Intro to Street Photography Monographs
The great thing about photography is that we can learn from the past masterminds not only through their images but through their words. Every photograph they craft is like poetry, sometimes hard cut and dark, in other times soft and mellow. We can all take away a thing or two from an photographers words. I believe this is one of the best ways to improve your skill in photography. We have the ability to reach into the photographers mind, collect all of their thoughts and put them into our own use. We can find these hidden treasures stacked away in monographs or essays written by the masters themselves.
When first getting into photo books you have to choose wisely based upon your interests. I am deeply indulged in street photography so I look up to guys like William Klein, Garry Winogrand, Bresson and so on. My book choices will be based around street photographers so please, if you're studying portrait photography or landscape photography familiarize yourself with artists work that you like and look up their books. Luckily we have the internet so you can browse away for hours at a time without having to leave your home! Anyway, if you're a street photographer here are my street Photography Book recommendations.
1.) Henri Cartier Bresson - Interviews and Conversations
This book is amazing for 2 reasons; First this book gives us a real look at what Bresson thinks in various situations from how he see's photography, developing the eye and even technical aspects of photography like printing or camera equipment. Second, the way he describes things almost paint a picture in your head and its like your seeing a photo without actually having one in the book.
The entire book is small and consist of around 150 something pages but every interview is golden allowing me to get inspired but to also learn from the mastermind himself. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is getting into street photography or needs that kick of inspiration. This is an absolute gold mine! Buy it here - https://amzn.to/2NNhrF2
2.) A respect for Light - Mario Algaze
This is an uncommon book, one that hasn't gotten a lot of recognition (in my opinion). A respect of light is a collection of photographs from a Latin American photographer by the name of Mario Algaze. As street photographers we all fantasize over the European street photography look the Bressons, the Doisneua's but on the other side of the world you have masters like Mario. 180 something pages of magical goodness full of shadow and light play. The way he captures each scene almost as if it were taken straight out of a movie. This is an amazing collection, mostly all square format and can teach you a thing or two about composition. Something I noticed about his work is that he uses the light and shadow to his advantage using them as focal points when theres no leading line. Highly recommend this book to anyone street photography lover or square format shooter.
Unfortunately this book did not get the light that it deserved but luckily for you it is relatively easy to find! Buy it here! - https://amzn.to/2QIPs8a
3.) The Americans - Robert Frank
This book works wonders! This was my second photo book and I remember opening the front cover and seeing the first image. Immediately I became hooked, page after page i kept on going admiring each image. There's a certain character Frank has in his pictures that's very distinct. A great use of elements in his composition as well use of powerful historical moments. The front cover is an image of a bus, white folk in the front and black folk in the back. That image by itself is powerful as hell! Documenting a time of injustice, segregation and the harsh truth to how it was back then. Frank has taught me two things from this book; Your camera can be used as a weapon, to fight injustice and preserve the truth. Two you have the ability to make something out of nothing.
Experience a foreigners perspective of America in this book only using his eyes and his camera as tools to tell the story. This is an absolute legendary book that everyone should take a look at! If there's one book on this list I'd go for first, it'd be this one! Buy it here! - https://amzn.to/2QDtTFR
4.) Henri Cartier Bresson - Aperture
This book is what really got me hooked onto Bresson's work. A small monograph consisting of only around 30 pages could be one of my favorite books. The images that are in the book include so of his most famous images. Lots to learn from, study and better yet admire. Every one of his images have a certain magic to it. The best thing about this book is it is cheap and can be found easily!
Bresson also has a book called "The Decisive Moment" which is probably the monograph that will highlight most of his famous work. But that book comes with a $300-$400 price tag. This tiny little book will give you a good glimpse at a handful of Bresson's famous work! Probably the best value on this list! Buy it here - https://amzn.to/2DcB3Oy
5.) Vivian Maier Street Photographer
Lastly the book that started it all. This was my first street photography book but even till this day I still look at it. For those of you who don't know the story of Vivian Maier I highly suggest you watch the documentary on netflix. Long story short this woman who had a very strong personality shot a TLR camera and captured images of Chicago. She had hundred maybe even thousands of rolls of film shot but never got all of them developed...That was until a man discovered her large body of work and got it developed. The results were surprising.... Buy this book or watch the show on netflix!!
Vivian's work has inspired many photographers to start shooting square format, including me and my buddy Garth (@Murphysfilm). She was a genius for her time and she didn't even know it. She just used her intuition and her eye. Extremely inspiring photographer and amazing book, highly highly recommend this one! Buy it here - https://amzn.to/2QxMlQa
Photography books are different than seeing an image on a phone screen. Printed work is tangible and will slow your eye down from moving too fast. Little details within a composition are exposed in prints the real and true feeling the photographer captured is all there so please consider buying prints and monographs instead of settling for a couple images on your phone. Screen images will never give a photo its full justice, so buy up on some books and get crackin!
Thank you for reading, if you made it to the end.. well you already know. #MinoltaGang!
DISCLAIMER: The links to the items are amazon affiliate links. Any purchase made through that link will give me a small percentage, this will help contribute to my website and creative endeavors!