Eric Kim is well known in the street photography world because of his popular website and long term dedication to workshops that bring the elusive art of street photography to people around the world. His trusty Leica MP is always loaded with Kodak Portra 400 but you may be surprised to know he started his street photography career with a Canon 5D DSLR! How has his shooting style and views on photography evolved over the years? Hit the jump and watch the video to find out!
The video follows Eric on a typical day in 2011. Waking up early and biking to work then squeezing in a bit of shooting at lunch and again after work. Eric shoots well into the night using the relatively high ISO of the original 5D. He talks about how the city seems to come to life when the sun goes down. New people come out and things that you might walk past during the day become surreal and magical in the dark.
It’s interesting to see where this well-known street shooter started compared to his current-day self. Let’s have a look:
Eric Kim: Evolution
Gone is the bulky Canon 5D DSLR and most of Eric’s current work is shot on Kodak Portra 400 Film using his beautifully brassed Leica MP.
Gone is the day job. Eric now works full time as a street photography / educator.
Let’s talk about chimping. Chimping is a colloquial term used to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera’s LCD display immediately after capture. The origin of the word is unclear but many people think it’s based on photographers pointing at the LCD on the back of their camera and saying “Ooh! Ooh!” as they show off the amazing shot they just took.
Modern day Eric Kim suggests everyone avoid chimping and urges street photographers to turn off image review on their cameras. Don’t miss your next shot because you’re busy looking at the last shot you took. This is great advice that I follow myself but I’m pretty sure I saw him chimping a couple times in the video…
Eric Kim chimps… The video doesn’t lie.
Eric Kim: Passionate About Street Photography
Even if you’ve never heard of Eric Kim the video offers a glimpse into the mind of someone passionate about street photography. Eric studied sociology in university and his work is fueld by his curiosity about the people and places he encounters.
Whether he’s up in people’s faces or standing back and using people to create juxtapositions in the frame, it’s people that motivate his shots. This idea is perhaps best seen in the many street portaits that Eric shoots in his modern work. Often stopping people on the street and engaging them as he documents their quirky individuality. Without people it’s just a picture that was taken on the street.
Eric also stresses that the goal of street photography shouldn’t be how many likes or comments you can get on Flickr. Photography should be its own reward and any feedback you receive should not be considered a trophy. Instead use the feedback you receive to advance your skills. At the end of the day you’re better off with or without the likes!
Good advice is timeless!