Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus

Modern Photography Explained

by Jackie Higgins.

A Book Review (and a rant)


Street Photography is not the sole focus of this book. The author addresses a range of genres and styles, identifying images as artwork and drawing readers away from a mindset of the camera being a faithful servant of all that is real. However, included in this book are some photographers who are well known for shooting Street and Documentary. These photographers include Lee Friedlander, Martin Parr, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Daido Moriyama, William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Nobuyoshi Araki and Birdhead. There are more. Never heard of Birdhead? Google is your friend.

This book has sat by my bed for a week, and I think I have read it all. Although like many photo books, I failed to read it linearly, instead I darted from one photographer to the other. The pictures in this book are much more than faithful reproductions of life, the artists have added value to the images taken. Art is evident in Friedlander’s selfies, or his obsession with his own image, which is often visible as a shadow in his work. Other examples include Martin Parr’s practice of having a local artist take his portrait when traveling, or how Nan Goldin’s original (and incredibly personal) work was a slideshow set to music.


Few artists have documented life quite as personally as Nan Goldin.


I believe Street Photography is art, which makes this book important. The camera can be a witness; all be it an unreliable one, fallible to the opinions of the operator. The salience of this increases with each new camera model increasing in speed, sharpness and with more pixels than ever before. Photos do look like what they represent, and that is the problem. Street Photography can be boring. I don’t want to look at photos of people walking down the street, sitting with a coffee, or waiting for a train unless the image has been taken and processed with artistic intent; not processed in-camera to a software engineers specifications.

This book offers insights into how we can be more than a photographer and pushes us to be artists, even when focused on the mundane. Street Photography can inspire, amuse or leave us with questions. Jackie Higgins has written a book that demonstrates all the above, and it should be bedtime reading for us all. Rant over…

Now there is a long weekend ahead of me full of Street Photography. However, I will try not to be a photographer and instead try to think more like an artist. Let’s see how well I do.

Take Care and Keep Clicking


pages pics logo 1 copy

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