Graded School The American School of São Paulo Serving an international community of learners since 1920

On the Street: Exploring a Photographic Genre
Posted 08/27/2019 08:00AM

Compiled by Karin Gunn, Upper School Visual Arts Teacher, and Angela Park, Communications Associate

Street photography is a genre of photography that features chance encounters within public places, capturing subject matter in its most natural form and in real time.

Last March, students in Graded's Advanced Photography class and Photo Club had the opportunity to visit the Minhocão area in downtown São Paulo for a street photography workshop with renowned street photographer and professor Thales Trigo. 

Prior to this experience, students studied principles of photography and conducted extensive research on international street photographers. They were simultaneously thrilled and nervous to explore a part of São Paulo that many had not before seen. Through this hands-on experience, student photographers learned more about a photographic genre, developed techniques for approaching strangers, and improved their shooting skills.


Eduardo K. (11)
This unit was an incredible opportunity for us to gain practical experience on the street and to develop new skills. Tales' and Gunn's engagement with the group, their desire to teach and pass on their experiences to students, and our freedom to develop our own themes and choose our own subjects were extremely helpful. As this is my second year doing photography, I am refining my skills of approaching different subjects and choosing what to photograph and what to frame, instead of working on the more "technical" skills.

Reona S. (10)
I arrived in Brazil speaking no Portuguese. I'm a more introverted person, and I come from a culture where it's not very common to ask people for photos. For this reason, street photography has been an eye-opening experience. Asking strangers, "Pode tirar foto?" and seeing them be very receptive has helped me gain more confidence. This was my favorite unit last semester, and though there was a language barrier, I am happy that I was able to approach and document many different people, capturing their essence.

Matthieu D. (11)
I think that the main reason I was attracted to street photography was the place in which I shot. In the center of the city of São Paulo, there are very interesting characters, beautiful colors, and bizarre but photogenic landscapes and buildings. I believe that being able to shoot in such a diverse space allows me to further explore portrait and architectural themes.

Makoto S. (11)
The street photography experience was really valuable because it is such a genuine form of capturing a snapshot of people's lives. In other photographic styles, you get your camera and compose the shot, which is really different from going around with friends and giving each other advice about taking candid pictures.  From this experience, I gained the courage to go up to strangers and realized people aren't so closed off as I had originally thought.


The culminating work from this street photography adventure will be exhibited on the 2nd floor of the Lemann-Tully Arts Center during the month of September. The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, September 3 from 3:30-4:30 pm. Here are some exhibition samples:

Photo by Matthieu D., grade 11


Photo by Cata S., grade 11


Photo by Lara F., grade 11



Av. José Galante, 425
São Paulo, SP - Brazil - 05642-000
T: 55-11-3747-4800
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