Here is a list of 7 Street Photography books you should read now!

There comes a time in the street photographer's life in which camera gear stops being at the top priority spot. It is then when high quality walking shoes and photo books start to be more seductive than bodies and lenses. This is a very personal thought, but for me the best street photography books aren't those manual-like books that falsely pretend to produce a street photographer from the reader like a raw material that can be easily shaped. Nor those do-it-yourself oriented books that promise to help you out into building a street photographer's mind-set. The best street photography books are filled with photos rather than words. Sure, a nice prologue or intro is always a nice thing to have, but are the photos the ultimate consumption article. Without further-ado, this is my selection of my favorite street photography books.
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Matthew S. Witkovsky - Josef Koudelka: Nationally Doubtful (2014)

This wasn't intended to be a commercial book and is considered more as a catalog from an exhibition that was curated by The Art Institute of Chicago under the title "Nationally Doubtful". The catalog is a huge retrospective of Koudelka's work, from his early photos to his more advanced projects nowadays featuring the urban aftermaths of war. This beautifully crafted and massive book also shows some early experiments and unpublished work, but the best part are the contact sheets that can be seen here. Contact sheets open our street photographers' minds by showing us that the iconic photos we've praised for so long weren't made in a single attempt (well, some have of course, but not all of them). This book has everything you need in order to contemplate such a great photographer like Koudelka.
Get it on amazon.

Valerie Jardin - Street Photography: Creative Vision Behind the Lens (2017)

Valérie Jardin has contributed a lot to the overall genre of street photography in recent years thanks to her workshops and highly disciplined podcasts Hit the Streets and paused Street Focus from This Week in Photo. Beyond making photos and many other things, she is also a writer, and this book is a great investment even if it has some words on it. This book is a sincere approach to photography since every single photograph in the book comes with a brief story on how they were made. This is way better than having a manual about exposure and composition, this is the real thing! This is a personal journey through street photography and Valérie shares each photo's story across the book.

William Eggleston - From Black and White to Colour (2014)

More than a street photographer, William Eggleston is considered by the world as an artist, and as deeper you go into his work, the better you understand his artistic vision and latent visual intentions. He is highly known for documenting the ordinary life in a very unique color scheme, but there is a black and white side that must be revisited in order to understand why he is such a good color (street) photographer. This book built by himself has it all, from black and white to color, and is an absolute must for those dwelling between color and monochrome photography when shooting on the streets. In this magnificently laid book we discover some of his regular obsessions and recurrent themes, banal and ordinary figures that can be traced back to his earliest days as a black and white photographer. Watching the solid refinement of a photographer is always a delight, and this book has it all.

Robert Frank left us last week, and we all street photographers are thankful
with the legacy he built. This began with this little book that is up to this date a valid approach towards reality, and even if it is considered as a documentary
work, it can teach us street photography many valuable lessons like digging deeper into society and being patient for the moments to come. This book wouldn't be the jewel it is nowadays if it wasn't of course to the beautiful introduction that Jack Kerouac wrote for Frank. The book was first published in France in 1958, and has been republished ever since. In just 83 photographs Frank showed us what lay below the American Dream; no wonder why it wasn't first published in the United States.

Nicely introduced by Walker Evans, an inebriating experience that inspires us into watching our hometown in a different way. Helen Levitt was an extremely talented photographer that had a keen eye for humor on the streets; which is perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve in photography. This book features massive prints of her skilled taken photos in both monochrome and color formats. Many photographers nowadays wrongly think that they need to travel in order to make beautiful street photos, this book will tell you otherwise.
Get it on amazon.

There has been a lot of love and hate around Vivian Maier, and I think that she would hate to know that her photos are now able for our delight. Nevertheless, it is a great thing to have these amazing body of work with us since it has inspired many street photographers into becoming better with what they do. Even when I think that her work should have went under a stricter curation though, this is a nice book for all those people having photography related existential crisis
worldwide. Let me briefly explain this for you, Vivian Maier was a nanny, that was her profession, and she was able to cope photography with her life. Photography is a beautiful and unjealous companion in life.

This isn't your traditional street photo book,
since it doesn't showcase people, but what is street photography after all? It is just a method for approaching to real life, and our urban landscapes
is part of our everyday lives, aren't they? This book is more than a photo book, it is a beautiful illustration of what composition is able to make you feel when performed correctly. Berenguer said that Barcelona is a vertical city, and therefore it should be portrayed like that. He made the impossible by shooting
on a vertical mode the city with a medium-format panoramic (film) camera. I assure you, you'll drool with this bold photo book.
Get it on amazon.

Easter Egg!

Michail Moschoilos - The Anti-manual of Street Photography (2018)

This is perhaps the only written book I would advise you to read, the Street Photography Anti-manual written and freely distributed via PDF by Greek street photographer Michail Moschoilos.
This was my brief list on the street photography books that have influenced me the most in this past decade as a photographer. Walking with my camera has been my main way of working, and I'm on the constant struggle of being able to surprise by the most banal
and ordinary stuff surrounding me. I really hope you enjoy it, and if I missed anything is perhaps I haven't stumbled into it, so feel free to share your recommendations with us in the comments section below!

Words by Federico Alegría
Article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 2010 - 2019.

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