O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Street Photography

Book Description

Since the advent of the camera, there have been photographers whose mission is to record and interpret the public sphere in all its aspects. Eugene Atget documented evidence of everyday life in the streets as well as the buildings and monuments of Paris. Henri Cartier-Bresson pursued what he called "The Decisive Moment," the moment in which the meaning of an event was most clearly captured in a photograph. Their work, and that of many other masters, has inspired generations of photographers to wander public spaces, camera in hand, searching for meaningful moments in time.

Success requires the street photographer to be proficient with their equipment, to be constantly aware of their surroundings, and to have a keen eye. Quick reflexes and self-confidence are essential: Street photographers know from experience that hesitation or procrastination could mean missing a once-in-a-lifetime shot. The adage "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission" was probably coined by a street photographer.

In Street Photography: The Art of Capturing the Candid Moment, Gordon Lewis helps readers understand and conquer the challenging yet rewarding world of street photography. The book includes discussions of why photographers are drawn to street photography, the different styles of street photography, and what makes a great street photograph. Lewis then goes on to explore how the choice of location can change a photographer's approach to image capture: from city streets to fairs to beaches, Lewis discusses the impact different environments have on the process of street photography.

Another crucial element to becoming a good street photographer is learning to travel light, with minimal equipment. Lewis gives readers practical advice on everything from cameras and lenses to camera bags and clothing. Lewis also delves into the techniques and approaches that will help novices master the art of street photography.

Whether your style is to engage your subjects or to remain unnoticed and take candid portraits, Lewis offers ideas on how to capture fascinating moments in time: a gesture, expression, or composition that may exist for only a fraction of a second, but can leave a lasting impression of the wonders, challenges, and absurdities of modern life.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Foreword
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Chapter 1 The Allure of Street Photography
    1. It’s Easy
    2. It’s Challenging
    3. It Improves Your Reflexes
    4. It Improves Your Technique
    5. It Develops Self-Confidence
    6. It Documents Life
    7. It’s Insightful
    8. It’s Satisfying
    9. It’s a Way to Make an Artistic Statement
  8. Chapter 2 Tools
    1. Primary Considerations
      1. Small Size and Low Weight
      2. Speed
      3. Simple Operation
      4. Quiet
      5. Reliability
      6. Clear Viewfinder
    2. Secondary Considerations
      1. Digital Cameras
      2. Film Cameras
      3. The Film Look
      4. Economy
      5. Simplicity and Direct Control
      6. Lenses
      7. Electronic Flash
      8. Tripod
      9. Camera Bag
      10. Camera Carrying Method
      11. Comfortable Shoes
      12. Glasses or Contact Lenses
    3. In Summary and to Reiterate...
  9. Chapter 3 Techniques
    1. Reduce the Lag
      1. Power Management
      2. Shutter Lag
      3. Viewfinder Lag
      4. Zooming
      5. Focusing
      6. Exposure
    2. Your Camera is Ready, Now What About You?
      1. Mindset
      2. Locations
    3. Clothing and Attitude
      1. First-Shot Response
      2. Avoiding Eye Contact
      3. Shooting From the Hip
      4. Swimming Upstream
      5. Wait and See
      6. Keep Your Distance
    4. And Now a Word for the Direct Approach...
  10. Gallery of Contributing Photographers
    1. Master Street Photographers
    2. Contemporary Street Photographers
    3. The Masters of Street Photography
      1. Henri Cartier-Bresson
      2. Elliot Erwitt
      3. Garry Winogrand
    4. Contemporary Street Photographers
      1. Steve Dierkens
      2. Rinzi Ruiz
      3. Kip Praslowicz
  11. Chapter 4 Locations and Events
    1. Bright Lights, Big City
      1. Busy Streets and Neighborhoods
      2. Large Office Complexes
      3. Public Squares
      4. Pedestrian Malls
      5. Colleges and Universities
      6. Tourist Attractions
      7. Train Stations, Bus Terminals, and Airports
      8. Subway Trains and Stations
      9. Museums
      10. Parks and Gardens
      11. Open-Air and Flea Markets
    2. Beaches and Boardwalks
    3. Amusement Parks
    4. Events
      1. Parades
      2. Rallies and Demonstrations
      3. Fairs and Carnivals
      4. Outdoor Music Festivals
  12. Chapter 5 Styles of Street Photography
    1. What Is Style?
    2. Style Has Value
    3. How to Develop a Style
    4. The Elements of Photographic Style
      1. Camera Choice
      2. Lens Choice
      3. Color vs. Black-and-White
      4. Film vs. Digital
      5. Lighting Dynamics
      6. Static vs. Spontaneous
      7. People vs. Artifacts
      8. Point of View
  13. CHAPTER 6 What Makes a Great Street Photo?
    1. Strong Composition
    2. A Magic Moment
    3. An Exceptional Subject
    4. Exceptional Light
    5. Selective Use of Color
    6. Serendipity
    7. Distinctive Style
    8. So in Other Words...
  14. Get in the Picture!