The Worst Street Photography Excuses

by Eric Kim on August 16, 2011

A while back Thomas Leuthard (85mm) put up a blog post on 500px titled “The Best Excuses On the Street.” He came up with a hilarious list of mostly bad (some good) excuses to use when people ask what you are doing. I was inspired by the list and thought I’d take a stab at using a few of them on the streets. I called up my friend Alex Lea and he recorded some footage of me from behind (while I recorded with a GoPro on top of my Leica M9). Yeah I shot the video a while back but didn’t have the chance to edit it until a few days ago ;)

My favorite one that I didn’t mention in the video (but took a stab at Thomas): “You should see Eric Kim, he is a creepy Korean tourist with a Leica M9…

Although I made this video for fun, I was quite surprised to see that most people reacted somewhat positively to these excuses. Perhaps one could use a lot of these excuses and get away with it. Hope you guys enjoy the video :)

  • http://www.julienmuguetphotography.com/ Julien

    While there’s no harm done here I just don’t see the point in making these phony excuses. If you’re a photographer it’s normal for you to be photographing, no need to make excuses for what you’re doing.

    Maybe to be more confident? Then again I’m sure it takes more confidence to try out these lines than just flat out telling people what you’re actually doing.

  • http://martoscbox.wordpress.com/ Martosc, [Gm]

    When it’s legal, why need alibi?
    :-)

    • http://profiles.google.com/mugget mugget man

      Although you’re not doing ‘anything wrong’ alot of people may be uncomfortable with people taking photos of them. There are things like ‘personal space’ and ‘privacy’, I’m sure you’ve heard of them.

      If it was me, I’d feel more comfortable with a bit of small talk, or at least some funny reason to help me feel like I didn’t just get my photo taken by some crazy pervert.

      • http://martoscbox.wordpress.com/ Martosc, [Gm]

        I agree with you about the personal space and privacy, Mugget Man.

        Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind the small talk and being funny/humorous to break the ice. What I was trying to say is, if you didn’t mean/do anything wrong, why do you have to lie (using excuses, or alibi if you will)? Wouldn’t it be better if you just tell the truth and explain yourself?

        I think “I’m a street photographer, and I shoot people on the street as some sort of documentation. Here’s my card” is still better than “I like your bag (but you don’t mean it… it would be different case if you DO mean it, though :D…)”

        My point is, why do you have to lie? “When it’s legal, why need alibi?”

  • http://twitter.com/JasonSMoore Jason S Moore

    why do you need excuses if you’re shooting candid?
    1. you’re a photographer
    2. you already have the shot

  • Michael

    Though I don’t like to give out excuses some of these were quite funny. Especial when the camera man said ‘how about a guy who’s not gonna kick your ass’.

  • http://twitter.com/85mm_ch Thomas Leuthard

    Thanks for mentioning me. Great video. Not sure if all the lines are working. I never tried them, but I might should…

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      You should make a rebuttal video ;)

  • Ali

    As much as I find your blog informative (most of the time) I cannot help noticing you are such a wannabe jerk doing these dumb things thinking you are cool.

    Just do photography and drop these childish act. I feel ashame as a street photographer when I see your act honestly.

    This sincere comment is really for your own good. Keep a better image when you are trying to represent the community as a self proclaimed icon. Peace.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Hey there,

      Glad to hear that you find my blog informative and valuable. I really appreciate it.

      And regarding these videos, it’s me being myself and having fun. I hope theres no problem in that ;)

      Thanks again for your comment and concern!

  • http://www.facebook.com/artur.maroszek Artur Maroszek

    That was awesome Dude!!!!!!!! :)))))

  • Tom K.

    You have the guts of a modern day Bruce Gilden. Best street photo video of the year. I laughed and I learned. Bravo!

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      :) Always good to hear from you Tom. Glad you enjoyed it brother!

  • http://twitter.com/slicelondonlife Nicola Albon

    Very funny! I don’t think I’d have the courage to try any of these! But a fun post :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716350873 Mithun Kumar

    Eric, one question…
    Can you tell me what mount do you use to fix the GoPro to the hot-shoe of your camera? I couldn’t find any official mounts from Gopro.com for the hot-shoe stand!

  • Movenice

    Keep up the “fun”! I enjoy living the street photographer life vicariously through you!

  • Peter Demetris

    Learn to edit video. Simply repeating the same scene from another camera angle isn’t useful or interesting.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/mugget mugget man

    Haha – I can’t believe you thought it was less awkward to tell a guy that he was hot! LOL!

    The other thing I can’t get over is how street photographers just walk up to people and take their photo, like you did with that lady standing against the wall. I suppose it really helps to be a bit talkative to put people at ease, the job is probably alot easier if you can make the person laugh, right?

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