Street. Life. Photography – Seven Decades of Street Photography


Street photography depicts public life in metropolitan centres. It shows everyday scenes and escapades, commerce and individuality, comedy and tragedy, political engagement and social change. It portrays single people who seem to merge into the crowds, creating a sense of both proximity and distance. The diversity of urban spaces and their inherent dynamism have always offered countless opportunities for photographers to capture the city’s spectacle and drama.

The exhibition Street. Life. Photography presents around 220 works by thirty-six international photographers made over the last seventy years. These works present a variety of different perspectives on urban life, while also showcasing the art of taking photographs on the street and in the city. How have photographers viewed the city and its inhabitants both now and in the past? To what extent is our understanding of public and private space and our relationship to our urban environment reflected in their works? How have views of the city – and thus also the genre of street photography – changed over the course of time?

In this exhibition, international contemporary photographers like Maciej Dakowicz, Loredana Nemes and Harri Pälviranta are contrasted with historical positions such as those of Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, William Klein, Harry Callahan and Lisette Model. This comparison of historical and contemporary works enables visitors to appreciate key trends and important technical, conceptual and aesthetic developments. The exhibition is divided into five kaleidoscopically arranged sections with different thematic approaches. The specific focuses on Street Life, Crashes, Public Transfer, Anonymity and Alienation highlight surprising and sometimes strange connections.

Exhibition views © Fotomuseum Winterthur / Benedikt Redmann