Monthly Archives: December 2009
South Africa | Charging Bull Elephant

I was working a gig in South Africa and was fortunate enough to spend about ten days in an absolutely decadent game lodge in the Kruger Concession, shooting game drives at least twice a day.

One lesson I learned was that young bull elephants are full of testosterone and are ready to charge at the least provocation. We were driving a trail in our open Land Rover and our guide, distracted while talking on the radio, drove past this young bull, hidden behind some brush. He immediately flared out his ears and charged us. As the bull was charging to within a couple dozen feet of our vehicle, I took this shot while the woman behind me said, “Why the fuck is she stopping?!?”

Deidre, our guide, had quickly brought the vehicle to a full stop. The only way to stop an elephant from charging is to stand your ground. The elephant pulled up at the last second, turned and walked away, no longer interested in us, even the woman next to me still cursing.

African Bull Elephant, Kruger Concession, South Africa © Doug Kim

African Bull Elephant, Kruger Concession, South Africa © Doug Kim


Los Angeles | Museum of Contemporary Art

At my best, when I am shooting B&W, my images are all about light and the way it interacts with the world. I will often shoot the source light itself, the sun or a bank of windows, all blown out and creating an area of dead space.

With film also, metering when shooting the source light is tricky because the range of exposure stops within the image is large. I tend to point the Lecia at the area that will have the proper exposure for the figure in the light, such as the floor, and then reframe. Another great metering tip with the Leica in tricky situations is to take a reading off of your hand when in the same light as the subject, the hand being the greatest gray card.

In this instance, shooting these two standing in front of an installation at MOCA, I metered the room and opened up three stops. I neither wanted the bodies completely silhouetted in black nor the light source completely blown out. I got exactly what I wanted which is a half and half mixture of luck and experience.

Shot with a Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, and Kodak Tri-X 400.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles © Doug Kim

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles © Doug Kim


Henri Cartier-Bresson | America, Part One

Since his is fundamentally a tragic vision, he reacted most feelingly to what in America he saw as related to its decay, its pain.

-Arthur Miller, writing of the photographs that Cartier-Bresson took in America.

CHICAGO—The employment office, 1947.

CHICAGO—The employment office, 1947.

NEW ORLEANS—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW ORLEANS—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—On the Lower East Side, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—On the Lower East Side, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

CAPE COD, Mass.—Independence Day, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

CAPE COD, Mass.—Independence Day, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

CAPE COD, Mass.—“This woman explained to me that the flagpole over her door was broken, but ‘on such a day as this, one keeps one’s flag on one’s heart.’ I felt in her a touch of the strength and robustness of the early American pioneers.”—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Independence Day, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

CAPE COD, Mass.—“This woman explained to me that the flagpole over her door was broken, but ‘on such a day as this, one keeps one’s flag on one’s heart.’ I felt in her a touch of the strength and robustness of the early American pioneers.”—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Independence Day, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

MASSACHUSETTS—Watching fireworks on July 4, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

MASSACHUSETTS—Watching fireworks on July 4, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK—Coney Island, 1946. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK—Coney Island, 1946. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

LOS ANGELES—1960. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

LOS ANGELES—1960. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW MEXICO—At the Lama Foundation community, a father and two children pass in front of the kitchen, a stoutly built octagonal wood and glass structure (geodesic dome) with all the things a kitchen should have, plus a dining room above, 1971. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW MEXICO—At the Lama Foundation community, a father and two children pass in front of the kitchen, a stoutly built octagonal wood and glass structure (geodesic dome) with all the things a kitchen should have, plus a dining room above, 1971. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—Easter Sunday in Harlem, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—Easter Sunday in Harlem, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At the Lincoln Memorial, a Pilgrimage for Freedom prayer session features singer Mahalia Jackson, 1957. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At the Lincoln Memorial, a Pilgrimage for Freedom prayer session features singer Mahalia Jackson, 1957. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

MICHIGAN—Football at Ann Arbor University, 1960.  © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

MICHIGAN—Football at Ann Arbor University, 1960. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A Michigan vs. Northwestern football game, Oct. 15, 1960. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A Michigan vs. Northwestern football game, Oct. 15, 1960. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—1959. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

NEW YORK CITY—1959. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

New York, 1947, Henri Cartier-Bresson © Magnum Photos

New York, 1947, Henri Cartier-Bresson © Magnum Photos


Engagement At The Met | Adam & Maria

Because of the enormous attention I have received from the Times Square snowball fight photos, I was able to get back in touch with a couple that I met two years ago here in New York.

Sometime in December 2007, I had been shooting a corporate event at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Outside on the great stairs in the cold of winter, some guy was proposing to his girlfriend. I ran down the steps and took these shots and the strangers in front of the museum gathered around and applauded the couple.

Adam and Maria were married last year and used these images for the bridal shower and the wedding reception. Congratulations to you both.

How awesome is this city?

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim

Adam & Maria, The Met © Doug Kim


Ireland | Cong

Being a huge fan of John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” since I was a kid, I could not wait to visit the village of Cong in County Mayo where they filmed much of the movie. The tiny village is dominated by tourist traps for fans of the film but off the main strip, things settle down and the quaintness of life in western Ireland takes over.

Drive about an hour north of Galway on Route 334 on the Circular Road and just enjoy the scenery.

Shot with a Nikon F5, 35-70mm Nikkor, and Kodak Tri-X 400.

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim

Cong, County Mayo, Ireland © Doug Kim


Robert Frank | Los Angeles

To live for two months in LA is like being hospitalized.

-Robert Frank, February 27, 1956; from a letter to Walker Evans, while Frank was applying for a continuance of his Guggenheim grant.

Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

Los Angeles, 1956 © Robert Frank

Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

St. Francis, Gas Station and City Hall – Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

St. Francis, Gas Station and City Hall – Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

Ranch market, Hollywood, California, Robert Frank

Ranch market, Hollywood, California, Robert Frank

Motorama, Los Angeles, California, Robert Frank

Motorama, Los Angeles, California, Robert Frank


Portrait | Leyla

Shot with a Leica M6 TTL, 35mm Summicron and a Mamiya 67 Pro II, 85mm and Agfa APX 400.

Leyla, Union Station, Los Angeles © Doug Kim

Leyla, Union Station, Los Angeles © Doug Kim

Leyla, Los Angeles © Doug Kim

Leyla, Los Angeles © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, West Hollywood © Doug Kim

Leyla, Santa Monica © Doug Kim

Leyla, Santa Monica © Doug Kim

Leyla, West LA © Doug Kim

Leyla, West LA © Doug Kim