The Origins of Street Photography

Not many people know that street photography originated not on the streets of Paris or New York, but in England by a Scotsman.

Eugene Atget is often thought of as one of the pioneers of street photography. He spent many years and took great pride in documenting the street of Paris from the 1890's to the 1920's. Prior to Atget though, John Thomson published Street Life in London in 1877.

Paris, Eugene Atget

Paris, Eugene Atget

There is an argument to say that Charles Nègre was really the first to experiment in street photography. He was the first with the technical ability to capture the movement of people on the streets which hadn't been possible with the earlier daguerreotype images. But John Thomson was the first to publish.

Street Life in London, John Thomson

Street Life in London, John Thomson

So I like to argue that street photography was created in England by a Scotsman before traveling first to Paris then New York. Which is exactly my story so far too.