Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Hey streettogs, thanks for staying tuned in for the “Saigon Diary” series.

For the sake of getting sleep and having higher quality posts, I’ve decided not to keep a daily diary– but to update every 2-3 days (depending on how interesting my days are).

Some people are asking me why I’m showing bad photos in these series. So to clarify, I am trying to make this process of taking photos in Saigon as transparent as possible. So I am purposefully putting out bad photos, critiquing my own work, and sharing some of my thought process. My hope is that this is helpful to you!

So the last few days in Vietnam have been quite awesome. I haven’t made any good photos yet, but being in Saigon has been a good chance for me to learn more Vietnamese and try awesome food. I just enrolled in an intensive 40-hour course (in which I study 4 hours a day) and one of my goals is to become decent at conversational Vietnamese by the end of the summer.

Let me start this post with some more good food:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Note to self: the Fujifilm x100s in macro mode is the ultimate food photography camera.

Anyways moving on, warning: the next photo might make you sick (it is photos of a dead rat).

Stuff on the ground:

About 2 years I worked on a project that I called “Stuff on the ground.” It literally was a bunch of random photos I took at similar angles of stuff on the ground. Here are some photos from the project (I never published):

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Photograph of dead rat:

When I was walking down the street, I saw a potential photo of a dead rat on the ground. Here is the first shot I took:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

The good thing about taking photos of dead things is that they don’t move. So I had all the time in the world to photograph this dead rat– with a better composition.

Around frame #7 I took out the leaf away from the rat, because I thought it took away from the minimalism of the scene. Call it “altering the scene” — but I don’t mind taking out leaves from photos.

I took a bunch of shots, rotating my cameras with different compositions and frames:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

My favorite shot of the rat is this one below:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I used a flash in the shot, which causes the rat to pop out a bit more from the background, and it also adds more contrast. I also quite like the orange leaves around the dead rat– which look quite elegant. But of course, the dead rat is quite gruesome. So I like the juxtaposition between the ‘death’ and ‘beauty’ of the shot.

In terms of composition, I have been trying to incoporate the “golden triangle” which I learned from Adam Marelli. The concept is connecting a diagonal with two reciprocal lines (that intersect it at a perpendicular angle). The “golden triangle” originates from the “golden ratio.”

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

If you use Lightroom 5, you can access the “golden triangle” by accessing the “Develop” mode (hotkey is “D”) and then going into the crop mode (hotkey is “R”) and then changing the overlay (hotkey is “O”). If you want to change the orientation of the overlay, you can press “Shift+O”:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

If you press “O” a bunch of times, you can change the overlay. Here is the fibonacci spiral over the image:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

So when I was shooting the photo of the rat, I didn’t see the red spiral of the fibonacci spiral in my viewfinder. But I am quite conscious about keeping the “golden triangle” in my mind while shooting:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I try to keep this in my mind when framing

Also here is where you can see the fibonacci spiral and the golden triangle overlap:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

An overlap of my rat photo again, fits it quite well:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

So you might be wondering: Eric, you can’t just expect to put all these red spirals on your photos after you’ve taken them.

For me, I didn’t see the fibonacci spiral in my head when shooting this photo, but followed the “golden triangle” instead. And after taking the image, I noticed that the fibonacci spiral fit the photo well, which confirms to me that the composition is well-framed and balanced. But just because the composition and framing is good– doesn’t make it a good photograph.

But for me, I still like the image because of the emotional content of the photograph– the disgusting visceral feel you look at when you see the image. It is a photograph that makes me uncomfortable– and I think striking that emotional chord for myself is a good indicator that it is an interesting photograph.

However the question I need to ask myself is: what does this photo of a dead rat have to do with Vietnam? Possibly nothing at all– but I’ll just hold onto the image for now, and see if it will fit into my final edit of Vietnam. If not, I can just add it to my on-going “stuff on the ground” series.

If you want to learn more about composition, check out my diagonal composition lesson– and all of the composition lessons here.

Reunification palace photo:

Another day Cindy and I were walking by the reunification palace. I saw a woman with a red umbrella, and the colors immediately popped out to me. I loved the red umbrella against the green grass, and the blue sky. Here is the contact sheet of the entire series:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I will analyze the photos more in-depth below:

When I first saw the scene, I took a photo quickly by gut:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

The first photo I took doesn’t work, because the frame in the far left is a bit too messy in my opinion. The second shot below is far stronger:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

This shot is now much stronger because there are good leading lines from the gate leading to the woman with the red umbrella:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

When I was taking the photograph, I was semi-aware of the leading line. But not 100% sure how it would turn out. Afterwards looking at the shot now, I can see some more leading lines leading your eyes to the woman in the red umbrella:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

In the next shot, a man runs into the photograph. I take 3 shots quickly:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Out of these three shots, the first one of the man with the legs split in a “V works the best. But I don’t know if a man running in the shot adds any interesting context to the image.

I take another with just the woman in the shot:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I like the simplicity and minimalism of the photograph, with the red flags prominent in the background, and you can slightly see the yellow star in the red flag in the middle of the frame. The frame is a bit empty on the bottom of the frame, and it is a bit too simple. But I like the minimalism of the photograph.

I also get another photo of a guy whizzing past in a motorbike. To me, the motorbike doesn’t add– but just distracts from the photograph.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

 

I take another of just the woman by herself. But now the flag in the middle of the frame is down, and you can’t see the yellow flag. This one is a ditch:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Another by herself, flag is still down. Ditch.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

She starts walking away– and I click.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Walks away more:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

About to exit the frame, this is my last shot:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

 

Looking at all the shots I took of the scene, the two favorites of mine is outlined:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

The first shot I like the leading lines, and how the vietnamese flag is fully-extended (you can see the red flag and the yellow star). What I find is a bit distracting is the crooked horizon.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

But then again, I kind of like the crooked horizon– it makes it more ‘edgy’ in my opinion. It reminds me of a photograph by Garry Winogrand (with his famous “Winogrand tilt”):

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

The second shot is nice for the minimalism of the photograph. The little green bar on the far left is a bit distracting. I like how the woman is now faced more towards the Vietnamese flag, but the flash isn’t as fully extended as the prior shot.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

If I could choose a favorite shot between the both, I would choose the prior image– because of the compositional strength of the leading lines and the extended flag in the shot.

The image isn’t particularly a ‘deep’ photograph– but I do like the colors and the elegance of the image. It also reminds me of another umbrella photo I took in Seoul in around 2009 (when I liked ‘pretty’ Henri Cartier-Bresson photos):

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Funny how themes or subjects in your work can repeat over the years.

Juxtaposition photo:

Today, I saw an old man with an old army hat in front of a modern advertisement for a cell-phone app. I thought to myself, this might make an interesting juxtaposition shot. So I got close to the subject, shot it as a vertical (not to get any clutter in the shot), and used the “EVF” (electronic viewfinder) in the Fujifilm x100s to get the framing more accurate. This is because the OVF (optical viewfinder) isn’t as accurate in terms of the framelines.

One tip I learned to get better compositions and frames is not to look a the center of the frame while you’re shooting, but to look and focus at the edges of your frame while you’re shooting. This helps you get cleaner backgrounds, and more focus on your subject in the center of the frame.

Of course you can always crop the images, but I think building a rigorous discipline of not cropping your shots but to frame the photo correctly “in-camera” is the best way to learn.

I think it is ultimately okay to crop, but I don’t recommend cropping more than 5-10% of a shot. Anything more than that can make you a bit lazy in the long run (you will always tell yourself, “Oh I can crop the shot later”). This is just a personal guideline, not a rule.

Here is the full contact sheet of the scene:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

The first 5 photos I take are with the same composition and frame. I try to fill the frame with the cell phone advertisement, and get the man’s head in the bottom of the frame. I take different photos, as he starts moving his head up and down:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Out of these 5 shots, I probably prefer the photo below– as you can see a little of his face, but it still isn’t a great photo:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I then take a step back (to get his arm in the shot) and take around 10 photos — at different moments while he’s moving around and changing his body gestures.

He first looks up at me, hand on his mouth, and arms stretched out. Interesting expression, but the far left of the frame is a bit distracting.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

He then starts to ignore me, and looks away. I kind of like the shot in the sense that it looks more candid. I get a few of him like this:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene 1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

He then turns to the other side, which changes the movement of the image:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Then he starts to get up— and then I take the last shot, and move on.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Out of the shots,I probably prefer the last photo– as it is more engaged. His body language is a little more active, and I like how I got both of his hands in the shot– I can feel the tension in the shot.

For me I like the image in the sense that you can see the juxtaposition between the “old Saigon” (old man wearing what looks like a war helmet from the Vietnam War) and the “new Saigon” (of the woman in the iPhone 5S advertisement).

One thing I’m trying to do is take more “unique” photos of Saigon. Which means, I don’t just want photos of people riding around in motorbikes around the city. But how can I take a “unique” photo of Saigon?

I think when people see photos of Saigon or Vietnam– they only see photos of rice patty farmers, Vietnamese hats, and poor people on the streets. What I hopefully want to show is more of the “rich” Saigon– the part of Saigon that a lot of foreigners don’t know about. The Gucci stores, the BMW’s, the Rolls-Royce’s, iPhone/iPad culture, etc.

A photograph of the construction happening in the downtown, and rapid economic development:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Versace Store:

The last contact sheet I am going to show you is in front of a Versace store in Downtown Saigon:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I was walking in Downtown with Cindy (in the fancy and rich area) and I see this uber-fancy Versace store. I then see a guy washing/cleaning the store from outside. I immediately thought about the juxtaposition between the wealth and the poor– and started to take photos from different angles:

One of the earlier photos (#3) I tried to get leading lines of the Versace logo and the man in the background cleaning. But it was a little hard to see what was going on, this photo doesn’t work:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

By frame #8, I moved around and got a better angle:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I far prefer this image, as it is clearer to see the man wiping the walls, and the Versace mannequins on the far right looking at the man, and also the advertisement on the far left looking over too. But it bothers me that I didn’t get the full “VERSACE” sign on the top right corner.

I do take another photo framed more to the right (getting the full “VERSACE” logo):

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

However I prefer the shot I took before this one, as I like having the advertisement of the woman in the far left in the frame.

Towards frame #16, I took another step further to the left, and get even a cleaner frame (with the woman int he advertisement in the far left, the man wiping the wall, and the full “VERSACE” logo on the far right:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

I also get another photo of another man stepping into the frame, which adds more depth and layers to the photo– but doesn’t add any context or meaning to the shot:

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

Out of all the shots I took of the scene, I probably prefer the photo below, as I like the advertisement of the woman in the full frame on the left, and the man wiping the walls, and how you can see the full “VERSACE” logo on the far right. To me the shot has some sort of statement of Vietnamese society: the “have’s” versus the “have not’s”.

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #4: Leading Lines, Golden Triangle Composition, and Working the Scene

As a general point I’d like to mention: When you see a potential good photograph, don’t just take one photograph. Work the scene, and take a lot of photographs.

One of the mistakes I made early on in street photography was to only take one photograph of a scene. I did this because either I got nervous, or worried of pissing someone off. But if you see a good potential street photograph, you will only see it once in your life. Don’t live life with regrets, so work the scene.

Thank you guys for following this on-going “Saigon Diaries” series. You can see prior entries below:

Which one of these photos in this article do you think is the best? Which should I keep and ditch? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • O.T.

    The weak at heart might complain about the rat photo. I think its one of the cooler ‘dead things’ shot you’d usually find on the ground.

    Keep up with this travel/shooting diary. Its a nice inside look at the process of getting one’s best photograph. An insight all photographers can relate to, but usually don’t get a platform to share. And I haven’t been to Vietnam, nice to see it through a photographer’s eye. Thanks.

  • Guest

    Congratulations… you managed to annoy that poor old man who was probably resting and made him leave. sad.

  • sonofl1berty

    Hey Eric, I know it’s a stupid question but what X100s you have? The black or the silver?
    It’s just curiosity :)

    • Paetroz

      You can see it in some of his pics. It’s the black one.

  • clay

    What is this ! ! ! ! !

  • Giovanni Pascarella

    “Ultimately, how long a street photographer can linger in any given situation is largely thanks to the grace of others” (Alex Webb).

    We, photographers, owe everything to the people in the streets. If we can take pictures it’s ultimately because of them, we are blessed with this grace and we should never forget it. When you are visiting a foreign country and you photograph a local old man to the point he’s annoyed and he feels forced to leave his seat, you have failed both as a photographer and as a human being.

    • Giovanni

      Please look at 4:54 min (Alex Webb in street action) here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iFcfSRw-oc

      Reality vs Utopy. Demistify the myth, like “the decisive moment”.Try..try..try.

      • Giovanni Pascarella

        At 4:54 all I see is a photographer approaching quietly, slowly, respectfully and discretely 2 old people. The first woman looks not happy to have her picture taken, so as everybody can see Mr. Webb takes one picture only and then he moves on. One picture, maybe 2. The second old man seems indifferent or slightly curious towards the photographer, not annoyed at all, and you can see how Mr. Webb understands this on the fly -because he’s good at it- and takes more than one picture, but with the same respectful approach, without invading his space.

        I wonder if we’ve seen the same video, my friend.

        • Giovanni

          The same video ;) old lady escapes inside her flat, old man try to hide himself behind a panel, Webb gently continue to shooting. Gently and respectful is the right way (I really love Alex Webb ;) . Eric Kim and Alex Webb get same rejection, people go away from them.

        • GrandMinnow

          Since the video has cuts in that section, we don’t know how many pictures were taken.

          But as far as I can glean, the photographer took pictures of the people after it could be sensed that they did not want their pictures taken or at least were uncomfortable with it. And indeed the woman scampered down the alley and the man – who seems not merely indifferent or curious – retreated behind the door. In the video, it’s called a “gentle courtship”. Oh please! It would be hypocritical to say that is ESSENTIALLY much different from Kim’s taking pictures of the man at the bench, even granting that Kim was closer and probably took more pictures.

          You mention, “quietly, slowly, respectfully”. I would say, stealthily. In the video, the photographer pretends to be interested in taking pictures of something else, and even ducks around the building to hide and pop back around. If a photographer persists to take pictures of people that can be sensed not to want their picture taken or at least to be uncomfortable with it, then I don’t see that it is much more respectful to do it quietly and slowly rather than loudly and quickly.

          And the photographer not only took the pictures, but allowed them to be put on the Internet along with video of the people.

          Ironically, on the voiceover the photographer is mentioning that being “gentle” usually results in people welcoming you to take their picture, but at that moment in the video we see that the people are not welcoming the photographer.

          I don’t care how the photographer conducts himself; using stealth and taking pictures of people who don’t want their picture taken can be routine and I don’t object to it. But it is hypocritical to deny that this video shows that the photographer is not so saintly in his thankfulness for the “grace of others”.

          When taking pictures around people, they may respond in all kinds of ways, ranging from them wanting you to do a whole portrait series of them to attacking you. Describing people as extending any special “grace” in this regard is highfalutin’ and sanctimonious. By that measure, people are extending “grace” when they refrain from beating you up for whistling “It’s A Small World”. Big whoop.

          As to the video in general: Unctuous, phony, pretentious, patronizing, and lousy, on so many levels. “These women expertly fold the clothes”. Seriously. And I love “The sound of the camera shutter rings through the alleys” – he’s not using a Leica?

          • Paetroz

            Big Fish = Ken Rockwell. :)

    • GrandMinnow

      “We, photographers, owe everything to the people in the streets.” Even an annoying street mime doesn’t owe everything to the people who are annoyed by him. I don’t know exactly how you think this debt of everything should be paid by the photographer to everyone he takes a picture of. Even refraining from being annoying, or at least attempting not to be annoying, doesn’t seem to be much of payment of for a debt of “everything”. Anyway, if every photographer were scrupulous to always avoid being annoying, I’d bet there be a lot less great photography for us to marvel at.

      “When you are visiting a foreign country and you photograph a local old man to the point he’s annoyed [...]“. You’re not suggesting that it’s less problematic when shooting in the country in which you reside?

      “[...] you have failed both as a photographer and as a human being.” You fail as a photographer when you don’t have good pictures to show. And “failed as a human being” in this case seems to be a weighty way of describing something a lot less grave.

  • Provstreet

    Eric – the photo of the man sitting below the cell phone ad, the first one where he puts his hands up to his face, why not crop it like the one above it? Then all of the clutter on the left is gone and he is mirroring the woman with her hands to her face.

  • Vedran Perse

    Can we put Winogrand’s photo in the mix?:)

  • Vedran Perse

    More seriously , I prefer cityscape. It is not unique but it is interesting both visually ( you don’t glance and move away you stay and investigate ) and content wise. The rest of the lot, not particularly exciting. Nothing against rats and other rodents but without funny (?) surreal ( ?) explanation of Fibonacci curve and golden triangle, with as cherry on the top Lightroom advice ( you should make preset out if it ) photo on its own is nothing special ( but rat with explanation is such a great mix of writing and photography so you should spin it off in separate post – I guarantee it will become one of your most popular ) .
    The other three ( woman with red umbrella , tired soldier and have or not have social commentary) to be quite frank should be ditched.

  • Alessandro

    Looks like a fail, among a lot of terrific posts. Fibonacci’s rat, randomly designed leading lines, annoying people. But there are two very good photos in this post. The B&W ones. :-)
    Everyone’s entitled to have a bad day. Nice and humble from you to say you haven’t made any good photos yet, but the problem is this is not a good post IMHO. Sorry.

    • Kenneth N

      I think the big analysis of the picture of the dead rat is the funniest thing ever posted here :-)
      Fibonacci and everything. I guess the world wide web never have seen such before.

      Keep it up Eric !
      But maybe cut down the posts to more essential stuff

  • valentino

    unfortunate attempt to justify mediocre images of insignificant scenes…

  • GrandMinnow

    “I kind of like the crooked horizon– it makes it more ‘edgy’ in my opinion. It reminds me of a photograph by Garry Winogrand (with his famous “Winogrand tilt”)” – Eric Kim

    Of all the ridiculous, hypocritical, phony, misguided, shallow, and jejune things you write in this article, in this series of articles, and in your articles in general, that comment, for whatever reason, is the one that piques me to comment.

    “Edgy”. You’re so phony baloney. Yours is transparent rationalization. You REALLY in your heart think this makes the picture in any way whatsoever interesting, challenging, or notable?

    If you think this picture has merit, then it’s only a 2 degree correction and a minor crop in your photo editing software to remove the tilt. If it were film, this would be a matter of slightly angling the paper carrier and slightly lowering the enlarger head.

    And dragging in Winogrand makes it only more egregious, especially the example you posted, which is remarkably UNLIKE your own photograph in the ramifications of angled horizon.

    P.S. Your incessant positing that it is better for photographers not to look at their shots until long after taking them (and continually by the wretched cliche “marinating”) is TERRIBLY bad advice, especially for people starting out in photography.

    Granted, people who have been shooting for a long time may enjoy a benefit from this, but otherwise, not looking at your shots for many many months, even years, goes directly against the benefits of immediate or timely discovery and monitoring for aesthetic and technical possibilities and problems.

    A photographer, especially one starting out NEEDS to see what the pictures look like – to learn from them QUICKLY and so to go out and take more pictures armed with the knowledge from having seen how the previous pictures came out – to learn from the mistakes – technical and aesthetic – and from the points of success. Seeing the shots allows one to discover indeed how the photograph looks compared with what the eye saw, and then how to capitalize in the next shooting session on that tantalizing difference.

    And falling in love too soon with pictures is not as big a problem as you think. One can always revise one’s estimation of the pictures later. Better advice would be that people allow themselves to choose their immediate favorites, but then periodically update the set of “keepers” so that some of the original ones are replaced by better newer ones while some of the originals may still hold up. This is an important part of the process. And it might not even be so bad that a picture favor a photograph in part because of its connections with his experience taking it. This too is part of what gives a photographer an artistic personality. It is only dogma that a photographer has to be some kind of post-shoot objective robot-monk who chooses his “keepers” with utter objectivity. The art allows the photographer to blend his subjectivity with his professional objectivity.

    You read what Winogrand (and possibly some other photographers) said that may pertain to HIM but not necessarily to everyone else, especially to people who haven’t been shooting for decades, then you mindlessly start preaching that as a generality.

    Your posting that people should not look at their shots for a long time is TERRIBLE advice; you should stop saying it over and over and over.

    • Paetroz

      Hey dude you should start a blog with all your knowledge and then you won’t have to come around here anymore. I mean, if it bothers you that much what EK does with his own creation why not start one of your own?

      • Guest

        The solution to this is not opening another blog to
        share another view. The solution is to prevent this becoming a problem…a
        problem to all of us (street photographers). We no doubt have to appreciate
        Eric Kim for his passion to spread the word on street photography, but this
        kind of shooting without consideration to personal space or feelings and preaching
        that online and in a class will eventually implode on us one fine day when some
        idiot decides to try this ‘work the scene’ mantra on someone’s face who is politically
        connected or worse. Sure Mr. Gilden was flashing people in the face and
        everyone liked it because it was new, it felt like you have balls made of
        uranium or whatever, but that was before the internet where the majority of general
        public was not aware of what was happening in the closely knit society of ‘street
        photographers’. Today, a story, a photo or a video can go viral in no time to a
        point where laws can be passed. We already have a fine blog here, so let’s just
        discuss and work the issue here.

        • Paetroz

          The reality is you will never be able to control the actions of every “street photographer” nor the reactions or perceptions of their subjects. People have been annoying people with photography since day one. This blog is based on Eric’s experiences, successes, failures and methodology. Hopefully the free minded individuals that follow the blog have enough sense to exercise caution and not see this not as a guide to SP, but just one of many POVs on the subject.

  • Brian Day

    Master Splinter! NOOOOOO! :)

    • tito

      lol!

  • Guest

    Total rubbish.

    It is quite obvious that the photos were a result of a continuous press of the shutter button without any prior discretion or deliberation. Self- justification and rationalization of the deluge of snaps only came after the fact. And very poor ones too, might I add.

  • http://www.tonyjphotographer.com/ Tony Johnson

    this diary series is a great read. I find the insight into the thinking and analytical process of others is the most fascinating thing about interacting with photographers…so keep it up!

  • SS

    HO! I see the style does not change! Shooting in the face of people, especially old man or ladies so probably you are at least sure you can run faster if ever they decide to kick your back for being so annoying……kids…hopefully one day they`ll grow up!
    But I have to say i`ll keep a note of a very interesting point: Dead Things do not move. Good to know! finally i could learn something! Cheers man!

  • Bewar3them00n

    A couple of good photos here, I like the girl with the red umbrella ( but it needs straightening !!!! Sorry, I’m a Designer it’s too disturbing to the eye as it is) and the B&W shot of the woman walking, with umbrella.
    I could see what you were trying to do with the old man and the advertising behind him, but far too many attempts from the same angle, and far too many shots in general, invading someone’s life, is not only disrespectful, but potentially dangerous when in a foreign country! I was recently in Penang ( Malaysia) with just my Ricoh GR, I never took more than a couple at the same scene if I was invading someone’s personal space, if I miss the shot then OK, I move on, you miss it because you’re unlucky, or because the timing is not right, comeback later if you can….DONT BE AN ASSHOLE!!! Is my personal M.O. Being a street photographer does not give you the right to be trigger happy in someone’s face, you become nothing more than a STREET PAP……
    Answer me this, if the guy had been a young, fierce looking guy covered in tattoos, would you have taken more than one or two shots, without asking him if it was ok to take his picture?
    Just some friendly advice, one of these days, someone will nail you, please be careful, please be respectful!
    Move through the scene, don’t become the scene….

  • slanchez

    You can learn as much from a bad day as a good one, a bad photo as a good one, a bad photographer as a good one, a dead rat as a live one. Eric’s a mixed bag of both. Right now his passion is greater than his knowledge or talent, IMHO. He’s still amusing, entertaining and at times extremely knowledgable. At others maybe not so much so. Go forth accordingly.

    (Fibonacci’s rat has the potential to become legendary comedy, btw. Amazing.)

    • Giovanni

      Fibonacci’s rat …lol :)
      I understand the sense, Eric wants to render interessing a disgusting thing, doesn’t matter the subject, but how we make an interresing composition with things.

  • Jason from Sydney

    Having previously lived in Saigon and knowing it quite well. I’d like to see shots of locals enjoying coffee on the streets with cigarette in hand. Juxtaposition shot of a supercar dealers store front with scooters going past in the street. Go to a public park and see people selling dogs as pets. If you’re going to capture a scooter scene, get one of a dog with two front paws on the dash riding with the owner ( quite common). Wait till lunch time a take a picture of retail shop workers eating lunch in the surrounding shopping centre parks ( they are not paid enough to afford to eat in the shopping mall food courts). I’d like to see a shot of the overflowing footpaths in the city congested with parked scooters and street “parking attendants”. I’d like to see shots of the stainless steel street vendor carts selling their food. Landscape shot of one of the dirty water canals where the water is black from pollution. Go to one of the open beer halls and take shots of the young vietnamese girls in skippy out fits. I miss Saigon, loving your photos so far.

  • B

    Damn….serious bunch of “supa dupa street photographers” on here tearing Erik a new Ahole on this comment board.
    Keep things in perspective people. Go out and get laid…have fun. Life is kind of short.

  • Provstreet

    Congrats Eric on all this controversy! You won the internet!

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  • Jeff Slade

    How many pictures of a dead rat do you need to take before you get the frame you want?…I mean, it’s not as though he’s going anywhere!…surely there’s no excuse for not getting that right first time!….I respect your honesty Eric but I don’t hold with the thinking that you take loads of frames to get one satisfying shot….

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