I like Eric Kim. He has provided much information, ideas and guides on street photography to the internet community for many years; oh and still does!
His being happy and enthusiastic for the genre rubs off on most people, others being just professionally and stubbornly miserable. He publishes using a range of mediums from images, blog entries and videos, which makes his content suitable for all types.
I have never found him offering something “FREE”, only to find I must “PAY” with my email address. He does not have adverts on his YT channel, but I think he should. So much of his content is offered unconditionally. He does have commercial content, but the paid workshops and online training are clearly marked. There is no deception and no overly commercial exploitation as can be seen with many a YT channel.
The vast majority of Eric’s thoughts, approach and techniques are simply available for the taking. No need to open your wallet, or even accept it all to start to benefit.
It’s like a candy store where one thing may not be your taste, but you will almost certainly find something that is and that is his strength.
Confrontational and Controversial
I do have one area with Eric’s approach that I don’t like. He has a tendency to be very direct, in the persons face and confrontational. This method seems natural to him. Perhaps this part of his approach is because of his age, his American culture, his personal background or a bit of all three. It is worth pointing out that perhaps my aversion is because of my age, my European culture and my personal background. Irrespective of why, I just find this aspect of his approach a little painful.
Social Media interaction with Eric Kim
Eric avoids interaction through social media. Most days he posts several videos on youtube and accompanying articles on his blog. Quite often there is a mix of comments, some positive, some not so. But there is always a lack of engagement by Eric with his audience. This is unfortunate, but understandable because of the nasty and sometimes libellous statements that people leave.
There is a problem with social media interactions in general. With creatives there is always the risk that the comments on what is good and what is bad end up trapping the individual into being a servant of only what is popular. This of course is something no creative person wants. We want to develop in the direction that we find interesting, and bring people along for the ride. Equally though Eric Kim seems to get unhappy when people aren’t interested in his journey’s direction. In effect and as a consequence Eric uses Youtube and his Blog as a Monolog, which of course is not quite what people expect.
“Eric Kim’s different dimension in cultural story telling”
I feel that Eric does not strictly follow the candid aspect of street photography, which makes him in my eyes, more a Guerrilla Photographer. But his work is far more than simply street portraiture. It is raw but confrontational. The photographic subjects are often shocked and sometimes imposed upon. This makes the resulting images a different dimension in cultural story telling. The subjects show their reactions.
Photographs of his street scenes additionally record on film some aspects of the character of the subject and the subject’s culture. Which, at least from my knowledge of others in the genre, is very unique!
Eric’s raw thinking
Eric has a tendency to share his thoughts early. Meaning raw, undigested and immediate. I am sure it is done because it is swimming in his mind and he must get it out. It is not easy to articulate a revelation or observation where the vocabulary or significance is lost on most people.
It sometimes however has not been thought through enough and this can make people bitter and jealous. His past videos with earning $200k and sales tactics with workshop pricing are certainly direct. He is confident and deliberate which leads some people to perhaps consider him arrogant. I think that is not altogether fair. Whilst arrogance is common when we are young, I consider most of his content reflects a pure enthusiasm and energy, but we need to remember he is a business too.
What he does is, for my enquiring mind, interestingly different. Whether you treat his work as a provocative derivative of the HCB style of street photography or you treat it as a totally different genre is up to you.
Where I differ with Eric’s philosophy is not so important, what matters is that the genre has people prepared to share and promote. Eric does more than anyone I know on this count. I think his style is something totally unique, something raw but also inherently ahead of its time, culturally speaking.