking in what you get. Putting your own spin on it, but essentially accepting that things are what they are. The photojournalistic approach.Documentary photography. The backstage photography, the storytelling photography.
Considering this documentary/backstage photography approach, and the fact that the street could contain virtually any other kind of photography, corporate street photography is not that weird anymore. Corporate photography already exists but it mainly contains of headshots and images that almost always are, or at least looks like stock images, and you can smell a lifestyle style on them from a mile away. They are instantaneously recognised as fake by everyone who sees them. At the same time, the sheer fact that the broadly speaking “marketing ” photography has a tendency to explore lifestyle images shows that a documentary photography is and it should be the next natural step.
The internet with social media changed how people communicate and how business is conducted forever. We are all much closer. Corporations, service providers and vendor are working with clients on a closer level than it was ever possible before our times. And we can safely say that customers have more understanding of what they want and what they expect than ever before.
We like to know who we working with. The way that every business presents itself, is almost always in a line with the way how they want to be perceived to be able to reach to the customer who will respond to this particular message and by extension this style of branding. People choose vendors because of how business is conducted and services are provided, but also because of who the provider is, what is the message that they send, and what kind of feeling is associated with a product or services. Questions like “Why should I choose you,” “Do we share the same values?” are especially true for small, local or a niche businesses, but on the same time the fact that someone else will buy Ice Tea and someone else a Monster energy drink, Coca-Cola knows very well. Different people, different values, different product, different message.
This is the reason why a business needs to be close to the clients. It’s simply beneficial for everyone. A fact that companies, celebrities and service providers are in constant social media connection with the client base proves that beyond doubt.
And here is where street photography approach comes to play. It’s a perfect way to strengthen the relationship between business and clients by showing who the company is and what it represents. And it can do it in a way, that is not only able to produce images from almost any genre, carry any message and make them fresh and unique and therefore perfect for marketing. It also can do it in the way that avoids a lot of pain points that are created when not-documentary photoshoot is being organised.
Time is always a key factor here. And so is an effort. When we decide if something is worth doing we weight it against the price we have to pay. And not only a financial one. How much time will it take, and how much work has to be put into it, is a big part of the equation.
Corporate street photography – the documentary approach, needs none of that.
Whatever is happening in the business is happening already anyway. The production line, the event, or a conference room. There is absolutely no need for allocating time for the photoshoot. Same with effort. There is nothing to organize. Just let the photographer in. That’s it. No setup, no space or preparations of any kind are needed.
And the results could be outstanding. The possibility of creating photographs in almost any style and in any genre generates an opportunity to produce images that will convey whatever message is important or necessary. Do you want to strengthen the brand, show the people behind the wheel, professionalism the work is conducted in, values that are behind the business? It can carry almost any message. And still, maintain the unposed candidness and realism of the street photography that will distinguish the real message from the obviously PR planed one, and put the white-blueish stock photos in the shadow.
Documentary photography is penetrating the photography market slowly but surely. It started at weddings, where now a photojournalistic approach is definitely winning with fully posed images. Family photography – the trend is not fast but it definitely visible ( more in States than Europe but it is here). Even the advertising photography these days is almost always lifestyle. Including fashion. The models are laughing and having fun in a way that should look as natural as possible, feel as real as possible, so the real people will respond to the message. How many times have we seen happy families in sweaters for Christmas opening boxes with electronic equipment already?
And as always the unconventional artistic approach was pickup by a smaller market. Local craftsmen, jewellers, painters, florists. Local shops, mechanic and barbers. A small business owners whose connection to their clients and the message that the business in carrying is the crucial point of survival.
But this is a place for the bigger corporate world to look into. Most of it is already using lifestyle images on websites, in advertisements and social media anyway. But a lot of them feels like stock images. Images created with competency and enough technical proves that allows them to serve its one true purpose – They could be used for almost anything by anyone. You know what I’m talking about. People in shirts shaking hands, sitting at the table and pointing on things.
Event photography is also something the corporate world accepted. But again it’s almost always pictures of people in groups smiling for the camera or sometimes a speaker photographed with a long lens. Its often the only moment when companies are trying to show more relaxed, not scripted, human side of them by introducing the real people responsible for everything that the company is, and it usually ends whit those boring images that no one wants to look at. In both situations, the message that the images are trying to carry is professionalism, hard work, experience, trust, team, community, etc. But because of the first one are just a fabrication and the latter are just plain.. boring, they fail to do so. Documentary photography, greatly executed documentary photography is an answer to that issue.
Documentary corporate photography ( I can’t seem to decide on the name) is a great tool for both business and photographer. It’s is an area that is worth to explore. The possibilities and the potential outcomes are enormous. From the message that the images can carry to the ease and effortlessness of creation. In can be implemented in the production line, the opening of a new shop and big corporate events. It’s unique, fresh and allows for a communication with a client on a completely new level. It’s a natural step forward from lifestyle images and if created correctly it can give an edge to everyone who is willing to give it a try.
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