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Perfect strangers collide in KPCC's Instagram challenge

A woman reads the National Theater Summer Highlights with her dog in London. Diane Davis captured this winning image for our Perfect Strangers Instagram Contest.
A woman reads the National Theater Summer Highlights with her dog in London. Diane Davis captured this winning image for our Perfect Strangers Instagram Contest.
Diane Davis

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The Instagram feed of Miss_Lucifer_ is anything but satanic. This London-based Instagrammer is fond of tranquil landscapes, old cars and autumn leaves.

Diane Davis, the woman behind @Miss_Lucifer_, won our most recent challenge with Instagram Lovers Anonymous.

The challenge asked photographers all around the world to snap photos of someone they had never met before for the theme "Perfect Strangers."

Diane made her winning entry while she was wandering the streets of London and noticed a woman wearing bright red boots in the distance. She instantly crossed the street to take a photo.

When she arrived she realized the photo wasn't about her subject's red boots, but rather the juxtaposition between the woman's dog and The National Theater review.

Diane stood right in front of her subject and snapped the photo with her iPhone before anyone noticed. After she pet the dog, chatted up the red booted lady for a moment and kept moving.

A brief history of street photography

Today, street photography is experiencing another renaissance. Everyone has access to top notch cameras on their phones and can be discrete when snapping photos of strangers on the go.

Technology has always been at the heart of street photography and the proliferation of candid iPhone photos today is one of the newest chapters.

One of the first "street photographs" dates back to 1838. Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the silvered copper plate technology called a Daguerrotype, took one of the first known photos of a human in this photo of the Boulevard du Temple.

Daguerre First Human Photo

While the street was actually bustling with people, the one man in the bottom left is the only visible person because he was getting his shoes shined and happened to stay still for the entire exposure.

Eugène Atget, another prominent French street photographer, focused his lens on the streets of Paris in the early 20th century.

Atget carried a large format wooden camera that exposed images on glass plates throughout Paris to document the city's architecture and people.


John Thomson, a pioneering Scottish photographer, traveled to Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and other countries in Asia in the late 19th century to gather some of the first images from the east.

John Thomson

Photographers like Atget and Thomson lugged around large format cameras that had slow shutter speeds and could not easily capture the ever changing action of the street, but all that changed in 1925 when Oskar Barnack introduced the Leica A series, a lightweight 35mm camera with a faster shutter speed.

Henri Cartier-Bresson picked up his first Leica in 1931 and traveled all over the world with the faster, smaller camera. Known as the godfather of photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson coined the term "the decisive moment" and founded Magnum, still one of the premier photojournalism agencies.

Today mobile photography is remaking the street photograph and millions of people around the world are sharing their slice of the world on Instagram.

Here at KPCC we want you all to be part of the action so check out our newest challenge Fleeting Glance.

Happy shooting.