Here is a listing of some of my favorites books in relationship to street photography and what I learnt from them.
Gary Winogrand – Women are beautiful
My favorite book, a document on women’s conditions in the 60’s and 70’s by the master of the 28mm field of view. Unluckily it is now a collector book so commands high prices.
Learning : document a theme and develop a consistent style throughout long periods of time.
Gary Winogrand – Figments of the real world – MOMA
This other great book by Winogrand shows a comprehensive view of the different periods of his life. You can feel how street photography took over him and almost drove him to madness at the end of his life.
Learning : use of wide angles, getting close to subject, organization of information in the frame.
Robert Frank – The Americans – Steidl
The Bible of street photography. The masterpiece. A series of pictures that depict America in the 50’s. Few pictures but each one is very powerful.
Learning : how to tell complete stories about humankind within a single frame.
Ara Guler – Istanbul – Thomas & Hudson
This photographer spent his life photographing his cherished city. He knew how to mix the human presence with its surroundings and by doing so, he can transport you in the atmosphere of the city. Learning : how to merge subjects and backgrounds. Importance of poetry in photography.
Saul Leiter – Steidl
The ‘shy’ street photographer who knew how to give the hint of human presence without a direct confrontation. An amazing colorist.
Learning : How to express a feeling through hints, creative framings and colors.
Henri Cartier Bresson – The man, the image and the World – Thames & Hudson
This could be Street photography 101, The basics by the master of composition.
Learning : composition 101.
Jason Eskenazi – Wonderland – Red Hook Editions
Absolutely wonderful book by a contemporary street photographer that shot life in the Eastern block as it collapsed. Creative framings, wide angle field of views, and great organization of the various planes of a scene.
Learning : how to include a foreground plane, how getting close will add intensity to your frame.
Bruno Barbey – Les italiens – Editons de la Martinière
I love Italy. This book just maeks you travel back to the atmosphere of the 60’s and make you feel the joy of the post war area.
Learning : what humanist photography is all about.
Edouard Boubat – Editions de la Martinière
Another great French photographer in the pure Humanist tradition. The book mixes pictures with stories on his life and his own poems. He was also a great portraitist.
Learning : how to mix different means of expression in a book.
Kodachrome – Delano Greenidge Editions
Though not a pure street photography book, the colors of the Kodachrome pictures illustrated are simply amazing. Quite a colorist inspiration though unluckily very difficult to mimick on digital.
Learning : organization and impact of colors on a picture. Importance of color consistency within a frame.
I am sure you will have noticed that there are 8 books whose picture are in B&W, a bit surprising no ?