ERIC KIM

The Nostalgic Black & White Photos of Japan: Interview with Street Photographer Junku Nishimura | Eric Kim


 
Eric’s Note: Junku Nishimura is one of the most talented street photographers that I know in Japan. Not only is he incredibly passionate about his photography (he shoots exclusively film and develops and prints all of his work) but he is also one of the most down-to-earth. I taught a film street photography workshop in Kyoto with him alongside Bellamy Hunt and Sean Lotman- which was an incredible experience. On the last night of the workshop, we were sitting in a bar in Kyoto and I conducted an interview with him. Here is a transcription (along with some edits) of the interview.

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Why Do You Shoot Street Photography? | Eric Kim

When I was in Korea earlier this year, my friend and fellow street photographer David Kim shared a TED talk with me titled: “How great leaders inspire action.” David holds a leadership position at his job, and he told me that this talk changed the way how he lead others and how he leads his own life. Needless to say, I was fascinated by the talk and after watching it – it changed my life.

In the talk Simon Sinek makes the case that successful leaders/organizations/companies asked the question “why” before asking the “what” or the “how”. For example, he used Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers as examples who focused on the “why” questions. For Apple, they follow the “why” question when it comes to making computers. Why does Apple do what they do? They want to inspire people through elegant, simple, yet powerful devices. For Martin Luther King, why did he want to see equality and freedom for all races in the states? Because he had a dream.

For the Wright Brothers, why did they work so hard to build the first flying airplane? Not to make money, but to create a technological breakthrough that would help all of mankind…..

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10 Tips How to Unleash Your Creativity in Street Photography | Eric Kim

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What is creativity? We like to think of it is as something we are born with–something that is innate. For example, certain children when they are young are deemed “creative” while others aren’t. But how can this be? “creativity” in itself isn’t a genetic trait like height, eye color, or body type. Rather, creativity can be explained by being able to “connect the dots” between the things that you know. Whenever we think of “eureka” moments, it isn’t sudden moments of inspiration that come out of nowhere. Rather, it is all the knowledge that you have accrued and learned over the years — with the sudden connections in-between igniting when we are resting. It has to do with the right side of the brain (that makes connections between the things that we know). Whereas the left brain is more for processing data and ideas in our mind. ? Creativity is a combination of work done between the left and right side of your brain. The right side of the brain helps us make sense of connections in life, such as stories and metaphors. Some tasks also associated with the right side of the brain include spatial abilities, facial recognition, visual imagery, and music. This is why in studies of people who have damaged right sides of their brains don’t understand metaphors (but can still function regularly). The left side of the brain manages more calculations such as processes involved with language, math, and logic….
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3 Concepts from Cognitive Science That Can Help You Become a Better Street Photographer | Eric Kim

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What makes a photograph memorable? What makes a photograph so powerful and so magical that it burns itself into our memories? Why do certain photographs withstand the history of time? Why do certain shots that are perfectly composed and framed are easily forgotten or dismissed? What makes a great photograph? How much of it is subjective vs objective? Is there a “science” behind making a memorable photograph? These are many questions and thoughts that constantly revolve in my mind. Although there are no definite answers to any of these questions, many things I have been learning in sociology, psychology, and cognitive science have been giving me some clues. While there is no certain “magical checklist” in what makes a certain photograph memorable, I will apply some studies to a hypothesis which could help you create more meaningful and memorable images from some thoughts from cognitive science…..


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10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography |
Eric Kim

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(Above image: copyright Garry Winogrand, World’s Fair, New York City, 1964)

Garry Winogrand is one of my favorite street photographers that I have gained much photographic insight and wisdom from. He was in-arguably one of the most prolific street photographers of his time (he shot over 5 million photographs in his career) and one of the most passionate. I never understood a lot of the things that he said in street photography like why you should wait a year or two before developing your shots, why photographs don’t tell stories, and how photographers mistake emotion for what makes great photographs. Although I didn’t really get what he was saying, I was intrigued….
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5 Things Stephen Shore Can Teach You About Street Photography |
Eric Kim

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(All images in this article are copyrighted by Stephen Shore)

 

While in Amsterdam I checked out the FOAM photography museum and picked up a book on Stephen Shore. For those of you who may not know, he is one of the early color pioneers in photography in America. Although his style is classified more as documentary and urban landscape, I think there is a lot of things we can learn from him as street photographers. If you are interested in learning more about color and street photography, read on!
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An Introduction to Zone Focusing for your Leica, Rangefinder, or DSLR |
Eric Kim

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When I first started shooting street photography, I was always frustrated that my autofocus would always be too slow to capture the decisive moment. After trudging around the internet, I was first introduced to the idea of “zone focusing” by Markus Hartel on his blog. For those of you who aren’t familiar with zone focusing you essentially use a high f-stop number with a deep depth of field (f/16 or f/11) and have your camera pre-focused to a certain distance to get your photos in-focus. This is beneficial because although modern autofocusing systems are quite good, they are not 100% reliable. Using zone focusing when shooting street photography allows you to get far more keepers.
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35 Magnum Photographers Give Their Advice to Aspiring Photographers | Eric Kim

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What advice would you give young photographers?

Try everything. Photojournalism, fashion, portraiture, nudes, whatever. You won’t know what kind of photographer you are until you try it. During one summer vacation (in college) I worked for a born-again tabletop photographer. All day long we’d photograph socks and listen to Christian radio. That summer I learned I was neither a studio photographer nor a born-again Christian. Another year I worked for a small suburban newspaper chain and was surprised to learn that I enjoyed assignment photography. Fun is important. You should like the process and the subject. If you are bored or unhappy with your subject it will show up in the pictures. If in your heart of hearts you want to take pictures of kitties, take pictures of kitties. Alec Soth
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How Studying Contact Sheets Can Make You a Better Street
Photographer | Eric Kim

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One of the biggest misconceptions I know runs rampart in street photography is the “myth of the decisive moment”. What do I mean when I talk about “the decisive moment” simply being a myth?

Well of course there generally is a “decisive moment” when you hit the shutter – to capture that exact moment you desire in a photograph. However one of the common misunderstandings that plagued many street photographers (including myself) was that the decisive moment simply being one shot. After studying many contact sheets from Magnum Contact Sheets book, I was able to gain a new level of insight to read the mind of a street photographer.
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How to Find Zen in Street Photography | Eric Kim

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When it comes to street photography, it is easy to get caught-up in the hype of new cameras, spending too much time on blogs, and not enough time out shooting. I think one of the most difficult things in street photography is to find enough time to shoot and being able to also relax when out on the streets. I suffer lack of focus, obsession about gear, and also not enough time out shooting on the streets. It is a battle I constantly fight with myself to change. If you ever felt that you have had difficulty finding focus in street photography, hopefully this advice I will share will help you.


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