Photographers Who Have Inspired Me

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I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without these individuals— who have inspired me, helped me, or helped me develop in my personal vision.

Why write this list?

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For me, I know that none of my accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible with the love, support, guidance, and encouragement of others. If anything, I take no credit for anything I’ve done. All was possible from the help of society, my teachers, and those who empowered me.

In photography, I learned nothing by myself. Everything I learned from photography were from the masters of photography who came before me, contemporary photographers, or just friends I’ve met in my life journey.

I also like the idea of ‘giving credit where credit is due.’ Also in writing this list of photographers who have inspired or helped me, it helps me build more gratitude in my heart.

Don’t look for your name

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If you’re not in this list, I dearly apologize. You know me, I have a horrible memory. You’re still in my heart.

I couldn’t possibly list all the photographers who influenced me. And if you’re not in this list, and you’re my friend, you will forgive me.

Thank you for inspiring me

eric kim photographer photography by cindy nguyen
Portrait by Cindy Nguyen

This list is in no particular order, just a stream-of-consciousness of blessings, gratitude, and love:

  • Cindy Nguyen: Everything I’ve achieved in life is due to you
  • My Mom: Thank you for giving me a strong set of morals, to help me stay true to myself, and took the most amazing baby photos of me
  • Josh White: For teaching me how to photograph my loved ones
  • Neil Ta: For helping me each step of the way, like an older brother guiding me
  • Charlie Kirk: For helping push my photography and vision to the next level
  • Nick Turpin: For starting in-public with the rest of the guys, to inspire me when I started street photography
  • Matt Stuart: Some of the most phenomenal street photographs that inspired me early on
  • Kaushal Parikh: Helped me start my travels, and inspired my black and white work
  • Sean Lotman: Your juicy color photographs seduced me
  • Junku Nishimura: Nostalgic black and white mood— you taught me how photography is about capturing an emotion
  • Jano Laskor: You helped me build inner-confidence, admits the haters
  • Rinzi Ruiz: Teaching me minimalism + zen
  • Dana Barsuhn: Teaching me to stay true to myself, and being a loving father/husband
  • Jean-Jacques Viau: For introducing me to the Leica blog, and helping empower me by opening up doors
  • Christian Erhardt: Also helping hook me up in the early days of Leica, and your warm smile and no bullshit attitude
  • Sara Lando: Teaching me the cross-over between Greek, Latin, and photography
  • Brian Sparks: Introducing me to great art, and always being the best host and friend in Stockholm
  • Mattias Leppäniemi: You’re my Swedish brother from another mother
  • AG DeMesa: For helping empower the street photography community
  • Brian Day: For inspiring me with your monochromatic minimalism, open-ended storytelling, and for helping teach me how photography can be used to empower the local community
  • Yves Vernin: Your wonderful friendship, lovely espressos, sweet wine, and your colorful warmth
  • Mohamed Somji: For bringing me to Dubai, opening up doors, and showing me the cross-over between documentary and street photography
  • Bellamy Hunt: For introducing me to the beautiful world of film, and for always having my back
  • Michael Nguyen: For the good talks, Cali love, and learning how not to give a fuck what others think of us
  • HoHum (Greg Marsden): For our deep philosophical talks on photography and life
  • Imraan Dudhia: For the great coffee, deeper talks on life, and for your warm smile
  • Satoki Nagata: Teaching me to shoot for myself
  • Chu Viet Ha: My new best Vietnamese friend, for your great company, warm feeling, and inspirational color layered photos
  • Todd Hatakeyama: For helping me get started in the beginning, all the delicious food, and for sponsoring me like a younger brother in training
  • Walter Margerison: For always having my back, for re-kindling my love of film, for the no-bullshit conversation, and for teaching me about how to be a loving husband and future father
  • Blake Andrews: For your minimalist street photography, prolific blog, and depth of photographic knowledge
  • Adam Marelli: For teaching me the fundamentals of composition, art, and photography
  • Bruce Gilden: For teaching me the empowering effect of shooting close, personal, interacting with my subjects, and using a flash
  • Martin Parr: Teaching me how to make social commentary through my photos; bridging sociology and photography
  • Josef Koudelka: For living a life true to yourself, and not compromising.
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson: Teaching me everything I know about composition, the classic theories on not cropping, and capturing the ‘decisive moment’
  • Robert Capa: Teaching me how to get closer (not just physically, but emotionally)
  • William Klein: For being a badass, teaching me it is okay to be a director in the streets, and not taking myself too seriously
  • Richard Avedon: For creating portraits with soul, and deeply inspiring my work

Blessings keep falling in my lap

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Hanoi, 2017

And of course grateful to all the master photographers who helped pave the path for me, and the masters of wisdom who helped me build the courage to put myself out there.

And thank you, my dear reader, for helping support me in my journey of photography. Thank you for sharing my articles, books, and videos.

Thank you to all my past students who have attended my workshops. You helped feed my coffee addiction, pay the bills, and give me the financial freedom to blog freely, to help support the open source photography community.

Thank also to all those who have given me honest feedback and criticism, to help drive me forward, and take my thinking, photography, and art to the next level.

I’ll never forget all of my blessings on blessings on blessings. Thank you, thank you, thank you.