5 Responses to my “Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography” Article


(Pre-war Zeiss Contax III, via Peter Hennig)

Thank you for your feedback and thoughts in my previous article titled, “Why Digital is Dead For Me In Street Photography“. The post I written has sparked a healthy amount of discussion and debate. However I would like to clarify some points which I made in the article which I feel was misinterpreted.

1. This is not an article on digital vs film (and whether either is better)

This is the most common confusion I have gotten in terms of comments. This argument is not whether film or digital is better- it is about my personal experiences in shooting both mediums- and now why  personally prefer to shoot film.

I still own a digital camera (an Olympus EPM-1) that I use for my snapshots of friends, family, workshops, etc. I am only making the full transition from digital to film for my personal street photography projects.  I don’t shoot any commercial work or editorial. If I got a commission, of course I would probably borrow a Canon 5D Mark III and shoot it with that.

2. I’m not suggesting for everyone to sell their digital cameras, but to experiment with film for street photography

About a year or two ago, I never understood the hype of shooting film vs digital. I would make many points saying that if you trained yourself enough, you would get all the benefits of film (while shooting digital). For example, not chimping, sitting on your images for a longer time before editing your work, as well as processing your film to ‘look like film’ using Silver Efex Pro 2.

However after actually shooting for film for several months (around 4 months to be exact) I now know the differences. I feel that photographers cannot make a judgement on the benefits of shooting film until actually having tried shooting film for a certain period of time. Otherwise you are not speaking from experience – and more assumptions.

For example, one may have the determination and will power not to ever chimp or review his/her images for an entire month – but I would argue that the most of us don’t. Even having the temptation will make the editing process far more difficult. One can also make the argument to only use a 512mb or 1 GB SD card when shooting on the streets – which can make one more selective. But even in that case, it doesn’t “cost” you anything upfront to process your shots- which will mean you are ultimately more selective when shooting film.

Once again, the purpose of this blog post was to encourage people to experiment and try out film if they have never. If people don’t like film – no problem. I don’t discredit photographers just because they shoot digital. I myself have shot digital the last 5 years, and just have recently shot film myself.

3. “The camera doesn’t matter” argument is a bit flawed

I used to always say that “the camera doesn’t matter”. In a nutshell, it encapsulates my feelings quite concisely. I hate people putting down others because they don’t shoot with a full-frame camera, have expensive lenses, or shoot with a Leica. However some caveats below in how the camera does matter- to a certain extent.

For example, if I want to be mobile and shoot on the streets- I physically couldn’t use a large-format camera or a pinhole camera. Using a more compact and portable camera would allow you to do that.

To me the importance of using a certain a certain camera is in the handlingergonomics, and appearance – not the image quality. If you put an image of a photo shot wide open with a Canon 5D Mark III next to a Leica M9 I couldn’t tell the difference. If you did the same with a micro 4/3rds camera shot at f/8 vs a Leica I couldn’t tell the difference. If you put a b/w film photo next to one processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 I probably couldn’t tell a difference either.

You want to use a camera you are comfortable with. I prefer shooting with a Leica- not because it is expensive but because it listens to my personal preferences. I rely heavily on zone focusing, like having a camera with a quiet shutter, and one that doesn’t look menacing. I have found in my personal experience that someone is less likely to be threatened by a rangefinder than a DSLR. I am also more comfortable with the simplicity of design when compared to other rangefinders.

Once again, having an expensive camera won’t make you a better photographer. But find a camera that fits your personal needs (not the needs of others).

4. Yes, I contradict myself – and pride myself in it

I contradict myself all the time. I don’t agree to points what I wrote a year ago. I am constantly changing, evolving, and transforming as a photographer. I experiment with different cameras, with different mediums, as well as different approaches. I started this blog to also share my personal experiences shooting street photography to help others, not to paint things black and white.

It is important to contradict yourself. Otherwise, you become close minded. Think of all the scientists who said the earth was flat for hundreds of years. Once there was scientific proof that the Earth was round, they refused to say it was the truth. This is because they didn’t want to contradict themselves.

I encourage everyone to try to contradict yourselves. Don’t be stuck to one position. Otherwise, it makes for a quite boring world.

I am currently shooting purely film for my personal street photography – but who knows, I might end up switching back to digital in the next few months. Nobody knows (not even myself).

5. Photography is the most important thing

I don’t care if anyone shoots digital or film. I just want to spread the love of street photography with as many people as I can. Honestly in the end I have become quite annoyed when people try to debate what street photography is and what it isn’t.

As Nick Turpin eloquently wrote,

“Street Photography is Photography and … the future of Street Photography is intrinsically tied to the future of the medium itself, while there is Photography there will be Street Photography because it is the Prime Mover, the evolutionary inheritance of all Photography.” – from “Undefining street photography

I drool when I see alligator-skinned Leica MP a-la-cartes, love the build and creamy bokeh of the Leica .95 Noctilux, and fall victim to G.A.S. all the time myself. However I am aware of my weaknesses- as I am only human and flawed myself.

Remember that in the end- just focus on the photography and go out and shoot, a lot.


For your reference, check out my old post I wrote about a year ago titled: “Which is better: Film vs Digital” in which I said that I still preferred digital at the time.

Some nice op-ed’s below in response to my “Why Digital is Dead For Me In Street Photography” article (I have also written replies to both articles in their comments section):

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  • http://twitter.com/Designmojo Christopherr Mendoza

    Great write up, Eric.

  • http://twitter.com/waleedalzuhair Waleed Alzuhair

    I say, choose the tool that does the job for you.. I’ve been a photography hobbyist for +30 years, and I’m very happy I did the move to digital in 2001. True the quality was not the same as it is now, but saying goodbye to fumes & the wet process is a relief. The B&W provided from the Fuji X100 is brilliant, making up for its other quarks :)

  • http://twitter.com/NammyTsunami Nam Tran

    Hey Eric. Great response. I especially liked the part regarding contradiction. I always find myself slowly adopting change. It’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes letting go of old view and adopting the new. Keep up the great work!

  • marcosv

    Great follow-up to your original article. Puts your views into better context. I can now go back and read that original article and appreciate it more.

    In the future, it would be nice if you could continue point out every time one of your major opinions change. That sort of insight is worth reading.

    • Therealdeal

      How can anyone call this “great follow-up”? This is back peddling and double speak, like Obama! There is no hiding what Eric wrote. He stuck finger to key board and got diarrhea of the mouth! In other words, as an old friend said, “don’t let your alligator mouth over run your humming bird ass!” Enough said!

      • Tomkaszuba

        Therealdeal is whacked. Eric Kim has one of the most popular street photog blogs in the world. Nobody gets as many comments as he does. Why? Because his blog is provocative and relevant. Eric has an incredible portfolio. Pure talent. He freely shares his knowledge and advice. I thank him for that. He is a wonderful person and it comes across in his work and words.

        • Guest

          That Kool Aid must be really tasty ;-)

          • Me

            Yes, I agree about the kool aid, many drinkers….

            But then again, according to some of his fans, he has pure talent, maybe the best street photographer in the world, maybe ever………..

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

          Thanks so much for the support Tom- you were really one of the first big sparks to inspire me to start this blog. We need more guys like you out there ;

      • http://twitter.com/mattmaber matt maber

        “like Obama! ” lol, is Obama the new Godwins law in america?

        • hugo solo

          “Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography”
          100% marketing .

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

        But I like Obama?

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

      Will do boss!

  • Craig Nisnewitz

    You can get good street photos with film and digital. My experience is that the DSLR can scare off people because of its size and shutter noise. The film rangefinder has less shutter noise than the DSLR. The digital rangefinder (M 9) is sort of in the middle. It really is personal preference.

  • Rob LaRosa

    I shot film for the first 34 years of my life because that’s all there was! ;-) I spent much time in darkrooms, rolling bulk film into cartridges, developing film, etc. etc. Once digital came along I never looked back. But, I encourage everyone to experiment with film – there is something great about it. But for me, I’m over it!

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

      Glad to hear you had it both ways Rob. Whatever works works- just shooting and enjoying it is the most important :)

  • http://twitter.com/lazyedt Eddy T

    Bottom line is- digital or film, just go out, shoot and enjoy life.


  • Hansen

    excellent stuff. keep up the good work.

  • AlexCoghe

    No, you didn’t post a comment on my post, Eric…maybe some problem? Let me know about this, mate. Like i written in my post i was sure about the meaning of your article. Howewer it was better keep your M9 compared to Oly EPM-1 for your snapshots of friends, family, workshops, etc. ahahah.
    I wanna thank you for the link to my post.
    Next time that you want to sell your M9 (uh-oh) or M14, I will give you a Mexican address where will be happy to receive it…also a Ricoh GRD III is fine!

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

      Argh spent like 20 minutes writing a response- will write one again soon?

    • isoterica

      I read your post and liked it :)

      • AlexCoghe

        Thank you isoterica.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donahuememp James Donahue

    You want to use a camera that you are comfortable with..Enough said. Photography…film or pixels..is about the image. (Period)

  • bohaQi

    Great response. I’ve just started taking photos one year ago, when I purchased my first DSLR. I’ve learned a lot from your blog, read tons of books you recommended. I enjoy taking photos, but enjoy learning about photography as well. Few weeks ago I found out that the university, I’m doing my phd at, has a photo club, so I joined. They force every new member to shoot film for at least a few weeks, and teach them how to develop their own photos at the club’s dark room. Yesterday I’ve developed and printed a out my first photo, and it was so exciting! I think I will continue my learning curve with digital too, but will by an old film rangefinder, and try to master the developing and printing process. It is so different experience, everyone should try it once.

  • http://twitter.com/IAM_THE_KGB KGB

    I have a question for you Eric…

    Who are you writing this for?

    Photography is a personal pursuit, teamwork plays no part (one viewfinder, one photographer, one picture) you can’t hand off the camera mid shutter press.

    I read “how-to” all over this, but the nature of the medium is an isolated one, and everyone see’s their vision uniquely, so…

    Who are you writing these “instructions” for?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666705838 Gary Gumanow

      Here’s another question…

      If nobody was reading this blog, would you still be writing it? I have thought about this for some time WRT photography.

      If I was the last person on earth, would I still be taking photographs? Who are we creating art for anyway? Is it for the self?

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

        No – I wouldn’t be writing this blog if nobody read it.

        I am a huge extrovert at heart, and don’t like keeping things to myself. I like to share knowledge and experiences – to help out the community.

        For myself- I take photographs for others (to have their opinion changed about things) but ultimately to satisfy myself in terms of my purpose in life.

    • http://blog.itakephotos.org/ th0i3

      Art requires no justification.

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

      Thanks for the comment KGB. I actually find photography more of a social pursuit in terms of taking photographs of society – and presenting them to others to hopefully make them see the world in a different (positive or negative way).

      I struggle a lot constantly as a street photographer- and thus am writing for people who may share the same difficulties. Of course, what I write doesn’t apply to everybody.

      I think in the end to photograph and not share any of your photographs with anyone, to not get feedback from others, and share experience is very frustrating and pointless.

      Hope this helps clarify things!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666705838 Gary Gumanow

    This is probably the best blog entry I’ve seen you write. Great job Eric. Who knows what the future brings?

    I’ve been shooting for 43+ years, went digital a few years back after about 25 years away, and then went back to film and printing everything. Not better, just understand it and the process works for me. Besides, how would I store six months of photos before editing them if I shot digital? Also, how would I go back after a few years and look at my contact sheets if I deleted the digital images I edited out?

    It just works for me.

  • Klc888

    Eric, I totally agree with you. I think it’s like calligraphy, an good and expensive pen does not make you write beatiful letters. But at certain point, a good pen help a lot provided that the guy who write calligraphy have a lot of practice.

  • Charlie

    Point 4 is the best one for me! Always good to see people can admit to what they’ve said, and then saying just right. Makes sense, at the end of the day, if your enjoying then who cares?

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

      Thanks mate. See you in Amsterdam soon :)

  • http://twitter.com/petesguitar1 Pete Donohue

    #4 All the way – So many people have such tight mindsets about what they ‘believe’ to be true that changing their mind is not an option. So do you always have cheese on a sandwich or can you just have ham? Maybe you used to like digital, now you like film, and in 5 years time you may take up painting. Doesn’t make you wrong now, just means you are happy to move with what moves you.

  • noeffred

    Contradicting yourself makes you look and sound like an idiot, much more so if you proclaim how proud of it you are.

    What you’re doing is changing your opinion based on new insights and experiences you have gathered which is something completely different. Why don’t you clearly state that you’ve changed your mind about something instead of loudly proclaiming to have found the (next) ultimate silver bullet?

    You might want to change your choice of words a little bit and start calling things by their proper name ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666705838 Gary Gumanow

      noeffred: I agree with you to a point. I’ve had my personal rants about this site and EK’s growing up in a digital age of blurting out the next big idea in his head and all the attention he’s getting from newbie photograthers. Yeah, he sounds like an idiot most of the time, and even acts like one in most of his videos. But if you think about this site/blog, not as a bible of street photography, but as one mans/womans personal diary or journey, it might make you feel better about it? It works for me some of the time! :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/noeffred Christian Herzog

        Oh don’t get me wrong I love the site and his videos! I certainly don’t think he’s an idiot, quite the contrary! :)

        But he does have the tendency to let his enthusiasm get the better of him and blurt out some rather rash statements. “the camera doesn’t matter!” – “the camera does matter!” “a slr will do!” – “only a rangefinder will do!” – “digital is much more convenient!” – “digital is dead to me!”… so… ummm… which is it to be?

        It’s the way the revelations are presented – as truths and epiphanies, not insights – which is hard to stomach. Why say “Why digital is dead to me!” (which is an ultimate statement and leaves no room for change) when you could say: “Why I like film better than digital!” or even “Why I’ll shoot film for a while”. Sounds much less aggressive and leaves nobody out…

        If you’re “just” an artist, doing it for your own pleasure or arts sake like Eric did in the beginning that’s perfectly fine! BUT! He’s not a simple artist any more. He’s a professional now. He presents himself as a teacher, doing workshops, exhibiting his work, selling himself and his work to make money off his photography and his know-how. He has entered a new playing field with MUCH different rules!

        As a pro you can’t just fling rash posts like that on the net and annoy the better part of your target audience. Expressing your opinion is great! Changing it? Even better! But you need diplomacy to communicate a change of heart and tread lightly when you express your opinion. There are far too many people – potential customers! – who might get offended and write you off as some sort of crackpot…

        Stuff like that certainly put me off going to his workshops for now (I wanted to go to the one in Berlin). When I go to a workshop, I expect the tutor to give me some good insights not go and say: “yeah, that’s the way to do it” and a week later: “What I said then? Screw that! Do it this way! It’s the only way!” That doesn’t seem like a good investment to me… :-(

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

      Thank you for the constructive feedback. Will try to be more clear when I’ve changed my opinion and make it more transparent.

      And don’t think there are any silver bullets out there! Shooting 35mm film is probably going to be one of the many phases of my photography (might give medium and large format a go in the future). But just sharing my experiences :)

  • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

    Great qualifying article, in fact better than the initial one. For me as you say bottom line is the result, just go out and shoot with a camera that you can use as an extension of your eye and not have to think twice about in using. My wish is that my eye was camera and I could just mentally go click and record. Sci-fi? who know one day….?

  • th0i3

    Let me share my views. I look at photography as an art and the camera is just an equipment. Like a brush to a painter. With art, there is no correctness and your imagination is the limit. I was in NY last year and went to Guggemhiem while Kandinsky exhibition was on. I have no clue who Kandinsky was. Although I do not like his stuff but I respect him,his work and other opinion’s of him. I don’t think there is right or wrong in photography, just your own preferences, life experiences or how you view the world.

    Dont seek correctness because it isn’t science. Art is for everyone, peace!

  • mikaelbento

    There are no rules or regulations about what you like to shoot or shoot with. We can do what we feel is right for what we want to accomplish, right then. I remember when I was in my b/w only era, and all these old fat guys would tell me “that’s just because you’re young- wait til you become older and more mature!” – they always say the same things lol. Personally I find all digital to be like crayons compared to film in any format, because the silver particles catch life in them. That just means I like the act of taking film shots and I like the results. Digital’s fine but it seems more like a cost and marketing dialog, with all these stupid class divisions and pricey bling hierarchies. Everyone drools after the dangly carrotty thing everyone is drooling after. Whatever, just take photos. I like to shoot with a dlsr but I also I love my XA. Can just use whichever I feel like. The main point is that you can just shut out what others think and shoot what you want to. You can even get all crazed “ahhhh I’m sick of digital!” and it doesnt matter! 1st amendment, dude.

  • http://www.lomophotographyinfo.com/2012/04/first-time-developing-black-and-white-film/ James

    Film is a great tool for street photography but so is digital. Either way your articles are very inspiring!

  • http://twitter.com/50mm_Streettog DipayanBhattacharjee

    Hey Eric!! Apparently there isn’t a response on my comment either… :( Really wanted to know your view regarding my post. Hope you do so again… :)

    Anyways, for this post, I just got one word… RESPECT!

    Your blog is very popular and has thousands of “participating” visitors each day… Hence, most of your posts which you write from personal experience, becomes a debated topic. Some support you, some are against you, while some are mere a-holes!!! The supporting and against category of people are here to learn from each other. Me as well as Alex wrote our posts from some amount of inspiration and some contradiction to your post, and to go a step further into the matter… As far as the a-holes are concerned, AVOID!! You are doing a great job! And I am one of those who has learnt the most from you. Sometimes from your experience… While at other times by contradicting with you, which made me think deeper and dig deeper into the issue.

    Cheers!! :)

  • isoterica

    When you write for the public eye you leave yourself open to just as many criticisms as you do kudos. I think you have figured this one out Eric. You have made a lot of friends because you have chosen to share yourself regardless of what stage of evolution you are in. Whether or not you change your mind or even make mistakes. I can appreciate this in you. Maybe it just takes a mature reader to see it because you also have made some enemies, which is fascinating actually, because if a web site has nothing to offer to me I just move on to better things. I don’t keep returning. I have no time for that behavior.

    A lot of visitors here haven’t seemed to figure out is that your blog is a record of your own personal journey that you have simply chosen to share so that photographers on similar paths can learn, take what they need and discard what they don’t. Reread that last part, discard what is not needed. I haven’t agreed with you on everything either. Sometimes I tell you, sometimes I don’t. The choice between posting or not depends on whether or not I think you can learn from what I say or if you just need to explore yourself. If it’s urgent I will definitely speak up. I can be supportive and offer constructive criticism at the same time.

    Your title “Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography” says it all. You are writing a post about yourself. There is a lot of (me) and (I) in there. You make a checklist like someone does for them-self, you just are sharing it. When others read that checklist they should remember the title, “For Me” see all the (me) and (I)’s, and remember you are writing about yourself, in public. You are pointing out why this style works for you, why your viewpoints have changed. You are also suggesting others try it out, but anyone that has read you long enough knows that Eric Kim regardless of how enthusiastic he might be never tells anyone that there is only one way for all people. It’s more like he says “Dude, you really need to try this..” or referring to the post “If you are interested in shooting street photography with film..”.

    In defense of the opposition I can only say that your zeal sometimes confuses people, because like noeffred says, in promoting ‘your’ current panacea, those that can’t read beyond the text, those that do not know your style of writing, those who don’t read the entire post, will see the next holy grail. The grail is not a tangible thing but related to each individual, in regards to how and what they shoot with, what works for them. It is essential that people understand this and I have seen you repeatedly say ‘what works for me might not be right for you’. At worst in posting you sometimes err grammatically, something that like photography will improve in time as you write more.

    As to your readers.. There are too many people all too willing to take advantage of the naive saying far worse than: “If you are intruiged in shooting street photography with film, and haven’t ever tried it before- here are some tips I have. Note that I am still a noob when it comes to shooting film.”. Take ALL information, examine it according to its relevance in YOUR life, and toss the extraneous out. There is no perfect camera for all people, there is no right style of shooting for all people, there are only choices. Ones we make for ourselves.

    Btw, I started street and structure shooting with film over a year ago. I like what the camera produces and how it feels in hand. Also that it was my father’s. My other styles: landscape, macro, abstract and still life.. is still digital. Vacation was point and shoot for convenience sake. There is no one way even for one person. At least not me. Peace all!

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

      Wow thanks for the extremely helpful feedback Kristen. You have really helped support me since the beginning- and yes- this is a very personal blog to me. I make a ton of mistakes, am still learning, but trying to stay as open and transparent as I can.

      Thank you for the critique- I think I need to approach my articles to be clear it isn’t about absolutes- but stepping out of your shell and trying new things.


  • http://analog36.wordpress.com/ D. Harris

    Many of you guys need to lay off Eric. He’s a guy that’s willing to share his experiences, link us to great content of other street photographers and simply put himself out there. This is what he chose to do and I think he does it well. Are there things that Eric can improve on? Does he have more to learn? Of course, we all do. But ragging on him doesn’t help – if you don’t like his content/thoughts, then don’t read his site. Eric represents many photographers out there that’s simply trying to find their own style and define their own equipment to achieve that style. He’s not an expert, just a man on his own journey discovering his photographic style. Yes, I do think it was a drastic move to sell the M9, but that’s his choice. The paradox is that it’s not about the gear and at the same time it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003081122213 Frank Perez

    frankdawini com

  • Dacoit

    As others pointed out below, this post reads quite different from the original post.

    Original post:

    “Scanning the negatives was a breeze- and after seeing the images on the computer screen, there was something special about the look of the black and white images. They weren’t cold and lifeless like the digital images I usually shoot- but they had character in the grain structure, ink-jet blacks, and the best of all- great details in the highlights.”

    “I got my film developed and scanned when visiting Korea the month afterward- and fell in love with my [Leica M6] film shots from Tokyo. The depth, soul, and the dynamic range were to die for. Shots that were blurry or out-of-focus (that would have looked horible in digital) looked more like beautiful mistakes in film.”

    Follow-up post:

    “To me the importance of using a certain a certain camera is in the handling, ergonomics, and appearance – not the image quality. If you put an image of a photo shot wide open with a Canon 5D Mark III next to a Leica M9 I couldn’t tell the difference. If you did the same with a micro 4/3rds camera shot at f/8 vs a Leica I couldn’t tell the difference. If you put a b/w film photo next to one processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 I probably couldn’t tell a difference either.”

    So what do I make of this? Sunday I’m a M 4/3 owner with Silver Efex Pro reading your post and thinking about investing in a film cam and $ on film and a scanner (you know, the $700 and $750 ones you linked to) to get images way better than I can get with me gear. Thursday, I’m reading that no…. you couldn’t probably could not tell the difference between photos with the gear / software I already own and film I shoot, develop and scan at much higher cost. And besides, you tell me now, the difference in IQ isn’t the point anyway. So much for depth and soul.

    I think I have whiplash.

    I know you plan to hold off on publishing photos / projects for a year. Maybe you let a blog draft sit for a couple of days before you send it out?

    • Zenlibra

      Seriously? You look to other people to tell you what to buy Dacoit?

      • Dacoit

        No, the original blog post did not make me order. I just sought to highlight the quick reversal by showing where one would be if you followed Eric’s POV.

        I love the blog, btw.

  • Dacoit

    Sorry for the double negatives below. Cough syrup.

  • LU PER

    Eric I think it’s okay. Just as there has already been written, you are a child the digital age and I think just looking for what has already been discovered long ago.

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

    Wow – alot of strong thoughts here…

    What everyone needs to realise is that this is Eric’s personal site, it’s a place for his thoughts and opinions. Which as we’ve seen, and as he has admitted, are quite prone to change!

    It’s not a site proclaiming the ultimate ‘only way’ to take photos, or the single absolute best pieces of gear. So someone’s opinion is very different to your own, so what? Don’t worry – the sky won’t fall… haha.

    • Guest

      “It’s not a site proclaiming the ultimate ‘only way’ to take photos”

      And what about things like this then: “Also note when you are shooting street photograpy with film, always push to 1600.” ?

      It’s nice to shout out absolutes like this but when you’re a self proclaimed teacher then you might want to avoid saying everything and its opposite a day later.

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

        Thanks for the advice- I say ‘always’ shoot at 1600 because I have found so many people have had the issue of having blurry photographs which could be solved by using a higher ISO.

        But once again- this is just my suggestion. Reworded the original article to reflect this. Keep the advice coming! :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/george.smyth George Smyth

    Actually, I have shot on the street with large format (example at http://glsmyth.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/decision-time/), and have shot pinhole street photography (example at http://glsmyth.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/standing-watch/). This makes for quite a challenge, but sometimes that is the fun of it. After all, for me it is all about the joy of photography, which can be had at many levels.

  • http://twitter.com/TheHigham Brett Higham

    I think placing limits on yourself, going so far as to say “Digital is Dead” is quite an extreme position. I prefer to leave all doors open. I’m glad to see a little bit of criticism over this position and I have to say much of it is rightly deserved. It seems you did start a very interesting conversation though.

    • http://profiles.google.com/george.smyth George Smyth

      I have found that when everything is an option, I can get stagnated. By placing limits on myself I am forced to better focus. Certainly, I do miss some shots, but I see and can respond to others that I would have missed.

      As noted elsewhere, I have shot large format and pinhole street photography, which is about as limiting as it gets, but the results really worked for me. This is certainly something that will not work for everyone, but give it a try just once to see if it will work for you.

  • Max Klimov

    Eric, amazing article, I hope you don’t mind I have shared it on mt blog too!


  • hugo solo

    Streetphotography from 1992 to 2001 ,first with eos1 and then compact digital cameras I can´t really see much difference ,because we are talk about pictures right?

  • Streetshooter

    Ok, what we are really talking about here is 2 things. First is the Film Camera thing. I think all young shooters should experience the film life. What is the real issue?

    Well, here’s a part of it. Most can’t go and get an M9 with a cron. So that puts a hamper on the Leica digital experience. I did not STREET, yet. It’s maybe more affordable to get an M4 or an M6 with a lens because it;s cheaper.

    Is that the Film/Digital difference?
    The second part of the equation is PROCESS. If your using film because you love the smell of fixer on your hands, (I actually Do)…then that’s really what it’s about.

    Now lets get to the street…. What we as street shooters need is a camera that doesn’t intrude in our vision. Not all cameras can do that. Not all get out of the way. I spent over 45 years using M cameras. I loved every minute but now, now in the digital world, now the way things are on the street, I don’t want a camera with a viewfinder.
    That basically rules out any M camera and a whole lot more with those EVF things.

    The experience of a camera working on the street is a very personal journey. It’s not easy to find that friend. It’s not easy to become one with the moment and the camera in hand. It can and must be done but it’s a process.

    That process is continuing in the way shooters like Erik are experiencing film. I think it’s a great thing to try to find your place in the moment with the camera as a friend in your hand.

    Just be sure that what your searching for is what you really need. Film is a process just like digital. Choose your process according to where you are in your moment. The camera should be a non issue as you raise it to the moment….

  • Guest

    Why don’t you stop trying to make profound gear related statements about photography and focus on your work? You OBSESS over gear and how it relates to the image STILL. If you want your work to go beyond the generic you need more internalization. Stop rushing to post

    • Streetshooter

      I don’t know who’s post you are referring too but it’s not helping the conversation. This is obviously over your head so just sit back and read and maybe learn something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-McCormick/1129403964 Aaron McCormick

      I could make profound, gear-related statements all day long and not even care what you think about my work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Högberg/700164680 Daniel Högberg

    So many stupid people.. Let Eric say, write and do what he likes, this is not politics! If you have critics, please let him know in a factual and clear way.

  • http://www.citysnaps.net/ Brad

    For the last seven months I’ve been using an iPhone and snagging photos just as strong and compelling as when I was using my expensive camera.

    Street photography is NOT about gear. It’s about being out there, soaking in the rhythm/energy/dynamics of the street, anticipating what’s about to happen, bs-ing with strangers, and being receptive to what comes before you with an open mind and keen eye.

    If you’re obsessing over gear, your priorities are not about the energy of street.

  • http://www.lit-photography.com/ lit-phtography

    Being a photographer is expensive but if it is you truly dream of, it’s not bad. Facial emotion is the key, but in the eyes of ones person you could tell a whole lot of story by a mere glance.

  • http://www.ateliervagabond.com/blog Michael

    The film vs. digital argument reminds me a bit of the PC vs Mac battles of the 90s. For those who get really worked up about their approach being the best, I wonder if maybe they’re passionate about the wrong thing. It’s the resulting image that matters the most. For some kinds of imagery, having super-fine detail is the way to go, for others a $15 Holga camera might be best suited. To me, being an artist is about exploration, it’s about being open, not reducing the world to black and white, good and evil, best and worst.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjHyEm2iRls World War Z Caly Film

    Generally I don’t read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  • http://www.aquashieldroofingcorp.com Edris Francolino

    This was helpful for me and it really gave me allot to think about. Thanks for this!

  • JJRC

    Eric, thank you very much for your sharing of experiences and thoughts with us. Now, for those that are more interested in criticizing the change of opinions and mixed contradictions of Eric, please, come on, nothing in life is permanent. Thanks God he is not stationary and blinded for new experiences. Will be a good surprise if in the near future Eric will change again to Digital or, to something else, pinhole for example. That means that he is not closed mind, that is all. And you guys that are cross checking any evidence of contradictions in his mind, start to do the same: move and learn and share. That is nice.