Hanoi, 2017

I don’t think so.

Several propositions:

  1. Henri Cartier-Bresson, the supposed “founder” of street photography never used the term “street photography.” Furthermore, he didn’t really like photography. He preferred painting. So after shooting for around 30 years, he got bored of photography, and started to paint and draw instead, until he died.
  2. Definitions stifle innovation: if we only knew “Personal Computers” via Microsoft and IBM, we would have been fucked. Steve Jobs had a vision of the future of computing, and made the Mac the “Anti-PC”. Now for most creative folk, Mac is the de-facto laptop for creatives.
  3. Garry Winogrand, the quintessential street photographer hated the term “street photography.” He preferred the term “zoo photographer.”
  4. William Klein, another quintessential street photographer interacted with his subjects on the street. His famous “Kid with gun photo” was provoked by Klein telling the kid, “Look tough!”
  5. Street Portraits are Street Photography: Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Bruce Gilden prove it.

I think I have effectively proven that “street photography” is a silly term. Every major practitioner of street photography didn’t define what they did.

Practical suggestions:

  1. Define street photography for yourself. And just shoot whatever interests you. No limits or boundaries or glass ceilings.
  2. If people tell you that you are not a street photographer, or that your photos are not “street photography”, say, “You are correct. I am a zoo photographer.” And walk away.

Never define yourself. That is the way to die as an artist.

(This idea was inspire day by a thread in ERIC KIM FORUM, on if it were useful to define street photography).

So does defining photography, Street Photography or art help or harm us? Share your opinion and voice in ERIC KIM FORUM.


STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 101 by ERIC KIM

Tokyo, 2012

If you’re new to street photography, start here:


STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION – New

STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION: Street Photography Workshop in Your Phone.


Street Photography Inspiration


Beginner Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-1

Get started in street photography:

Definitions in Street Photography

How to Shoot Street Photography

Street Photography Equipment

See all equipment articles >

How to Conquer Your Fears in Street Photography

See all articles to conquer your fears >


Intermediate Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-19

Take your street photography to the next level:


Advanced Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-suits-color-kodak-portra-400-2

Find deeper meaning in your street photography:


Street Photography Tips & Technique

laughin-lady-contact-copy

Learn how to shoot on the streets:

See all street photography tips and techniques >

Street Photography Guides

tokyo-eye-eric-kim-street-photography-contact-sheet-0000545

In-depth guides on street photography:

Street Photography Equipment

0-eric-kim-street-photography-sweat-downtown-la

The best equipment for street photography:

See all equipment articles >

Street Photography Editing and Workflow

How to Start a Street Photography Project

Learn From the Masters of Street Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

“He without a past has no future.”

If you want a distilled version, read the free ebook:  “100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography.”


Free Downloads

See all free downloads >

Free Street Photography Ebooks

eric-kim-street-photography-only-in-america-14

Distilled information on street photography:

For more resources on photography, Start Here >