Street photography is a genre in transition. It can be traced back to Eugene Atget, recognized as the father of the genre, in mid-19th century Paris. Used as a way to capture design, his subjects were mainly buildings, streetscapes and gardens. Street photography would later undergo another change as the main subject became people. Traditionally it’s about capturing candid moments of people going about their everyday lives in urban settings- crossing the street, kissing, running for a bus.
Once again, street photography is in transition as it branches off into a sub-genre informed by urban, hip-hop culture. While this new brand of street photography borrows from the traditions of the past, including streetscapes, buildings and people, it’s carving out an identity of its own.
This newer form of street photography, made popular by publications like Street Dreams Magazine, includes both candid, natural shots and staged shots, and borrows heavily from urbanism, art and fashion.
The platform of choice for the new street photographer is Instagram. A quick glance at arguably the world’s most popular social media platform right now shows young and daring photographers from New York to Paris standing on the edge of skyscrapers, hanging off construction cranes, modelling their outfits on a downtown street corner, or simply taking shots of people passing by.
It hasn’t taken long for this trend to hit the nation’s capital. Instagram is quickly filling up with people who are taking their cameras to the streets and showing off our city in a way it’s never been seen before. And the Ottawa street photography scene can only go up from here.
Here are some of the top Ottawa street photographers and Instagram accounts to look out for.
Temitopé Owolabi (@temitopeowolabi, pictured above)
Temitopé Owolabi is a content creator specializing in visual production, brand consultation/strategy and art direction. He is currently pursuing his B.A. at Carleton University with a major in Human Rights and a minor in Communication & Media Studies. He has been featured in Highsnobiety, Street Dreams Magazine, Krowd Magazine, My Morning Routine and SHIFTER Magazine. His collaborations include Hershel Supply Co., Kuwalla Tee, Peace Collective, Côte&Ciel and Duke & Dexter.
Temitopé says of his work, “Creativity to me means expressing myself whether it is through fashion or taking photos of architecture, nature, people etc. My photos generally convey what I am feeling at a certain point in time.”
The talented photographer behind @streetdreamsottawa, who very few people know by name, is a self-taught photographer who studied web and graphic design in college. He learned his craft watching YouTube videos and reading articles online. After having a hard time finding a job in his field he decided to get into photography. He bought his first DSLR from Future Shop back in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. In his spare time he walks around downtown Ottawa/Gatineau and takes photos of objects, buildings, people and cars.
Sid Roth (@sid.rxth)
At 17 years old, Sid Roth is one of Ottawa’s youngest street photographers. He only started taking pictures a year ago. With his FujiFilm xXT1 and 18-55mm lens in hand, he likes to go downtown as much as he can to take pictures of whatever is in front of him.
Landon Entwistle (@landonspics)
Landon is 21 year-old soon-to-be graduate of Carleton University’s engineering program. Being born and raised in Ottawa, he says he always took this city for granted.
“Some people say this city is boring, and a couple years ago I would have said the same thing. Yet ever since I got into photography, I’ve seen this city in a new light.”
Landon started taking photos 6 years ago, but it really became a passion around 2 years ago. Earlier this year he got his first DSLR and decided to explore the city. Not just the fancy Parliament buildings or museums, but the streets and the downtown core.
“There’s something really raw about street photography, the buildings, the roads, the people, you never know what you’re going to shoot until you get those in the moment shots, which probably won’t lineup ever again. I’m always looking for that potential next shot, and to do that I’ll continuously be roaming the streets in search of it.”
Seff Elbarhmi (@seff.fessi)
Seff is an all around creator and University of Ottawa student. When he’s not creating his own clothing he can also be found modelling or walking the runway for local fashion brands NEWKID, Zargara and Severe Nature.
Other noteworthy artists include @kill.613 and @vladymir_ph. And you can’t forget Instagrammers Ottawa (@igersottawa) which features the work of some of Ottawa’s top up and coming street photographers and organizes photography meet ups throughout the year. This is just a quick snap shot of what our city has to offer when it comes to this new brand of gritty Instagram street photography. Although people may knock Ottawa for being a sleepy government town, it’s clear to see that creativity is alive and well in our city, from the roof top to the street corner.