Why buy books, not gear?


To start there’s nothing wrong with buying gear. We need camera equipment to make photos.

However the problem is when we get fooled into thinking that buying new cameras and equipment will reinspire us in photography, or re-motivate us. The truth is it doesn’t.

A better investment with your money (if you want to respark your passion for photography) is to invest in photography books!

  1. Educational photography books: Learn From the Masters, Magnum Contact Sheets, Road to Seeing by Dan Winters
  2. Photo art books: Exiles and Gypsies by Josef Koudelka, Sunlanders by Sean Lotman, the Suffering of Light by Alex Webb.

Photo by Josh White

When I buy a new photo book (whether ebook, print, etc) I get super inspired!

For example I got inspired by the Barack Obama photo book by Pete Souza (for iBooks on iPad). I’ve also been putting out free pdf ebooks of my street photography portfolio.


When in doubt and you need inspiration for your photography, remember the motto:

Buy books, not gear.


Consider you can get a good photo book on Amazon from $20 to $50. Better yet, get a used photo book for around $10.

Book acquisition syndrome (BAS) is good in my eyes. For more recommendations my buddy Brian Sparks is the genius (see my interview with Brian).

Also watch the documentary, “Make a book with STEIDL”.


For more art empowerment, check outall the books from HAPTIC PRESS >


BOOKS

PHOTOGRAPHY PDF BOOKS

  1. MONOCHROME by ERIC KIM
  2. ONLY IN AMERICA by ERIC KIM
  3. SUITS by ERIC KIM

EBOOKS

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Street Photography
  1. HOW TO SEE: Visual Guide to Composition, Color, & Editing in Photography / Kindle Edition
  2. Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Street Photography / Kindle Edition
  3. STREET HUNT / Kindle Edition
  4. STREET NOTES: Mobile Edition / Kindle Edition
  5. MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER / Kindle Edition

FREE EBOOKS

  1. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 103
  2. Dynamic Composition Manual
  3. Photography Startup Manual
  4. PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS
  5. PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP MANUAL by ERIC KIM
  6. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MANUAL by ERIC KIM
  7. THE PHOTOGRAPHER by ERIC KIM
  8. The Art of Street Photography
  9. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  10. Zen Photography
  11. Personal Photography Manual
  12. Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume II
  13. Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume I
  14. Street Photography Composition Manual
  15. Street Portrait Manual
  16. Street Photography 101
  17. Street Photography 102
  18. Color Manual
  19. Monochrome Manual
  20. 31 Days to Overcome Your Fear in Street Photography
  21. Letters From a Street Photographer
  22. Street Photography Aphorisms, Heuristics, and Sayings

See all downloads >


Photo Book Reviews »

Below are my favorite photo books:


75+ inspirational photography books »

Buy books, not gear.

If you want a quality-education in street photography, I recommend either buying, borrowing, or browsing though some of the books below. Books that are bolded are some of my personal favorites.

  1. Magnum Contact Sheets
  2. Magnum: Degrees
  3. Magnum: Stories
  4. Mark Cohen: Grim Street
  5. Street Photography Now
  6. Bruce Davidson: Subway
  7. Bruce Davidson: East 100th Street
  8. Diane Arbus: A monograph
  9. Helen Levitt
  10. Lee Friedlander: Friedlander
  11. Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best
  12. Richard Kalvar: Earthlings
  13. Andre Kertesz (Editions Hazan)
  14. Robert Frank: The Americans
  15. Garry Winogrand: Public Relations
  16. Garry Winogrand: Figments from the real world
  17. Garry Winogrand: The Animals
  18. Bruce Gilden by Stern Magazine
  19. Bruce Gilden: A Beautiful Catastrophe
  20. Bruce Gilden: Haiti
  21. Bruce Gilden: After The Off
  22. Bruce Gilden: Facing New York
  23. Bystander: A History of Street Photography
  24. Joel Meyerowitz
  25. Jun Abe: Citizens
  26. William Eggleston: Chromes
  27. William Eggleston: Guide
  28. William Eggleston: Before Color
  29. Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places
  30. Daido Moriyama: The World Through My Eyes
  31. Alex Webb: Istanbul
  32. Alex Webb: The Suffering Of Light
  33. Jeff Mermelstein: Sidewalk
  34. Walker Evans
  35. Fred Herzog: Photographs
  36. Vivian Maier
  37. William Klein: Contacts
  38. Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects
  39. Martin Parr: The Last Resort
  40. Martin Parr: Small World
  41. Tony Ray-Jones: Best Of
  42. Josef Koudelka: Gypsies
  43. Anders Peterson: French Kiss
  44. Anders Petersen: Cafe Lehmitz
  45. Zoe Strauss: America
  46. Henri Cartier-Bresson: “The Decisive Moment”
  47. Josef Koudelka: Exiles
  48. Anders Petersen
  49. The Education of a Photographer
  50. David Hurn: On Being a Photographer
  51. David Gibson: The Street Photographer’s Manual
  52. Siegfried Hansen – hold the line
  53. Matt Stuart: All that Life Can Afford
  54. The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas
  55. Trent Parke: Minutes to Midnight
  56. Trent Parke: The Christmas Tree Bucket
  57. Trent Parke: The Black Rose
  58. Harry Gruyaert
  59. Gus Powell: The Lonely Ones
  60. Alec Soth: Songbook
  61. Ping Pong Conversations: Alec Soth with Francesco Zanot
  62. Constantine Manos: A Greek Portfolio
  63. Constantine Manos: American Color
  64. Constantine Manos: American Color 2
  65. David Alan Harvey: Divided Soul
  66. Photographers’ Sketchbooks
  67. Harry Callahan: Retrospective
  68. Slide Show: The Color Photographs of Helen Levitt
  69. Mark Cohen: Frame
  70. Saul Leiter: Early Color
  71. Saul Leiter: Early Black and White
  72. Dan Winters: Road to Seeing
  73. Todd Hido: Photography Workshop Series
  74. Mary Ellen Mark: Photography Workshop Series
  75. The Open Road: Photography and the American Roadtrip
  76. Jason Eskenazi: Wonderland: A Fairytale of the Soviet Monolith
  77. Kaushal Parikh: “Fragments of a Spinning Rock”
  78. Sunlanders by Sean Lotman

Free Books by Eric Kim

If you love learning, read the books below:

  1. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  2. Street Photography by Eric Kim
  3. Photography by Eric Kim
  4. Personal Photography Manual
  5. Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume II
  6. Street Photography Contact Sheets
  7. Monochrome Manual
  8. Street Portrait Manual
  9. Street Photography Composition Manual
  10. How to Overcome Photographer’s Block
  11. Street Photography 101
  12. Street Photography 102
  13. Zen in the Art of Street Photography
  14. Film Street Photography Manual
  15. 31 Days to Overcome Your Fear in Street Photography

Street Notes

Street Notes is a pocket-sized assignment journal to break outside of your comfort zone:

STREET HUNT: Street Notes Volume 2 Scavenger Hunt Edition

Photo Book Reviews

See all reviews >

Recommended photo books


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