75+ Inspirational Street Photography Books You Gotta Own

1x1.trans 75+ Inspirational Street Photography Books You Gotta Own

Street Photography Now, cover photo by Matt Stuart

One of the most important things to become a better street photographer is to understand what makes a great street photograph. Although there are tons of great online resources and photographs for great street photography, the best stuff will always be in photo-books. If you want to read more about why books on street photography are so important to own, check out my old post, “Buy Books, Not Gear“.

This list was compiled with the help of many people (mentioned below) and not a comprehensive list. If you have any books you would like to add to this list, please leave a comment below! Most of the links direct you to Amazon (I have my affiliate links on them, so every purchase you make will help support me and the site!) Hope you enjoy this list, the ones bolded are my personal favorites.

  1. Magnum Contact Sheets
  2. Magnum: Degrees
  3. Magnum: Stories
  4. In-Public: ’10′
  5. Mark Cohen: Grim Street
  6. Street Photography Now
  7. Unposed by Craig Semetko
  8. Bruce Davidson: Subway
  9. Bruce Davidson: East 100th Street
  10. “Europeans” by Henri Cartier-Bresson
  11. “India” by Henri Cartier-Bresson
  12. Diane Arbus: A monograph
  13. Helen Levitt
  14. Christophe Agou: The New York City Subway
  15. Lee Friedlander: Friedlander
  16. “Scrapbook” by Henri Cartier-Bresson
  17. Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best
  18. Elliott Erwitt: Snaps
  19. Robert Doisneau: Paris
  20. Richard Kalvar: Earthlings
  21. Andre Kertesz (Editions Hazan)
  22. Robert Frank: The Americans
  23. Garry Winogrand: Public Relations
  24. Garry Winogrand: Figments from the real world
  25. Garry Winogrand: The Animals
  26. Eugene Atget: Paris
  27. Bruce Gilden by Stern Magazine
  28. Bruce Gilden: A Beautiful Catastrophe
  29. Bruce Gilden: Haiti
  30. Bruce Gilden: After The Off
  31. Bruce Gilden: Facing New York
  32. Bruce Gilden: Coney Island
  33. Bruce Gilden: Go
  34. Bystander: A History of Street Photography
  35. Joel Meyerowitz
  36. Jun Abe: Citizens
  37. William Eggleston: Chromes
  38. William Eggleston: Guide
  39. Brassai: Paris
  40. Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places
  41. Daido Moriyama: The World Through My Eyes
  42. Alex Webb: Istanbul
  43. Alex Webb: The Suffering Of Light
  44. David Alan Harvey: Cuba
  45. David Alan Harvey: Divided Soul
  46. Jeff Mermelstein: Sidewalk
  47. Walker Evans
  48. Fred Herzog: Photographs
  49. Vivian Maier
  50. William Klein: Contacts
  51. Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects
  52. Martin Parr: The Last Resort
  53. Martin Parr: Small World
  54. Cristóbal Hara: Vanitas
  55. Hans van der Meer: Quirk of Fate
  56. Ara Güler Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul
  57. Bill Brandt: The English at Home
  58. Tony Ray-Jones: Best Of
  59. Josef Koudelka: Gypsies
  60. Anders Peterson: French Kiss
  61. Anders Petersen: Cafe Lehmitz
  62. Antonin Kratochvil: Moscow Nights (currently unavailable) more info here
  63. Nikos Economopoulos: In the Balkans
  64. John Demos: Shadows of Silence
  65. Raghu Rai: India – Reflections in Color
  66. Michael Ackerman: End Time City
  67. Ernst Haas: Color Correction
  68. Jane Evelyn Atwood: Rue des Lombards
  69. Klavdij Sluban: East to East
  70. Zoe Strauss: America
  71. David Solomons: Happenstance
  72. David Solomons: Underground
  73. Kramer O’ Neill: ‘Till Human Voices Wake Us
  74. Kramer O’Neill: Pictures of People And Things 1
  75. Harvey Stein: Coney Island – 40 years

Educational books on photography

  1. The Education of a Photographer
  2. David Hurn: On Being a Photographer

Books for iPad

It can be a pain in the ass to carry around a ton of photo books, so check out these great iPad books (list compiled by Matteo Alvarazi):

  1. Christopher Anderson: Capitolio
  2. Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best
  3. Geoff Dyer: The Ongoing Moment
  4. Carl De Keyzer: Zona

Special thanks:

What other books would you add to this list? Share them in the comments below! 

Upcoming Street Photography Workshops

If you want to conquer your fears and meet new peers, join me in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco, Stockholm, London, Portland, Chicago, Toronto, and New York City:

See My Upcoming Street Photography Workshops

Comments

  1. says

    Ground Time by Kent Reno … former charter pilot who took a Leica M4 and other cameras with him on his trips. Anything by Elliott Erwitt. Thanks for mentioning the “Personal Best” iPad app. It’s a real bargain compared to the $133 list price for Personal Best when it first came out. Plus, there’s audio too.

  2. Donkey says

    Apart from the list, i have a humble suggestion-

    Why not buy these books with the bucks you have earned through your workshops and handover them to your students. Believe me , they will be benefitted much more than they have from your workshops.
    Also in future what you can do is – advertise for your workshop….after the students have enrolled…instead of organising the workshop buy these books and handover to them with a personal note that this is the best method to learn street photography.
    Believe me, by doing so you will prove yourself to be a true educator and a benefactor of mankind.
    You charge approx 500 bucks per student isin’t it. 500 bucks is enough to buy the entire list. The list is awesome man.

    BTW, another Japanese photographer, i dont know if he has a book, but i really really love his work -
    Osamu Kanemura

    • Oscarsplash says

      well, if those are your two favourites that means that you haven’t put your hands in too many photography books yet

  3. Brent says

    Hi Eric,

    You should add the Day in the Life series of books to this list.
    It is a series of books that chronicles a 24 hour day by shot by various photographers on the same day. Some titles include “the day in the life of China,” “the day in the life of Italy,” ” the day in the life of Ireland,” etc.

    Also check out Eve Arnold’s “All in a days work.”

  4. Jjmartinezro says

    My suggestion: Josef Koudelka – Exiles.

    Really difficult to find on a normal price but…excellent book.

  5. John R. Fulton Jr. says

    Eric – I know you tried. Decent effort. However your list is incomplete in some cases and others you got the wrong bo0k.
    You don’t need SEVEN Bruce Gliden books. Please. Get rid of any five and add these.
    Josef Koudelka’s strongest book is Exiles. It’s a MUST
    Tony Ray-Jones – the book you want is “Day Off”
    “Greek Portfolio” by Consta Manos is a must
    “Telex Iran” (“Telex Persia” in France) by Gilles Peress is one of the classic photo (& street) books of the 20th century.
    And any list of street photography books is highly suspect without “Travelog” by Charles Harbutt.
    A nod should be given to Larry Clark. His classic “Tulsa” isn’t exactly a street book – perhaps “Teenage Lust” is better.

    • Jjmartinezro says

      Hi, as far as you have suggested Koudelka’s exiles as I did before, any tip where to get it? And I mean not spending a lot of money. I agree is an amazing book (I was lucky to have a look in a copy of it) but around £200 is too much for me…

      • John R. Fulton jr says

        My list is full of hard to get books and that’s a problem so I have no idea where to get Exiles. I once found Tokyo by William Klein (another great street photog I’d forgotten) in the “travel” section of a used bookstore.

  6. says

    Not all of these should be considered street photography book. Especially not Anders Petersen’s Cafe Lehmitz. However, it’s a great book and you should indeed have it. Other books worth checking out are Jens Olof Lastheins book Moments in Between and White Sea Black Sea (really rare now a days). And also Klavdij Sluban’s East to East is a great book.

  7. says

    I’m spending my tax refund check on some of these. My local library had HCB’s “Photographer” but dozens of pages of it have been cut out. I don’t own any real photobooks like these, so I like the suggestions (as well as the ones commenters have made). I think I could get addicted to these though.

    • Donkey says

      “I’m spending my tax refund check on some of these.”

      Now I understand. I hadn’t thought it in this way. :)

  8. says

    Hi Eric,

    this is a great list. I’ll add some local color to this and add some titles published by German publishers:

    Elliott Erwitt’s New York, teNeues, ISBN: 978-3-8327-9587-0
    Magnum’s First, HatjeCantz, ISBN: 978-3-7757-2215-5
    Henri Cartier-Bresson – à propos de Paris, Schirmer/Mosel, ISBN: 9-783888-142956
    Saul Leiter, Deichtorhallen Retrospective Exhibition Catalog, Kehrer, ISBN: 978-3-86828-258-0
    Saul Leiter – Early Color, Steidl, ISBN: 978-3-86521-139-2
    Saul Leiter – Photofile, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0-500-41097-4

    In particular the Saul Leiter material is missing from Eric’s list – not really understandable. It’s quite different from the Bruce Gilden approach and more “artsy”, but Leiter is a far more powerful artist in my eyes than Gilden will ever be with his limited approach of shooting people in the faces. :) Personal bias intended in the last statement.

    Seriously, apart from my personal preference, Leiter shouldn’t be omitted from any street photography list. Currently, Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen are exhibiting Leiter’s work and they have published an excellent bilingual catalog with all exhibited pieces, including Leiter’s paintings. The price of the catalog will go up once the exhibition is over. Get it now while it’s still available (at a lower price). If you can only get one single book from the list I added, make sure you get that one. It’s excellent.

    Kind of the same goes for “Early Color”. That book is an absolute Must-Have title. I thought it was out of print and sold out but I saw it in a local bookstore in Hamburg, so you might be able to still get it.

    The Photofile series by Thames & Hudson is a very neat way to build a photographic literature portfolio without spending big money. The series has titles about many renowned artists, including Cartier-Bresson, Capa, Haas, Erwitt and many others.

    • says

      Also, I forgot to add, on a more general note it pays off to read books not directly related to street photography:

      Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel, Penguin Books, ISBN: 978-0140276626

      This book is excellent and makes you open up your senses.

      One thing the book managed to achieve for example, is to rekindle my love for Edward Hopper’s work. Hopper may be a painter, but the scenes he painted and the style he chose is very powerful and inspiring to the aspiring street photographer. There is a lot of thematic overlap. Make sure to check books on modern painters you dig.

  9. says

    I agree with Bob Soltys’ suggestion The parisians by Peter Turnley.

    A book that I love very very much is Raymond Depardon’s “Manhattan Out”, Steidl, ISBN: 978-3-86521-704-2

  10. Erika says

    Hey Eric! London misses you!

    Thanks for posting this – my Amazon wishlist is now loaded. So randomly, when doing my research for my upcoming (hopefully) Korea trip I came across a photobook called “Korea as seen by Magnum photographers” – I’ve just ordered and I’m really excited that such a book exists! Have you ever seen it?!

  11. Brendan says

    Vivian Maier Street Photographer. A thing of beauty, photos by a lady who never knew how good she was

    • randymarsh says

      I bought the book and was disappointed about it. The photos in the book is not that great. My expectation was, as advertised, “will rewrite street photography” but there’s only 2 or 3 photographs that is really amazing. I do not blame Vivian Mayer, she has really good technique, but the editor who selected the photographs to be included in the book.

      • sohughj says

        The book was edited by the same opportunistic businessperson who “discovered” and is now hyping and hawking her work under his own copyright. This person, John Maloof, is a real estate agent, not a photo editor or anyone with any significant background in either photography or art history. He stumbled on Vivian Maier’s negatives during a storage facility liquidation sale, saw dollar signs, and the rest is history.

        Before his Vivian Maier involvement, his only previously published book is

        The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to FSBOs: Make Big Money Prospecting For Sale By Owner Properties

  12. says

  13. Ron A says

    If you like travel and street photography I would recommend “Going East” by Max Pam, an Australian photographer.

  14. Cesar says

    Thanks, nice list! I love photobooks. Please consider Stephan Vanfleteren, a Belgian guy, one of my greatest inspirators.

  15. Robert Talbot says

    Eric it is time to update this book list, there are a lot of books that are not included out there, and books that you mentioned in your blog post but did not put here.
    Cheers.

  16. Suwat p. says

    Thank you very much for information.
    And Is a good article Request permission to publish !!!!!

  17. O. Mikolai says

    The book that got me into street photography “Home” by Tom Arndt!

    Anyone have any tips on how to find these books, or acquire them, without spending full price. How did you build your collection?

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