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The World Atlas of Street Photography

  • The World Atlas of Street Photography
  • The World Atlas of Street Photography
  • The World Atlas of Street Photography
September 3, 2014
Ana Bambic Kostov is an art historian with passion for contemporary art.

The art of photography has evolved greatly since its beginnings, as the 20th century unraveled into one of the most dynamic centennials of human history. Themes have moved from documentary to portrait, from portrait to aesthetics, from aesthetics to everyday life, and to the street. Ever since Henri Cartier-Bresson started chasing the perfect shot through the streets in the early 50s, photographers have been fascinated with the swarming energy of the metropolis. As urban landscape changed over the recent decades, so did the street photography, always looking for new corners of fascination in cities. A new World Atlas of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins presents a magnificent collection of street photographs taken across the world.

The World Atlas of Street Photography
Covent Garden, London, UK, 2008. Photograph Matt Stuart

The World of Street Photography

As a modern, mechanical art, photography has often been closely related to the progressive centers, cities, activity hubs, where many of the light chasers flocked to seek out the perfect shot. In the process, they’ve been capturing the chaos, the mysterious moments, the dangerous groups , the forbidden behavior, the familiar. Across our planet, number of heavily populated cities multiplied, and so did the colorful layers they abound with, making them perfect hunting ground for photographers. The World Atlas of Street Photography is filled with these lively, beautiful, terrifying, entertaining or touching pictures, presented as documentary photographs, urban vistas, or snapshots of other street art forms, such as performance, sculpture or painting. The book also features twelve commissioned pieces, in addition to a vast collection of images.

The World Atlas of Street Photography
Dakar, Senegal, November 2007. Photograph Mimi Mollica

The Span of the Atlas

In the first atlas of this type, reader/observer will have the chance to travel across the planet, from India to the UK, US and back to Asia over China or Korea, while taking glimpses of Cuba, Germany or Australia. Over 700 images have been compiled to make this publication, with the participation of some of the best, both acclaimed and young, contemporary photographers. Some of the names include Nikki S. Lee, Lise Sarfati, Jeff Wall, Daido Moriyama, Alexey Titarenko, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, David Goldblatt, Slinkachu, and Julio Bittencourt, and many more. The Atlas of Street Photography is not solely a chronicle, it’s a testimony to an era, to a medium and to the volume of urban culture.

The World Atlas of Street Photography
Mumbai, India, 2007-13. Photograph Maciej Dakowicz

Street Art Photography

Street Life, including street art, has been a favorite subject of many photographer, of which some are today considered legendary. Martha Cooper is the most famous among visual historians of street art, ever since her vivid shots of subway graffiti in New York some decades ago, or her documents on the living in the hood. The kaleidoscope of urban photography does not end there, as there are many street art photo artists today, while some prefer to focus on urban areas in general, sometimes even making animals (birds, such as Maurice van Es) the focus of their work. The endless world of urban photography does belong to everyone willing to look, but it’s best entered through a visual anthology such as The Atlas definitely is.

The Atlas of Street Photography is published by Thames and Hudson, available online for a little over 30 euro.

The World Atlas of Street Photography
The Cover

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