Street Photography Series Explores the Urge to Take Photos of Strangers

A documentary series looking at street photographers has just been released with the camera being turned on shooters like Daniel Arnold and Jill Freedman.

Wrong Side of the Lens premiered in New York City’s Anthology Theater this week and is now live on YouTube.

The show was created by Josh Ethan Jackson and Wrong Side of the Lens tries to understand why street photographers “are so obsessed with taking images of complete strangers.”

The trailer has some dramatic moments showing street photographers getting into confrontations with some of their subjects, touching on the nebulous issue of ethics in street photography.

The first episode features noted street photographer Daniel Arnold whose work regularly appears in Vogue and The New York Times.

“I mean really my job is to walk around, point at things, and be like ‘that’s funny, that’s sad, that’s weird, oh I like that, I don’t know what’s going on there but I want to remember it’,” Arnold says in the documentary. “Which is a thing I always did but without a camera.”

The second episode features the legendary street photographer Jill Freedman who died in 2019. Her interviews contained within Wrong Side of the Lens are among some of the very last she did.

“When I’m after a picture, I try not to do anything stupid but I want that picture. And I want more than just a snap, you know, I want…Well, I’m telling a story, I’m a storyteller,” says Freedman in the documentary.

Moving away from New York, the third episode features Estevan Oriol who is best known for his gritty photos of cholo culture. Oriol took photos of gang members as well as hip-hop royalty; the likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.

There are multiple episodes of Wrong Side of the Lens and, as well as featuring some street photo legends, there are also features on up-and-coming shooters.

Wrong Side of the Lens is out now and all episodes can be watched on its YouTube channel. For more information, head to the website.