Street photography, it's a classic genre that's taken on renewed interest over the past decade, as mobile photography has made it easier than ever to shoot and share the world around us. Taking cues from the great masters of street photography—Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Walker Evans—a new generation of contemporary street photographers are visually documenting daily life. And now, there's a new street photography collective to help share their work with a wider audience.
Run by seasoned photographers—Walter Rothwell, Craig Reilly, Emily Garthwaite, and Alan Schaller—Street Photography International (SPi) is a platform to highlight emerging talent. With 420,000 followers and 11 million monthly views on Instagram, their carefully curated stream of images are from both member and non-member photographers.
“SPi was made for photographers, by photographers, which is why I think it is proving so popular. We wanted to build a platform for unrepresented photographers with talent,” Schaller, who we recently interviewed, shared with My Modern Met. “The majority of the photographers we have featured do not have a large following, but have at least one stellar image. We prefer to involve photographers alongside our members as we know there are so many great photographs out there that deserve to be seen.”
In just two years, SPi's following has grown quickly, with more than 60,000 photo submissions a month from around the world. This has encouraged SPi to expand their project into events like the SPi Street Awards. This new photography contest was open to international street photographers, with winner Merel Schoneveld and 20 finalists getting the chance to exhibit their work at a London gallery.
For Schaller and the other founding members, SPi is a way to share the genre they love with an increasingly enthusiastic public. “People are documenting their daily lives more and more, and I think that has led to people noticing the genre and having a go themselves,” says Schaller. “Most of all it is fun and can prove quite absorbing. It can be done anywhere without the need of fancy camera gear, models or lighting.”
Indeed, a look at SPi's Instagram account shows the incredible variety of techniques from photographers around the world. Whether in color or black and white, there's a huge array of styles on view. From lighting to compositional choices, each of the photographers put their unique imprint on their candid photographs.
And just who are the photographers that are featured on SPi? Some non-members are professional photographers, like Aristide Economopoulo, a staff photographer for a New Jersey newspaper, while others, like Alireza Aali are still students. The common thread: a keen eye and love for documenting the world.