Simple background. Tokyo

Street photography is the ultimate tool to conquer your fears and social anxieties in life.

CONQUER YOUR FEARS AND MEET NEW PEERS >

1. Learn to not fear rejection

The biggest fear many of us have is not being accepted for who we are. Being rejected is fucking painful. We want others to take us for who we are.

This is why we spend thousands of dollars on fancy clothes, watches, outfits, cars, and stuff — to try to get others to like us more. To have others see us as more beautiful or important.

But friend, realize the fear of rejection is worse than the rejection itself.

What I mean to say is:

Getting rejected isn’t that bad.

Assignment 1. “The 10 no challenge”

I have an assignment for you called the “10 no challenge.” The idea is you have to approach a bunch of strangers to shoot a street portrait of them, and you MUST get 10 people to reject you and say “no”.

The reason this assignment works to conquer social anxiety:

The purpose is to get rejected.

This will rewire your brain to no longer fear rejection, but to crave and desire it.

Pretty powerful, no?

And also— trust me, getting rejected (on purpose) is actually more difficult than it seems.

2. Don’t fear strangers

Man in window. Berlin, 2017
Man in window. Berlin, 2017

I have ‘xenophilia’: I love strangers. This is the opposite of ‘xenophobia’ (being afraid of strangers or foreigners).

Realize, that everyone is friendly. Strangers are much friendlier than they seem. And ultimately, as humans — we are all more similar than dissimilar.

We all love family friends, food, dance, drink, and social company. We all drink tea and coffee, and many of us beer, wine, and we all love a good laugh.

Whenever I meet strangers, I like to talk to them while I’m photographing them. I ask them open-ended questions like:

  • “Hello! How is your day coming along!”
  • “You have a great smile/look!”
  • “Thank you for letting me photograph you!”

This is good because you can photograph strangers without seeming creepy — because you’re not hiding anything. You’re communicating openly with your subject, and making them laugh and feel more human.

Also, whenever I meet strangers, I try to find a common bridge, or a common interest with them — to bridge the gap with them, and feel closer to them. I do this by trying to find out if we like the same food, enjoy the same music, or if we both like to drink coffee (most people).

3. Have fun shooting with other people

The reason I love to teach street photography workshops is to connect people together (in real life).

There is nothing more fun than going out and shooting with other passionate street photographers. Enjoying philosophical chats on life, making picture together, enjoying coffee together, and enjoying long 3-hour dinners together.

I love the social aspect of photography — how photography is universally appreciated, and going on a “photo walk” or a “photography meetup” is a good way to overcome loneliness, depression, and social anxiety.

So try to find other photographers to meet up with. Or check out this street photography directory to attend a workshop with anyone in the world.

Selfie from ERIC KIM BERLIN WORKSHOP
Selfie from ERIC KIM STREET PHOTO WORKSHOP in BERLIN, 2017

Anything that can make us more social and being us together is good to conquer social anxiety — because finding others with the same passion as us (street photography), can help us connect and relate with others, and share that passion with one another, and motivate one another.

Conclusion

Photo of ERIC KIM by Harald Schmidt https://fotografie.io/ — ERIC SHOOTS BERLIN
ERIC KIM Shooting Berlin – Photo by Harald Schmidt https://fotografie.io/

The world is a beautiful place, with beautiful people, and infinite opportunities to make art — through your street photography.

Everyday, push yourself a little more outside of your comfort zone, and take more risks. The bigger the risks you take, the more bold you will become, the less self-conscious you will become, and the more empowered and brave you will become!

BE STRONG,
ERIC

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Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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