Interview with Street Photographer Eric Kim
In comparison to other areas of photography, there’s relatively little advice online about street photography. But a number of photographers like Eric are helping to tackle this problem as well as build a solid and much-needed community for street photographers.
I think one of the most important things about a street photographer is to really understand his or her personality and how their photography reflects that. I don’t think you should try to fit your personality to a style. Rather your style should derive from your personality. For example, not everyone can shoot like Bruce Gilden or William Klein without having the personality for it. Even though they get a lot of flak for being aggressive and “in your face” they are true to their personality. As Gilden says himself when giving advice to photographers: “Shoot who you are.”
But then again, not everyone has the patience to shoot like Henri Cartier-Bresson, seeing the scene and waiting for “the decisive moment” to appear. When I started street photography, I tried to imitate his style, but found that wasn’t true to my personality. I don’t really like always being candid and unnoticed when shooting in the streets. I like to interact with people, talk to them, get to know their names and what they do and occasionally I pose them for fun. At the end of the day I just love interacting with people. To make an interesting photo personally comes second for me.
I follow the street photography collectives such as Burn My Eye, In-Public, Strange.rs, That’s Life, Stroma, and Observe for inspiration. In terms of my favorite contemporary street photographers — they currently include the following (in no particular order):
Junku Nishimura is a Japanese street photographer whose nostalgic black and white film work brings me back to the past. Sean Lotman from Kyoto has incredible color street photography from all around the globe and combines his photos with haikus which is awesome.Charlie Kirk also has some of the most stunning work done in Tokyo I have seen and is also working on a book on Istanbul which has powerful images. Charalampos Kydonakis, “Dirty Harrry,” is one of the most innovative street photographers out there and I love his surreal images.
I enjoy the work of Dana Barsuhn, a black and white film photographer in LA whose images are soulful and have a timeless feel. Satoki Nagata, a Japanese photographer who lives in Chicago creates beautiful images that border fine art, documentary and street photography. Rinzi Ruizfrom LA is a prolific shooter as well and he has created a very signature style, which focuses on light and shadows. Lastly, I would like to mention Josh White, a Canadian street photographer who is doing some great gritty work in the depths of Seoul, Korea.