Cindy Project Monochrome-12 eric kim ricoh gr ii self portrait gas station

Dear friend,

I just learned something interesting today— to be a ‘poet’ means just to be a ‘maker.’

1. What is poetry?

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So the etymology (the root of the word or history of the word) of the word “POET” is ‘POIETES’ (ancient Greek/Latin) for “MAKER.”

So to be a poet, you just need to make stuff.

2. Make more art

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As a photographer, artist, or creative person — if you make stuff, you are a poet.

For me, I see photographs like visual poetry. To take the forms and shapes of the real world, and to craft it through your own lens, and perspective.

If you are an architect, you see lines, interior space, and proportions— and you craft an interior space with visual harmony, and poetry of movement.

If you dance, you are just doing poetry with your body — making meaning, and making poetic movements through your body.

If you are a rapper, singer, or writer— you are a poet. You are a word-smith. You use words, ideas, concepts, and stories as your raw material. And you craft it and make meaning out of words. Because words by itself have no meaning.

3. How to be more poetic

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To be more poetic isn’t to be more eloquent or fancy. Rather, to be more poetic— just make more stuff.

Picasso (until age 90) made about 2 art pieces a day (painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, etc).

If you want to be more poetic, figure out how to be more prolific.

For example, if your passion is photography — make more photos. Perhaps for a month, only shoot on your smartphone. Or always keep your camera around your neck or strapped on your wrist (like a necklace or bracelet). Pick up an Henri Wrist Strap to keep your camera always tied around your wrist, and ready before the ‘decisive moment.’

If you want to paint more, buy more canvases, and throw more paint on it. When you are done, just put it to the side, or take a photo of it on your smartphone and upload it to social media. Then move on.

4. Keep moving forward like a bicycle

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“I’m onto the next one.” – Jay-Z

Don’t dwell too much on your art after you make it, or expect to get a lot of likes or positive feedback. Make it, share it, and move on.

5. You’re only as good as your last piece of art

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“You’re only as good as your last film.”

In film, they say this of directors— you’re only as good as your last film. Look at Woody Allen, one of the most prolific directors. He keeps making films, and even though he considers none of them perfect— it is what keeps him going alive. I am also deeply inspired by Quentin Terentino— who creates social-commentary through his films, but dresses them up in an entertaining blood-bath.

6. All of art is on repeat, but a little different

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We might feel frustrated that we are repeating ourselves— but for me, as long as there is enough variation, and variety— its is worth doing.

You could argue that Quentin Tarantino makes the same film over and over again. Same thing with Michael Bay (Transformers). Or Aldous Huxley, who was writing the same themes on dystopia and society. Or Henri Cartier-Bresson who is essentially shooting the same ‘decisive moment’ style of street photograph over and over again.

Yet— we shouldn’t feel dismayed. We should stay inspired, to always keep creating, and making meaning out of our lives.

7. Unleash your inner-artist

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You already have an inner-artist and poet inside of you. It isn’t a matter of “becoming” an artist/poet. It is a matter of unlocking/unleashing your potential. Unlock your inner-genius.

Imagine your inner-artist or inner-poet as this ball of energy inside of you. You just need to identify it, realize it is inside of you, and let it free.

8. How to unlock your inner-eagle

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Or imagine an eagle, locked inside a golden cage. The eagle wants to soar high and free, yet the golden cage of oppression holds it inside.

The secret is: you hold the key to unlock that eagle inside of you.

To unlock your inner-potential, eliminate fear. Have no fear of being negatively judged by others. Make art that pleases yourself, then publish and share it. Don’t be humble or meek. Just share it, and don’t feel like you need to justify yourself. Then move onto your next art project.

9. Art is breathing

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Create art like breathing air. You need to keep breathing to live. You need to keep eating to live, and drinking water (and coffee) to live.

So keep creating art, poetry, and meaning in your life— everyday, several times a day, until you die.

10. Sources of artistic inspiration

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Find inspiration everywhere.

Study cinema— and listen to the music. Look at the background. Figure out the camera-angles, and the morals of the movie.

Study the masters of photography — better yet, refer to this cheat sheet of the masters of photography I made for you. Look at their photos, analyze them, and ask yourself: “Why are their photos so good?” And figure out how you can integrate these compositional lessons into your photography— and seek to kill your masters (by becoming better than them).

Seek self-mastery— become your own master in street photography.

If you don’t have time to go out to make photos, make ‘cubist photo art’. I’ve been playing around in Photoshop and making ‘PHOTOCUBISM’— mostly inspired by Pablo Picasso.

Or for more inspiration, download my free ebooks. And for inspiration in photography, pick up a copy of STREET NOTES and PHOTO JOURNAL.

Also to conquer your fears in street photography (and life) check out my upcoming workshops.

To be inspired is to just ‘BREATHE.’ So breathe in inspiration from everywhere, and never let your curiosity get beaten out of you.

Be strong,
Eric

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