ChromaticSoul :: The Blog

Visual Sociology and Street Photography

Posted on: 19 September 2007

I’ve always been fascinated by people. I suppose that’s why I became a sociologist. I learned to merge my love of photography with sociology by learning about visual sociology which allows one to visually tell a story of human condition usually through the medium of photography. A lot of street photographers practice this kind of sociology when they capture images of people, everyday folks like you and I, as they go about the business of living.

The photocritic has an article, The Return of Street Photography which highlights the work of Katie Cooke.

…In the beginning, Katie spent a lot of time people-watching before carefully selecting her subjects. “I was looking looking for people who weren’t in a mad hurry or a large group”, she explains. Picking someone out of a crowd is easy, of course – the difficult bit is what comes next: Asking them if they want to be photographed. “I had huge waves of shyness, and a fear of being creepy. I kept seeing fascinating people, but not having the courage to ask them to stop for me, partly because I was fretting they would take it the wrong way.” …

…Normally, you spend a fair bit of time getting under the skin of your models, in order to get to know them, and to find a way how you can best show them off. That, unfortunately, is not a luxury that’s afforded to a photographer working in the hustle and bustle of a busy festival.

Nonetheless, as a seasoned and experienced portrait photographer, Katie decided to condense this initial chit-chat into as short a time-frame as possible: “I wanted to work fast so that no one would get to the point of feeling uncomfortable or put out by giving up too much time, so I didn’t have as long as I really like to talk to people before making the photos. I just tried to get a conversation going back and forth from the moment I walked up to them to the point where the shutter closed, all the time watching them to see how their faces moved, how their bodies moved, and trying to get a sense of who they were. I really enjoyed these brief meetings, and was struck by how generous and open people can be.”…(via

You can read more about Katie Cooke here, here and here. She also has a flickr presence here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: