Photolosophy: With Physical Proximity comes Emotional Proximity

A photolosophy idea: by photographing at a close proximity to your subjects, you’re more likely to feel the emotions of your subjects. And the closer you are to your subjects and the closer you frame them (with a wide angle lens), the more emotional connection your viewer can feel from your photos!

Robert Capa said, “If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” — which is probably the most distilled version of this saying or aphorism.

I’m pretty amazed; I’m revisiting the work of the old school (OG) Magnum photographers (like Robert Capa), and I’m so grateful he got super close to the action, and had the guts to make all these epic photos of the war, and history in the making.


Well, when I look at the photos of Robert Capa:

  1. The photos feel more real; I feel I’m really there! Thus I feel more gratitude to live my life without the perils of war obstructing my life.
  2. The photos will do better service to the future of humanity; to show the horrible aspects of war, to hopefully prevent future wars.
  3. Aesthetically, even looking at the photos spark joy, delight, and optimism in my heart. I think this is because the compositions are closer and more intimate. And Robert Capa has the audacity and brazenness to shoot certain scenes that others might feel shy or awkward (or scared) to shoot:

So the morale of the story is this:

When you feel awkward or nervous getting close to shoot a street photography scene which you find interesting or meaningful, know that you’re shooting it for the greater good! Thus, be bold, brazen, and get closer!

Tip 1: When in doubt take a step closer.

The 25% principle

And another tip: when you think you’ve got the shot, you haven’t got it yet. Try to always shoot 25% more than you think you should, and you’re more likely to get a good photo!



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