ERIC KIM

The Benefits of Shooting Street Photography

I’ve been thinking a lot about Street Photography — what it means to me, why I’ve been able to stay so passionate about it for over a decade, and what benefits it brings into my life, and into the lives of others.

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1. Less social anxiety

I think a lot of us face social anxiety, and shooting street photography is one of the best ways to overcome social anxiety.

Social anxiety: fear of talking or interacting with strangers.

I mean, it makes sense for us to fear strangers. Because a stranger could mean danger, and potential death (assuming they were from a different tribe).

However in today’s world, we have gone global. We interact with so many difficult individuals and people from all around the world. We interact more and more on the internet and digitally — which I think, is actually harming our capacity to interact “in real life”.

Shooting street photography has helped me become more bold. It has helped me better interact with strangers, and overcome past social anxieties I had.

I’m a generally extroverted person (I like to interact and engage with other people), but I was very anxious when I was at a party with nobody I knew. I would have severe anxiety, even asking a stranger for directions.

Now, with the help of street photography (and life experience), I no longer fear strangers.

This has helped me in ALL ASPECTS of my life. My business life (I don’t fear rejection or “failure”). My personal life (I have more confidence to talk about difficult subjects with friends or loved ones). Having a more voracious appetite for risk, and taking chances in my life, photography, and art.

2. Mental well-being

As modern humans, we never walk. I’m genuinely convinced that walking is a fucking very important and integral part of mental well-being.

Much of the human brain devotes energy and resources for locomotion, or coordinating movement. Therefore my theory is this:

If we no longer move, or need to move — what use do we have for our brain?

We needed to (once upon a time) move in order to hunt, find new food and resources, and most modern biologists say that humans are “hunter-gatherers” — meaning, we needed to move (in order to hunt and gather).

I don’t know about you, but when I stay at home in my apartment all day, I get “stir crazy”. I need to go outside, I need to walk, I need to move, or else I start to think depressive thoughts and feel shitty about myself.

Therefore, street photography has benefitted me because it just gives me an excuse to MOVE. Sometimes walking by itself is boring. Why not move, walk, and make pictures (visual art)— all at the same time (and kill multiple birds with one stone?)

3. Meeting new people

Friends and peers at week-long Hanoi-Sapa workshop, 2016

One of the biggest reasons why I love to teach workshops is that it allows me the opportunity to meet new friends and peers.

As humans, we are social creatures. I don’t think any human would want a billion dollars and a hundred Lamborghini’s if he/she didn’t have any other humans to enjoy it with.

Personally, I love being a social human being. I love sharing my knowledge, insight, and wisdom with others — and in return, I love learning from them.

Therefore my suggestion is this: Don’t just be a “lone wolf” street photographer. Sure, you might like to shoot solo, but also try to meet other street photographers in real life.

I love to talk and walk and shoot with friends. Therefore, I will sometimes meet up with a friend to walk around and shoot, and I actually enjoy the conversation and social interaction more than the photography part. And that’s totally cool — because I don’t think the purpose of photography is to become the world’s best photographer, but to feel more happiness and joy in life.

Meeting other passionate street photographs in Bangkok for the Monogram Asia 8×8 event, 2017

Conclusion

So friend, besides the fact that I’m writing this article to promote my upcoming street photography workshops, I also want to encourage you to shoot more street photography as a way of finding more joy, positivity, and happiness in life.

Anything we do that makes us:

  1. Be less fearful in life
  2. Walk and move more
  3. Be more social

Is a good thing.

BE STRONG AND ADVENTUROUS,
ERIC

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