I often go for a short walk during my lunch breaks from the day job, and a few weeks back I found myself in the local Waterstones (a book shop here in the UK). Inevitably I ended up browsing through the Photography section. Whilst all the usual suspects were on the shelf; such as Humans of New York and various great books on Magnum Photographers, (many of which I have), there was one book I came across that was new to me: "The Street Photographer's Manual".
I want to share with you today my views on what I think is a pretty spectacular find and one that anyone with a love for both Street Photography and a good book should pick up.
This is a relatively new book, first being published back in September 2014. I've had it for a few months now at the time of writing this post and have read it through a few times already. The Street Photographers Manual is a book you can pick up and put down quite easily thanks to it's bite-size sections. On occasion I've found myself pondering something related to Street Photography and have turned to the book to get David Gibson's (the author) opinion on the subject. For example recently in a number of Street Photography groups I've seen photographs of homelessness. One of my own rules when it comes to shooting on the street is to not photograph the vulnerable (those who are homeless). Upon having a look at the contents page you can quickly see that there is a section on Ethics, and it is in this section that Gibson discusses the fine lines and approaches, again giving examples of how the differing approaches worked for 'the greats' of street photography.
The Street Photographers Manual introduces the reader to the world of street photography by first diving into what it is, the variations, where it came from and how it's developed over the years. It's then from here that we can study each aspect of this art in further detail by studying compartmentalized chapters, discussing ethics, humour and more.
Whilst the book itself may be called a manual and does in fact offer instruction to help you create more thought-out and intentional street photographs, this is also a very impressive and vast study of street photography. This book looks at both various techniques and elements that contribute towards stronger imagery and makes use of examples by the greatest street photographers of our time such as; Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Gilden, Saul Leiter, Trente Park and more. These examples give the book's instructions conviction and only serve to show that this thorough - yet concise - book is something you can not only read for inspiration, but learn from at the same time. Within each chapter we are introduced to either another master of Street Photography or another technique of shooting on the street, each accompanying a sample of that master's work or an example of that technique in action to best explain and demonstrate the case in point.
The Street Photographer's Manual is filled with both fantastic photographs and practical guidance in equal amounts.
The author; David Gibson is a street photographer and well respected photography tutor, having taught in many countries and some rather prestigious establishments. It's clear that Gibson has drawn upon his educational experience when writing this book.
I can see this being a book i refer back to time and time again already.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in street or documentary photography. And, if you're unsure if that is you or you're not certain what street photography is - that's all in the very first chapter :)