Capturing the Tension in the Streets of Athens: The Illuminating Street Photographs of Christos Kapatos

Christos Kapatos Street Photography

Eric’s Note: I am pleased to share the work of Christos Kapatos, street photographer from Athens who utilizes strong color and sometimes a flash in his street photography. 

Christos: I have been into photography since 2011. I had never been involved earlier and that came purely out of luck as I just bought a camera for a week’s vacation trip to Paris. It was love at first sight.  I am never leaving home without my camera anymore and I constantly and solely work on photography. I had a successful carrier as a salesman on international cargo transport and I decided to give it up and stick with photography. I came across some good Greek street photographers on Flickr and i intensively studied their style and technique.

Now, I walk the streets of Athens, this so much “exhausted” city and capture moments and feelings. There is some grotesque feel to my photos as friends say but i can character study people that way. It’s hard to survive in the Greek crisis environment but the tension in the streets is so inspiring.

How to Shoot Stroboscopic Flash Street Photography by Dirty Harrry

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(All images copyrighted by Dirty Harrry)

Eric’s Note: For this article I am pleased to feature the thoughts about Dirty Harrry, a prolific street photographer from Crete in Greece. His images shot with flash are  not only surreal but technically well done. Make sure to also check out my interview with him here, and see his images on Flickr.

Hi Eric, thanks for your invitation once again here. My words may be obvious and don’t consider them “rules”. However these are my observations after shooting for 3 years with a flash in my street photography.

Capturing Human Theater With a Flash: An Interview with Charalampos Kydonakis (Dirty Harrry)

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Charalampos Kydonakis (or known online as Dirty Harrry) is a street photographer who was born in Heraklion of Crete and raised in Rethymnon. Dirty Harry is indoubtly one of the greatest contemporary street photographers out there. Not only does he consistently create solid work, but he also creates innovative images getting close and at times shooting with a flash. He is an architect by trade, but creates his true artistic vision through his street photography. Read more to see the rest of the interview as well as his inspirational images.

Response to My Hollywood and Flash Street Photography Video

Yesterday I put up a video of me shooting flash street photography in Hollywood as a tool to help people understand how I get close to people and shoot them with a flash. My original intention of the video was to help others build their courage, rather than offend people.

In the video above I talk about some of my thoughts about the video.

First of all, I am not Bruce Gilden and don’t claim to be. I am hugely inspired by the work of his and those of others such as Weegee, Charlie Kirk, Mark Cohen, Dirty Harry, and some others. My idea is not original, and I have been copying aspects of their technique I like. Through this experimentation, I have found out I enjoy this style and am curious to keep on trying it out. The experience is much more intimate and has been challenging me both as a street photographer and person.

Secondly, the images I took in the video were not great. I only put them in there to be instructive and helpful to give people a sense of how the images would look. I can shoot street photography for an entire day and get 1-2 decent shots if I am lucky. To get a good photo in 3 minutes flat is almost impossible.

Lastly thank you for the comments & critiques. I see my blog more as a hub for street photography discussion, learning, and debate. I purposely never censor any of the comments that people leave, and appreciate everybody’s thoughts. I don’t claim to be the master or have all the answers. Rather being a street photographer that struggled with getting over his fear of shooting street photography– I simply want to help others get over that as well.

Feel free to leave your thoughts, suggestions, or critiques below. Also thanks so much for the continued feedback and support. Shooting street photography, doing workshops, managing my social networks, and this blog is a ton of work–but it is my passion and I do it all out of love to help you and the community.


Shooting Street Photography With a Flash in Hollywood

During my Los Angeles Street Photography Workshop, Rinzi Ruiz followed me around and recorded me shooting street photography with my Canon 5D, 24mm f/2.8, YN 560 Flash, and CSLR C-loop and Glidestrap.

I enjoyed the experience and this time aimed my flash aiming upwards from a low angle (while crouching down). As you can see through the video, a lot of people were very friendly (as long as I smiled and said “thank you” or that I liked something they were wearing). A few people objected and gave me weird looks (as you can see) but I am pleased with a few of the resulting images.

In addition, the workshop was a ton of fun, and you can see my previous footage talking about Day 1, Day 2, and the best street photographs my students took.

Also check out my upcoming street photography workshops in LA and San Francisco.

What do you think of this approach and the pictures I got? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Vegas Day 2: Debauchery, Hangovers, and Flash Street Photography at Night

I just completed my second day in Las Vegas and wanted to share some of my experiences. First of all, it appears that for the entire time I have either been a) Drunk or b) Hungover. Not the most fun when shooting street photography, but I still get the job done. Also today I had the great opportunity of meeting up with Rob DeRosa (one of my LA Street Photography workshop attendees this Saturday-Sunday) and he showed me Downtown Vegas which was a ton of fun. It seemed more soulful than the main strip (as it had more locals and fewer tourists). Not only that, but I was able to have a ton of fun shooting flash with my camera, which was awesome.

If you are interested in my LA street photography workshop in Hollywood this weekend (July 30-31st), please shoot me an email at erickimphotography@gmail.com for more information! There are only a few spots left, and it will be a great opportunity for you to overcome your fear of shooting street photography while being able to test out a Leica M9!

Make sure to also read more to check out more of the photos I took :)

New Beginnings Day 8: Street Photography With Wireless Flash at Santa Monica

Today I hit the streets of Santa Monica and the beach armed with my new YN-560 Speedlight Flash and wireless transmitter. It is a new setup that I have been trying out, which seems to be far better than using a chord for my street photography with flash. Not only is the kit extremely cheap (only $67 for the flash and $20 for the wireless transmitter) but it works well and gives me great images! Screw buying a Canon Speedlite 580EX II for around $500. Having shot with it in Santa Monica today, I have been extremely pleased. Read more to see all the pictures I took.

Anyways I also have 4 more spots open for my July 30-31st street photography workshop in Hollywood, Los Angeles! It is going to be a ton of fun meeting other street photographers, shooting together in the streets, while also getting helpful critique and learning new techniques. Please email me at erickimphotography@gmail.com if you want more details or would like to sign up!

New Beginnings Day 7: Todd, Lighting, and Thorsten Overgaard (+ lots of caffeine)

It has officially been 7 days since I got laid off my job and decided to pursue street photography full-time. Things have been hectic with me working 15-hour days on this blog, booking participants for my workshop, managing my social media networks, and going out and networking! Today I was fortunate enough to meet with Todd over at Lighting Leica and he was able to hook it up with an awesome flash (and wireless trigger) which I plan on using for my flash street photography. Stay posted for an in-depth review later.

Tonight I was also able to meet up with avant-garde Leica photographer Thorsten Overgaard and had a ton of fun chatting with him and shooting portraits of him with my flash. The guy is super-chill, down to the earth, and did I mention–well dressed? Watch the video above to hear more about my highlights and also read more to see the fun pictures I took as well!

I also still have 3 spots open for my Los Angeles street photography workshop July 30-31st, so please shoot me an email at erickimphotography@gmail.com if you would like to hear more details! Hurry, spots are running out ;)

Street Photography With a DSLR and Flash in Hollywood

Tonight I had the fun of shooting flash street photography in Hollywood with Daniel Schaeffer. At first I was a bit worried about shooting street photography in Hollywood (because of all the characters), but I had a very pleasant time. Few people objected to me using flash, and I got some pretty interesting images as well.

Also I am pleased to announce that on July 30-31st, I am teaching an introductory street photography workshop at the 4th Street Gallery in Hollywood. Shoot me an email at erickimphotography@gmail.com for more details, and read more to see my flash images!

Leica M9, Canon 430ex Flash, GoPro HD 960

Shooting Street Photography With a Leica M9 and Flash in Los Angeles at Night [First Impressions]

Eric Kim Flash Street Photography Leica M9
Leica M9 and Off-shoe Flash

With my Leica M9 set up with my Canon Speedlite 430EX, I experimented street photography with a flash for the first time in Los Angeles (3rd Street Promenade). Despite what people say, I didn’t get punched in the face or my camera broken (although I did get shoved once hard in the back). Overall, it was quite a fascinating experience, and I learned a ton about the process. Keep reading to watch the video of  my crazy stories, and also check out some of the photos as well.

"Grimace" - Metro, Paris

Paris Day 5: Interview with Alex Majoli from Magnum and Love For My Friends (last day in Paris)

"Grimace" - Metro, Paris
“Grimace” – Metro, Paris

Today is the last day that I am in Paris, and I wanted to give you a few last updates. I was able to interview Alex Majoli from Magnum, an incredibly passionate and down-to earth photographer. Once I get back home, I will post the interview for you to read. Also I had the chance to walk around with JJ from Leica and take photographs, and also have a great meal of crepes with him and William Yan. Lastly in the night, I met up with Damien Rayuela, Charlie Kirk, and Alexandra Uhart with William. We had a ton of fun (and drinks) — make sure to read more to see the video and the images from today ;)

"Lace" - Santa Monica

How to Shoot Street Photography With a Flash

"Lace" - Santa Monica
"Lace" - Santa Monica. Shot with my Ricoh GRIII and flash.

When it comes to street photography, I am always open to new ideas and styles. One technique I have been particularly interested in is shooting street photography with a flash. I have been very inspired by the work of Bruce Gilden and Charlie Kirk. Although this style is quite controversial, I think that shooting with a flash does add an extra dimension to an image, and isn’t quite as unethical as most people claim it to be. After all, it was Bruce Gilden who said, “…the people I shoot in the streets are my friends” and Charlie Kirk who says he shoots “…openly and honestly.” Therefore the last three or so weeks I have been shooting street photography with a flash, and with great success. I will discuss my technique of shooting street photography in the streets with a flash, with special emphasis on mindset as well as technical settings. Read more if you are curious.