Editor’s note: Last time Stephen was on the blog was over 5 years ago. So it’s nice to welcome him back! This time he shares with us his latest work,a photobook titled Sparks. He also shares with us a very interesting short story at the end. Give it all a read. All photos by Stephen Leslie. Interview by Eric Kim
Editor’s Note: Today we have Daniel Oshi of The Brussels Street Photography Festival. It promises to be a great Photography event highlighting the beautiful city of Brussels and a special insight to Belgian Photography.
I talk shop with Daniel and he invites us to join in their contest (more info at the bottom of the post) and festivities starting on October 28, 2016! All photos used with permission from BSPF. Interview by A.g. De Mesa
(Editor’s Note: Eric interviews Ola Billmont about his process, experiences, and lessons learned in making his new book A Day At The Races. All photos by Ola Billmont)
Eric: Hey Ola, long time no chat. Tell us what is going on for you in terms of your photography, and congratulations on your new book!
Ola: Thanks, Eric. It’s been an interesting ride putting this book together.
Honestly, I’m not sure as I am not shooting with anything particular in mind. Although, I have never been shooting this much before. Over the last year I have slid away from street photography and shoot many other things.
(A.g.’s Note: Today’s guest post on the blog is by Vincent Tam. He’s an inquisitive and persistent photographer. He’s sharing with us his insights and research on how to produce quality work and how he tested this research with the backstory of getting the photo above. All photos and text are by Vincent Tam.)
Vincent: I had a massive misconception about great photographers. I thought every shot they take must be great. This is not true. Magnum photographer Alex Webb reportedly shot ten rolls of Kodachrome film for his famous Istanbul barbershop photo. He says “street photography is 99 percent about failure.” To improve our odds of making great photos, does it make sense to simply shoot more? As it turns out, in his 2016 book about how non-conformists move the world, Adam Grant tells us the most predictable path to quality is, in fact, quantity.
Kausal Parikh is one of the names the pops up when talking about contemporary street photography in India. Being the founder of the Indian Street Photography collective That’s life and balancing that with the responsibilities of being a father and an active street photographer did not seem to deter KP in pursuing self-publishing his very own photo book. Eric chats with KP regarding the photobook making process, motivations behind the book, and the current status of That’s Life.
Words and Photos by Maarten Rots.
Maarten: I thrive under restriction; I like it when things are closed off. By (temporarily) taking away many of the variables of everyday life I create room to focus and get a better understanding of what I do and why I do it. That’s why I have set up ‘Sitting’: a personal photography project that consists of a few simple rules:
Mark Alor Powell chats with Eric and talk about Mark’s book Open at Noon. They explore making meaning, photobook making, and going through that process of making a photobook. (Photos by Mark Alor Powell, Interview by Eric Kim)
(Cover Photo by Oguz Ozkan)
We’ve always love the hard work that Observe Collective puts out. They understand that photography is not just shooting but also showing your work. Presenting your observations if you will.
Which is why we’re happy to know that the Observe collective Magazine aptly named, Observations recently went up online.
This issue isn’t a typical glossy magazine found in the stands with cover stories and feature articles. They had their members write about their personal relationship with photography. Some of them explore their fascination as to where the interest to photography came from like Danielle Houghton’s work or Ilya Shtutsa’s relationship with his mentor and how it is helping him tell visual stories in a deeper manner.
It’s quite a long read at 148 pages but it is interesting and thoughtful. Thankfully, you can download a pdf version on their website.
Once again, congratulations to Observe collective on their first issue and we are looking forward to what they have next!
Interview by A.g. De Mesa. All photos by Dayv Matt.
Last time we talked with Dayv, he just finished his first book, High Street Low Street: Seoul and was in the process of making his follow up, High street Low Street: Colombo. He’s finally done with the book and is currently running a kickstarter campaign to be able to self-publish. I check back on him to see what he has learned with self-publishing, motivating yourself, and photography personal life balance.
Interview by A.g. De Mesa, Photos by Jonathan Higbee
A.G.: Any creative pursuit, especially photography comes with anxiety and a whole lot of uncertainty. We all have our ways of dealing with them but for Jonathan Higbee, it is the impetus that is driving his work forward. Together with his keen eye on color and creative juxtapositions, he positions his work to counteract this anxiety by putting it front and center in his work. Check out our conversation and his visually arresting photos in this interview.
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Simon: I recently took part in Eric’s workshop in New Orleans and during one of our daily critique sessions Eric asked if I’d like to write a post about the top 5 things I learnt. After taking the time to reflect on the week I really struggled to cut it down to 5 and decided to share the top 10 – sorry Eric!
Before I get into what I learnt about photography I want to share a couple of other things I learned from this trip:
(Editor’s Note: Words and Photographs by Steve Simon. Steve is a very passionate photographer, author, and an educator that has traveled the world shooting for various brands, companies, and organizations. His work focuses on street and documentary photography. He shares with us today how simple it is to start a street project and how it will develop your photography further. All words and photographs are by Steve Simon.)
We all have a unique vision of the world and photography is such a great way to express your vision. The more you shoot, the more focused and recognizable that vision becomes, a style if you will. But you don’t set out to create a style, your style reveals itself when you get through a volume of work. It’s unconscious and not contrived. Others might see it before you do… you’re too close to your work to always recognize it.
I have been a street photographer since I first picked up a camera as a young kid, wandering the streets of Montreal.
(Words and photos unless otherwise stated is by Maarten Rots. Maarten is an artist working with photography based out of Amsterdam. In his photographs you can see a sense of abstraction and surrealism found in everyday situations, captured by the camera. He loves printed photography and one of the ways he shares his work is through his self-published quarterly photography magazine March & Rock. Maarten will also give away a copy of of March & Rock. See the end of the article for details)
Digital photography is definitely one of the most important developments in photography of the last decades. One of its few downsides though is the fact that your work often remains virtual, it lives on electricity powered devices only. I have made it a habit to regularly print my photographs and have benefitted from it in several ways. Next to having a hardcopy backup it can be of great help to your process, becoming more aware of your own choices and interests, but also gives you new ways of sharing and presenting your work.
(Words and Photos by Pierre Belhassen)
I’m Pierre Belhassen. I started photography 10 years ago. After studying cinema, I was given a camera. I wanted to discover New York City. It became a revelation in my life. I realized that there are endless possibilities and different ways to reinvent reality. For me, there was no doubt. I felt this inner calling which gave sense to everything.
(Interview by A.g. De Mesa. All photos by Siri Thompson)
Siri Thompson is a photographer based in Toronto, Canada. She constantly photographs her city in a manner inspired by her photographic heroes while putting her own unique twist. Siri also has a soft place in her heart for animals. Her photos feature a lot of imagination as seen by the layers of content in her frame but they can be easily understood. It is a mixture of mundane daily life and deceptively complex scenes.
Find out more about how she photographs and what keeps her fascinated with our interview below:
I am strongly convinced that creating restrictions leads to more freedom and development when it comes to creativity. This may sound very counterintuitive but I have experiences to back up my claims. I just finished an intense week of photographing which led to an exhibition opening last night. It was a great experience and I would like to share some of the things I came across and learned during this week.
I think we all know how it sometimes can be hard to go out and shoot. We’re all very good at coming up with excuses and it can be tough to break the cycle of non-activity. Next to that it may sometimes feel like we’ve gotten used to a certain way of working which slows down our development so much that it feels like we got stuck and keep coming home with different but the same photographs time after time.
What I like to do to work around this is to set up some rules and make agreements that involve others to push myself a step further. This past week I did exactly that, really enjoyed it and think this can be of help to others as well.
I came up with the plan to shoot within a 1000 meter radius only, then pick one photograph each day to be printed and finish up the project by showing the outcome in an exhibition. I pitched the plan – Siting: Qlick Editions – to the nice people of photo gallery Qlick Editions in Amsterdam who were very enthusiastic about the idea and we set a date for the project to happen. As the moment to start came closer I made sure I had nothing else going on during this week and dropped all of my other routines so I could fully focus on this one-week project.
Each day of the past week I walked through the area, accompanied by my camera, for about 8 to 9 hours and would come back into the space to make my selection. Not always an easy task, but very rewarding as the photo would be printed and delivered to the gallery the next day. As you may know from your own experience it can be very tough to choose that one photo on the day you took it. That’s why I worked together with Eric: every day I would send him my final selection of around 8 images and he would get back to me with constructive criticism; very helpful in order to get to the pick of the day.
I also devoted a blog to this project on my website so anyone interested could be really involved in the process. I attempted to keep it as open as I could by sharing a lot of the images that did not make the cut, to give some insight into my way of working. Also I used geotagged images to place on a google map to make it possible to see where each image was taken.
I developed this project with the intention to explore different areas in different cities all over Europe and hopefully on other continents as well.
Restriction leads to digging deeper into the possibilities that are at hand which may lead to some exciting new discoveries. I truly believe you can find beauty and interesting subject matter anywhere as long as you force yourself to look for it. By limiting the area to work in I did just that and it really gave me a clearer idea of what I’m looking for when I go out searching for interesting photographs. I had to look harder, but also learned to faster recognise the situations that trigger my attention. I had to pull myself through moments when I felt nothing was good enough and exterminate the fear of ending up with a shit picture getting printed. I had to go on when the weather was not as I prefer it when I go take pictures and learned to shoot when it’s a rainy day. I narrowed my scope but didn’t become closed minded, this project actually opened my view and made me see (and capture) things I wouldn’t have seen a month ago.
Dealing with the time constraint is a challenge but it keeps you from procrastinating to make decisions that have to be made regardless. Most of the time it really doesn’t help to postpone a decision. Do it now and you are relieved of one more thing that’s in the back of your head messing with your focus and concentration.
I don’t think the boundaries I set myself are necessarily the right ones for you. Restriction can come in many forms and it’s only a matter of applying one or more simple rules to your workflow. For example shoot only between 6 and 7 am, use only one camera and one lens (less really is more and healthy for your back and wallet as well), shoot only in portrait orientation, shoot only one photograph of each scene (edit before shooting) etcetera.
Also think about restricting yourself in the process that follows a shoot: choose the one best image within an hour after coming home, don’t crop any of your images, make a print of your favourite image once a week and hang it someplace where others can see it (or give it away, people love getting a printed image). Involving others is a very good way to keep things going and stay sharp anyway!
I believe setting up rules is a very effective way to boost your creative qualities, but it only works when you change it up. Don’t stick with the same rules and restrictions forever, in the end the most important things is to enjoy it and shed a new light on your photography.
By restricting you have less to worry about and more energy to focus on what you really want and love to do: make better pictures. It makes you look for other ways to achieve the result you have in mind. It also forces you to get better at working with the smaller amount of tools and possibilities you have left. You will learn to exploit what you have at hand and become better at what you do.
Go for it, I’m sure you will get something out of it!
Maarten Rots is an artist working with photography based out of Amsterdam. In his photographs you can see a sense of abstraction and surrealism found in everyday situations, captured by the camera. He loves printed photography and one of the ways he shares his work is through his self-published quarterly photography magazine March & Rock.
Follow Maarten on Instagram: @maartenrots
Inspired by Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” I interviewed bigheadtaco, a local Vancouver-based street photographer driving around. Take (his real name) gives great practical advice on Instagram, branding, street photography, life, and following your own voice and vision.
Enjoy this interview, and make sure to follow him on his channels below:
I’m very excited to share this recent interview I did with Daniel Arnold. You might have heard about Daniel and his work through the controversy of him getting kicked off Instagram for showing nudity on Gawker, his Forbes feature on how he made $15,000 in one day selling 4×6 prints for $150, or his profile on Wired (titled: “On the Prowl with Instagram’s Ultimate Street Photographer”).
Upon reading all these headlines, I knew that there was more to Daniel, both as a photographer and as a human being. I checked out more of his work on his website (where he now posts mostly film shots), and was blown away by the humanity, humor, but also the complex emotional images he captures in NYC.
In this hour and a half interview we delve deep. We talk about the process of shooting film (versus shooting digitally on an iPhone), his favorite photography books, how he overcame his fear of shooting street photography, thinking about life and death, and what ultimately brings him happiness in life (clue: it isn’t about the followers).
You can watch the video interview above, or listen to the podcast below (you can see all the episodes on my iTunes podcast channel):
Read more to see all the show notes, links, book recommendations, and quotes from the interview.
I just had a recent chat with my manager and good friend Neil Ta. Neil is a professional photographer based in Toronto (shoots wedding and commercial work), and his passion is photography. He has dabbled in many different genres of photography, including “urbex” (urban exploration), “rooftopping” (getting to really high places), documentary photography (he is working on a long-term project on “Alexandra Park“, a public-housing complex for low-income families which is being gentrified for expensive condos), and street photography.
In this video interview, we delve deep into lots of different topics. Neil shares how he first got into photography, why he decided to quit his job and travel the world for 6 months+, how we met, not being pigeon-holed in photography, his love (and hate) relationship with film, and why he is currently shooting on a Hasselblad Xpan.
You can listen to the audio podcast below:
Read more to see the topics we covered in the interview, and lots of inspirational links:
I just did a fun interview with my good friend Karl Edwards (he runs StreetShootr) and has a blast chatting about his start in street photography, his tension between shooting film and digital, practical tips on how to shoot with a Leica, his favorite photography books, and why he likens shooting street photography to playing a harmonica. The format is similar to when I “ambush” interviewed him in Provincetown as a part of the Magnum workshop.
Read more to see his photos and the street photographers he recommends to check out!
Eric’s Note: I am excited to feature the work of Ximena Echagüe, a street photographer based in Brussels, Belgium. I’ve been doing online 1:1 lessons with her the last year, and have been amazed with her progress. Below is an interview I did with her, check it out and her projects!
(Editor’s Note: Words and Photographs by Jared Krause)
I started shooting in June of 2009. I had causally been thinking about photography and decided to buy a camera. I started posting to a photo blog because I felt like photography was a good way to share my experiences with other people. Shooting street photos gave my photography purpose, a goal and a style to pursue rather than just taking random shots of anything. It was a edgy and new to me. I decided to start posting photos to my blog every day, and did so for over a year. In that period, I got very comfortable using my camera, and quite familiar with light, contrast, colour and the other elements involved in photography. Even though I wasn’t shooting street, I was learning.
(Editor’s Note: Interview by Eric Kim. Photographs by Nick Gervin.)
Eric: Hey Nick great to have you. Can you start off by telling us a (brief) life story and how you first picked up a camera?
Nick: Thanks for having me, Eric. I first picked up a camera in 1992 at the age of twelve. I wanted to document the graffiti art I was discovering in and around Portland, Maine. At that time, the city was in poor shape and it had a lot of derelict buildings that I would skip school to explore.
I really had no clue what I was doing when it came to photography; I was more of a point-and-shooter then. Still, I felt that the documentation was important and, later on, it would prove to be. Like all things in life, the graffiti didn’t last forever and the photographs I had made then helped document a subculture. I continued to point-and-shoot over the years, mostly with disposable cameras.
In 2011 I did a video interview with Blake Andrews, and a lot has changed since then. I recently did an interview on Blake’s blog (Q&A with Eric Kim) and wanted to see what he has been up to since the last time we chatted.
In this hour-long interview, we talk about his trip to LA, how it is to shoot in Eugene and Portland, the philosophy and psychology behind blogging, shooting in color vs black and white, as well as his advice for street photographers.
Also as a note, there are some parts of the video where the audio is scratchy, and the video isn’t the highest quality. But I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I did! You can follow Blake below:
Follow Blake on Social Media:
(A.g.’s Note: Today we have Clifton Barker chatting down with his friend and award winning photographer, Tavepong Pratoomwong from Thailand. Have a laugh and enjoy this one! Interview by Clifton Barker. All photos are by Tavepong Pratoomwong.)
Over the last year, the Thai street photography scene has been dominated by one man; Tavepong Pratoomwong. Besides being really clever with his compositions and somehow seemingly invisible—he has the cutest daughter you’ve ever seen. Certified. Recently TP received the high honor of the EyeEM award for Street Photographer of the Year 2014 and won 1st place at the Miami Street Festival. Besides all that, he’s just a cool dude that I really wanted to ask some absurd questions. Being mannerly, he obliged.
CB: How long did you have to wait by the Indian guy for the monkeys to start screwing?