Street Photography: The Complete Guide Paperback – 7 Aug 2012
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The author illustrates his points with pictures taken by him. Well, although those photos are nothing special, that should not mean that Mr Sadgrove is not entitled to offer his knowledge about this style of photography. After all, one can master all the theory but be bad or average when it comes to practice. But, the problem is that Mr Sadgrove offers just a mixture of commonplaces and questionable ethics.
The commonplaces consist on what I said above, there is nothing in this book you can't find googling "street photography". The questionable ethics concern the treatment Mr Sadgrove gives to his subjects. I like street photography, I try to shoot some myself and I like reading about it. One of things most street photographers seem to agree with is that you must treat your subjects with respect. Above all if you are, as Mr Sadgrove, into candid street photography. That is, taking portraits of strangers without their knowing. As you can see, we are on thin ice when it comes to the ethics of this practice. It is true that, in most countries, it is possible to take photos of anything that is on the street, including people. But, on the other hand, you must be conscious that you are intruding people's life and using their image without their consent. Therefore, I think that you must try and make your photo respectful. But Mr Sadgrove will tell you that the best subjects for street photography are the ugly and the obese. That is, he does not try to show how life is on the streets; he does not try to show something funny or unexpected that he saw taking place; he simply wants to shoot the "ugly and the obese". And when he invites you to take photos at burger, he does so because there, he says, people look at their worse. Mr Sadgrove seems to be interested only in making people look grotesque.
Some people complain about the quality of the printed version. I, having read the Kindle edition, can say nothing about it, but I must say that there's a number of errors that seem grammatical (although might just be typos), such as confusing "than" and "then". That says little about the person who edited the book.
So, to sum up, if you are interested in street photography and want to learn about it, this is not the book you are looking for. You will find some reviews claiming that those who talk bad about this book are wrong and that they learned and enjoyed it a lot. So I propose you this exercise: google "street photography", spend 30 minutes reading what you find, and then come back here and buy the book. Then decide for yourself whether it was worth it.
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