Street photography at the beach

American photographer Walker Evans once said:  “Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach”.

I haven’t been able to find the context for that quote ( please let me know if you do ) but it’s obviously a statement that can generate some debate.  If he was referring to street photography then I would mostly agree with him, except the part  about the beach. It is definitely a little bit harder to make  photos made at the beach fit into street, especially photos in the sand or water, but a beach boardwalk is phenomenal for street photography.

At its core, street photography is about taking candid pictures of everyday life on the streets. Is about taking pictures of people who are going about their business usually unaware of the photographer’s presence. Is about wandering the streets looking for the unusual in everyday life.

The “street” as defined in street photography might be a “crowded boulevard in downtown or a country lane, a park in the city or a boardwalk at the beach, a lively cafe or a deserted hallway in a tenement, or even a subway car or the lobby of a theater”. In other words, any public place where life happens.

The following are photographs I made on the Hollywood Beach boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida. It is  a great place to for street photography, very different from the usual urban scene. Hope you enjoy the images.

“Don’t feel like you have to take street photos just on city streets. Street photos can be taken anywhere… there are great street styled photos to be taken at the beach or out in the countryside. Street photography is about searching, finding and reacting…”– Jesse Marlow


Shoot a lot of pictures. Experiment. Don’t go out with preconceptions of what a picture will look like. That will block you from being receptive to something new and exciting.” – Mason Resnick

Thank you for visiting. Your comments and feedback are appreciated.



2 thoughts on “Street photography at the beach

  1. interesting Juan. In one sense your sample images are NOT of the beach, if that makes sense. I mean they are near the beach and feature people coming to or doing something near the beach. I am not sure I agree with street being hard to do on the sand..maybe in the water it is yes LOL..but on the sand is really a “normal” everyday environment in a lot of cultures..say australia or Brazil or California. So, what I am getting at is that people use the beach like they do the street or the town square or a cafe etc. They do “normal” things there, not just go swimming or sunbathing. About quotes by “the masters”: I agree we should always challenge what they say. Even Buddha said, don’t just accept what I say, examine it, come to your own conclusions. It gets a bit tiresome when some people in our “business” just quote the old ones as if they are God!haha

  2. You’re right Paul, the sand ( and water) definitely can be part of a “street photography” scene. I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL and beach life is every day life here. I guess it’s easier for me to walk around “near” the beach rather than on it. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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