Street World Book (2007)
A deep dive into street culture around the globe.
Whether you call yourself a hypebeast or choose to move against the grain, as an inhabitant of the inner city, you are always conscious of the “micro” and macro-trends in motion. In a bustling epicenter of cultural exchange, thought-provoking ideas emerge in a busy environment that causes the shifts in our prevailing culture; places like New York, Los Angeles, and London are the most common centers where we see the birth of overarching mainstream trends. To be a part of a street culture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear Dunks or vandalize the nearest telephone booth. Still, it stands for actively participating in cultural exchange in these interconnected urban ecosystems.
Street World, Urban Art, and Culture from Five Continents spans further beyond your typical Urban Art book of street photography of graffiti-covered walls. Yet, instead, it acts as a reference point for the suburban kid to fill a cultural void for an audience that has yet to enter this world. Consequently, the textbook-style composition takes you through the five essential components encapsulating a covert lifestyle on the streets: Looking Good, Getting Around, Getting Up, Inspiration, and Coming Together. Enveloped amongst the brief didactic chapters are over 1000 grimy photos to tell the tale of many cities, captured by professionals and dwellers alike. Inviting you to the underground will allow me to broaden your perspective on the effervescent communities of the early 2000s that have shape-shifted the current trajectory of our modern culture.
It would be best if you think twice before stepping out in NYC with your pajamas on; in the fashion epicenter of the world, you never know who you’ll run into on the street. While obtaining your style is essential, many often swipe popular types from the trends of their surrounding environment: with fashion and music trends being synonymous.
With the rise of punk culture in the UK, more plaid pants and cut-up button-downs were noticeable in the subculture movement. Contrastingly, as hip-hop grew more popular in the mainstream, iced-out grills and heavy-weighted chains were often paired with oversized hockey jerseys. Each city reinterprets prior music and fashion movements differently, pairing its current trend cycle with the resurgence.
While knock-off designers may look down upon, the “Fucci” era worn by Dapper Dan had street vendors’ businesses flourishing. Step 1 of living in the Street World is Looking Good, or else you’ll have a hard time getting around…
Most of the time, you won’t need a car living in a city if you are just going to work or stopping at the store around the corner. Owning a car can even become a burden depending on where you live too. People choose to get around in any number of ways, from the groups of kids skating the streets of New York, hipster guys riding fixed gears playing bike polo, the Bosozoku biker gangs of Japan, or the lowriders and slab culture around the U.S., everyone has their own unique style of transportation that varies from city to city.
At the core of free artistic expression in a concrete-slab environment comes the act of bombing: writing or “tagging” a personal graffiti tag on a blank wall. Without the graffiti world, the city streets would be just the same as the suburbs, for it’s the most accessible and open form of artful communication.
From the 3D style of the legendary Delta of Amsterdam to the stenciling style of the well-known Banksy in NYC, graffiti pioneers have led the vision of many streetwear and luxury brands to follow. To paint on a canvas is relatively easy, but to paint on a freight train is not a task for the faint of heart; Kem 5 shares, “To me, it's a never-ending love affair, a feeling of supreme satisfaction and nothing I can ever give up,” catapulted by the love of his city and inspired by the culture around him.
Inspiration & Coming Together:
Whether you developed a love for street art on vacant buildings or after-hour warehouse raves that trickle from a distance, dwellers of the Street World are constantly inspired by the world around them, from street vendors to concert venues, the open spaces and objects that build the city landscape captivate the average dweller’s attention. The inspiration chapter highlights the art of public advertisement that many continue to reinvent - from small magazine stands to subway posters. Thus, these various advertisements lead to people congregating in spaces that are meaningful to them, combining a culture of art, music, and fashion.
The most popular way to assemble is through music festivals and concerts that emcees and artists across the globe bring together. Drawing attention to the DJ, this chapter presents images of the dwellers in the rawest form: exclusive NYC underground parties to Pigeon keeping in Brooklyn, there’s something for everybody. A few of my favorite images of this chapter arise from the Protests section, as punks and hippies alike unite together to stand up for a common cause- with captivating photos of peace flags waving in New York City’s streets in a 2004 protest against the Republican National Convention.
Street World is an editorial masterpiece compiled of everything and anything you need to know about the dynamics of urban culture. From the artists that make up this world to the structures that allow a city to function, the book unifies the vision of photographers across the globe to guide the audience through unseen niches. The following scans briefly introduce you to city life; brace yourself, for the Street World’s images are raw, unfiltered, and fully expressive of authentic street life. Enjoy the full scans of this 500+ page book below!
Written by Dana Aufiero
Dana is a freelance journalist from New York who is fascinated by the many subcultures in our world of music and fashion. With a background in psychology, she seeks to understand the larger trends that continue to captivate the youth of an emerging generation.