Eric Kim – Introduction to Street Photography London Workshop

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London 2014

I made sure i managed to get a spot in this workshop over a year ago. I’ve always felt a little skeptic about these sort of things, but have to admit it was well worth it.

I caught a flight from Napoli departing at 6:15 in the AM, and thanks to the Lufthansa Business Lounges managed to be alive and well in London before noon. Took the train to my AirBnB room for the weekend (Angel area), left my stuff, and started heading towards ULU (University of London Union). Unfortunately the early alarm clock completely twisted my mind and found out I was 4 hours early. Oh well, I walked around for a little bit and made it to the classroom around 5. People started showing up, Eric arrived as well, and the show was underway.

The first day was a presentation and a critique session with the group. Never participated in anything like it, and it is amazing how much benefit one can take from open and honest confrontation. Some good feedback on three of my most recent and (what i thought) strong pictures which really opened my eyes while giving me quite a lot to think about.

Day two was focused on shooting. We were paired up, and hit the streets the whole day, mainly in the Oxford Circus area. I didn’t think about where i was, rather i just focused on the shooting.

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Ben Loosening up

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After a couple of hours on our own, it came to the 1 on 1 time with Eric. I have never been pushed so much and never felt so uncomfortable while shooting, to the point where i was really close to walking away. Luckily i remembered i was paying a fee for that, and thought to myself “Fuck it, no one knows me here” and powered through. Engaging people and asking (or not even asking) to take their picture is something i have never done and found to be not that hard as i thought.

Here’s a few shots after the pushing, where we realized it wasn’t so hard, but more than that, it was so bad at all.

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After the day was done, we were to select three pictures we thought were the best. I was able to get down to twenty-ish.

Day three was in the British Museum and trying to apply lines, diagonals, subject to ground and several more tips Eric was giving us through the weekend. I wasn’t quite feeling it, but felt glad i wasn’t the only one. We got back in the afternoon to the classroom and found out the pictures we needed to select was just one! Luckily Eric helped each one of us to edit and get down to the final one. Below was mine

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I gotta say, i’m not sure this is my best shot, and not really happy to say this represents my weekend. But at least i can say it was exactly what i had in mind at the time shot it, so i guess that’s good.

I waited a week to write down some thoughts (and due to my lazy ass i would’ve probably waited some more) because i wanted to see a followup to what i had learned during the weekend in London. To my suprise the tools i acquired during the workshop are definitely still with me, i managed to prove that yesterday, a week later, back in my hometown Napoli.

So overall an awesome experience, got to meet some great people, and learned a lot. Now it’s time to keep these tools with me and apply them to find my street photography identity. I’m not sure portraiture is my way, but i’m glad i’m loosening up to the point where nothing is holding me up. And i believe the weekend in london enabled me to do just that.

On to better things!

Friday Night

PHOTO (La Habana – Sept.2014 -X100S)

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It’s good to be back in my good old room. A lot of things have changed of course, but i can still feel comfortable enough. Got back yesterday from a 4 day business trip in the hills around Rome. Many hours and long days but good overall.

I was expecting a Friday night like the old days, but i can’t really expect much considering i’ve been M.I.A. in these past two years. But it’s all good – enjoying some quality time with my photo archive, mom’s pizza, learning to use my sister’s tablet, and picking up a friend at the airport.

State of mind

 

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No words tonight, just gathering thoughts and thinking about where to focus my attention. I was sleepy a couple of hours ago, now I’d need a drink to get myself to bed. The picture sums up my state pretty nicely.

No further going through my recent trip pics, I just decided 5 seconds ago I’ll let them linger a little bit. Maybe a week or a month or more. Maybe getting things in order first will help. 

 

 

I hope my car starts tomorrow morning

 

 

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Just got back home today after two awesome weeks. Lots of pictures taken (always wish I had more), both with my X100S and on film with my SPF. 900 digital plus 5 rolls of pictures that I can hardly even remember. I quickly went through a few of them, did a really rough edit, but there’s so much hours waiting for me there…. they’re gonna keep me busy for quite a while. Tomorrow I’ll get the rolls to the shop – hopefully have them back by thursday night by the time I’m through the initial edit.

Tomorrow I jump back on the wagon of everyday life – wish me luck. 

 

Exercise

PHOTO (Napoli – July 2014 – X100s)
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Sometimes you look at a picture passively, maybe you appreciate the photo itself, you stay on it a little, and maybe after going on to the next you go back to look at it some more. You stall, and then you go forward. I don’t know about you but this happens to me more often than not.

I’ve noticed recently that reading books helps my shooting a lot – sometimes I’m looking at a scene and suddenly a picture I saw in a book comes to my mind. And in the past few weeks I’m noticing this happening more often.

So I came to the realization that this is something I need to improve (since I already do it naturally and I think it’s a good thing). I will try, as best as I can, to stop whenever I look at a picture and try to do answer these simple questions: what was the person thinking when he/she clicked the shutter button? What was the reason  that made him/her think “Oh! This is something I need to shoot!”?. Simple as that. I’ll document the progress that comes out of this mental process in a few days/weeks.

Boot-camp

 

Just a walk in my hometown with the sole purpose of consuming a roll of (expired) Portra that I bought last month half priced in Torino.  I wish I had more chances like this to just spend a morning shooting, with some music in my headphones, on to explore a city that -I think- I know so well. I catch up so late to what I really could take advantage of. I realise now that if only I figured out street photography 2 years ago, I would have so much more material. I feel this small town is pulling me back, and since I’m just starting I need an easier pool to swim in – a bigger city.

Maybe the day I conquer my fear of approaching strangers to take their pictures in a small town, I’ll have a much easier time in the big city. Maybe this is just a boot-camp… one hell of a boot-camp though. The day I learn how to do it here, will change everything else into a piece of cake. That would be sweet.

Photos (Napoli – June 2014 – Spotmatic – Portra 400)

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to overcome..

..your weaknesses.

Photo (London – March 2014)
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It’s what I need to do. Focus more on what I’m currently not able to do. I would love my pictures just that little bit more if only I took a few steps closer before I took the shot. This is what I’m missing, and what I plan to concentrate more in the future.