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Join us for a New York City photowalk!

Published by Jen Tse · October 24th 2011

Hello, Manhattan! The 500px team arrived in New York City last night and we can't wait to go to the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo on Thursday. But while we're here, we want to meet, shoot with, and get to know photographers outside of the hectic expo setting.

Andrey and I will meet our friends RC Concepcion, Brian Matiash, and hopefully you by the Intrepid after PhotoPlus on Thursday. From there, we'll walk along 46th Street and head into Times Square. We'll have some gifts (hint, see lead photo—and no, sorry, they're not iPads) to give away. Everyone is invited to this informal get-together, so please spread the word!

What: New York City Photowalk

When: October 27, 2011 starting 6 p.m. EST

Where: The Intrepid, New York City (Click for map)

For more info on the PDN PhotoPlus Expo and where to find the 500px booth, see our previous blog post. Remember, if you register online for the expo by tomorrow, your ticket will be free. After that date, a basic expo pass will cost $50 for regular attendees and $25 for students.

Can't make the expo or the walk, but still want to meet up with 500px some time over the next couple of days? Fire off a message to Jen (that's me!) and we'll see what works. See you soon.

It's here—the NEW 500px iPad App!

Published by Jen Tse · October 18th 2011

Caught up as we were in the madness that was the Exposure Photo and Digital Imaging Expo this weekend, we've been a bit delayed in this major announcement on the blog. Nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, it's finally here: the official 500px iPad app. Download it from the Apple app store for free.

What makes our app different from anything else out there? It combines the best photography on the web with the fast, beautiful, and intuitive performance of the world's best tablet. The result, both in our opinion and in that of many others, is the best photo-browsing experience in the world.

It's easy for anyone to use: just tap, swipe, shrink, and expand to switch between curated pages or view thumbnail and larger photos on the brilliant iPad display. In addition to offering almost all the community functionality of the site—liking, faving, commenting, and so forth—the app allows you to create impressive slideshows (with music!) of photos you love. With the tap of a screen, you can also share photos to your different social networks.

We spend hours just looking at photos on this thing and we're absolutely in love with it, but perhaps you can't just take our word for it. Consider this: the app, which was released on October 15, has already become the #1 free photo app for iPad in Russia and the Netherlands, #2 in Canada, and #3 in the United States. Users are already flipping through 1 million photos per day.

The app has also made big waves in the media lately. Check out articles about it on GigaOM, TechCrunch, Lifehacker, PetaPixel, and Techvibes.

500px and the iPad are a photography marriage sent from the tech gods, but more specifically, an incredible developer/designer team of two. A virtual standing ovation goes out to Ash Furrow and Adam Shutsa, the two hardworking and talented people behind the app's creation. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that the project you've worked so hard on is being well-received, so if you'd like, drop them a note on their Google+ accounts to let them know how much you love the 500px app. I'm sure they'll appreciate it!

This is, of course, the first version of the 500px app. That means that some features have not yet been developed (we're talking about account creation, offline browsing, direct uploads from iPad, and lots of other goodies). Other features from the 500px website have specifically been excluded simply to optimize the experience for iPad. By no means is this app the final copy, so please be patient and stay tuned for even more improvements and features as time goes on.

Don't have an iPad? It's okay (I don't have one either, although I'm tempted to buy one now)—we've got iPhone and Android versions of the app on our to-do list.

Happy browsing, everyone!

Interview with Eric Kim

Published by Jen Tse · October 12th 2011

Every day we see stunning photos from our peers in the 500px community, but not often do we turn the lens back upon the photographer. The Portrait series focuses on remarkable 500px users who may have something to teach us about their field of photography. This week's feature is Eric Kim.

Eric will be having a 2-day Introduction to Street Photography Workshop in Toronto (Oct. 22-23) which will be focused on conquering fears of shooting street photography while learning how to capture “The Decisive Moment." He will also be having a 3-day Street Photography 101 Workshop in Tokyo 12/2-12/4 with guest speakers Charlie Kirk, Bellamy Hunt, and Alfie Goodrich.
He will be available for a Google+ Hangout to accomodate questions tonight (Oct. 12) at 9:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. PST). Email him at if you would like more information.

Tell us a little about yourself, Eric.

I am a 23-year-old street photographer currently based in Los Angeles. I used to work at an online media company, but recently got laid off due to the company downsizing. However it was a blessing in disguise, as it gave me the impetus to do my street photography full-time. For the last three months, I have been making my living traveling and teaching street photography workshops and having the time of my life. Although I am probably five times busier than I was before, I love the ability to travel, meet wonderful people along the way, and follow my dreams.

I don’t have any awards under my belt, but I have had the great pleasure of doing past and present collaborations with Leica, Magnum, and Invisible Photographer Asia.

How did you get into street photography and what draws you to it?

I first got started in street photography with my fascination with people. I studied sociology when I was a student at UCLA, and have always been drawn to people, how they interact, and how they live their lives.

Having a camera in my hand naturally drew me to capture people. I can’t explain it—but I feel that I have a need to document the people that I meet and fascinate me. Something about their face, expression, and who they are.

I also love the accessibility of street photography. I started off a landscape photographer, but would always be frustrated that I would have to drive for several hours in-order to get a decent photo. With street photography, I can literally just take a step outside and have tons of street photography opportunities presented to myself.

Not only that, but in street photography something happens only once—which is part of the challenge and beauty.

What would you say are some of the main factors leading to your recognition and success?

I attribute all of my recognition and success to my beloved community. When I started my street photography blog around a year and a half ago, I wanted to teach all that I learned with street photography with others. I was very keen on the idea of “open source photography”—in which I would be as open and free with my knowledge as possible. This has lead me to giving me away my Lightroom 3 presets for free, and I try to keep my blog as informative and useful as possible.

I have also found out the more I have given to my community, the more they have given back to me.

Not only that, but I have been fortunate enough to have supportive people helping and guiding me along the way. Around a year ago I did a blog post titled, “101 Things I Learned About Street Photography” which went viral and drew attention from Loryne Atoui, an art director in Beirut, Lebanon. She invited me to teach a street photography workshop there, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough money for my airfare.

My community and Thomas Leuthard helped pay for my trip, which was really the “start” of my street photography community. Thomas and I ended doing the workshop together, and we have been good friends and fellow street photographers ever since.

Another significant opportunity was when I was invited to the Leica + Magnum event in Paris. Leica funded my trip, and I was able to meet all the people at Leica and many renowned street photographers from Magnum, including Bruce Gilden, Elliott Erwitt, and Alex Majoli. There I also met Charlie Kirk, who has inspired me to push my photography and blog to the next level and take it more seriously. He has also had a huge influence on my recent work, in which I use a flash.

How do you choose your subjects? What are some of the things you look for in a person or a moment? Are your encounters always serendipitous?

When I am out shooting on the streets, I am fascinated by what Bruce Gilden likes to call “characters.” People who have something unusually eccentric about themselves and have a flair of originality and uniqueness. I look specifically for people with hats, sunglasses, flashy clothes, and beautiful smiles. I can’t explain why—but I am drawn to these people.

I work at a moderately fast pace when I am out shooting, and I try to always keep my eyes open for characters. However there are times when I will wait at busy intersections and wait for my subjects to come to me.

What is your approach to taking such intimate photos of your subjects? Can you describe both the physical process (for example, how close you have to get and your subjects' reaction) and the relationship aspect to capturing the people you encounter?

Alfred Eisenstaedt once said, "It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”

While my previous work used to be more disconnected and I wouldn’t affect the scene, I work extremely closely and intimately with my subjects now. Influenced by Bruce Gilden, Mark Cohen, Charlie Kirk, and Dirty Harrry, I have also been shooting with a flash quite a bit. I shoot with a 35mm lens, and I get extremely close to my subjects. Due to the nature of this work, it is important for me to interact with my subjects. Although I do not ask for permission when shooting, I generally speak with people during or after I take photos of them. This makes them feel far more comfortable when I am taking photos of them.

Some people are confused and think that just because I am using a flash and getting really close to people that I am being obnoxious and rude. I love the people that I shoot, and I wish to share my impressions of them with others without being sneaky about it. I think it is more respectful to shoot people up-close-and-personal with them knowing, rather than sniping them from a block away with a telephoto lens.

Care to share your hit-to-miss ratio?

Henri Cartier-Bresson said something along the lines of, “You must milk the cow quite a bit to get a little bit of cheese.” When I am out shooting for an entire day, I will typically take around 100-200 images.

If I get one good image from that entire day, I am happy. If I get one great image a month, I am happy. If I get one extremely memorable image I can add to my portfolio in a year, I am happy.

What is your favourite part about street photography? Your least favourite?

My favorite part about street photography is the stories I am able to tell and the people I have been meeting along the way. In shooting my street photography, running my blog, and building a community, I have met some incredible people from all walks of life. It has helped me get a much better global understanding and a sense of open-mindedness.

My least favorite part about street photography is the difficulty of capturing an amazing photo. Almost everything has been done in street photography before, so to create a truly original image with your own style is very difficult to do. However this challenge has been the impetus in improving my street photography and vision.

What gear do you shoot with? What other things do you never leave home without?

I shot quite a while with my Canon 5D and 35mm f/2 lens, but I currently shoot with a Leica M9 and 35mm 1.4 Summilux. I never leave home without my YN-560 flash, GoPro, Macbook Air, and Nike Frees (comfortable shoes are essential for street photography).

What advice do you have for new street shooters? Anything else you'd like to say about your work or street photography in general?

Shoot openly, honestly, and with your heart. Don’t be sneaky when shooting on the streets—but interact with the people you take photos of and meet along the way. Study great photographers constantly—buy all the photo books of street photographers who inspire you. Look at the Magnum photographers and their work. They create some of the most compelling and touching images of the world in which we live in.

The last thing is to be relentless about selecting only your best work. Great photographers are only remembered for their 5-10 best images taken during their lifetime. Don’t feel obliged to upload a photo everyday—rather upload images that you feel show your style and vision the best.

For more of Eric's photography, check out his 500px page, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and his website.

New 500px iPhone app by Pulpfingers

Published by Jen Tse · October 11th 2011

As we near the release of the official 500px iPad app, here's a nice little third-party surprise to tide you over. The Pulpfingers team released an app today based on the 500px API called ISO 500.

We're thrilled by its slick design and functionality and we encourage you to give it a whirl on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It's available on the App Store now and best of all, it's free!

500px at the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC

Published by Jen Tse · October 11th 2011

Guess what? 500px is going to New York City!

That fact alone is exciting, but we're kicking the excitement factor up a notch with a booth at this year's PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo. PhotoPlus is the largest industry event for photographers and image-makers, with more than 115 educational seminars and hands-on labs will be available for those wishing to expand their skill sets. It's going to be a whole lot of fun.

As always, we encourage you to bring your friends and come meet us in person to chat or ask any questions about the site.

What: PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo

When: October 27-29, 2011

Where: Booth 883 in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre, New York City

If you register online by Oct. 25, your ticket will be free. After that date, a basic Expo pass will cost $50 for regular attendees and $25 for students.

For more information, visit the official site for the event.

Want to connect with us before the show? Add us to your circles on Google+ and feel free to throw any questions or comments our way:

Evgeny Tchebotarev

Oleg Gutsol

Andrey Tochilin

Jen Tse

We hope to see you there!

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