“Letters from a Street Photographer” #2: How to Deal with Negative Criticism (Part 1/2)

1x1.trans Letters from a Street Photographer #2: How to Deal with Negative Criticism (Part 1/2)

Provincetown, 2014

For this chapter in my on-going “Letters from a Street Photographer” book, I wanted to write a topic that I am very familiar with– how to deal with negative criticism (and thrive and benefit from it).

For those of you who have followed me and my blog for a while– you will know that I have a fair amount of negative critics and negative criticism. Here are a list of things I have been critiqued (or criticized, hated for) – and a list of (sort of similar to real-life) comments I’ve gotten:

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“Letters from a Street Photographer” #1: How to Live and Shoot without Regrets

1x1.trans Letters from a Street Photographer #1: How to Live and Shoot without Regrets

Provincetown, 2014

This is Chapter 1 on a series of blog posts I will do on the philosophy of Stoicism, and how I relate it to street photography. I draw upon the book: “On the Shortness of Life” from Seneca. The title of this series is inspired by “Letters from a Stoic” (also by Seneca).

I have recently been reading a lot of literature on “time management” and have discovered a new angle– “attention management.”

The basic premise is this: time management is overrated. We have all the time in the world. However what we don’t have is attention.

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15 (More) Lessons Taoism Has Taught Me About Street Photography

1x1.trans 15 (More) Lessons Taoism Has Taught Me About Street Photography

Toronto, 2014

I have been a long-time admirer of the philosophies of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Stoicism. In-fact, I have gained more insights about photography from these philosophies (than I have from any book on photographic theory).

I recently re-read a new english version of the “Tao Te Ching“– the classic manual on the art of living. It was a version written by Stephen Mitchell, and I like the flow and how it reads in English.

In my life and photography– I often feel a lot of anxiety, frustration, stress, and the need for external validation. However reading these Taoist philosophies have helped bring peace to my day-to-day life, and I hope these lessons I’ve learned can help you as well.

I am no expert in Taoism, Zen, or any of these philosophies– and I have a lot to learn. But I will share what helps me fall asleep at night– I try my best to follow these principles that I learned from the “Tao Te Ching“:

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On Opportunity Costs in Street Photography

1x1.trans On Opportunity Costs in Street Photography

Hong Kong, 2014

Life is short and limited. We only have so many days to live. We only have so many zeroes in our bank accounts.

We all want to live happy, productive lives. We want happiness in our photography. We want to creatively thrive, and live a life which we don’t have any regrets.

I have lots of temptations in my life. To earn more money, to buy more physical possessions, which creates a lot of distractions in my life.  But what really matters in life?

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8 Lessons Mary Ellen Mark Has Taught Me About Street Photography

1x1.trans 8 Lessons Mary Ellen Mark Has Taught Me About Street Photography

All photos copyrighted by Mary Ellen Mark.

I remember when I first saw the work of Mary Ellen Mark, I was blown away. Her work had such a deep sense of love and empathy for her subjects. Not only that, but her compositions and framing was brilliant. I always noticed that around the edges of the frame– she always had great little details which made her photographs great.

Even though Mary Ellen Mark is more of a documentary photographer– her photos have a very strong “street” feel. She photographs people, and her images have emotion and soul. I feel that we can all learn a lot from her life’s work.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance: Introduction to Street Photography Workshop in Stockholm (October 29-30th, 2014)

1x1.trans Dont Miss Your Chance: Introduction to Street Photography Workshop in Stockholm (October 29 30th, 2014)

Hey Scandinavian (and European) streettogs– I am excited to share that I am hosting an intimate 2-day Introduction to Street Photography Workshop in Stockholm limited to 6 students (October 29-30th, 2014). I know it is a bit last-minute (and in the middle of the week), but I wanted to have a chance to host a workshop open to the public before I do another workshop for adopted children in Stockholm (that same weekend). I don’t know when the next time I’m going to be in Stockholm (or anywhere else in Scandinavia) — so don’t miss out ;)

If you are a bit timid in your street photography (and want to build up your courage), if you want to improve your compositions (or style or vision), or meet other passionate street photographers– this workshop is perfect for you. Don’t miss out on this experience to make new friends, have great food (and strong coffee), and of course hit the streets of Stockholm together.

If you want more information about the workshop, read more. If you can’t attend this workshop, make sure to check out all of my upcoming street photography workshops.

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Street Photography Book Review: “Minutes to Midnight” by Trent Parke

1x1.trans Street Photography Book Review: Minutes to Midnight by Trent Parke
I’m not 100% sure how I stumbled upon the book: “Minutes to Midnight” by Trent Parke. But when I did— I was blown away by Trent Parke’s incredible story-telling, visuals, and vision. It inspired me to write my first article on him: 12 Lessons Trent Parke Has Taught Me About Street Photography.

Steidl has recently re-published “Minutes to Midnight” — and it has been a massive hit. It is hard to find copies that aren’t sold out, you can currently get some more pre-orders on Amazon.

For the Steidl re-print, there has been a slight change to some of the images, formatting, and printing (all in a positive way). I currently have my copy of “Minutes to Midnight” in my street photography library— and it is one of the most precious black and white books I own.

I wanted to write this article sharing my thoughts on the book, why I think it is a great body of work, and I hope you find this article useful.

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13 Lessons Dan Winters Has Taught Me About Street Photography (Through “Road to Seeing”)

1x1.trans 13 Lessons Dan Winters Has Taught Me About Street Photography (Through Road to Seeing)

All photographs included in this article are copyrighted by Dan Winters.

My good friend Bill Reeves recently bought me a copy of “Road to Seeing” by Dan Winters. I’ve always known Dan Winters as being a quite edgy portrait photographer– and had no idea that he was actually quite interested in street photography, and had quite deep philosophical views on photography.

When I first got the book, I was pretty astounded. It is a thick book (about four-fingers thick) and has amazing typography, binding, and the photos in the book look like small prints.

The other day, I devoured the book– it took me about 5 hours and I also jotted down some of my favorite quotes and ideas from Dan. Through this post- I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from Dan, while also giving an overview of the book.

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On Purpose and Street Photography

1x1.trans On Purpose and Street Photography

Berkeley, 2014

I’m currently reading a book titled: “Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think”. In the book, the author defines happiness as being primarly composed of two things: pleasure and purpose. To find “optimal” happiness in life, the author encourages us to find a balance between pleasure and purpose in our life.

I have read dozens of books on the topic of happiness. When I studied sociology as an undergraduate I would ask myself questions such as: Why is it that the richest people in the world are often the most miserable people? How much money do you need to be really happy? Does more money bring you happiness? What things could I do (or change) in my everyday life to make me be more happy?

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