Your article intrigues me, sets me questioning the medium .. thanks for that!
I did not notice that Steve McCurry’s work had been referred to as “street photography” which is surely a misleading comment even with a broader definition of the “street photography” genre.
In regards to the Street Photography Now project, I have looked at the book which is impressive and has sold out on Amazon. One of the authors runs workshops in street photography and the weekly injunctions are actually quotes from street photographers (such as Bruce Gilden). These “exercises” are practical not unlike the ones on the OCA course.
Yet you raise a valid question as to whether it makes sense to adopt a certain attitude that relies on predictability when street photography is all about unpredictability. As a student at the OCA, I find myself “chewing the cud” over this particularly as I often question my motivation for doing the OCA course and what I expect to get out of it.
“People and Place”. the current course I am doing, is an interesting approach. The “exercises” are not so specific as the Street Photography Now injunctions and leave much more to the imagination and surely this is important; photography is in part mechanical yet for it to work, non-mechanical qualities are essential.
Yesterday, spending a day in London, I found only one photograph worth taking though there were endless possibilities! Yet I did visit the Edward Muyerbridge exhibition for the second time; my reason for a second visit was to analyse Muyerbridge’s treatment of the “People and Place” theme and write it up for my blog. His only “street photographs” were posed, the genre not existing in the late nineteenth century owing to the limitations of the medium.
“People and Place” is not a genre yet it does provide an interesting framework through which to consider photography. “Street Photography” is a narrower approach that relies on the instantaneous.