9 Lessons I Have Learned About Street Photography (and Life) From 2012

1x1.trans 9 Lessons I Have Learned About Street Photography (and Life) From 2012

Marseille, France 2012

Written: 1/31/2013

Today I turn 25 years old. The last year has been one hell of an adventure. This year, I have been on the road at least 2-3 weeks out of every month – and I have been to 18 cities internationally, in 15 different countries.

Everyday when I wake up, it still feels surreal that I am pursuing my passsion — street photography for a living. When I got laid off my job nearly two years ago, I was scared, nervous, and uncertain about the future. I had credit card debt to pay off, oustanding student loans, and of course bills and rent to pay on top of all of it.

Fortunately with your endless encouragement I have been able to fully concentrate my efforts on street photography and not get distracted by anything else.

I have so many people to thank who helped me go this far. There is no way any of this would be possible without those giving me a place to stay during my travels and acting as warm hosts, to those attending my workshops, and especially to you — my dear reader for supporting this blog.

One of the problems I have is reflecting on the past. I am very present-oriented (which is a good thing in many regards), but I often forget to dwell on my rich past experiences. That and looking toward the future.

Here are some lessons I have learned about street photography and life in 2012:

1. Family/friends/loved ones come first

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With some of my fellow LA Streettogs eating Korean BBQ!

As much as I love traveling and meeting new people, I spent too much time away from those I care about in 2012. Although it is great to experience new places, at the end of the day I crave being around those who I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so lucky to be able to travel the world, shoot interesting places, and meet passionate people from all around the world. But after a while, traveling has been rough on me– physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In 2012 I spent a ridiculous amount of time jetlagged, perpetually wired on caffeine, and away from my own bed.

This year, I plan to spend more time at home and do less traveling. I plan on focusing my workshops mostly in the states, so I can spend more time with Cindy, my family, friends, and loved ones.

2. Letting my photos marinate

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Marseille, France 2012

About a year ago I started shooting my personal street photography exlusively in film. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself in at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I have made for my photography.

It really taught me discipline in letting my photos “marinate” — letting them sit for a long time before looking at them. Kind of like letting a good steak marinate for a while in rich juices and sauces before cooking it.

I generally didn’t see my photos until at least a month or two after I shot them, which caused me to forget half the shots that I took. I think this was a good thing, as it taught me to be much more objective when editing and judging my own images.

There are still around 60 rolls of film I haven’t got around to developing yet (from the past 3 months) but I no longer feel in a rush. It is an incredible feeling of zen.

3. The importance of focusing on projects

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A photo from my “Suits” project. New York City, 2012

I have taken a hiatus from uploading my photos to social media (Facebook, Flickr, Google+, etc) in order to focus on my projects. This has been another great idea that was first suggested to me by Charlie Kirk about a year ago – to focus on my photography for a year without uploading any images. Last year I caved around 8 months in, but this year I hope to continue working on my projects for a long time without uploading my images.

Why? I have been able to be more diligent working on projects without getting distracted on how many favorites or likes I get on social media. I won’t lie, I love the attention and affirmation from those little pink stars and blue-thumbs ups- but at the end of the day they don’t help me become a better photographer.

I have worked on several projects, none of which I think is good enough to get published at the time. To give you an update, here is some of the projects I have been working on:

“Suits”

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New York City, 2012

This is the main project I am focusing on at the moment. Below is a description of the project idea when I started:

“Suits”

This project is a very personal project. It revolves around when I used to work as a “Suit” at my old job.

Although I had great friends and a boss that looked out for me, I was unhappy. I was stuck in a cubicle 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, doing a job that didn’t fulfill me. The longer I stayed cooped up, the less creative I felt- and the work would suck the soul out of me.

I would work harder and harder, trying to get that next raise or promotion. $40,000 a year wasn’t enough for me, I wanted $60,000 a year. And after that, I wanted $80,000 then $100,000 and hopefully one day $200,000.

I wanted a nice car. A new BMW, Mercedes, or Porsche like all of the bigshots at work. I needed to show others how successful I was, which had to be symbolized through my material possessions.

After I got laid off my job and now am pursuing my street photography, I feel that I have finally “found the light”. But still, whenever I see others in suits I can feel their pain- their struggle – their loss of identity. I can sympathize with them having jobs that they hate, just to pay the bills, support the family, and hopefully one day be considered “successful”.

I would say I currently have around 12-15 photos from this project that I am proud of. But I still got a long way to go if I want to build a strong body of work.

“Colors”

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Downtown LA, 2012

This project is a series of colorful “still life” photographs. This one I have been enjoying working on, and is very different from anything else I have worked on before (as most of the shots don’t even have people in them).

“Stuff on the ground”

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Sydney, 2012

Another fun series of photos I worked on, simply titled: “Stuff on the ground.” Pretty self-explanatory, this doesn’t have a deep sociological theory or concept behind it. But I do find it fascinating what people leave behind (or simply throw away on the ground).

“Kids with Guns”

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Marseille, 2012

I think this project has promise, but I only have around 5 images worth looking at. Probably need to expand this to at least 10-12 before even considering sharing them. Biggest problem, it is hard to find kids with guns! Another long-term project I plan on concentrating on.

4. Fighting the allure of “GAS”

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Portra 400, has prevented me from digital GAS – might have started another type?

I am still a sucker for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Whenever I see a new camera or toy, my eyes go big and of course I would love to have it. Case-in-point, the new Leica Monochrom, the new Sony RX-1, and the up-and-coming Leica M.

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The new Sony RX-1. Sure it is a sexy camera (I have my eyes on it) but do we really need it?

However one of the things I love most about switching to film is that it has helped stop (mostly) my allure of GAS. My workhorse camera is currently the Leica MP, arguably the “best” 35mm film camera still in production. There will never be a “better” 35mm film camera (I think) and it will never be outdated because it is already outdated. I like to use the analogy of buying a classic Ford Mustang versus a new BMW. The classic mustang will always be a classic, but buying a new BMW will simply get outdated the next year.

I also have a Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH lens. Yes, it cost me a crapload of money- but I will never need another lens for my Leica again. 35mm is my favorite focal length (have been using it for around 5 years), it is the perfect size and weight (had the 35mm Summilux before and it was too heavy for street photography), and it is the only lens I own for my Leica (I never have to worry about having another lens).

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Ricoh GR1s. Photograph by Japan Camera Hunter

One experience I wanted to share was my experience with film compact cameras from this year. I went through a lot of film compacts this year, going from a Ricoh GR1s to trading it in for a Ricoh GR1v, then picking up a Contax T3 in Tokyo. The reason I wanted to get the Contax T3 was beause it has a 35mm focal length (same as my Leica) while the Ricoh GR1v had a 28mm focal length (the images didn’t look consistent). The T3 is also a lovely camera to slip into my pocket- and frankly speaking, at the end of the day I prefer to use the T3 over my Leica.

Why? The T3 is pocketable, it has a flash, and it is easy to use. Even the Leica can be cumbersome sometimes (attaching the flash, adjusting the settings, etc) but it is invaluable when I need to shoot quickly and efficiently (during festivals, in crowded areas, and when I need speed).

If you are thinking of getting into film for your street photography, I would highly recommend starting off with a film Ricoh GR1s or a Contax T3. And of course if you want to buy any film camera, contact Bellamy Hunt at  Japan Camera Hunter (I get all my gear off him).

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Contax T3. Photograph by Japan Camera Hunter

I will keep shooting film until either it becomes too difficult to get it processed for a cheap price (I love you Costco) or until the film becomes too expensive or difficult to obtain (Portra 400 in the states is still a reasonable price with good availability).

GAS is something that will always afflict us photographers – but it is always important for us to be grateful for what we have. Shooting film has definitely helped stop my GAS for digital cameras, but beware — there is also film GAS (think of the endless amount of film rangefinders, medium-formats, large-formats, etc).

5. Spending more time in fewer places

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Downtown LA, 2012

One of the things I learned about traveling is that it is better to stay in fewer places, but staying there longer. To give you a sense of how many places I traveled to (I think too many places, here is a breakdown):

Asia

  1. Seoul
  2. Singapore
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Kuala Lumpur
  5. Tokyo
  6. Kyoto
  7. Calcutta

US

  1. Downtown LA
  2. New York City

Canada

  1. Toronto

Europe

  1. London
  2. Berlin
  3. Amsterdam
  4. Stockholm
  5. Paris
  6. Venice/Verona

Australia

  1. Melbourne
  2. Sydney

I have found that having at least 2-3 weeks is necessary to really get to “know a place”. A week is a bit too short, as by the time I get settled in and over my jet lag (around 2-3 days) I just start getting acquainted to a place. And by then, I am off to the next place.

The last month I spent in Manila, and it was far more enjoyable. Not only did I get to know the people there much better, I was able to experiene things at a much more leisurely pace, which didn’t cause me to be so rushed. I saw more places within the Phillippines, including Boracay (beautiful beach resort), some of the provinces (the air there is so clean, and my hosts were awesome), and the various neighborhoods in Manila (from the uber-rich to the humble).

So I suggest if you plan on going on a trip, spend more time in fewer places and enjoy yourself.

6. The beauty of minimalism/packing light

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Image credit: Love & Adventure 

When I first started my world tours, I was like the typical Korean tourist– carrying way too much stuff. My luggage was a pain to lug around, and checking in my bags often caused delays (the airlines would lose my stuff) and waiting in line to pick up my stuff was a pain.

I also found that after every trip, I didn’t even use half the stuff that I brought.

So over the course of a year, I have been able to trim down my belongings and stuff that I bring with me on my trip. I now am proud to say that I am much more nimble when I travel. This is what I brought on my last trip to Manila (note that you can bring fewer stuff to warmer countries).

Clothes:

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Having a good pair of shoes, probably the most important “equipment” in street photography. Pictured above: Nike Free Run 2.

  • 2 t-shirts (ExOfficio V-Neck Shirt).
    • After every day, I would wash my dirty t-shirt with shampoo in the shower and hang it up to dry. By the next morning, it was dry. Having two black shirts is also nice, as they are generic and consistent.
  • 3 socks (mostly polyster).
    • Another thing I learned is never wear clothes that have cotton in them when traveling. Cotton takes forever to dry and soaks up too much moisture. All of my clothes are mostly made out of polyster (if not all synthetic materials) which dry ridiculously quickly.
  • 1 pair of shorts
    • UNIQLO quick-dry.
    • If you are traveling to cold countries, just bring a pair of jeans.
  • Nike Free Run 2
    • My favorite warm-weather shoes for traveling. Super light, breatheable, and comfortable.

Bags:

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In my opinion, it is easier to carry your things in a backpack while traveling (compared to traditional luggage bags). Pictured above: North Face Recon Backpack

Cameras/Film:

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My main camera: Leica MP / 35mm Summicron / SF 20 Flash

  • Leica MP + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron
    • Main camera while shooting street photography.
  • Contax T3
    • A great backup/snapshot camera with my Leica MP. Small, compact, and fits into my pocket. Also the 35mm Zeiss lens is nearly as sharp as my Leica Summicron. And both have a 35mm lens. Find more about the T3 here.
  • 25 rolls of Kodak Portra 400
    • I find that for a month of traveling, I shoot from around 25-50 rolls of Kodak Portra 400 film. The more I shoot, I notice I am more selective and shoot less. I usually shoot 1-2 rolls a day while traveling.

Computers/Equipment:

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11” Macbook Air, the perfect travel companion

  • Macbook Air 11 inch (2012)
    • Found it to be more than sufficient for blogging, email, even photo/video-editing.
  • Western Digital 1TB Portable Drive + Western Digital Nomad Case
    • Macbook Air’s internal drive is really small. Important to carry an external drive. This houses my GoPro interviews, photos, movies, and other files. And the nomad case is good insurance to protect against bumps and drops when traveling.
  • GoPro Hero 2
    • I use this and an external mic for my video interviews. But nowadays I’m thinking of doing more voice-based interviews and transcribing it afterwards.
  • iPad 3 (Wifi, 32gb)
    • Great for sharing my portfolio with others, and getting editing/sequencing advice.
  • Bose Quietcomfort 15 Headphones
    • Really expensive, but if you spend a lot of time on a plane they are invaluable. I always fly coach, and these kill a lot of noise from the plane (which lets me sleep).
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
    • Great for snapshots, calling home on Skype, checking email/social media on-the-go.

I now travel with only my camera bag and backpack, and life is so much easier. I am much more nimble moving around the airport, in and out of cities, and never have to check in luggage anymore. It has definitely made my traveling much more enjoyable. I still think I can cut down in terms of my equipment (I can leave my iPad and GoPro at home) but I am almost down to my essentials!

7. Investing in photo-books

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Magnum Contact Sheets, my favorite photography book

One of the popular blog posts I wrote: “Buy Books, Not Gear” was focused on the importance of focusing on photographic education (through books and other mediums) over simply buying more photography-related gear/equipment.

I took my own advice, and invested in over 50 photography books. Even though I spent a lot of money on them, I have no regrets. They have taught me so much about photography, are an absolute joy to look at, and I reckon they will hold their value pretty well (probably a better investment than stocks!).

Some of the top books I purchased last year which I whole-heartedly recommend:

  1. Magnum Contact Sheets
  2. Josef Koudelka: Gypsies
  3. William Eggleston: Chromes
  4. Bruce Davidson: Subway
  5. Zoe Strauss: America
  6. The Americans: Looking In
  7. Henri Cartier-Bresson: Scrapbook
  8. Arlene Gottfried: Bacalaitos and Fireworks
  9. Garry Winogrand: Figments from the real world
  10. Alex Webb: The Suffering Of Light

8. Quality over quantity

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One of the big inspirations in my life: Steve Jobs

One thing I have also been trying to embrace in 2012 was the concept of “quality over quantity“.

I know the trend in blogging is “publish or perish” (a saying academic professors know quite well). Of course blogging is much more fast-paced. I think most bloggers are expected to publish at least a post a day. Some of the more popular blogs even post several times a day.

Last year was quite stressful for me, as I felt the need to publish at least once a day while maintaining a busy travel schedule, workshop schedule, and of course having enough personal time for me to shoot, eat, talk to friends and family, read books, etc.

I also tried to publish an article on street photography at least once a week (every Monday was the norm). But this became quite a burden, and I often felt the posts were rushed (I could have spent more time editing it, letting the thoughts marinate, etc).

So I tried to switch to favoring quality over quantity – focusing on much longer, in-depth, and better-edited posts. Some posts I have been quite proud from this year:

  1. 15 Lessons Bruce Davidson Can Teach You About Street Photography
  2. 10 Things Street Photographers Can Learn From Magnum Contact Sheets
  3. Timeless Lessons Street Photographers Can Learn from Robert Frank’s “The Americans”

I know one of the most difficult things on the internet is to get valuable/high-quality education. Most of the stuff I read on the internet is fluff–similar to information junk-food.

I wish to reverse that trend. Unfortunately this means I will publish a lot less, but I will try my upmost to provide you with more quality articles that are helpful.

9. The importance of breadth of knowledge

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One epic library

Some of my most personally insightful break-throughs in terms of my philosophy of photography haven’t been through photography books. Rather, they have been from sociology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, history, and business books.

On one of the books I read on creativity, it links creativity as being able to make hidden connections between two dissimilar things – creating a synethsis of a “new” idea.

I have been trying to incorporate my various interests (especially that of sociology) to bring you some of these posts:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Street Photographers
  2. 10 Tips How to Unleash Your Creativity in Street Photography
  3. How You Can Apply Sociology to Your Street Photography Projects

If you want an interesting list of books to read on various fields, here are some of my favorite books from 2012:

  1. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
    • (one of my new favorite books. A good introduction to the roman philosophy of Stoicism (being undisturbed by external events). I also plan to write a blog post on this soon.
  2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    • Helped me build strong habits when it comes to blogging, working on my photography habits, and getting rid of my bad habits.
  3. Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder
    • (what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. One of the most influential books which dictates much of my life philosophies).
  4. Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible
    • (going against the grain, book on how to be innovative. Helped me understand that quality is a better than quantity when it comes to blogging, in life, etc).
  5. The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
    • (former chess prodigy becomes a martial-arts master. Great insights into how important “depth over breadth” is in learning mastery of a subject. (still debate on this myself a little bit though).
  6. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
    • (a great book on creativity, a fun and easy read)
  7. Wait: The Art and Science of Delay
    • (a nice book to read on the importance of waiting before making snap-decisions which is the norm. Helped me realize the importance of letting my blog posts marinate, and to take longer to make decisions)
  8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
    • (one of the most thorough books I have read about how to improve your decision-making abilities)
  9. Imagine: How Creativity Works
    • Taught me the importance of relaxing when it comes to creativity. And the importance of studying various fields. Controversial book though, as many anecdotes from the book have been discovered to be made up. But still an interesting read.
  10. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
    • (taught me how important it is to be “get in the zone” to be creative).

Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

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Timeless Lessons Street Photographers Can Learn from Robert Frank’s “The Americans”

Below is a list of my favorite blog posts from 2012, listed in no particular order:

  1. Timeless Lessons Street Photographers Can Learn from Robert Frank’s “The Americans”
  2. 15 Lessons Bruce Davidson Can Teach You About Street Photography
  3. 10 Things Street Photographers Can Learn From Magnum Contact Sheets
  4. 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography
  5. 10 Things Alex Webb Can Teach You About Street Photography
  6. 75+ Inspirational Street Photography Books You Gotta Own
  7. Buy Books, Not Gear
  8. 10 Things David Hurn Can Teach You About Street Photography
  9. 10 Things Alex Webb Can Teach You About Street Photography

Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012

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10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography

Below is a list on the most popular blog posts of 2012, based on pageviews:

  1. 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography
  2. 10 Famous Street Photography Quotes You Must Know
  3. The BEST Camera for Street Photography
  4. 5 Things Stephen Shore Can Teach You About Street Photography
  5. The 10 Best Street Photography Blogs on the Web (and more)
  6. 35 Magnum Photographers Give Their Advice to Aspiring Photographers
  7. Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography
  8. 102 Things I Have Learned About Street Photography
  9. 75+ Inspirational Street Photography Books You Gotta Own
  10. 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

Focus for 2013

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Thanks to Julian Reid for the epic birthday portrait. This is probably how I will look like in 5 years or so.

These are not goals for 2013, but things I would like to focus on in 2013:

  1. Continue to focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to my photography/blogging.
  2. Travel less, spend more time with friends/family back home
  3. Read more books on photography/philosophy

Once again, thank you so much for all of the help and support from 2013. Special thanks to those who have helped house me during my travels, to those who encouraged me when I doubted myself, to those who attended my workshops, and of course to you, my dear reader.

Upcoming Street Photography Workshops

If you want to conquer your fears and meet new peers, join me in Stockholm, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, NYC, Istanbul & More!

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  • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

    Another great article Eric, honest and frank as ever. Keep up the great writing!

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

      Thanks again Gaz, keep up your great work too!

      • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

        thanks Eric!

  • http://twitter.com/polarapfel Tobias Weisserth

    Inspiring blog post. And the fact you have successfully transformed your life makes me happy for you. Congratulations. Keep working hard at your photography, the images shown in this post are great.

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

      :) Thanks Tobias for the encouragement, I hope to continue to help spread positive vibes and knowledge through the blog and this great community! Cheers

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Donohoe/100000308877053 Paul Donohoe

    Congratulations Eric…two years? god..doesn’t feel that long really…You’ve done extremely well and should be proud. This article really is good, so many good insights…minimilism is a biggie isn’t it? as is quality vs quantiy…not to mention good shoes LOL…images are great too..not sure about the bacon on the street in Sydney mind LOL…oh by the way..happy birthday

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

      Time flies when you’re having fun huh Paul? Thanks for the happy birthday wishes, I still am trying to live more with less– but it is definitely hard. A lifelong pursuit!

  • Balaji Sharma

    Another good post. The point on letting one’s photos marinate for a while is particularly important. There is a certain benefit that comes with shutting out possibilities for instant gratification, that brings in a better perspective in editing and evaluating one’s work over time.

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

      One of my favorite parts definitely about shooting film, it forces me to let my photos marinate. I am a bit too giddy when shooting digital ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Chen/1632234962 David Chen

    Very inspiring article, Eric! Good work!

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

      Thanks David!

  • Tracy Clayton

    Great post Eric. Thanks for sharing. Funny I just read a posting by Roger Coulam regarding “Travelling Light” today on the Leica Blog. I can especially appreciate letting your photos marinate and quality over quantity…good rule of thumb.

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

      Cheers thanks for the share Tracy, checked it out from your rec :)

  • Michael Ares

    Great article Eric!

    2012 was a learning year for myself since it was my first year of doing street photography. Figuring out what style I wanted to do, and deciding wether or not to even bother doing a project.

    In 2013 I will try to get a closer, shoot more in color, and build my project (It’s already in the works but I don’t want to say too much yet, but it’ll be a year-long project)

    Here’s to 2013!

    Cheers!

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

      Thanks Michael, been following your work and keep up the hustle and shooting the streets of LA. You don’t necessarily have to work on a project, but I have found it always has given me focus. Excited to see more color work from you too!

  • E

    You have been talking about this suits project for a while and there is one thing about this project that bugs me: you seem to go into it determined to confirm your own experience of it (i.e. it sucks). It’s a bit like going out on the streets to shoot, determined to prove that life sucks. My advice would be to be more open, use “suits” (not “suits = bad”) to define what this project is.

    Could be I misunderstand how you define “suit” and that to you it means to be miserable, but I’m sure there are many out there who could be labeled suits who still live rich and meaningful lives (both at work and outside it).

    • http://martosc.wordpress.com/ MartosC, [Gm]

      Eric, I agree with E. I think it’s better to be open minded on how you see “suits”.

      “… But still, whenever I see others in suits I can feel their pain- their struggle – their loss of identity. I can sympathize with them having jobs that they hate, just to pay the bills, support the family, and hopefully one day be considered “successful”…”

      Not everyone (in suits) hate their job. For instance, me. It has ups and downs (as life is), but I love mine — not because of the money, promotion, or success, but because it fulfills me. It also balanced out well with my other interests, including photography. You don’t have to sympathize with me :-). I believe people define happiness differently. They also define success differently. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      Have a great 2013… Cheers!

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

        Martosc, great to hear that– as long as you do what you are passionate about that is all that matters. Cheers!

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

      Of course, there were many positive things about working for the corporate world–the security, sense of community, and of course the stable income. But I think it wasn’t cut out for me. Still know a lot of others that absolutely love their jobs.

      I think photography is always biased, and certainly this project is. It is more of a self-portrait than how others are!

  • Steveniphoto

    Nice to hear your thoughts man. Hope all is well. Come through SF again if you have a chance.

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

      You know it boy, will keep you updated!

  • Tasso

    Eric. Wishing you all the best and continued success in 2013.

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

      Thanks Tas, always hearing from you puts a smile on my face :)

  • http://kschenk.com/ Kevin Schenk

    I’ve missed your help posts in this format! Great summary. I can relate to staying in one place for a while, packing light, and focusing more on quality than quantity. And GAS. That X100s…

    I started to get serious with street photography at the beginning of 2012, largely thanks to posts I read on your blog. The blog helped me get started, learn the basics, and conquer my fears of shooting pictures with random people in them. Now, I’ve moved on and found my own way of shooting that works for me.

    Your post on forming street photography communities made me realize that, hey, that sounds like a cool idea! Nine months later and the Edmonton Street Photography Club has 104 members on Facebook and new faces at each monthly meetup. This blog is always a good recommendation when someone asks “What the heck is street photography, and how do I do it?”

    I look forward to seeing the “Kids with Guns” and “Suits” projects. It’s nice to see more street photographers using colour, too!

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

      Awww cheers keep up the great work with the Edmonton Street Photography Club, and keep spreading that positive energy. Street Photography is such a beautiful thing to share, especially in the community!

  • Tracy Clayton

    Eric I meant to ask, regarding you shooting color film for street work particularly the Kodak Portra 400. I see you cary at least 25 rolls of the stuff on any given trip. Are you pushing the film at all or just shooting at box speed with the Kodak Portra 400?

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

      I’m shooting almost everything with a flash, so I always shoot box speed on portra 400- hope that helps!

  • d_horton

    Eric, thanks for sharing. I read your blog entries on and off throughout the year but you never disappoint. I appreciate the candor and thoughtfulness of your writing—always gracious and modest. Your reflections on the past year and your aspirations for the coming are admirable. I’ll be reading your entires much more consistently in 2013. You’re an enlightened 25 year old. Keep following your heart! Peace, david

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

      Aww shucks thanks David, but I still have a lot to learn/experience from street photography and life!

  • Diego Gallegos

    I would like to say thank you for all of the content you have posted in 2012. For me, 2012 was the year that I reignited my passion for photography and a lot of it came from the very inspiring posts you made on this site about not only the technical side of photography but the emotional and spiritual connection behind it. I have learnt so many great lessons that I will never forget. Lessons that i have never seen taught anywhere else or at least explained in the manner that you explain them.

    Your posts on great photographers like Bruce Davidson, Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank have all propelled my photography in a direction I never thought I’d be able to go. Your advice is timeless and profound when you’re at your best, so thank you for an amazing year. I hope to follow your work for many years to come!!

    PS. I live in Melbourne and am still kicking myself about the fact that I missed out on your workshop.. Maybe one day I will have the privilege to attend one of your workshops. They seem like an amazing experience.

    All the best!!!

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

      Diego, thanks so much for the feedback! I hope to continue to make posts that I feel are helpful. I am still getting started, hope to do more in 2013!

      And yes, will be in Melbourne again in the future for a workshop, will keep you updated :D

      • Diego Gallegos

        Yay! I’m subscribed to the mailing list so I’ll be looking forward to that workshop in Melbourne or even Sydney!!

  • http://www.postlinearity.com gregorylent

    nice words … enjoy this 2013 thing, let people come to you, bees to flower ..

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

      :) Thanks Gregory, keep spreading that positive energy – and I will try my best too!

  • Amar Patel

    Wonderful words :) Thanks for sharing friend..

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

      Thank you for the support Amar!

  • lee

    ” whenever I see others in suits I can feel their pain- their struggle – their loss of identity. I can sympathize with them having jobs that they hate, just to pay the bills, support the family, and hopefully one day be considered “successful”.” Dude not everyone feels the same way about their job some people love that stuff

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

      Hey Lee- of course, I know many people who love working in offices. But this series is more of a self-portrait of myself, than others.

      • lee

        good point well made mate

  • http://www.facebook.com/kostadelmar Kosta Greig

    Eric, I love this entry. I think the time to reflect has done you a world of good! I hope 2013 builds from your successful 2012.
    I remember back when I quizzed you about the cool bike you shot in 2010.
    send me an email sometime – and if you do come to Melbourne again, let me know :)

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  • sydneysidejimmy

    Great entry!!! keep up the good work!

  • http://infocast.nl/ Barend Jan de Jong

    Hi Eric,

    Maybe this comment comes a bit late, but I still want to congratulate you with your birthday as well as the whole life changing experience that you share on this blog with the world. Thank you for making me and all your followers part of that experience.

    Cheers, BJ

  • Nicholas Leach

    Nice post Eric – really enjoyed it

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyrel.hiebert Tyrel Hiebert

    Great post! Thanks for the wealth of info and reference material! I have been shooting film for only about 4 months now and I am learning a lot from your website and youtube videos. Thanks again!

  • Nabaz Anwar

    Good summary Eric.
    Good to see you develop in such a fast paste.
    Great blog…. good luck in 2013.

  • grace

    Great post. Really nice reflections!

  • Colin Corneau

    Many lessons learned are the same for me, and probably others – less is more, the benefits of film, the fact it takes 2-3 weeks to get to ‘know’ a place, slowing down.
    I think these lessons, paradoxically combined with the crazy pace of the Internet, will give rise to some new things in photography in the days ahead.

  • Doublewhirler

    Eric, keep up the good work and thanks for the recommendation of “A Guide to the Good Life”. It is a great book with many easily applicable lessons for life. Just wrote a short review of it on the Doublewhirler blog. Thanks again, DW

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

      Cheers anytime! Will check it out

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rt66pix Frank Gifford

    Eric–I recently stumbled onto your wonderful site and have begun to soak up some of what’s here. I have included a link to your blog from mine at http://www.rt66pix.com. Please let me know if this is NOT okay. Best,

  • http://www.facebook.com/rt66pix Frank Gifford

    Eric–I finally (2010) made the switch from film to digital. I find it interesting that we came to opposite conclusions. My rationale was to avoid paying 50-cents for each “failure” and to avoid the kind of film-changing debacle shown in the Garry Winogrand video you’ve posted. (Winogrand missed the action because he was out of film.) My D7000 with dual cards allows for shooting 2000 RAW images, a 40-FOLD improvement over 48-exposure film. The battery would likely be low long before, but that is a simple one-time swap. A single great image missed while changing film justifies the switch to digital in my view–not to mention digital’s ultimately cheaper cost. I’d be interested in your thoughts. Again, this is a great site with a lot of thought-provoking material.

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