Behind The Image #12 – Cotswold Street Photography

This year I’ve been dedicating more time to exploring the Cotswolds. I don’t really know why it took me so long to do this considering I have been living in Banbury for five years now, but anyway I’m having a great time getting out and about to all the beautiful little villages.

I’ve also liked the idea of street photography for a while now. I’ve got a few friends who are pretty good at it, and following their feeds has been really inspirational.

Something I’ve come to realise is that not all street photography looks the same. I know it sounds simple, but photographers are often guilty of seeing difference genres of photography as quite one-dimensional.

If you think of street photography you probably think of something inspired by photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs of various bustling European cities. If you search for street photography on Instagram most of the shots will be of cities or busy towns.

And there’s nothing wrong with this. But what if you don’t live in an urban area? I live in the Cotswolds (well, on the edge of it) and I prefer to spend my weekends in the countryside rather than the city. Does that mean my street photography isn’t as valid as someone who lives in the city?

I used to think that was the case, but I realise that perhaps now it’s not. It’s just different. Street photography shot in a little village in the countryside will always look different to street photography shot in a city. Street photography shot in Europe will look different to street photography shot in the US! It all makes sense logically, but emotionally that can be harder to understand (our brains love to work against us and tell us that our work isn’t valid, don’t they?).

When I realised that street photography in the countryside offers different possibilities to street photography in the city I started to fall in love with the genre. There are few places in the city where you’ll be able to catch a shot of a classic Morgan car owner stopping and posing for a tourist photograph!

The aesthetic is different not just because of the architecture of the place, but because of the people that inhabit it. It’s a different pace of life, with different traditions, different fashions, and completely different attitudes.

And it’s just as valid as street photography in the city.