In celebration of the ongoing LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016, we will be publishing a series of inspiring features on great contemporary street photography. Enjoy!

Talented photographers can use almost any camera to make great pictures. I’ve seen war photographers and photojournalists taking smartphone snapshots that look better than any “serious” photo I’ve ever tried to make.

New York street photographer Robert Herman is able to take stunning photos with his iPhone, and he shares 30 of this recent images with us here. He is best known for his great color street photography from the 1980s, which were all made using film cameras. Herman’s book of Kodachrome film photos, The New Yorkers, was recently reprinted due to popular demand.

See what he can do with a digital smartphone and the eye of an experienced photographer — pure inspiration!

—Jim Casper


In 2015, Robert Herman gathered together more than 120 photographs from this project into a small but wonderfully rich volume titled “The Phone Book.”

While many photobooks these days strain to set themselves apart through conceptual ingenuity, overwrought design or elaborate materiality, Herman’s book returns to the fundamentals: beautiful frame after beautiful frame, presented in simple yet elegant fashion. The effective layout and wonderful consistency in Herman’s vision allows the reader to focus on the most important element—his photographs.

For those who are familiar with Herman’s work from Instagram or LensCulture, the book’s wide selection offers plenty of favorites but also many, many surprises. The joy of a photobook (as opposed to a smartphone screen) is the opportunity it affords us to linger over pictures and become engrossed them, undistracted by text messages, notifications and the like. Herman’s book, then, combines the vividness and immediacy of our omnipresent screens with the meditative quality of an analog experience—a winning combination!

Our hats off to Herman for putting together this wonderful publication. Highly recommended, not least due to its completely affordable and democratic price: just $20.

—Alexander Strecker

The Phone Book
By Robert Herman
144 pages, 120 photos
Published by Schiffer Editions