Eric Rivera with cigar
Eric Rivera with cigar

Dear friend,

I don’t just see street photography as a genre of photography — I see street photography as a way of life.

1. Randomness is good

Indianapolis, 2014
Indianapolis, 2014

For example, the biggest benefit to shooting street photography is the fun from the randomness of it.

Street photography (just like real life) is unpredictable. You cannot control all your variables, like shooting models in a studio.

You don’t know what you’re looking for, until you see it.

2. Street photography is opportunistic

Flipped car. Orange County, 2015
Flipped car. Orange County, 2015

I think life is the same — opportunistic. We don’t know what we really want in life. Rather, we are presented with new opportunities, and we select the ones that interest us.

If street photography didn’t have randomness and chance — it wouldn’t be as fun.

Consider casinos. We like the randomness of winning and losing. Street photography is the same — often we are presented good opportunities, other times not.

3. Street photography and life focused on efforts, not the result

Hong Kong man with phone. 2013
Hong Kong man with phone. 2013

The secret to street photography and life; don’t get too attached to the outcome. Rather, give it your best. And if things don’t turn out the way you expect, don’t be disappointed.

Just like real life — you can control the effort you put in, but ultimately however life treats you, isn’t up to you.

Detroit smoke, 2013
Detroit smoke, 2013

For example, you can be the best street photographer in the world, but without a bit of luck, you won’t get a good photo.

In real life, you can be the most skilled and smart person, but if you aren’t given the right opportunities or luck in life, you won’t always achieve what you desire.

Lesson: Work as hard as possible, but don’t get disappointed if things don’t go your way.

4. A lightweight lifestyle

Black Mary and Jesus.
Black Mary and Jesus.

Street photography requires us to be light, to walk a lot, and not to be too encumbered or weighed down by stuff.

The lighter we are, the more we can shoot, and the happier we are.

In real life, the less stuff we own, the less weighed down we are, the more joy we have in life. Why? The less money we use, the more money we have, thus more freedom.

Lesson: Freedom is one of the prerequisites of true happiness.

5. Beauty in everyday life

Man and woman having dinner with orange wall. NYC, 2015
Man and woman having dinner with orange wall. NYC, 2015

Street photography also encourages us to find beauty in everyday life.

Isn’t that true happiness and joy — to find happiness and beauty in the small things, of ordinary everyday life?

6. Love for strangers

Hotel room lobby. Istanbul, 2014
Hotel room lobby. Istanbul, 2014

Street photography is all about capturing the lives of strangers, other people in society — having curiosity in them, and wanting to document humanity as a whole.

I think in real life, having interest in strangers, other people, and society is good. It is good for us to stay open minded, and more empathetic and loving towards one another.

7. Be open minded

Woman in elevator. Chicago. 2013
Woman in elevator. Chicago. 2013

Street photography allows us to be more open minded, to other cultures, people, and experiences.

Girl with red pigtails. Philadelphia, 2013
Girl with red pigtails. Philadelphia, 2013

The more we can open our minds and hearts to the rest of the world, the less strife society would have, and the more mutual love.

READ MORE: Why compassion can change the world

Conclusion

Obama cutout. 2013
Obama cutout. 2013

Street photography is my passion. I’ve been practicing it quite seriously for close to a decade. The more I practice it, the more I appreciate it for the philosophical and lifestyle underpinnings.

To reiterate, I love street photography because it has made me a happier person. I have been fortunate enough to share my passion of street photography with you and others on this blog through my books, articles, videos, presets, and other open source information. Through workshops, meet ups, and now the ERIC KIM FORUM.

The best way for us to push the genre of street photography forward: keep an open mind, heart, and share freely.

BE BOLD,
ERIC

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