- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (May 30, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1937538370
- ISBN-13: 978-1937538378
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 9.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#847,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #42 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Lifestyle & Events > Street Photography
- #362 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Photojournalism & Essays > Photojournalism
- #1032 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Reference
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Street Photography: The Art of Capturing the Candid Moment 1st Edition
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About the Author
Gordon Lewis is a dedicated street photographer with over 40 years of experience. He began his writing career answering letters from owners of Olympus cameras, Vivitar flash units, and Kiron lenses. From there he graduated to being a contributing editor to magazines such as Camera 35, Petersen's Photographic, and Camera & Darkroom. Through unforeseen but fortuitous circumstances, he leveraged his irreverent wit into a TV sitcom-writing career, with hit shows such as Amen, Family Matters, and In Living Color to his credit. Now reformed, he earns his living as an e-learning instructional designer for Fortune 500 companies. Gordon lives just outside of Philadelphia-which, not coincidentally, is an excellent location for street photography.
Top customer reviews
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If you're buying this book for technical, or skill-based, learning, you're better off going somewhere else. The content is largely generic and the sort of thing that can be found anywhere on the web. I didn't get a good sense of the author's personal style or ethos. A better bet for technique would be The Street Photographer's Manual, also to be found here on Amazon.
Of course, another main reason you would buy such a book is to look at great examples of street photography, and enjoy the author's personal style. Sadly, most of what is contained in this book is very commonplace, with little to recommend it. I'm looking for poignancy, juxtaposition, humor, energy... all of those things which make a street photograph transcend time and location to speak to the larger human experience, but I'm having a hard time finding it in the work the author has chosen to show. It's almost as if the decisive moment was not waited for. I would like to be kinder, but I'm left with a feeling that this book was rushed to press by a publisher who wants to get in on the rising tide of modern street photography and not as a showcase of unique and powerful craft.
Also, the book itself is of very low quality. The cover and pages both feel too thin and just cheap.
Edit: 6-20-15. After letting this book settle in further, I actually took an additional star off of my review. Often street images bear multiple visits to really soak in their flavor and contents, but I can honestly count on one hand the images in this book that even interest me. On the other hand, dozens of them exhibit what I would call the wrong moment, or lack of patience or vision... "Uninspiring" is the word that really describes the author's work here depicted, just as "uninspired" is the right word to describe his advice. There is just no insight to be had here. I wanted to like this book, but it has left me quite cold.
This is a book for someone who already knows how to use their camera technically, and who wants to improve their aesthetic/artistic ability in the domain of street photography. Obviously, the ability to "read" street photography competently helps one's creative ability to produce quality street photography. Because Lewis's voice comes through in both prose and images, one learns how to see the world as Lewis does.
Let me give a simple example. Early in the book, he shows a photo of rich reds, complex architectural structures, and warm sideways light streaming in to bring it all alive. Only after admiring the photo did I read the caption, where I discovered, to my shock, that the photo was taken in the entryway of a Target department store (!!). When I looked back again at the photo, I realized that it could well have been my own local Target, and I wondered: how many times have I blithely walked past this incredible play of light, color, and structure, not bothering to look, because it was a Target? Throughout, Lewis shows how apparently boring everyday scenes can be turned into very interesting photos--if you just know how to look.
I have many photography and art books with titles that have variants on "how to see," "how to read," "seeing like a photographer" and so on. Rarely do I come away from them--whatever else their merits are--feeling like I am more capable of seeing like a photographer or of reading photography; like anything else, such knowledge is slowly and painstakingly acquired. Yet this beautiful little book Street Photography delivers as much of that as one could reasonably hope in a surprisingly compact space.
Again, I think what made the book work so well is the unusual connection between words and images. Commonly in photography books, the images are stunning and the words are either so few that they don't do much, or so turgid that you know why the author became a photographer and not a writer! This connection between words and images immerses the reader in Lewis' creative point of view. I'm glad for the few hours I spent in it, and I look forward to revisiting this book next time my creativity seems dried up, to remind myself that I have merely forgotten how to see.