I’m the most fearless street photographer I know.
1. You’re not doing anything wrong
First realize, street photography is not evil, or morally wrong/“bad”.
As a visual artist, you’re making art through street photography.
Once you can conquer the fear that you’re doing something wrong, you will be less fearful in street photography.
2. You’re adding joy to the lives of others
In street photography, I don’t fear — because I don’t fear upsetting people. I know that I’m making them look good, and I often compliment my subjects with “tactful flattery”.
3. Try to get rejected
I know for myself, my biggest fear is not getting people to get angry at me in street photography. Rather, I fear getting rejected.
Nobody likes to get rejected. It sucks, and hurts. By having someone reject you, it is like them telling you that “you’re not good enough”. Getting rejected wounds our ego.
But a good assignment from STREET NOTES is the “10 no challenge”— you must ask for permission from a bunch of people, until you get 10 people to reject you and say “no”.
By actually LOOKING FORWARD to getting rejected, you will build a heart of steel. You will rewire the mental circuitry of your mind — that rather than fearing rejection, you SEEK rejection.
The more you get rejected the more fearless you will become. Why? Because — you will learn that the pain of the rejection actually isn’t that bad.
4. Regret minimization framework
Personally, I still get nervous in street photography. When I feel like I’m hesitating, I just to the person, and ask to make their portrait — and tell them why I want to make a portrait of them.
This gives me less regret in my photography and life.
Better to ask and get rejected, than to never ask at all.
So friend, be bold, and don’t fear rejection. Rather, learn to LOVE REJECTION!
5. Shoot everyday
If I don’t shoot street photos every day, I lose my “mojo”. I lose my confidence.
So keep clicking, every day. Keep your trigger finger loose.
I think photography is like a muscle — we cannot let our photographic muscles atrophy. Consider, if you were lying in a bed for a month without moving — what would happen to the muscles in your spine, legs, and body?
Stay visually strong, by always consuming the work of the masters of photography, by shooting a lot, and having fun — treat street photogrsphy like a visual playground. Study dynamic composition and also other masters of art.
Conclusion: Never doubt yourself.
Above all, know that you’re a visual artist — making pictures for the greater good. To empower humanity, and yourself.
You must shoot, by all means necessary.
ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP
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