Diversity is a beautiful thing. Different cultures, attitudes, and values make the world go round. It’s because of our varied approaches to life that street photography can flourish. So much compelling content can be created because of the fact there’s an abundance of things to learn about the world. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many nations, and almost all of them have provided me with their own unique experience. Some incredibly inspiring, and some, not so much. But while there’s a conversation to be had about the uneventful cities, I want to share with you some of the best!
Although there is no doubt I’m biased, you would be hard pressed to find any street photographer who doesn’t enjoy street photography in London. I cut my teeth in this city, and it’s one I will always be madly in love with. Even if you don’t have a deep connection with the capital, there’s still enough to get you excited about it. The heavy footfall on Oxford Street, the hipster vibes of Hoxton, and the upper class of Knightsbridge – these are just a few of the hotspots to create compelling shots.
And most importantly, London has a great creative vibe. I buy into energy. And when you’re surrounded by artistic energy, I feel it encourages you to create more.
New Delhi, India
For those who are yet to visit India, it’s kind of difficult to describe. It’s as amazing as it is terrible. It’s busy. Not London or New York busy: more like ‘nowhere on earth’ busy. New Delhi is the bustling capital of one of the worlds biggest countries. It’s insane. The best description I could give is that it’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to anarchy. Because of this, it’s almost the perfect place to shoot street photography. You’re never going to find yourself short of things to shoot. People are generally cool with you pointing a camera in their face. In fact, they are more likely to ask you for a selfie rather than become confrontational.
Because of its perceived instability, there’s a good reason to think it’s unsafe. Now, I’m only speaking from the male experience, but I never had issues. Even at night, I felt completely safe. However, it’s advised to take the concerns relating to India seriously and always take proper safety measures.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
When people think of Thailand, they may go straight to the madness of Bangkok. Not me, though. I’m taking you to Thailand’s second city, Chiang Mai. First off, it’s much easier to navigate than Bangkok. Getting around can all be done on foot, but there’s still enough context to the city to make it an excellent place for street photography. If you can, I advise you to visit during Songkran (Thai New Year), as it’s just one big water fight in the streets. And honestly, Thai people are some of the most fun people I’ve ever met. They bring with them so much energy, lightheartedness, and entertainment. My perspective was they don’t take themselves too seriously, so you can expect to see many different interactions while walking through the streets.
If you’re reading this from North America, there’s a good chance you’re shouting at your screen, “Nicaragua!? Oh, hell no!” For specific reasons, some fair and some unfair, Nicaragua has been labeled as one of the most dangerous countries in the world. I spent three weeks there, and while, yes, there was a national crisis/protest, it’s one of the best places I’ve been for street photography. I never came close to any trouble. Leon is a small city, more like a town, but with a bouncing, artistic feel to it. It’s colorful and creative, and its small townhouses and back streets have a lovely romance about them.
Caye Caulker, Belize
Okay, Caye Caulker is not technically a city: it’s an island. But I’m going to exercise my creative license and include it on this list. Why? Because it’s one of the best places I’ve visited on earth! What would usually be pavement is sand. And what would often be suburbs is the Carribean sea. So much is happening on this little island of only 1,000 or so inhabitants. There are parties, places to chill, a range of fantastic eateries and, on the whole, people having the time of their life. Nobody on this island is there because they’re sad – making it an excellent location for some upbeat street photography. It’s home to one of my favorite shots that I’ve taken. So because of that, it’s always going to have an exceptional hold over me. Also, bright blue skies and clear waters – who wouldn’t want to shoot there?
Valencia is a port city located on the east coast of Spain. What’s great about this city is it offers three really strong locations to shoot street photography. Downtown, where you will find many shoppers and people spending the late evening on the streets socializing. The old town, which is rich in history, narrow pathways and great for playing with light. And the beach, where speedos and bikinis come out to play and everyone is in a joyful mood. The weather is excellent, which is a bonus for when you’re walking around for many hours a day. And when you want to take a rest from shooting, you’re in the perfect place to sample some genuine, authentic Paella!
Something to Think About
When I think of what makes a city my favorite to shoot street photography, I guess it’s one that gets me excited. But, I think street photography goes beyond excitement and fun. I think there’s a kind of code, that when you sign yourself up to this craft you commit to documenting society. That has to go beyond places you feel inspired. Good street photography and strong ethics have to exist also inside the areas that may not always inspire us. We should be able to tell a story in which the narrative is good and bad. Something to think about, perhaps.
Where are your favorite cities for street photography? Let me know in the comments below…
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