Recommended Article: Henri Cartier-Bresson (from Adam Marelli’s Blog)


Recommended Article: Henri Cartier-Bresson (from Adam Marelli's Blog)

Adam Marelli ( has some amazing articles on street shooting, but one series that I learned from– and has helped me to rethink how I frame my photos– is his Surrealist Manifesto series. Learn about the geometry and optical reframing that Adam points out through his analyses of HCB’s photographs.

Read more here:

‘Waiting for the Subway’


'Waiting for the Subway'

“A story in photographs about Paris – the Paris of the young men and girls who haunt the Left Bank. They dine on half a loaf, smoke hashish, sleep in parked cars or on benches under the plane trees, sometimes borrowing a hotel room from a luckier friend to shelter their love. Some of them write,or paint, or dance. Ed van der Elsken, a young Dutch photographer, stalked his prey for many months along the boulevards, in the cafés and under the shadow of prison walls. Whatever may happen in real life to Ann and her Mexican lover, their strange youth will be preserved ‘alive’ in this book for many years.”
-Ed van der Elsken, “Love on the Left Bank”

Korea: nightfire



Boy is Korea dark.

And I don’t mean that in a metaphorical, meta-critical sort of way. I mean literally, it’s too dark for street photography. By 4pm, my Summarit (f/2.5) was struggling to expose, and in about 30 minutes I had to change to my Summilux (f/1.4). I was struggling to keep up with the shadows that crept up so unexpectedly and so inconveniently. And the moment I was in a building or underground I had no chance with my Summarit. In fact, half the photos I took in Korea came out severely underexposed, and it was one of the few times I had to actually go into Lightroom and fix up the exposures.


“citizen”- This man stared at me for a fraction of a second before I noped my way out of the subway

Having lived there 6 years of my life, by returning to Korea I would have thought I’d know the place front to back. But through the eyes of my Leica, I discovered a whole new world. But the more I paid attention to my surroundings, the more I looked from the third-person point of view, the world I thought no longer was there.



I was left with a stark reality. Poverty, stench of vomit, voracious lust in the alleyways, and the light pollution that are neon signs.


From this trip, I came back more discouraged than any other trip. I had hoped I would rediscover the awe in the city of Seoul like I had in Tenerife, but instead I unrooted the festering pools of the society so desperately ignorant of their surroundings and perversely obsessed with status.


“squared off” – at the COEX Intercontinental

Don’t get be wrong though– there are moments of genuine innocence and a general sense of “everything’s going to be OK”, if you look close enough. Korea is an interesting mix of the past traditions of its former glory and the modernity that it has so quickly embraced. This makes for interesting juxtapositions, especially in places where new buildings are being torn down to replace old ones. Colors and fabrics of many kinds are abound, and it’s an interesting social mixing bowl if you’re shooting in colour.





Despite my sense of disillusionment, don’t let me discourage you– the beauty of the city is still there, just don’t be too eager to dig beneath the gilded surface.


Watch for a photo book coming very soon…


I am excited to announce that I’m now on more social channels. Talk to me about photography, street photography, Leicas, Canons, Nikons, cooking… anything! As always, you can also leave a comment below!

Google Plus:
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Top 10 Things to do Before Street Photography (or, the top 10 mistakes I used to make)


stars and striped by Phillipe Han (phantasy)) on

(Inspired in part by Two Cute dogs‘ top 10 series.)

A lot of this may be familiar for the veterans, but for the new and upcoming shooters these tips have saved my life.

Here goes. Take them with a grain of salt.

1. Take a photo before you go out. Assuming you’re using digital of course. If you can take a picture correctly, it shows that the lens is attached correctly, that the battery is in, CF card is in, and the camera innards are working correctly.

2. If you’re using digital, pack 2 CF cards. This is to avoid complications if one CF card decides to bug out on you. This happened when I was shooting my Fuji X100 on a beach, where sand somehow got into the card. In fact, invest in a CF card holder while you’re at it.

3. If you’re using film, load your camera with 1 roll, and bring 2 others. I never shoot more than 3 rolls in one day, despite Winogrand’s tendency to shoot one roll a block. Unless you’re an investment banker, I seriously doubt you can afford to shoot more than 4 Tri-X films per day. In fact, since they’re almost a precious $5 a pop, you might as well invest in a Japan Camera Hunter film case while you’re at it.

4. If film, Decide B&W or color. If you’re bringing both, you haven’t thought this through. Quick rule of thumb- Monochrome is for the silence and sincerity of the subject, color is for atmosphere & loudness of color in the frame.

 Hurricane by Phillipe Han (phantasy)) on

5. Do not bring a camera bag. Unless you shoot flash, then I understand. I use a camera bag to store my equipment when I travel. Unless you have no jean/jacket/coat pockets/purse/man-purse to store film in, you have no excuse. Invest in a good strap. Trust me, you get weighed down after about 70 minutes of shooting. Water you say? Buy a bottle outside if you’re thirsty, for goodness sake. Which leads me to six…

6. 1 camera, 1 lens. At least for the purposes of street, I’m going to assume you’re going to be shooting until dinnertime (if yes, then okay, stuff in a f/1.4 lens somewhere for night shots). If so, one body, one lens is all you need. I’ve lost on average 2~3 shots while foolishly changing my lens from 50mm to 28mm, an idiot’s quick path to mediocrity. Landscape and commercial portrait photographers also know this very well, since every second counts.

7. Read. In the words of Jon Stewart, “Yeah go read a f**king book.” A street blog, a photo book, I don’t care. (don’t whine about photo books being expensive, libraries still exist). If you need suggestions check out this comprehensive list.

untitled by Phillipe Han (phantasy)) on

8. Meditate. Just kidding. Though it might heighten your sense of achievement, lol.

9. Decide on a subject, if possible. What are you going to shoot today? The color red? Halloween costumes? Feet? Ladders? The Mission in San Francisco?

10. Wear your sneakers. Or whatever comfortable shoes you have. No seriously, your feet are going to hurt after an hour of shooting.

I shall return for part 2- top 10 things to do during street photography. What are your top tips for before going out to shoot street photography?

Don’t forget to stay updated on facebook, twitter, or check out my most recent work on 500px.


Sandy’s wake: The Destruction Seen through Instagram


“Jane’s carousel is basically an island now. Poor horses.” – Instagram user

Normally I wouldn’t write about Instagram posts, but this one in particular is devastating, disheartening, and shocking.

Have a look at the impact of Hurricane Sandy in this WSJ article, and in its wake.

I won’t say much, except to say that the images are stunning and surreal. I’m glad photographers were able to share the hurricane from their perspective– cell phone camera haters can go kick themselves.

I can’t express just how powerful these images are too me– the humans getting together to form a community (see the starbucks photo), and the lack thereof (empty neighborhoods); almost reminds me of a post-apocalyptic world.

Hope everyone is now safe.


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