My Favorite Street Photographers


I’ve been exploring the work of other street photographers lately. Not religiously but ever now and again. I’m teasing out what appeals to me in the art form and how to improve my own art.

I don’t have a laundry list of artists; there are some photographers that just have a few images that really appeal to me, like Erik Kim. He’s made a brand for himself with it and while maybe 1 out of 10 images appeal to me, his website is a treasure trove of insights on street photography that I read regularly. But he also has too many of the Bruce Gilden style surprise-flash to the face that really turns me off somehow.

Fan Ho I somehow stumbled upon a few weeks ago. His work, on the other hand, is massively appealing to me. He juxtaposes tiny human figures with the looming architecture of 1960’s Hong Kong in an almost minimalist manner. He tells the story of the Old City incredibly well and I often think about how to replicate his style when I’m out on the streets. I haven’t done so properly yet but it’s always in the back of my mind.

Nico Harold is another photographer I really enjoy, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. I found him while looking up articles on 24mm photography; he’s quite fond of his XF 16mm f/1.4. He has a great eye for shadows, reflections, and somehow making legs interesting. I don’t know how he does it, but he captures motion perfectly. His eye for color, the natural awesomeness of the streets of Jakarta, and his grading of Fuji files are striking as well.

This image was me discovering how to create proper silhouettes in Capture One via the Brightness Slider, something Nico does quite a bit.

And I just stumbled on a guy who made me want to write this post. Christophe Debon. A French street photographer in Paris, he uses a big honking Canon 5D and a 24mm lens. Zero discretion with that kit – but look at those images! Photos like those are why I bought my 16mm f/1.4. That subject isolation combined with the wide field of view. Look at the eye contact with his subjects! You have to get CLOSE with a 24mm lens to get images like these. I’m talking close enough for people to kiss your camera. Holy balls…I want to take these kind of images.

It’s funny that I say I don’t like Bruce Gilden but I do like Christophe Debon because Christophe really does shove a camera in people’s face. Maybe I just don’t like the flash?..I dunno…Somehow it feels artsier when Christophe does it; I need to think on it some.

And what about 24mm? Maybe I’m not brave enough for my lens..? Because that’s a whole new level of intimacy and brazenness…I wrote to him to get some tips; we’ll see if he responds! Do you have any favorite photographers to share?

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7 comments

  1. I also love the photography of Fan Ho. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy of A Hong Kong Memoir for a while but still no luck. I was very intrigued by Eric Kim years ago, but there’s something about how he brands himself that is off-putting for me.
    Among classic street photographers, I really like those guys:
    _ Saul Leiter
    _ Fred Herzog
    _ Joel Meyerowitz

    Among the contemporary ones. I think Craig Whitehead (@sixstreetunder) does amazing work. There are a ton of talented photographers on instagram, but he’s the one that constantly manages to make me stop scrolling my feed and look at his photos for a while.

    Thanks for recommending Nico Harold, I’ll follow his work closely. That seems right up my alley 🙂

  2. I love Fan Ho! Thanks for the other recommendations 😊

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