Tony's Reviews > Street Photography: From Atget to Cartier-Bresson

Street Photography by Clive Scott
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bookshelves: photography, photographic-criticism

Clive Scott is professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia. His approach to documenting the origins and development of street photography ("SP") is scholastic, but nonetheless, with applied effort, absorbing and thought-provoking.

His approach is grounded in the tradition of photographic criticism. "My history is … somewhat capricious and designed to serve the specific tasks I have set myself"' he says in his introduction. Hence, it rewards the determined reader.

A very good job is made of capturing the complex relationship between impressionism and photography and putting this into the context of contemporary literary thought.

I particularly liked his discussion of the emergence of photography "out of the studio and into the street"; from the enmity of Charles Baudelaire to the position where photography is seen as the "art of the imaginary par excellence" (Soulages).

For readers who want a simple historical account of the development of street photography, this book will not be for you. If however, you want to understand the history of SP against an emerging tradition of photographic criticism and an interest in the phenomenological roots of photography, then please take some effort to read this book. Effort it will take, but effort reaps its rewards.


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Reading Progress

March 16, 2013 – Shelved
March 16, 2013 – Shelved as: photography
April 2, 2013 – Started Reading
Finished Reading
April 3, 2013 –
page 56
21.88% "Fascinating but quite hard going."
April 21, 2013 –
page 120
May 5, 2013 –
page 201
October 12, 2013 –
page 230
December 1, 2013 – Shelved as: photographic-criticism

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