Books on Street Photography Techniques

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by arthuryeo, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. I have browsed thru a few books by Henri Cartier-Bresson, A. Stieglitz and one by Weston. Looks like they are all photo essays rather than techniques books.
    Does anyone know of any standard texts that talks about the techniques in details. I'm looking for books written in ways similar to John Shaw's landscape books, where he talks about his techniques, equipment, composition, etc.
  2. I've not seen a tutorial book on the subject in bookshops but have certainly come across people discussing their techniques online. A great start is at John Brownlow's, with various technique and equipment sections published as well as photo galleries. The forum archives also feature folks discussing their street photo approaches.
    I wouldn't dismiss photo books outright, though. If you're interested in others' thematic and composition approaches or how they approach light and exposure, continue to pick up the photo essay books. They're still great to read and for appreciating others' details and elements you find most attractive. With plenty of practice on the street, from there you could gradually find the techniques you personally find best over time with the equipment you're most comfortable with. Perhaps your approach could be better suited to your particular surrounds than following techniques advocated elsewhere in the world. Good luck and have fun!
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    What matters most is not something that can really be learned from books. It's about how you relate to the street, to the people on the street, to yourself on the street. It's about an iron will and a willingness to deal with being challenged. It's about staring someone in the face. It's about talking to a stranger who thinks you violated their space.
    Composition, equipment, technique, that's all secondary. Composition is whatever works, and it's not different than any other type of composition in that respect. Equipment, same thing. Light, that's the most important thing, but you can learn about light in many books not specific to street photography. I can shoot with a big camera (Mamiya 7 with 43mm lens and finder) or something much less obvious. Books don't help.
    Nature photography (Shaw et al) is much different, although in some ways I think it still comes down to how you relate to the subject and the environment.
    And sometimes it's just fun, it's a way of life, even when you're marked...
    Bus-ted, Copyright 2002 Jeff Spirer
  4. Arthur,

    Take a look at:

    Bystander: A History of Street Photography

    by Colin Westerbeck, Joel Meyerowitz

    Paperback: 440 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.18 x 11.08 x 9.10
    Publisher: Bulfinch Press; ISBN: 0821227262; 1st Pbk edition (August 15, 2001)
    In-Print Editions: Hardcover

    Not a techniques book per se, I think you would find it interesting. I first heard of it in a thread on, got it out of the Fine Arts library at Penn and relatively shortly after that bought a used copy of the paperback on (Amazon also sells used copies). The paperback contains an additional chapter, by the way).

    [Jeff: nice work. I like your photos a lot.]

    Bill Jameson
  5. Thank you guys for the suggestions and pointers. I appreciate it.
    Here's my feeble attempt at street photography. Let me know how to improve it.
  6. Just in case anyone out there is interested in my findings. I found a couple which may be interesting:
    • Ken Kobre, Photojournalism: the Professional's Approach
    • Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind's Eyee
    The first one seemed more like a textbook while the HCB's book seems more like a man relating to you about the tools of his mind.

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