The Fishing Technique Illustrated by Annette Kim
The Fishing Technique Illustrated by Annette Kim

Think of yourself a street photography fisher– instead you are fishing for people.


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Why fishing?

Woman in yellow, background in blue, and leading lines outlined in red.
Woman in yellow, background in blue, and leading lines outlined in red.

A fisherman goes out to sea, with his trusty tackle and boat– and is patient. The fisherman doesn’t always catch fish — but he tries his hardest.

The fisherman realizes that he can be the most skilled fisherman in the world, but without a little bit of luck– he will catch no fish.

Street photography and fishing

Leading lines. Three Men
Leading lines. Three Men

The same is in street photography — treat yourself like a street photography fisherman.

Be patient, find good locations (where you think the fish will bite), and setup your line.

This is the technique that Henri Cartier-Bresson used in his photography: he saw interesting scenes and backgrounds, and waited for his subjects to enter the frame.

Henri Cartier-Bresson / HCB Foundation. FRANCE. The Var department. Hyères. 1932.

For example, note this Henri Cartier-Bresson picture of a bicycle– he saw the nice composition, leading lines, and waited for the right subject (bicycle) to enter the picture.

Red leading lines of the composition of Henri Cartier-Bresson's Bicycle Shot.
Red leading lines of the composition of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Bicycle Shot.

You are a movie director

A good movie director finds a scene, or a ‘tableau’ — and then inserts the actors.

Or as William Shakespeare once said:

All the world is a stage.

Therefore, see the streets as your own stage. Setup the stage, and the scene, and wait for the right people to enter the frame.

Woman in yellow, background in blue.
Woman in yellow, background in blue.
Woman with umbrella. Seoul, 2011 // ERIC KIM
Woman with umbrella. Seoul, 2011 // ERIC KIM

Bauahaus Annette Kim leading lines walking lady umbrella elegance.

Eric Kim photography Bauhaus Piet Mondrian
Walking lady Bauhaus by ANNETTE KIM

Conclusion

Be patient, like a good fisherman.

If you see a good scene for street photography, wait 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even 1 hour. Just ask yourself:

How bad do I want the shot?

Also — don’t just take 1-2 shots. Rather, try to aim to take at least 100 photos of the scene, and choose the 1 best picture once you get home.

HAVE FUN,
ERIC


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Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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