Allow me to re-introduce myself.
My name is ERIC KIM — and I like to take pictures.
I’ve been taking pictures since I was 18 years old (I drew pictures when I was younger). I was empowered by the power of the camera to instantly create visual images and pictures– instant art.
Why does ERIC KIM make pictures?
Over the years, I’ve been using photography as a tool– a medium, to explore the world as a visual sociologist. I have always been fascinated in my fellow human beings. To me, making pictures of humans helps me better understand my brothers and sisters in society. It helps me understand the wants, whims, the desires of my fellow humans. It helps me build up my personal confidence in photography and life.
Below is a brief survey of my photography so far:
2009-2010: DECISIVE MOMENT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
First inspired to make beautiful images, I started with a Canon Powershot SD 600, and later graduated to a Canon Rebel XT 350D, then a Canon 5D. This is where I started to take my ‘street photography’ more seriously.
DARK SKIES OVER TOKYO
Investigating Tokyo with new eyes. My question: Tokyo is a great city. It is very developed, industrialized, and convenient. But why do I get a sense that so many people feel depressed, oppressed, and stuck?
KOREA: THE PRESENTATION OF SELF
Why are Koreans so image-conscious, materialistic, and care about what others think of them?
An old description I wrote for my project: “Korea: The Presentation of Self”:
The concept of “The Presentation of Self” can be explained through the analogy: everyday life is a stage, and we are the actors. When it is time for us to go “on-stage” (go to work, experience everyday life) we put on certain costumes, act certain ways, and express ourselves to have others have a certain impression of us. However when we go “off-stage” (go back home behind closed-doors), we take off the makeup, take off the mask, and that is where our “true self” is revealed.
Koreans are some of the most materialistic people out there (speaking from personal experience and being Korean-American myself). We love our fancy designer labels (every Korean girl out there owns a Louie-Vuitton purse), we love our fancy cars (every Korean guy I know aspires to drive a BMW or Mercedes – regardless of how much debt they go into), and they want to look “successful” in front of their family and peers. However the irony is that although Koreans love to show off, they still value their privacy.
In a world in which designer labels, fancy cars, consumerism, and plastic surgery run amok- there is a strong message I want to say through this project. Our identity isn’t through the clothes we wear or the cars we drive – but something deep within and innate. If we all try to create this same idealized self-image, we all end up looking the same.
THE CITY OF ANGELS
A persona memoir of one of my favorite cities in the world — Los Angeles. This is where I went to school (studied Sociology at UCLA), and met Cindy– the love of my life. I have seen Downtown LA change, morph, rapidly– yet, still stay the same:
Starting to shoot film.
Photographing the death of my grandfather— thinking more about MEMENTO MORI:
Shooting color film (Kodak Portra 400):
SUITS was an exploration for me to better understand the intersection between money, happiness, and misery. I feel for these ‘suits’ trapped in their golden handcuffs. It is a reminder: money, fame, wealth, power — it ain’t the secret to happiness in life:
My personal exploration of what America means to me:
STREET PORTRAITS: I feel one of my true loves in photography. To get close, personal, and intimate with my subjects.
A lot of people told me that ‘street portraits’ weren’t ‘real’ “street photography.”
What I realized: people who criticize ‘street portraits’ are generally too nervous, shy, or fearful to get that close and shoot street portraits. Not only that– but these people are generally quite anti-social. I don’t think they really like people. They are pessimists.
Pictures shot up-close with 28mm, Ricoh GR II, much with a flash:
My most personal work: photographing Cindy through #CINDYPROJECT.
Transformation of Cindy not just a photo-object, but an active PARTICIPANT and co-creator. Cindy is the director, the actor, as well as the producer of CINDYPROJECT. She knows how to pose. She knows what she looks on the other side of the lens.
A journey of re-discovery in photography. No more rules, genres. Just shooting for fun.
For the love of color, and color-combinations. Painting what I see.