eric kim cindy project hanoi eyes

Dear friend,

What is success in photography and life?

1. My definition of success

2-side by side eric kim cubist

To me, the only definition of ‘success’ I have in photography is this:

Look at your own photos, and ask yourself, “Am I proud of my own photos?” If the answer is ‘yes’ — you are successful.

Don’t let nobody else dictate your ‘success’ in photography. That means, don’t give a fudge how many likes or social media followers you have (and certainly do not compare yourself to anyone else).

This means, don’t use your barometer of success in photography be dependent on how many accolades, awards, exhibitions, books, prints, etc you have done/sold.

2. Never compare yourself with nobody

eric kim cubism - side by side laughing lady nyc

Success is never comparison. Success is judging yourself by your own ruler, your own barometer.

For example, anything by comparison can be made small.

You can have a 30-story skyscraper. But it looks small compared to a 100-story skyscraper.

You have a blacked-out Lamborghini Huracan. But it looks puny compared to an armored Batmobile.

You have a 10-room Mansion in the hills. But that looks puny compared to the 1000-room Versailles Palace.

You can own an entire continent, but if you go to space, the entire earth looks like a tiny speck of dust.

3. What is ‘success’ in life?

cindy cubist 2

In life, I like the idea that your only judge is yourself. You judge your own photos, actions, and morals, and ethics.

For me, I used to give way to many fudge ice cream sundaes about what others thought of my photos. This is because I had no faith in myself.

Now, if I like my photo, that is it. I like my photo. If nobody else likes my photo, that is fine. I just want to be grateful for my own opinion, my own thought, and my own world-view.

Picasso got a lot of haters when he did cubism. Andy Warhol had a lot of haters. Jean Michel Basquiat had haters. Keith Haring had haters.

If you’re doing something totally different, you’re going to have haters. But don’t hate your haters; love them. Feel pity for them, because they are just small people who have unrealized dreams. They feel angry because they see you pursuing your dreams.


eric kim street photography hanoi - old woman

To conclude, never stop following your passion in photography. Only photograph what you want, on your own conditions, with no permission, or ‘what if’s’.

Follow your heart, your own unique vision. Throw up a middle-finger to what others think of you. Measure yourself by your own ruler.

Always look at your own photos, and ask yourself:

Do I like my own photos?

If the answer is yes, why do you care what others think?

Be strong,


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