Book Review #10

Well I wasn’t expecting to do a single book review so its a bit of a surprise to be sitting here typing review number 10.

The New Street Photographer’s Manifesto by Tanya Nagar: ILEX Publishing. Okay its not a new book. It was first published in 2012 but I’ve only just discovered it as I plan a street photography project.

This little book is small enough to almost be a field guide. Very handy size for reading on the tube (London Underground) and also just sitting in a little coffee shop. That might sound obvious but some photography books are just a bit too big and bulky when commuting.

The book is well laid out in bite sized sections with good advice that some will say is just common sense but to the more novice photographer and those inexperienced with the genre of street photography, this book is really informative and is going to give you the-heads-up.

There are good examples on composition as well as other hints and tips along with a handful of suggested street photographers for the reader to review. In doing so, Nagar introduces the reader to the serious nature of street photography and photojournalism as-well-as the odd and humorous.

After reading this book I’ve felt inspired in ways that I wasn’t expecting and have ideas for a couple of additional projects. (Bonus!).

Was it worth the £9.99 that it cost me? Yes & it is one of those books that I will keep for future reference.

I do have one criticism & I hope, if the author sees this review, they take note for any reprints….

There is a suggestion that you, the photographer may want to wear headphones as this might make people less likely to approach or confront you when they suspect you have taken photos of them. This may well be true and it may well give you some confidence to take those awkward shots that everyone starting out feels uncomfortable taking. However, this is not necessarily the best thing to do in London.

We Brits drive on the correct side of the road, while much of the world thinks they are in the right because the drive on the right, they’re wrong! (But thats for another blog or conversation).

Our roads are busy and it is my personal opinion that driving standards are not what they used to be. Vehicles are also quieter than they used to be and many collisions between buses and pedestrians involve tourists that have looked in the wrong direction before they go stepping out into the road… Best not to stick headphones over or in your ears because even without playing music, they will reduce your awareness of your surroundings.

Now we are talking about your surroundings, as a Londoner I am going to tell you that I live in a fantastic city. I would love to visit London as a tourist. Its beautiful and it has so so so much to see and do.

In London we have a lot of CCTV to help solve crime but unfortunately this does not necessarily prevent crime!

The metropolitan police service does a great job at keeping Londoners and visitors safe but the police officers cannot be everywhere.

In busy tourist areas there will be a number of undercover officers looking pickpockets, distraction thefts and old fashioned muggers but as I said, they cannot be everywhere.

That said, London is a safe city; its a very safe city. Really, you should feel comfortable walking around any part of London BUT I want you to be aware of this: If you are walking around with headphones on, you may well look distracted. As with any city a distracted person is more likely to be a victim of crime compared to someone who appears alert to their surroundings. Common sense?! But sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out.

If you are planning a street photography project buy this book but scrub the suggestion of wearing headphones. Even somewhere as safe as London.

If you’re a street photographer why not share some hints and tips or even feel free to post a link to your site in the comments.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Ps. The usual disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the publishers or Author Tanya Nagar.

 

2 comments

  1. Obviously I haven’t read the book, but why would headphones stop anyone approaching a street photographer? Sounds daft to me.
    Good advice for tourists mate. They are still getting mown down looking the wrong way, I expect.
    Cheers, Pete.

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