Don’t Include Power Lines in Your Photography

Power Line Sunrise

Since January I’ve spent a good bit of time reading and re-reading all of Eric Kim’s books on street photography. There is so much practical real world advise in each one of his books that they are probably the few collection of books I’ve read multiple times. While we share different philosophies on life, we both share a love of photography, and it seems, a driving desire to continue to learn and improve. One of the reasons I continued to read and follow Eric Kim’s work over the years is he has completely changed and rearranged how I think about photography.

He’s made me re-think how I view my own personal photography, what’s acceptable as a quality image and what’s not, and even what equipment is actually truly needed. All those rules I spent years learning, like “don’t include power lines in your photography” it will ruin the shot, were disseminated by Kim’s books. I think I was 10 years into photography before I actually realized it was ok to include people in the images (my main teacher and book learning early on was 100% nature photography).

When you have been doing something, like practicing photography for 25 years, you don’t often come across new ways of thinking about the art, so it’s been a super refreshing experience so far this year. The ideas below came straight out of one of his books, The Street Photography Project Manual, which I was able to read because of his vision on open source information.

Power Line Sunrise
Power lines run all over the place in rural Alabama, no such thing as underground lines.
Abandon Gas Station
This abandon gas station sits as it did one the day it was closed. It’s well maintained on the perimeter grass making stand out among the surroundings.

On a practical level I updated all the pages and theme design on my site to lend itself better to telling a story through photography, and I’m going to focus most of my time on this site on photography, but all the content from the past 10 plus years will remain. What I gained from Kim’s books that was always lacking in my personal walk with photography were the projects, the completed stories, the collection of images that actually completes something.

I’ve wanted to write a photography book of some kind for years. At this point I have 25 years of experience with close to 500,000 images, and practically countless stories within those images. It took a lot to get me to the point of reading Kim’s Project Manual but that’s what finally pushed me to take a serious look at working on deeper projects. And that’s what I’ve started to do here.

Rotting Door Rural Decay Structure 2.100
Rotting front door of an abandon double wide moble home left in the woods.

I’ve created a section called “projects” which will contain ongoing images from a few different projects like the Faith Project, the Decay Project, the Street Project, and one I just started I’m calling My Street Project. The My Street Project is something I picked up from Kim to just shoot where you are, and while I love the classic “street photography” I don’t live anywhere near a busy street, in fact the opposite. So I’m going to spend about a year documenting the “street” I do live on, even though right now all I can see is trash and grass. But like I said, my view of what’s artistic and photographic has changed significantly.

So, if you are interested in following along with my projects, they won’t be posted here on my blog so people don’t get bombarded by images they may or may not enjoy. They will be posted on my Projects Portfolio which you can get to from the link or the main navigation at the top. A personal thanks to Eric Kim for the inspiration, and if you are looking to add a new book to your collection that probably isn’t one you might have come across before, I would highly recommend Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, a collection of 66 essays and some of the finest writing on the art and philosophy of photography.

One response to “Don’t Include Power Lines in Your Photography”

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