How Cities Are Transforming Street Photography

Nick Turpin has been around the block, quite literally. He’s been a practicing street photographer for nearly 30 years. But times have changed—so much so that Turpin now prefers the term “candid public photography” to differentiate his art from the increasingly ambiguous genre of street photography.

Turpin estimates that there are at least a thousand photographers roaming the city’s streets today, compared to the four or five photographers capturing London’s urban life when he started—all of whom he knew. Today, many use smartphone cameras they can fit in their pockets; some young people may never own an old school point-and-shoot. Turpin remembers what street photography was like in the 1990s and early 2000s, before the iPhone and Instagram and Flickr made photo-sharing ubiquitous and gave rise to the everyman photographer. But changing technology isn’t the only striking difference: Over the past 30 years, cities themselves have become more hostile to street photography due to terrorism threats and private development…

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