On Free Street Photography

1x1.trans On Free Street Photography

Detroit, 2013

One question I am asked a lot is how I make a living in street photography, and questions about selling prints, and making money.

To start off, I am blessed enough to make a living from my street photography in teaching workshops. I make about 95% of my living from workshops (and around 5% from Amazon affiliates from links to books and other products on the blog).

But I have always been an advocate of “open source” in life and photography– and the greatness of having things open and free.

[Read more...]

Looking for the bigger picture, Interview with SelvaSP Collective

1x1.trans Looking for the bigger picture, Interview with SelvaSP Collective

Photo by Gustavo Minas

(Editor’s note: All photos are the respected copyright of the members of SelvaSP) 

Take a look at this interview of  SelvaSP. They are a street photography collective hailing out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. We explore how this collective is being run, what it is they look for, and how they approach the art of street photography.

[Read more...]

On Bridging the Gap in Street Photography

1x1.trans On Bridging the Gap in Street Photography

Tokyo, 2012

I feel one of the most important traits to become a better street photographer is first identifying what makes great street photography. This means having good taste.

A quote from Ira Glass from NPR comes to mind– in terms of having good taste:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.”

[Read more...]

On Polarization and Street Photography

1x1.trans On Polarization and Street Photography

Hong Kong, 2012

I am a big fan of Nassim Taleb and his concept of the “barbell theory” which he derives from his book: “Antifragile” (one of my top 3 favorite books).

The concept of the “barbell theory” is that you embrace two extremes in life– rather than going for the boring “middle” strategy. For example Nassim Taleb says it is better to save 90% of your money in boring cash– and invest 10% in hyper-risky investments (rather than just putting it all into “medium risk” ventures). Nassim Taleb also mentions that regarding drinking, it is better to drink liberally 3 days a week (and completely abstaining the other days) rather than drinking “moderately” everyday.

I recently read a book titled: “A Perfect Mess in which the author promotes the benefits of randomness and messiness.

[Read more...]

10 Ways How to Have a Good Day in Street Photography

1x1.trans 10 Ways How to Have a Good Day in Street Photography

Stockholm, 2012

  1. Smile at and compliment a stranger.
  2. Surprise a friend with one of your favorite prints (for no reason).
  3. Give a constructive criticism to a street photographer with 0 comments online.
  4. Promote the work of another contemporary street photographer whose work you admire.
  5. Go out and only shoot with 1 camera and 1 lens (and turn off your smartphone).
  6. Contact a local street photographer to go out and shoot together.
  7. Lend one of your favorite photography books to a fellow street photographer.
  8. Give away a camera you don’t use to charity, a photography program, or someone in need.
  9. Donate some of your time by teaching a photography class or lecture to less-privileged students.
  10. Give yourself permission to take bad shots, enjoy a nice coffee, and shoot to please yourself (not others).

How do you have a good day in street photography? Share your tips in the comments below!

Reflections on Tijuana by Eric Labastida

1x1.trans Reflections on Tijuana by Eric Labastida

(Editor’s note: The following are words and photographs of Eric Labastida. These are his thoughts and reflections during his time photographing Tijuana from 1992 to 2002)

When I started this project and photographing in general, I found inspiration in the library.  This was before the internet, before we had the ability of riding the flood of information as we do now.  I checked out photo books.  My first visual and poetic guides were Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Mary Ellen Mark, and of course, Gene Smith.  I was on a diet of strong composition, strong content and a feeling of pure joy in trying to catch that moment in the blink of an eye.  It all had to be there: geometry,  timing and magic.  A very elusive beast indeed,  but the hunt was pure living, and I got hooked.

[Read more...]

Saigon Diary #5: Travels to Bien Hoa, Learning Vietnamese, and Coffee Culture

1x1.trans Saigon Diary #5: Travels to Bien Hoa, Learning Vietnamese, and Coffee Culture

Cindy by the water in Bien Hoa, just outside of Saigon.

Hey streettogs, thank you for waiting for this new episode of “Saigon Diary“.

A lot has happened the last week, namely me and Cindy visiting Bien Hoa– a place about an hour outside of Saigon. Cindy’s cousin got married recently, and it was a great time getting to know her father’s side of the family (while of course, eating some delicious food).

I’ve also learned a lot more Vietnamese– and can now hold a pretty basic conversation (a 4-year old is still better than me).

I’m still not sure what I ultimately want out of this “Saigon Diary” series– nor do I expect to really make any good photos while I am here. But like I mentioned before, I want to share some personal thoughts on the trip, my photography, and keep it all as transparent as I can.

[Read more...]

Composition Lesson #14: Square Format

1x1.trans Composition Lesson #14: Square Format

Symmetry in 6×6 photo by Diane Arbus

You can see all my composition lessons here.

I have been quite fascinated with the square-format in street photography for a while. My fascination first came about from Jeroen Helmink, a photographer from the Netherlands (you can see a fun video we made on shooting Hasseblads). There was something quite sexy about the 6×6 format– the way that it created perfect balance in the frame, the simplicity, as well as the novelty.

Of course as Instagram has become insanely popular– the square-format just looks like an “Instagram shot.” I have heard of Instagram as “ruining” the 6×6 format (medium-format film).

However I don’t think it really matters what camera, format, or aspect ratio you shoot in. Ultimately the most important thing is to create a visually compelling image that speaks to our hearts or souls.

[Read more...]