In Stockholm I had the chance to catch up with Damien Vignol, a street photographer who has traveled through Europe, Asia, and now is in Stockholm. See my past interview with Damien here, and read more to see his new photos from Japan:
The best camera in street photography is the most expensive one.
If I gave myself advice in street photography if I started all over again I would tell myself, “Eric, buy yourself the most expensive camera out there for street photography. You are a newbie and not very good at shooting street photography. You are nervous. You don’t know any technical settings. You are afraid. You aren’t inspired. You don’t have any good work. Buying a really expensive camera will make you great.”
I always think about the meaning of life— and you can probably notice that this blog has become heavily philosophy-based the last few months. This is due to the fact that I have been thinking much more about living a purposeful life as a photographer. Not only that, but I have also had a few close encounters with death— which always prompts myself to ask why I shoot photography, and what kind of life I want to live.
I am teaching a two-day crash-course in street photography in Stockholm the next two days, and here is the presentation I am giving to my class. It is a collection of images from great Magnum and contemporary photographers (as well as some of my own work) in terms of capturing emotions on the streets, as well as how to interact with strangers. In each photograph, I ask each student: what makes the photograph memorable, great, and how does it capture emotion?
At the end of the presentation, I also share some of my contact sheets which I hope is a good educational behind-the-scenes look/tool.
Feel free to download, share, and distribute for any educational purposes.
- Download PDF: Capturing Emotions in Street Photography
(Originally written October 24th, 2014)
I am being a little over-dramatic— but I recently had a near-death experience.
It was another normal day. I was simply writing for my blog, drinking coffee, and just finished a workout. I was a bit hungry, so I went over to my kitchen, poured out a hand-few of cashew nuts, ate them in one huge chunk, and continued to work.
Suddenly, I felt around 40% of the left side of my throat swell up. It felt hard to breathe. This was the same exact feeling I had when I had my first anaphylaxis (throat swelling up) from having an allergic reaction of eating shellfish.
I recently was listening to a podcast interview with Tony Robbins (on the “Tim Ferris Show”) and was struck by something Tony said: progress is happiness.
As you guys are probably well-aware of, I think a lot about happiness and progress in life. I want to live a happy and fulfilling life. I don’t want to feel stagnant. I don’t want to feel that I am hitting roadblocks. I want to fulfill my creative potential, and live a life without regrets. I want to suck out the marrow of life.
(A.g.’s note: I asked some of the folks over at Streettogs Academy what part of their street photography they want to improve on. One of the many things that popped up was people are still shy going out to shoot or finding interesting places to shoot in. Hopefully this article gives you new ideas on where to shoot)
The best way to become good at something is if it becomes second nature. You have to constantly build habits and the right attitudes so you can turn something on and be in the zone when you need to. That principle applies to street photography.
If you are still uncomfortable venturing out in the streets, here are some places that can be a great venue to take street photographs without the fear of being hollered upon or confronted so you can concentrate on practicing and making images and not be wary of other things.
I recently read a quote that went something like this: “If everyone knew how much suffering there was in the world, and how much pain, anxiety, and sadness that their enemies had (and also knew how much love they had in their lives), the world would be a much better place.”
Pretty much the concept was this: we are often suspicious, jealous, envious, and hateful of others. However if we realized that those we hated the most also went through pain and suffering in their lives, and also had joy, hope, and love in their lives— we would treat them with much more empathy, kindness, and love.
There isn’t a lot of things you can control in street photography. However these are the things you can control:
I currently wrote an article titled: “Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers” which had a lot of interest. I have also been connecting a lot of young photographers lately (high school and college students)— and wanted to focus on doing more blogging which aimed at the younger photography population. Of course this doesn’t just have to be age— it can also be based on experience. So if you consider yourself as a young photographer (age-wise), experience-wise, or want some insights about the economics of being a full-time photographer, this article might be of some insight to you.