Eric’s Note: This article is by Josh White, a street photographer based in Korea. You can also see my interview with him here.
Josh: One of the hardest things to do in the documentary style of photography is to work on a project. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is just deciding on a theme or subject. Of course, that is just the start! In this post, I’ll talk about my philosophy on the subject of photographic projects and how you might start one for yourself.
Sauvetage dun enfant par un enfant (Le Petit Journal)
Eric’s Note: This guest article is by Dan K, a British Camera collector and photography enthusiast based in Hong Kong.
Many of the great photographers whose wisdom we like to quote are successful because they have an innate artistic sensibility. For the rest of us, it is harder to grasp what makes a compelling photo.
I recently attended the gallery of one of Hong Kong’s most famous photographers. Michael Wolf made a name for himself creating images of high visual impact with a subtly dark twist of voyeurism. His own work is compelling, yet his longest wall is filled with countless rows of historical illustrations of Le Petit Journal. These lithographs portrayed the events of the day, in a highly dramatised style.
Eric: This is a guest article by Neil Ta, my homie and babysitter. In this article he shares his new project, “Harmonious China” and his thoughts about the editing process.
Neil: My good friend and International Street Photographer, Eric Kim, first introduced me to the idea of letting photos marinate. The concept is really simple. When we take photos, there is an emotional attachment or bond that reminds us how amazing we felt when we took the image. Photographers who select and post their photos immediately are often times at a disadvantage because they let their emotions at the time of taking the photograph get in the way of their better judgement. To combat this, Eric has recommended to photographers to let their images marinate. As time passes and we revisit our images, we lose that emotional bond that had initially formed and we’re better able to objectively look at our images without biases.
So why the long-winded introduction to my new project, Harmonious China? Taking Eric’s advice, I recently decided to look at my archive of images that I shot in China back in April 2011. I hadn’t looked at these images in a very long time and secretly I was hoping that (by some act of god) I was able to pull something out of there that I had previously missed.
When I began to review the images, so much time had passed that they were fresh to my eyes, Surprisingly, I was able to pull out a number of images that fit into a centralized idea. Because I let the images marinate for so long, there were a number of shots that I forgot I took or had no immediate recollection of where it was taken.
This article is written by Josh White, a street photographer that has traveled throughout Korea, Japan, and Canada. You can follow his blog here.
Josh: Photographic purists, especially ones of the docu/street genre will often argue that photography is a process. They will argue that photography should all be taken seriously and photographs should be left to permeate. They will argue that film photography is good for the up and coming photographer as it teaches patience and discipline. We are more likely to like the photographs taken more recently.
While I believe all this to be somewhat true, photographer’s itch. We itch to take photographs and to look at them. We itch to share them and get feedback. In this world of instant gratification and constant boredom patience doesn’t always come easily.
Charlie: A week or so ago, Brian Sokolowski posted on Facebook: “Is it me, or is there a whole lot of street-photography out there that’s set up and posed? No, it’s not me… there is. What’s the point of that? I mean if it’s set-up, that’s fine. But don’t try to pass it off as street-photography, because it’s not.” I agreed with him and cited a few photos from the HCSP group that looked staged. I’d like to expand upon my thoughts here.
Let me start by saying that, like Brian, I am not against staged photographs per se. Jeff Wall is one of my favourite photographers, and I love the portraits of Gilden – who, I would argue, is the best “street photographer” alive today. What I take objection to is deception which may or may not be a result of a loosening of the commonly held perception that street photography is candid.
I want to write regarding a subject which is highly debated online: “What is street photography?”
There are countless forum threads, Facebook discussions, blogs, and Flickr boards which argue what street photography is and what street photography isn’t.
I have thought about the question: “What is street photography?” for a long time– and my thoughts and views have changed and evolved over the years.
I don’t have all the answers to defining what street photography is (or isn’t) but I will attempt to come to some sort of logical conclusion on what street photography means to me. Consider this article as part of a self-reflective essay for me to better understand my own personal views. And I also hope that you can take some of my thoughts and incorporate it into your own personal views– and reach your own conclusions for yourself.
In today’s uber-pedophile-paranoid society taking photos of kids can be a challenge. It wasn’t a problem even a few decades ago (think of all the great photos of kids that Helen Levitt, Robert Doisneau, and Henri Catier-Bresson shot). But now even if you point a camera remotely close to a kid you can be called a pedophile.
Personally I haven’t ever had any problems taking photos of kids (whether it be candidly or with permission).
In this article I will try to share some of my personal tips when I photograph kids– and I hope this will help you!
In front of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit
The last week or so I have been on the road– moving from Michigan to California.
Instead of just taking the easy route (flying) we decided to partake in an adventure– to travel the US by car.
I wanted to write this article to share some of my personal experiences through this road trip– and hopefully it can give you some insight to plan your own road trip across America (while taking some photos too).
Eric’s Note: This is a guest article by Kristian Leven, a wedding and street photographer based in London.
Kristian: When I started photography six years ago, I didn’t have a problem going out and finding inspiration. Everything was so new and subsequently there seemed to be no end to the ideas I felt I could produce. Looking back, I can see that my work wasn’t particularly indistinguishable from many others – there was no depth, no originality.
But I needed to get through certain stages to get to where I am today. At first I had no particular style, nor did I have any photographic ‘heroes’ to aspire to, but over time and with an accumulation of experience, I connected with capturing natural street scenes in an artistic way, and I translated that approach to my wedding photography, which I had begun three years ago.