Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventionsand other settings.
Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment. On the other hand, much street photography takes the opposite approach and provides a very literal and extremely personal rendering of the subject matter, giving the audience a more visceral experience of walks of life they might only be passingly familiar with. In the 20th century, street photographers have provided an exemplary and detailed record of street culture in Europe and North America, and elsewhere to a somewhat lesser extent.
Most kinds of portable camera are used for street photography, for example rangefinders, digital and 35mm SLRs, point-and-shoot camerasand smartphones. A commonly used focusing technique is zone focusing — setting a fixed focal distance and shooting from that distance — as an alternative to autofocus, particularly using wide angle lenses with their increased depth of field. Zone focusing facilitates shooting "from the hip" i.e. without bringing the camera up to the eye. Alternatively, waist-level finders allow for composing the shot and/or adjusting focus without bringing attention to the photographer.
Many classic works of street photography were created in the period between roughly 1890 and 1975 and coincided with the introduction of portable cameras, especially small 35mm,rangefinder cameras, most famously the Leica, as used by Henri Cartier-Bresson, among others.