What Is Urban Photography?

Urban photography is not just the portrayal of architecture from around the world. Neither is it Street Photography. Urban Photography is the documentation and diffusion of a city’s inhabitants throughout their mini-metropolis. It is the town or city being used and loved.

It goes further than just the objective and descriptive. It means an interpretation of what someone “sees” as the photographic motive. It takes a mental process to translate and convert the photograph into what someone has seen, which is totally subjective.

It is alive, it is to look is not to see. We all know how to look, but do not all know how to see. This is the key to urban photography: it is to know how to photograph what the observer has seen, that is also interesting to the public. Not every picture has that “something” that makes it unique. Pictures can be functional, yes. Pictures can be technically impeccable, yes. But there are some pictures that will never make us emotional, because they lack that “something”. And that “something” is soul.

A picture will be a picture with soul when: The photographer that takes the picture must know how to “see” and then know how to take a picture of what he/she has seen. To do this there has to exist a perfect balance between the place chosen to take the picture, the “right” light, and the composition that the photographer has decided on, and finally that “this something” will be perceived by the one that is looking at the picture. It does not need to be nice, it has to make you feel. It has to suggest something to you.

No matter who is observing it, if it is a child, an old person, a person passionate about art or someone with little involvement – the image needs passion, it needs “soul”. To take pictures is easy, anyone can do it, but what is not easy is to create a photograph with soul.

Architecture is volume, space, comfort, proportion, harmony, texture, light combination (…) The photographer has to “see” this, digest, interpret and express it. The photographer will take know how to use a camera, granted – but, knowing how to use a camera does not mean they can take photographs with “soul”.

And put this all together in a series of pictures, which due to the specific picture series chosen, you do not miss any of the pictures that you need to see.

In a collection of photographs, all the pictures not only mean something separately but also as a whole. A collection.