My Vision of Open Source Photography (Volume 2)

Marseille, France

Marseille, France 2013. You can download the full-resolution (and print it for free) here.

When I first started my blog, I wrote about the idea of “open source photography.” To sum up the idea, I wanted to make a personal vow to always keep the information on this blog open and free for anyone to use, remix, or share.

I remember when I was an undergraduate student at school, and I was so broke I could barely afford textbooks. It always infuriated me how these textbook companies would charge ridiculous sums of money for knowledge that I believed should be open and free to promote knowledge, wisdom, and learning for the rest of humanity. Sure I do agree that these companies have to make a profit somehow, but I think that charging $200 a textbook (required reading) was excessive for a student surviving on pizza and ramen.

I have always been into computers growing up, and my student job was IT. I remember first reading about “open source” software and was amazed how generous these developers were in creating software that changed the world. It gave access to people who could not afford expensive copies of Windows, Office, or Photoshop. The open source versions were free to download, and were nearly as good (sometimes even better) than their expensive for-profit-driven counterparts.

I grew up in the lower socio-economic class in America, with my mom holding down three part time jobs working as a waitress, cashier, and even cleaning houses to put me and my sister through school. The biggest resources that helped us were public services (thank God for libraries) and other free organizations that helped me build character and leadership skills (Boy Scouts, local community centers, etc).

I was also fortunate enough that I was able to pay my way through school at UCLA with a combination of grants from the American government and also through my work study job (also subsidized from the government). I also have had countless mentors throughout my life who dedicated thousands of hours to help shape me into the person I am today, and I have a moral and societal obligation to give back to the community.

Therefore I want to re-clarify my purpose of running this blog. My purpose is to spread and promote the love of street photography— via educational posts (what I have learned from the master street photographers), inspirational (interviews and feature for contemporary street photographers), or community-based (exhibitions, books, etc.) I initially started this blog as a hobby and to help others in their journey in street photography (as there were few community-driven blogs online dedicated to street photography about three years ago). I have been lucky enough to make it a living primarily by teaching workshops.

I am certainly not the authority when it comes to street photography. There is still a lot I am ignorant of and many things I need to learn. I am not the best street photographer either, I don’t have a body of work I am proud of yet. However I have the passion, drive, and fervent love of street photography I want to promote– and I wish to contribute to the community by sharing things I have been learning along the way.

Therefore I want to reiterate the fact that I will never charge anything on the blog in terms of information. I will make sure that anything information-based (articles, videos, features, etc) will always be available openly and for free on the blog. I do envision myself writing more paper-bound books in the future, but if I self publish these– I want to always have an ebook available for free online.

I also plan on offering more free street photography workshops to students as well as those who cannot traditionally afford to attend my workshops. I have recently offered some student scholarships when I taught workshops in Manila, and also hosted a charity-based workshop in Detroit with Brian Day which was pay-what-you-can (the profits went to the Detroit firefighters fund).

I have no intentions to becoming rich through my blog, and certainly don’t want to be a blood-thirsty capitalist. I studied sociology in school and I view my socio-political-economic views as quite liberal, and I hope not to stray away from my core ideals and beliefs. If I do by chance become a blood-thirsty capitalist/vampire trying to suck profits out of the street photography community, please stab a wooden stake through my heart and bust out the garlic.

I also wanted to announce that I have recently made all of my photos on Flickr available for free as full-resolution downloads. So if you have ever liked any of my photos and wanted a print, feel free to download any photo and print any sized photo you want. Use it as wallpapers, prints to hang on your wall, or whatever you want to use them for (non commercial). And no, you don’t need my permission.

I already make a living through my workshops and am currently earning enough to live comfortably. I am starting to think more about my future financially (in terms of starting a family, buying a house, all of that “grown up” stuff) but I want to always keep the information on my blog available for free.

Currently what I think is charging for workshops and 1:1 courses (online or offline) to earn my living (and also I love teaching as well) while keeping everything else available for free.

I also just moved into my new place in Berkeley and finally am starting to get settled in. I ordered an uber-fast 50megabit Internet connection for my home (will be installed this weekend) so I plan on publishing video lectures, and I also hope to write more free e books on street photography. I am also currently a bit burnt out from international travel, and I want to focus my energies more locally while spending more time with my girlfriend, family, and close friends.

I think this year (and hopefully many years to come) will be a well spring of educational learning and community-involvement (I am collaborating more with guest writers for this blog). I also hope to become more involved in the local Bay Area photography scene, as this is where I grew up (I grew up in Alameda).

Thanks again so much for reading, participating, and helping this beautiful art of street photography flourish. None of this would be possible without you.

– Written at the Berkeley Starbucks on Center street, 8/29/2013

Free stuff

Below are some free downloads you are free to download, edit, modify, share (or whatever else you want to do with it!)

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  • Igor, Toronto

    thanks Eric, this is your letter-of-love to all the people here.
    You are the true giver. Justin has another passion he shares for free with thousands of people, you guys make a difference in this world. True story of love, mindfullness and compassion!!!
    Igor, Toronto

  • Brian Day

    Hey E,

    I had no idea you were writing this article, so imagine my surprise that you mentioned the firefighter thing (May seems like an eternity already, wow), and linked to my unruly Flickr page. We haven’t had a chance to talk in a while, and I don’t know if I ever got to tell you how that story played out after you left town. I guess you could call this an open source story.

    Anyway, as you know, it was a full “class” of participants in the workshop, with folks who came from halfway across the country to join. Everyone agreed on where the full amount of their voluntary “tuition” would be donated (huge thanks to Neil Ta and Chris Hardy, by the way, who went WAY out of their way and spent the entire weekend helping make everything happen, and never asked for anything in return). That in itself was inspiring to see, that it was as much about the pay-it-forward community aspect of things from the entire group as it was about sharing some insights about street photography.

    So, yeah, about those “profits…” Actually, I went out and bought myself a M Monochrom Gucci edition from Bellamy. The money never made it to the firefighters.

    Just kidding.

    The Detroit Fireman’s fund office is run largely by volunteers, and as I sat in the office with this cash filled manilla envelope, everyone just sort of assumed I was there to hand over $20. The guy counting the money was a retired fireman, an older Irish gent probably in his early 60’s or so, who’d spent more than 35 years fighting fires in the city. As he thumbed through the bills, making notes in his ledger, his eyes started to get watery, and he called over another guy to verify the count. He said “I gotta ask, what made you do this? Why us? So you guys didn’t get paid from this at ALL?” The whole office got quiet, and everyone listened. So, I told them about a friend of mine named Eric who teaches something called “street photography” (I had to kind of explain that, the term is unfamiliar to, you know, normal people) – who’d never even been to Detroit before, but is as generous as they come – and got a few of us together just to try and do something positive. They could hardly believe it.

    Time will tell, but that may well have been the most worthwhile and memorable thing photography will ever have done for me, personally. I certainly didn’t shoot anything memorable, lol. Seriously, it was really your willingness to practice what you preach about building a sense of community among photographers, totally ego free and without any pretense of being some kind of money hungry diva. Charging money for a workshop is no less an honest job than being a carpenter or a shopkeeper. There are varying degrees of intent and skill within every profession; that’s not uncommon. What IS uncommon is this: How many people would anonymously donate their entire paycheck – their primary source of income – to a group of TOTAL (albeit well deserving) strangers? Not so common.

    As an aside, the actual workshop was fun, the presentations were lively and articulate, and it didn’t feel at all like folks were being squeezed into some flavor-of-the month mode or told they had to buy Leicas and try to be like Gilden or Webb. You weren’t trying to be Papageorge either; you were being Eric Kim, and yet there was plenty in the curriculum.

    I see you catch a lot of undeserved grief around here from folks who don’t actually know you, or know what kind of person you are. Sure, that’s just how the Internet is these days, but you show a level of genuine humility an an “open source spirit” that is more important than your Leica, your skill level, and the content of any of these posts. I’m not your PR guy, and you know I don’t totally agree philosophically with everything done and said here, but I’m only filling in some of the gaps of this particular character experience because I know you really don’t toot your own horn. You don’t pretend to be _______________ or _______________, and I’m sure even your haters quietly pop in here from time to time to catch some free tips and be introduced to new, old, famous and obscure photographers and concepts that they may not have been able to unearth elsewhere. That, my good man, is hardcore. It’s love. I hope you keep on doing this thing, and let time be the judge of the return on investment. Just don’t write a Street Photography for Dummies book or start a WikiStreetogs. Deal?

    P.S. – Hey I just bought a Groupon for 75% off of a street photography workshop in my choice of Istanbul or New York, can I pay you the rest in Ramen and expired film? ;)


  • Dave

    Very cool with the access to full res files. Wish more people did that! I will for sure print and hang something at home.

    • scott alan photo

      I think Zack Arias does that… Or used to…. However he has been more of a music / editorial photographer, who is now getting into more street work.

  • Tom Hall

    Was going to say, “very Berkeley-like attitude”. All things (and people) find their place. :)

    Very cool. In Bay Area myself, a street meetup would be fun. No lack of interesting street characters / situations here!

  • Kyerion Printup

    Love the open source idea, I downloaded your picture to have it printed and framed so that I can add it to my wall of “quadros”! I’ve got a wall of framed photos, and eventually I want it to be predominantly other people’s work, for inspirational purposes.

    About your free e-book; my only suggestion would be to self-publish the bound version, and then run the free e-book once sales of the bound version slow down. By this you accomplish two things, 1) you’ve made profit on the bound version hopefully, 2) timing the release of the free e-book could resuscitate sells of the bound version once the sells of the bound version slow down. Just wouldn’t want to cannibalize profits in the name of altruism. You can do both; make some money and provide the information for free.

  • Kyerion Printup

    The distance learning platform is nice. I see that Charlie Kirk and Ming Thein, both well respected street photogs are doing something similar. I’m happy to see you doing this because I’ve wanted to attend your courses, but it’s hard to carve time out of my schedule to make a trip abroad. As a married man, it’s hard to justify traveling without my wife, because that’s a vacation we could be doing together. I’m definitely interested.

  • unshuttable

    Well, since you moved to Berkley I think soon or latter I’ll see you on the streets here in SF. I’ll say hi and we can even have a coffee.
    See you on the streets

  • Gianni Sorrentino

    Grazie Eric per quello che fai. Sono felice di apprendere la fotografia di strada dal tuo blog.

  • rpavich

    I guess my question is why you think that knowledge of any subject should be distributed free? Why is imparting knowledge different than say; the people that do your web hosting….do you get their product for free?

    I guess if you are fully committed to this idea then you shouldn’t ever charge for anything, if you do…then you really don’t believe it…it’s just enough lip service to assuage your conscience and give you the impression that you’re open about imparting your knowledge and “different” than those capitalists who charge too much for books.

    I can’t wait to find out when your workshops are going to be free from now on….I haven’t been able to afford them thus far.

    • Nick Clark

      Your whole comment is stupid. He said that he has to make a living, concentrate when you read for once, man.

      • Nut

        See, photographers make a living by selling photographs. A very few of them, occasionally teach workshops to make some extra bucks. That’s the way of the world.
        Here we have a photographer that gives away his photographs for free and takes money to teach photography. Why call rpavich a stupid ?

        • Jason Reed

          So you’re saying that just because he charges for workshops (his job) he shouldn’t allow free distribution of some of his images? Why can’t you all get the fact that he makes a living doing workshops but also gives away some images and advice and time for nothing? What’s so complicated about that? I bet very few people give away their skills and/or products for free.

          • Nut

            Do you know of any other professional photographer whose primary source of income is teaching workshops? I bet you won’t find one.

            The Magnum photographers teach workshops not more than twice a year and i don’t think more than 5% of their total income comes from workshops.

            For every profession, there are some preconceived ideas. Whenever we hear the term “pro photographer”, we immediately conclude the person makes a living selling images. This is true for every profession. A professional lawyer means someone who makes a living selling counsel. Do you know of any lawyer who gives counsel for free and teaches law for money? Or any doctor who prescribes medicines for free and teaches medical science for money?

            I haven’t said because he charges for his workshops he should not give away some of his images. BTW, he is not giving away “some” of his images, he is giving away all.

            Whatever he is trying to do is absurd. No other pro photographer in the world does that – give away your images for free and earn money teaching photography.

            When rpavich said – i can’t wait for your workshops to be free, he had a reason. If you can make your primary source of income free, why not your additional source of income?

          • Photographing Programmer

            He does exactly what the open source software movement does. Give away your intellectual property for free and then charge for services (workshops, courses, installation/adaptations). It works in software, so why wouldn’t it work for him. Al he wants to do is make a living, not earn a ton of money. Nobody is under any obligation to do exactly as he does. You can continue, for now at least ,until this old business model goes the way of downloadable music, to charge for your photos as much or as little as you like.

          • Nut

            Sorry, i don’t get your point. I understand the rationale behind open source softwares. I download the software for free. Since it’s a tool, i need to know to use it. So i need a tution for which i pay.

            Here, we shall have to consider what service the software manufacturer is giving us. The manufacturer is teaching us how to use his software to do a job. He is not teaching us how to make another software.

            In this case, the photographer is teaching me to make a photograph and not to use his photograph to do something else. So how does his giving away photographs for free lead to charged services? I may not at all be interested in taking photographs but i can download his images.

            You say – all he wants to do is make a living. That’s the funny point here. A professional photographer wants to make a living teaching workshops instead of selling prints.

            From your user name, i guess you write image editing softwares. How would you like to make a living? By selling your software to others or by teaching others how to make a similar software like yours?

    • Stephen Cosh

      Eric states quite clearly that he will charge for workshops and keep the blog free – which is admirable.

      If you think that all knowledge should be chargeable, the chances are you wouldn’t be able to read this blog. Did you pay for education (all of it)? How much did it cost you to learn how to read and write?

      Free knowledge is what makes the world go round…

      • Nut

        “Eric states quite clearly that he will charge for workshops and keep the blog free – which is admirable.”

        Why is it admirable ?

        This blog is visited by 30000 visitors every month. If he charges 1$ per month, he will earn 30000$ p.m. A university professor in U.S.A earns 7000-10000$ p.m.

        Now the readers perspective –

        Instead of paying 1500$ for a workshop, we can pay just 12$ per year and learn all those stuff which he teaches.

        • Daniel

          Man, all that hate because of someone else’s life choices. Don’t you get tired? All that energy you wasted posting here could be directed to something more productive like… I don’t know… taking pictures?

          If you hate Eric and think he’s a hoax, it should be pretty easy for you to outperform him, right? Isn’t it the best way to prove your point than hiding behind a keyboard?

  • Giovanni

    just want to say that I admire your “I’m still learning” attitude and your openness, which shows in your approach to subjects, willingness to share with photo buddies/students, dedication to absorbing and elaborating the vision of thr masters. Best luck with our new home, enjoy Berkeley for all it offers.
    Cheers, G

  • Davin Ellicson

    You make a living through your workshops?! I am unclear who would go to one? If you are going to pay for a street workshop, there is Webb, Harvey, Sobel, Parke and a few others. That’s it.

    • Nick Clark

      You sound like an 11 year old? Let me guess you are also white.

      • Nut

        Indeed he does. The problem with 11 year olds are, they, unlike us, tell the brazen truth.

    • Michael Rasmussen

      And Kim. You forgot to list Kim.

  • Scott Alan Photo

    Hope Davin was being sarcastic. I would go to one if I had the extra money to do so. Obviously, many people have gone in the past. If you look at posts from the workshops you could see those who have attended. Thank you Eric for all you have done and all you are doing. You are an inspiration to many.

  • Simon Garnier

    Open source? Maybe you should start by removing this “© All Rights Reserved” tag on your Flickr pictures then ;-)

  • Davin Ellicson

    You sound like a fraud. There’s only a few teaching street workshops and you are not one of them.

    • mishobaranovic

      Jealous much @davinellicson:disqus ?

  • Kaushal Parikh

    I may not agree with the photos for free philosophy but that’s fine. You can never please everyone and that should never be the goal anyway. What I can vouch for is that Eric is passionate and sincere about what he does and most importantly he is a good guy and a good friend. Keep at it!

  • Jeremy Nix

    I appreciate everything you make available online, and I love your work.

  • Gerry L

    I also share my knowledge and images for free on the web. I figure that I already have a comfortable job and I don’t really need more. Giving the knowledge and images away is also quite liberating. Keep up the great work.

  • Michael Rasmussen

    Awesome Erik, your generosity and attitude is a continuing great example for all of us.

  • Balázs Varga (Nebulon)

    Dear Eric!
    The open source idea, is defenetly the future, your work has helped me a lot to improve my photography!

    I feel lucky, to have the chance to learn from you!
    Thank you very much, keep up good work!

  • Larry Cohen

    Good for you, Eric. This SP thing is a framework for people to engage in the flow of life. You are uniquely capable of helping beginners do this. That’s quite a gift.

  • Michael Meinhardt

    I like the open source idea.

    Question out of interest, though: if someone approached you to buy a picture from you for a nice amount of money – like, say, $5000 – would you then tell them they can have it for free or would you take the money? And how would you feel about it if you took it?

    • George

      Usage is the key component of how images are licensed. Eric has effectively given everyone a license for private/personal use of his images (only the ones on flickr from what I can tell). If someone approached to offer him money, they would only do that if the usage fell outside the scope of the current license. So why wouldn’t he sell images?

  • Jason Reed

    Well said Eric and congrats on your continuing and tireless contribution to the SP community. This article comes at just the right time to send a message out to those who are taking commercialism to an extreme. What some below don’t seem to be getting is that you are trying to strike a balance between making a living at something you love doing and giving back for free. They should have a look at some of the other bloggers out there and see what they are giving away – nothing. In an age where some are selling their images printed on coffee mugs and t-shirts and doing nothing but promote themselves in an aggressive and horribly didactic manner, this comes as a welcome reminder of what really should be happening. I’m not suggesting that every shooter should simply “give” away his life’s work. For those who shoot film in particular, sales of prints are an important way to recoup some of the ridiculous costs of film and processing. Anyone who picks holes in your sharing of images is just being argumentative and petty. Grow up people.

  • Aranjedeath

    Dude. Awesome. I don’t even know you, but after reading this I will be going out of my way to make sure you have an extra customer or two. Capitalism for the public interest ;)

  • Eka

    Hey Eric..
    I hope u have a time to visit Indonesia and do a workshop here.. :) i bet u never shot street photos in Indonesia, am I right?.. :D

    C U

  • Michael Ares

    Keep doing what you’re doing Eric!

  • Blake

    An interesting idea, Eric. Curious to see how this develops. Hopefully you can track stats and post some info on which photos are being downloaded where and by whom.

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  • Sofia Lucifairy

    The effect of what you do is to lower the demand for other photographers’ images since not everyone can afford to give away images for free.

    • Dan

      It’s street photography for non commercial purposes only. It’s not like he’s shooting weddings, photojournalism, landscapes, sports or advertising for free.

      No harm done for the business.

  • Fernando Callo

    God bless you man! That’s all I can say.

  • angel

    you are a great person eric

  • victor, not proffesional, just hobby, take a look, leave a comm if you like

  • Robert Mark

    “Blood thirsty capitalist”? Give me a break. Quick way to lose half your audience is to disparage them. Stick to photography.

  • Stephan Faraci

    Thank you Eric ! Focusing on teaching and sharing will make everyone wealthier. You have quite a lot of people criticizing anything you do, what a shame…

  • MrJimmy

    First Let me say I like the concept of street photography, But I don’t like the idea
    Mr. Kim giving away free photography’s and calling it open source or Mr. Kim claiming to be giving back to the community. If in his short years he has become such a great maker of world class street shots as his followers keep asserting to and typically without providing evidence of that by ways of sales or major events such as major exhibition of his work. Then I see this as Mr. Kim doing what he does best. Selling himself. He is a blogger. Print, Internet, Photo, Video, Mr. Kim is about promoting Mr. Kim. And nothing more. Mr. Kim I am sure loves cameras and picture taking so he has found a way to pay for it all. Cant blame him for that. If Mr. Kim was a great talent then he would sell is photographs and make millions and then give his workshops to anyone that shows up for free. But no! he is a blood-thirsty capitalist/vampire trying to suck profits out of the street photography community by charging 10 to 20 people a 1000.00 dollars each to shot a camera on the street. And saying he is giving back by giving away photos he cant sell in the first place. Mr. Kim is a Blogger. And a good one. He is hard working and cares about people all over the world I am sure. He is a nice guy and loves to travel and that takes money. He has large fan base and he is making money off them. How can you blame him for that. Its like Exxon Mobil saying there going green.

    • SEQLAR

      ” If Mr. Kim was a great talent then he would sell is photographs and make millions and then give his workshops to anyone that shows up for free. But no! he is a blood-thirsty capitalist/vampire trying to suck profits out of the street photography community by charging 10 to 20 people a 1000.00 dollars each to shot a camera on the street.”

      You live in a world of fantasy or something? Please tell me how many people TODAY out make millions of their street photography ? You people are ridiculous.

      • Nut

        You are right, no one today earns millions from street photography. It’s also equally true that no one today makes a living teaching street photography.
        If MrJimmy is ridiculous, both you and Eric Kim are equally ridiculous.
        The full quote may be theatrical, but what is true is –
        “trying to suck profits out of the street photography community”

        • SEQLAR

          It looks like you have trouble reading my response to MrJimmy. Please point me where in my reply have I stated as you’ve taken it “You are right, no one today earns millions from street photography. ” . Where have I made a positive claim that NO ONE TODAY EARNS MILLIONS FROM STREET PHOTOGRAPHY? Silly you. Sure there might be still some who make millions, but these people are most likely a tiny minority in comparison to the general street photography market in 2000’s.

  • dnguyen

    Could make a custom ND filter and instantly get the same results anywhere.

    • dnugyen

      woops wrong blog

  • Neenad Arul

    ahh i knew this was coming :) best of luck ,you inspire!! goal is to be happy doing whatever you like.


    I really don’t understand the hate people come here with. Let Kim do what he desires to do. He wants to give away his photographs for non-commercial use for free let him. He wants to charge money for workshops let him. Why is it your business to come here and hate on his decisions. Do any of his decisions affect you ? No , so why do you come here and cry around like little babies? What are you main issues that he charges for workshops? Well how can he not? Who is going to pay for travel expenses to cities around the world? You think a street photographer these days makes millions so he can fly around and teach it for free? Kim has already given plenty of his information on street photography on youtube for free. Give me one good reason why your hatred towards KIM is any valid.

    • Nut

      So far, many have provided reason. In this particular thread, it has been provided by MrJimmy.
      Now let me ask you a question. Why do you(i mean Eric Kim’s followers) expect there will be no people that disagree with Eric Kim? If you are that intolerant, why not moderate comments in this blog ? There are many blogs that do so. Let us put our hatred in queue, If the Great Kim approves those then only they will be visible.
      Lastly, we don’t cry like babies. It’s Eric Kim who sings lullabies thinking we are babies. He has been singing lullabies for the last few years.
      He may be the pied-piper of Hamlin for you, but we understand very well what he is.


    Here goes an army of cry babies… If you claim to be open source why do you charge for workshops???!! WHY!!!!!! LOL, you people are unbelievable, what else should he do for you? Wipe your dirty spoiled butts because your mommies are not around?

  • GrandMinnow

    Some thoughts about the idea of providing full size files for download:

    (1) Just to be clear (and this is as far as I understand) the magnanimousness of this in the file size itself, and not in allowing people to make prints, since there is no prohibition (let alone an enforceable one) on people making prints (and hanging them on their wall at home) of whatever they find on the Internet.

    (2) I recognize that there are people who would enjoy printing from your full size files, but even your most ardent fans would have to admit that your photography is not in demand (and, from comments you’ve made elsewhere) it seems you’ve accepted that it’s highly unlikely that your photography would ever be in demand. So one should be forgiven for looking at your offer with a somewhat jaundiced eye: Your offer does seem to be a self-congratulating moral fanfare over nothing really. There’s at least a hint of grandiosity in purporting that posting full size files of photographs not even in demand is way to meet a “moral and societal obligation to give back to the community”.

    (3) Your announcement reminds me of a certain lacuna in your postings and generally in other “street photography” forums on the Internet, viz. the importance of prints in photography. Hardly ever do I read about aspects of printing (whether darkroom or digital) in “street photography” forums. Yet the print is the actual work. Of course, one may choose to say that the posted digital file is itself the intended piece, but still, to a large extent, prints (either exhibited or published in book or folio form) are what photographers aim for.

    I even find rampant, blatant, and dogmatic ignorance (not necessarily you, Eric) on this subject. I often read people say that files should not receive extensive dodging, burning or color adjustments in Photoshop. That is a true misunderstanding. Through the history of photography (prior to digital), it was well understood that a GREAT amount of work may go into the printing of a negative or transparency, and, with color photography, even including intricate color manipulations. (For an example, do an Internet search for the image of the very detailed printing instructions for Dennis Stock’s picture of James Dean walking in Times Square). This principle applies, mutatis mutandis, with digital photography. It is mere irrational dogma to insist that a photographic artist must not use the logical resources of Photoshop to produce the end image. What is particularly annoying is that so many of these people who say “it’s cheating to use Photoshop for more than elementary tweaks” have themselves no experience or appreciation of actual darkroom photography, of which Photoshop is a logical extension.

    This leads me to my point about posting downloadable full size files. For a photographer to then encourage people to make their own prints is for the photographer to abnegate himself – his VISION of what the image should look like, of what the image should BE – by taking himself out of the chain of artistic decision as to how the file should be printed (either by himself or by a trusted printer) so that now reproductions are merely fungible.

    One may argue back that this is fine – that, anyway, fussiness about prints and such only reflects outdated proprietary notions of the artist and his work – that in the open, generous, sharing new age, images are, and should be, subsumed as part of the free and collective data of this new and evolutionary, selfless omniverse. It that is your view, then enjoy, and wear it in good health.

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  • Nut

    “….but looking at many of his photographs shows that he isn’t someone who has no idea about the subject…. ”

    Now that’s a subjective opinion, no. I may think otherwise, looking at his photographs shows he doesn’t know anything. This may prompt me to come over to his blog and spit venom. Let him delete my comments.

    • SEQLAR

      You do realize art is mostly subjective. There are some rules in beauty in general but what one might like the others don’t have to. Your claim that he doesn’t know anything is also subjective. So why should I care what you say? I personally see some photographs that are great and I could only wish I was the one who captured them. You keep whining, once again what is your argument? You admitted that your opinion about his photography is subjective therefore what are you doing here? Seems like you are here because you don’t like that Erik charges money for his workshops. Jealous? Is your argument that Erik shouldn’t provide workshops because you find his work not up to your standards? And here’s a problem for you because that’s your subjective opinion. If there are people out there who enjoy his work and want to learn from him why is it your business to complain about it?

      • Nut

        “So why should I care what you say? ”

        Where have i told you to care? So far, in this blog, the lovers have questioned – Why do you hate? ; haters have not questioned – why do you love?

        “Is your argument that Erik shouldn’t provide workshops because you find his work not up to your standards?”

        You have almost got the point, slight clarification is needed. It is not the question of my standard. It is the question of standard of a photography teacher. I don’t find his work up to the standard of a photography teacher.

        “If there are people out there who enjoy his work and want to learn from him why is it your business to complain about it?”

        You cannot take away my right to give my opinion. Of course you can sensor it. Delete my comment.

        • Nut

          Sorry, read “censor” instead of “sensor”

        • SEQLAR

          “It is the question of standard of a photography teacher.” – Since he isn’t regulated by any body he is free to provide any standard he wishes. I have no idea what his standard is since I never participated in his workshop. It would be best to listen to some reviews of those who did in fact participate in one of his workshops. You don’t seem to like photographs, that’s fine it’s your subjective opinion and you are entitled to it, but unless you participated in his workshop I think you shouldn’t really be commenting on his workshops. Remember, just because someone might not be a great photographer himself it does not mean he doesn’t have knowledge that he can share with others that is still valuable to those who wish to use his services. Teaching is a bit easier than creating works of art and it’s rather obvious that one does not need to be a renowned photographer to teach about photography. There are plenty of coaches, teachers , instructors in arts who have never been successful in producing amazing works that does not mean they are poor teachers and have no valuable knowledge to share with others. Look at other fields where there are coaches, instructors and teachers , many of them are the best out there yet they themselves never succeeded far in the fields they teach about.

          • Nut

            “You don’t seem to like photographs, that’s fine it’s your subjective opinion and you are entitled to it, but unless you participated in his workshop I think you shouldn’t really be commenting on his workshops.”

            My comment was not about his workshops. All i have said is i don’t see the standard in his photographs which i expect from a photography teacher. I think he is no where near the standard of work that photography teachers produce.

            “…and it’s rather obvious that one does not need to be a renowned photographer to teach about photography.”

            I agree, but there should be something to back the claim. Say, a book by a reputed publisher, or a gallery representation, or an award or a scholarship. We even don’t know where from he has come, where he has learnt photography, who are his mentors, what legacy he his carrying.

          • GrandMinnow

            “[…] just because someone might not be a great photographer himself it does not mean he doesn’t have knowledge that he can share with others that is still valuable to those who wish to use his services. ”

            I concur. And I can’t comment on what he achieves or does not achieve in the workshops. But based on his blog articles and videos, it’s not clear what Mr. Kim’s knowledge is: His presentation is confused, contradictory, distracted, superficial, and rife with misconceptions. On the other hand, he does get points for enthusiasm and for the sense of friendship he instills among his students.

          • Nut

            “On the other hand, he does get points for enthusiasm and for the sense of friendship he instills among his students.”

            I agree, but how does that qualify him as someone with expertise in photography.

    • Mia

      Ok, as I read this for the first time visiting this blog, it is evident that you lack blog “etiquette.” If you can’t say something nice, or even neutral, you might consider not sounding like a donkey’s rear end. I am a teacher, and I teach photography in the middle school. I wouldn’t want you showing up in my class and telling my kids how crappy their work is. Photography is something you create, not just snap and be done with it. Basic principals apply to critiquing all photos (light, clarity, reflections/shadows, etc.) however it is also art and art is subjective. Photography is never black and white, but some pictures I’ll grant you are better than others. You might want to be a little kinder when you post.

  • nipon

    Eric, I follow your blog since 1 year now. I discovered a lot of other photograpgers, idea or project through it. I really enjoy your interview or analysis of others photographers work.
    I start a 1 camera, 1 lens1 1film project 8 months ago thanks to that and enjoy it a lot.
    Thanks for everything and keep going!

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