Saigon, 2017

A street photographer is a professional flaneur.

Shot on LG G x VSCO A6 Preset

What is a flaneur?

Someone who has no final destination in view.

A flaneur is someone who follows his own nose in the streets, and refuses to go down trodden paths.

A flaneur is someone who creates his or her path in life. A flaneur is someone who refuses to follow the pavement, rather follow his or her own interests and elatement.


To be a better street photographer, walk more. Wander more.

All great thoughts arise from walking. The best photographers and philosophers are the ones who walk a lot, and enjoy walking. Not to walk to the sake of “exercise”– but rather enjoy to walk as a sort of existential thing.

Oakland, 2016

The more you wander and “flaneur” around, the more randomness and chaos you will inject into your life. And my theory: all creativity comes from randomness and chaos.

I would define creativity as connecting the dots between random ideas. To bridge the gap, to be the electromagnetic spark between two idea atoms.

HAPTIC PRESS BOX x CINDY NGUYEN fulfills her childhood dream of a box company

In terms of sources of inspiration, I try to consume random shit that interests me.

I love rap music, but also baroque music. I love Basquiat, Monet, Picasso, and Pollock.

Photography, I love all great photography. I don’t care about genre. I will get as much inspiration from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Cindy Sherman, to Sally Mann, to Mary Ellen Mark, to Anders Petersen, to Andreas Gursky, and all the others masters of photography.

To me, a photograph is good if it causes visual vibrations in my mind’s eye. A photographer is good if he or she has an uncompromising vision of the world, and is able to communicate that perspective or feeling to me.

How to become a street photography flaneur

Saigon, 2017

Some ideas:

  1. Refuse to go on a tour when traveling: Go with your friends, or go solo when you travel. Avoid TripAdvisor like the plague. Talk to locals, and ask for local recommendations. Ask the hotel staff or your Airbnb host, “Where do you like to hang out on the weekends?”
  2. Shoot street photos indoors.
  3. If you are walking down the street and you see a store you’re interested in, don’t be shy. Enter, say hello, and ask to make photos.
  4. Carry a small and light camera. Shoot with your phone or a RICOH GR II. The smaller your camera, the longer you can walk, with less fatigue.
  5. Don’t walk the same path twice. If you shoot the same downtown area in your city, just try to walk a different route. Inject a little randomness into your walking.
  6. Try a different dish at your favorite restaurant. Take a small risk. Try out weird flavors, or try out a new restaurant.
  7. Drive a different path to and from work everyday.

Essentially, to be a better street photographer is to take more small risks, and to inject more randomness and chaos into our personal and and photographic lives.

Shot on LG G x VSCO A6 Preset

Reject recipes, formulas, and always follow your own gut in Street Photography.

Reject definitions that others try to impose you in Street Photography.

And also, find inspiration from The Masters, but once you learn their “rules”, learn to kill them, and follow your own path.



Tokyo, 2012

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Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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