Book Review: 52 Assignments Street Photography
Street Photography (52 Assignments)
Challenges for your photography
What to photograph? There’s that feeling that you want to go out a take some photos, but you’re just not sure what?
If you have a hankering for street photography then 52 Assignments: Street Photography might give you the impetus you’re looking for.
As an area of photography that Keith hasn’t looked at since the 1970’s would it spark an interest?
- Author: Brian Lloyd Duckett
- Hardcover 128 pages
- Publisher: Ammonite Press
- ISBN-10: 1781453527
- ISBN-13: 978-1781453520
- Dimensions: 14 x 21 cm
- RRP £12.99
Whilst the subject of this book is a long way from any professional photography I do, it was actually an interest of mine back in the 1970s, at school, developing my own B&W film. As such it’s one of those things that occasionally crosses my mind when I’m at a bit of a loss what to do.
Reading the book I could feel the full range of interest from – “ooh, that might be fun” to “not a hope – I really have no interest”*.
This in itself is helpful, you don’t have to follow the process steadfastly going from assignment 1 to 2 to 3, indeed, if this sort of stuff in unfamiliar, it might help dip your toes in the water picking just one to give a go. It’s fine too if there are areas you’re just not comfortable with, such as close-up shots of strangers [#27] – this is not a test where you have to complete every section.
Remember too, that you don’t -need- to show anyone else the photos. Indeed I’d personally avoid ‘street photography’ groups on forums and at clubs (especially competitions). You may like working with others far more than I do, so this is about your personal development – YMMV…
The sections have helpful notes on technique, such as lens choice, and useful suggestions for other people’s works to look at. Each section also has a space for making notes, although my personal dislike of writing in books and the limited space would suggest a small hard backed notebook.
Whilst I’m unlikely to ‘shoot film for a month’ [#42], there are quite a few ideas that I may try in respect of my interest in architectural photography and spaces – this might just be making more use of people in my shots (frequently they are absent) or looking to create a few themed collections of images and prints that go beyond the 2-3 shots I’m often asked to provide.
The ‘project’ approach
One of the key messages that you should take away from the book is that just randomly choosing to shoot a few pictures in a particular area is unlikely to give the results and long term benefits, you’ll get from taking a more planned and organised approach to a subject.
I almost don’t want to use the term ‘project’ given the number of ‘pro’ photographers’ websites where I’ve seen pretentious artsy verbiage aiming to impress some imaginary reader. To me, too much emphasis on ‘personal projects’ suggests a lack of real paying work – whoops, did I say that out loud ;-)
But seriously, if you can’t find a few assignments here to explore, then I’d suggest your photographic vision really does need a bit of a kick?
*The assignment with absolutely no chance? #41: Dogs
It took several sweeps through the book to see the point of some of the subjects, but there’s more than a few that have given me serious ideas to explore in the coming year – you may even see some on the site. It helps that I get equipment to test and reviews to write, just don’t expect me to wax lyrical about my ‘latest projects’…
Definitely a book to give to the photographer in your life who’s lacking direction, or perhaps spending too much time worrying about equipment and not enough on the photographs…
Brian Lloyd Duckett is the Principal and Course Tutor at Streetsnappers, a specialist in street photography workshops and tutorials in London and cities across Europe. A highly successful commercial and editorial photographer, he teaches as a Visiting Lecturer on photography degree courses. He has worked for many leading newspapers and commercial organisations, but his hobby and passion is street photography. He is the author of Mastering Street Photography (Ammonite Press).
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