Happy Ricoh.

If you want to become a great photographer and visual artist, become a great thief.


Steal from the masters of photography

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Steal ideas and insights from the masters of photography, but seek to add to their legacy.

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The best artists are the best thieves

Picasso in his studio.

Bad artists copy, great artists steal – Picasso

I think modern society is anti-innovation. We have ridiculously strict copyright laws, which make us fear and cower over “borrowing” ideas.

PICASSO x ERIC KIM
PICASSO x ERIC KIM

Little known fact: Shakespeare pretty much stole all his great ideas and plays from other stories in history. Not only that, but during his time, the reason why there was so much innovation was that copyright law didn’t exist (yet). Shakespeare stole widely from his contemporaries, not even giving them credit.

PICASSO x ERIC KIM
PICASSO x ERIC KIM

My suggestion:

Steal widely, give credit (when possible),but seek to make SOMETHING NEW — that will benefit society and all of humankind (currently living, and future generations).

Fair Use

Red leading lines of the composition of Henri Cartier-Bresson's Bicycle Shot.
Red leading lines of the composition of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Bicycle Shot.

They made “fair use” laws to encourage innovation, by encouraging other creatives to “steal/borrow” ideas, images, text, pictures, art, etc — as long it was additive, and ultimately would help society as a whole.

Triangle compositions in red, blue, yellow. Henri Cartier Bresson, Spain

For example, the best cases are with education — you must be able to show an image to explain a concept. I once got flak in the past for using the pictures of the masters in my articles (because I didn’t “ask for permission”)— but in reality I’m covered by fair use laws, and my intention was to help empower and educate other photographers, and also to pay homage to the master photographers.

Contact sheet from Henri Cartier-Bresson in Seville, Spain, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
Contact sheet from Henri Cartier-Bresson in Seville, Spain, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

Are you adding to the legacy?

CINDY X HENRI WRIST STRAP

I feel as humans, it is our task to make the world a better place, and to also empower future generations of individuals and artists.

Therefore, steal for the greater good. But don’t just copy cheap replicas —seek to steal from the past, and MAKE IT BETTER!

Remix, and sample from the past — this is what great hip hop musicians, producers, and rappers do.

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Cropped.

Great poets have all eventually stolen from Homer at one point or another. Virgil did his Homer impersonation with The Aeneid.

Cross-pollination

Cross pollinate with MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER

The more you steal creative and artistic insight and ideas from more diverse places, the more unique your visual honey will be.

Bee and coffee cup.

Consider the honeybee as a thief. The honeybee doesn’t need “permission” to “steal” nectar from a poor flower. No, the honeybee does as he wishes. But his ultimate goal is to make his own unique honey.

Bee and Leica.

Stealing is good

Woman with cross neck tattoo. Berlin, 2017
Woman with cross neck tattoo. Berlin, 2017

So friend, don’t be afraid to steal. Steal ideas, art, and techniques from all over.

Feel no shame in streaking. Feel great pride.

Just make sure when you steal, make it better and more dope.

BE BOLD,
ERIC


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The Masters of Photography


HENRI NECK STRAP

ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP

ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP

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