Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Fine and Decorative Art and Design

First Advisor

Matthew Nichols

Second Advisor

Eric Wolf


Street photography is a visual art that began to pick up in popularity in the 20th century especially in large cities like New York. There was so much going on in the world at the times and it was a perfect opportunity for aspiring artists to go out into the streets and capture the realities of what was happening. This thesis dives into the origins of street photography as well as an emphasis on the development and shaping of street photography while being used in urban settings in the 20th century. A discussion of the technological development of the camera including how shape, size, and other advancements allowed for portability of the camera plays a role in the growth of street photography. In addition to an in-depth investigation on the New York Photo League and how their work in capturing unfiltered moments of people had a role in shaping and progressing the street photography style as well as progressing photography as an art form. This thesis also highlights Lisette Model and Helen Levitt as they had been extremely influential in the realm of street photography and had connections to the New York Photo League.