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Author Topic: The World Atlas of Street Photography  (Read 31438 times)

Jim Pascoe

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2014, 03:49:31 am »

Quite so -- although some will use a definition as a way to dismiss other peoples photographs.


Here's Russ's review.

We learn the book ain't what Russ calls Street Photography, anything else?

Yes, but Isaac your whole post is just a personal attack on Russ.  I've not read his review and I'm not going to because I haven't read the book in question and probably will not buy it anyway.  If I read it now I will come to it looking specifically for it's faults - and how can I judge as I don't have the book. I take your point but really, why are you so obsessed with Russ and his narrow view of what is and is not 'Street"?  I posted two pictures above of what I enjoy as Street Photography - why don't you do the same - then we have got something more interesting to talk about.  Photography is about pictures not words.

I don't agree with Russ over many things (especially gun laws - haha) but I have every respect for the guys opinions, particularly in photography.  He takes quite a strong view on facets of photography but at least he backs up his arguments by having a web presence and will show his own pictures for critique.

Jim
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2014, 04:33:25 am »

Okay - I relented and read the review.....

Personally I think it is a good review.  True, it does focus on Russ's firm held views - but isn't that what one would expect from a reviewer?  Perhaps it needs some balance from other reviews but I think it is uncompromising in it's criticism of the title and target of the book, not the images themselves.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just one (informed) opinion.

Jim
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jjj

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2014, 11:55:38 am »

I wasn't. If Avedon's Paris photographs don't interest then they don't interest and there's an end to it.
You weren't making a point!?! So what was the purpose of quoting some text and a link to where it came from and no info as to what pictures to look at to see if I'm interested or not. And if the pictures have relevance then there may be a point to your post and if they do not then you seem to be posting randomly. Either way, you aren't making much sense.

The problem with your posts Isaac is that all too often they are succinct to the point of having no functional meaning. Do you have some sort of rule against posting more than a couple of lines, even if doing so would add clarity to what you are trying to say?
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jjj

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2014, 11:59:13 am »

Okay - I relented and read the review.....

Personally I think it is a good review.  True, it does focus on Russ's firm held views - but isn't that what one would expect from a reviewer? 
My view on reviews in general is that they tend to be more informative of the reviewer's biases/beliefs than what they are reviewing with few exceptions. However if you know the critic's biases and if they align somewhat with your own, then it may be slightly useful. Otherwise about as much use as a clockwork powered software.
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #44 on: October 15, 2014, 03:27:15 am »

It doesn't seem to me that you learned anything from the "review" apart from the book ain't what Russ calls Street Photography, but I don't wish to put words in your mouth, so -- What did you learn from the "review" apart from the book ain't what Russ calls Street Photography?


What I hope for, from a reviewer, is that they are trying to tell me what the book is about - so I'll be able to decide if that's a book that would interest me.

When the "review" states "Jackie Higgins has a strange idea of what street photography is…" I expect the reviewer to tell me exactly what that strange idea is rather than telling me the reviewer's idea of what street photography is (or was in a bygone era). It's really not much to expect.

I learned that the author's take on what makes a street photograph is wider than than Russ Lewis's definition. But then I am an informed reader and can accept the bias in the review.

Secondly, I would have a different level of expectation from a professional review in say a newspaper or magazine to one that is posted on Amazon.  For a professional review I would expect a balanced appraisal even allowing the reviewer would voice their own opinion.  For an Amazon review I expect anything from "Great Book" to a fully informed review.  On that basis I would preferably read a number of reviews to get a balance.  In the case of this book there are only two reviews on Amazon.

I'm not sure why you are so excited about this review.  It is just one man's opinion.

Jim
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #45 on: October 15, 2014, 11:36:00 am »

It's no use, Jim. Isaac's excited about the review because it gives him an opportunity to shift into high gear with his trolling. As usual, he's pontificating on a subject he knows nothing about, but since few LuLaers are calling him out he sees a golden opportunity to troll away.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #46 on: October 15, 2014, 11:47:05 am »

.., I'm not sure why you are so excited about this review...

Slow news day? ;)

RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #47 on: October 15, 2014, 12:32:37 pm »

To enhance Isaac's confusion I just added The World Atlas of Street Photography to my annotated photographic bibliography at http://www.russ-lewis.com/Bib/Bib.html.
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #48 on: October 15, 2014, 05:23:24 pm »

I don't agree, for example, with your oft-stated assertion that ambiguity is critical to any "street" image (unless your definition of ambiguity and mine are radically different.). Instead I would offer that visual irony can substitute for ambiguity, for example.  

But no, I haven't read the book.  

Hi Jim, If you can find a place where I've asserted that "ambiguity is critical to any 'street' image" please give me a link. I've often said that the best street shots contain an element of ambiguity, but not that ambiguity is critical. And yes, visual irony can make a good street shot. In fact, visual irony is what carries most street shots.

Sorry you haven't read the book. There are some very good photographs in there; even some very good street shots. But it's also crammed with photographs that have nothing at all to do with street photography.
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stamper

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2014, 04:29:24 am »

Hi Jim, If you can find a place where I've asserted that "ambiguity is critical to any 'street' image" please give me a link. I've often said that the best street shots contain an element of ambiguity, but not that ambiguity is critical. And yes, visual irony can make a good street shot. In fact, visual irony is what carries most street shots.

Sorry you haven't read the book. There are some very good photographs in there; even some very good street shots. But it's also crammed with photographs that have nothing at all to do with street photography.


I am about 3/4 of the way through the book. It is also heavy on descriptions of the photographers. Russ's quote above I am in agreement with. :)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2014, 03:44:09 pm »

At least one way to see some of the photographs, without buying the book:

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/sep/02/world-atlas-of-street-photography-in-pictures

Isaac

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2014, 12:31:13 pm »

I daresay, given a photographer's name and photo title, we could find some of the others elsewhere.


I read Russ' comments as being a brief informed critique of the book's failure to actualy do what it claimed to do…

Here are snippets from the UK and US publishers blurb, which you could reasonably take as claims about the book:

Quote
Including classic documentary street photography as well as images of urban landscapes, portraits and staged performances, The World Atlas of Street Photography focuses on an abundance of photography that has been created on street corners around the globe…

Quote
The World Atlas of Street Photography focuses on the abundance of photos created on street corners internationally, including classic documentary street photography as well as mediated images of urban landscapes, staged performances, and sculpture.

If we're going to make an "informed critique" based on the correspondence between the book's title (iirc usually chosen by the publisher) and the book's content, perhaps the first question should be -- Are there useful maps? :-)

« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 02:02:29 pm by Isaac »
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2014, 02:08:59 pm »

Isaac, you poor sod, the more you write on this subject the behinder you get. Most sane people would say that if you're going to make an "informed critique" of a book you first have to read the book. Just reading the jacket blurbs doesn't get the job done. Did you also depend on Cliffs Notes when you were in school rather than reading the material?
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #53 on: October 18, 2014, 03:56:06 pm »

The title should have been something like "Pictures From Around the World." Introducing a photographic genre into the title made the publisher look like an ass. The ridiculous title of the book certainly makes the claim that the book is "just street photography." Jacket blurbs that try to spin away from that title simply don't cut it. If you'd actually read the book you'd be on somewhat more solid ground. I didn't just ask you what the picture on page 170 has to do with street photography; I asked you to describe that picture and THEN tell us what it has to do with street photography. You can't do either thing without seeing the picture, and your responses emphasize that fact.

As I said, the more you write the behinder you get.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #54 on: October 18, 2014, 05:11:59 pm »

I the link I provided, all of those would fall into what I would consider street photography.

Russ, you claim some (or many) do not, throughout the book. Care to show us which ones? And no, "page 170" won't cut it, as I do not have the book. However, as Isaac pointed out, it would be relatively easy to find the same photo somewhere else on the web and post a link here.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 06:42:25 pm by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #55 on: October 18, 2014, 05:56:56 pm »

If you don't have the book you can't talk about it. I picked page 170 more or less at random. There are plenty more examples in that book that are far, far from being street photography. I'm going to leave this discussion at this point. Stamper's in a position to disagree with me. Nobody else is until he has the book in hand. Dorking around looking for examples of pictures from the book isn't going to cut it. You need the damn book.

It sounds as if everybody thinks I'm saying this is a lousy book. It isn't. It just doesn't have a hell of a lot to do with street photography. What's lousy is the silly title the publishers gave it.
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #56 on: October 18, 2014, 07:29:05 pm »

What we don't learn is the author's take on what makes a street photograph.

("[Wider] than Russ Lewis's definition" in some ways but also narrower than "Russ Lewis's definition" in other ways -- "…the idea that street photography is confined to urban areas and streets, an idea that won't hold up under examination.")

It just ain't what Russ would call Street Photography except that there apparently are "even some very good street shots" in the book (although that's not said in the "review").


You did say that you thought it a good review ;-)


I'm not. Your stated opinions about my feelings continue to be completely wrong.

I have to admit you're much smarter than me - I feel as if I'm going round in a circle on a topic that does not interest me that much, so I think my part in this discussion is over.
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stamper

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #57 on: October 19, 2014, 03:54:46 am »

If you don't have the book you can't talk about it. I picked page 170 more or less at random. There are plenty more examples in that book that are far, far from being street photography. I'm going to leave this discussion at this point. Stamper's in a position to disagree with me. Nobody else is until he has the book in hand. Dorking around looking for examples of pictures from the book isn't going to cut it. You need the damn book.

It sounds as if everybody thinks I'm saying this is a lousy book. It isn't. It just doesn't have a hell of a lot to do with street photography. What's lousy is the silly title the publishers gave it.
[/color]

Speaking as someone who is about 3/4 of the way through the book I am in broad agreement with what Russ states. I bought the book based on a five star revue in the Amateur photographer UK. They tend to imo rate books higher than I do. As russ states you can't review something you haven't read? ::)

amolitor

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #58 on: October 20, 2014, 04:33:31 pm »

The phrase 'street photography' doesn't mean anything at all in contemporary usage. It is a useful marketing phrase, though, in which context it means roughly 'cool, hip'

It used to mean something pretty specific. Russ has a very clear grasp of the historical usage, but tends to cling to it a little vigorously.
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RSL

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Re: The World Atlas of Street Photography
« Reply #59 on: October 20, 2014, 05:36:34 pm »

You're absolutely right, Andrew. A picture of a street, literally, is a street photograph. But if we accept that usage, then the term "street photography" becomes meaningless as a name for a photographic genre and the genre disappears. I'd hate to see that happen because as far as I'm concerned real street photography tops the list of things for which a camera is useful. Maybe we could come up with a better term for capturing meaningful human interaction to take its place.

Here's a quote from my essay "Why Do Street Photography?" I stand by it:

"Nowadays we can look at the photographs of Eugene Atget and learn something about the people who lived in his time and in his surroundings, but the most effective glimpse of historical human differences comes not from the kind of documentary photography possible with Atget's slow view camera and his posed subjects, but from the kind of street photography that became possible with the introduction of the small hand camera. Oskar Barnack's 1925 Leica finally made it possible for artists like Andre Kertesz and Cartier-Bresson to photograph people as they were, in an uninterrupted state, rather than as they were when posing.

"An historical novelist guesses at the past on the best evidence he can find, but a photograph isn't a guess; it's an artifact from the past that has captured time. And so, a street photograph that has captured not only the visages of its subjects, but the story that surrounds their actions can be a more convincing reminder of how things were than any novel or any straight, posed documentary photograph."
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