The Library

Street World

Gastman, Neelon & Smyrski
Thames & Hudson

Street World sells itself as “a collection of Urban culture from five continents” and with over 1,000 colour illustrations, it is certainly an eye catching publication.

The short introduction is easily skippable, especially since it turns up after some brilliant shots of full body tattoos, night time cityscapes and double page spreads of wall pieces in Seoul. Nevertheless, the introduction is short and the bulk of the book soon takes prescendence. It is split into categories detailing fashion [Looking Good], transport [Getting Around], graf [Getting Up], Inspiration and Coming Together.

Looking Good looks at the different fashions and styles across the globe from the tattooed bodies of crews from Los Angeles and New York to the grills of crunk stars to the Wet Look Nike Dunks [perfect for any sneaker freaks out there!]. Whilst superficial, the colour and diversity serves to prove the book’s title right – a collection of many cultures.

Getting Around is comprised of photos of skaters [complete with shots from the States to Japan], choppers, rickshaws, subways and low riders. All these modes of transports are showcased with verve as they add to the brilliant colours in the pages and bleed nicely into the vertiable rainbow that is featured in the next section of the book.

That next section is Getting Up, and unsurprisingly it takes up a huge number of pages as it looks at many different styles and types of graffiti from YES2, AVES and KEM5’s work on walls to art on rooftops and subways as well as delving into the styles of Brazilian and Chilean graf before moving to Russia and other European artists including one of my favourites – Invader from France.

Inspiration is a loose collection of shots that detail places and events that demand attention even though they are “often hidden from plain sight”. Itso and Adams’ idea of making homes and subsequently workspaces, from abandoned building sets the tone perfectly before moving onto the stunning colours of India’s street markets, the magic of concert posters and artists’ working galleries.

Coming Together wraps the book up with a suitably positive ending with photos documenting the power of music like Baile Funk from Brazil, DJs and festivals around the world, to sport and protests.

There is a passage in the book which reads:

“Explore, enjoy, inspire and be inspired”

The 1,000 photos over 350 pages of the book have given the readers the kick start and fuel the need to get outside and continue to find things out for yourself. A brilliant book!