Use Of Juxtaposition In Street Photography? Explained
October 5, 2019

Are you baffled by the word 'Juxtaposition' already?  Then let me tell you, it's something you must have done so many times unconsciously in your photography. 


Juxtaposition is nothing more but merely a fancy word for 'contrast'. When you use two opposite ideas in a photograph, you end up creating a juxtaposition photograph.


And Juxtaposition is a very popular composition Technique used in Street photography. To compose this kind of picture, you will need two things. 

For eg: 

  1. A tall and a short person 
  2. A white and a black object 
  3. Happiness beside sadness 
  4. Nature Vs Man
  5. Man Vs Machine


So to pump up your street photography with new creative ideas and compositions. Here we have written a concise blog on how you can use Juxtaposition in your street photography.


Using Juxtaposition In Street Photography



Once you step outside with your camera, you will see how easily you can make use of the reflections of things and people. Reflections are a great way of creating a juxtaposition of Reality and Reflection. 


Normally you won’t find a great connection between the two, but if you manage to capture your subject and its reflection in a certain angle, then you can definitely try to create a story using Juxtaposition in your street photography.


The image below is a good example of this, where it looks like two men are walking away from each other.





You can create an excellent frame using the huge people in the background advertisements and the real people in the foreground. The advantage of using a backdrop is that it's still. And you get ample of time to think of a frame and convey a story through it. 


So if you move past a street or inside a mall, and you see a huge advertisement in the backdrop, don’t miss out on your chance to tell a story through this Juxtapose. 


For example, the image below.

It is a great Juxtaposition on Background and Emotions. Where the couple in the backdrop are in love, and the two people in the real foreground are not even looking at each other.




Social Status:

Another use of Juxtaposition is by framing the social status of people in one single photograph. This is the most commonly found, situation in street photography.


So whenever you come across such a Juxtaposition, then definitely make use of it. You just have to be very quick, as people are not stationary and you might lose your frame very quickly.





You must have read above, that Juxtaposition is all about creating contrast in a photograph. But when you deal with colors, it works slightly differently. 


Here you don’t look for straight contrast in a picture. It would look too vague. Instead, you try to have your first subject in one color and your second subject having that color-complementary.


In the image below, you will see orange is the common color between the two subjects. i.e the temple and the kids.





Size is a very basic concept of conflicting Ideas. You can use two subjects in a photo, of different sizes and that’s a great use of Juxtaposition, without putting much effort.


The Image below has used size as a Juxtaposition in the composition. With tall pillars in the background and a man walking in the foreground.





Shapes are a great way of attracting interest in a photograph. You can use different shapes in one photograph, and create a Juxtapose effortlessly.


Such frames could be easily found, in and around buildings on the street. Or objects, like the street light and the wires.


Here the Juxtaposition is created by the straight lines on the Zebra crossing and the triangles on the umbrella.




Mixed Concepts Juxtaposition:

Always finding juxtaposition around is going to turn you nuts and you might not focus on clicking other creative pictures.


This is when you used the idea of Mixed concepts Juxtaposition, where you can put together two different photographs together to create a contrast.


These two photos can be taken at different times, and you can edit it to make one Juxtaposition photo in the post-processing stage.





So by now, you must have understood that ‘Juxtaposition’ just sounds intimidating. But in real life, it is a very creative composition technique you can use for giving your street photography, that extra touch of creativity and story to it.


You just have to be very attentive. But don't try too hard, or you might miss the chance of capturing some amazing pictures.

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