My friend JOSH WHITE started a project photographing women — and it gave me the opportunity to question why I photograph Cindy.

I started CINDYPROJECT to document my life journey with Cindy, and also for me to better appreciate Cindy.

Cindy with red scarf. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy with red scarf. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

It is easy for me to take Cindy for granted. We still argue, get into scuffles. I often argue over petty shit.

Cindy and hand. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy and hand. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

But —my friend Josh taught me,

Photographing your loved ones is more important than photographing strangers.

Shot with a slower shutter speed. You can feel the movement in this picture with the motion blur. Cindy, 2016
Shot with a slower shutter speed. You can feel the movement in this picture with the motion blur. Cindy, 2016

When I got married, I photographed my own wedding.

Prologue on the day of my wedding with Cindy.
Prologue on the day of my wedding with Cindy.
Cindy in wedding dress, touching mirror. 2016
Cindy in wedding dress, touching mirror. 2016
Cindy flexing in mirror.
Cindy flexing in mirror.
My wedding day with Cindy. Cindy in traditional Korean Hanbok, 2016
My wedding day with Cindy. Cindy in traditional Korean Hanbok, 2016

Photographing Cindy helps slow down time. It makes me consider,

My time on earth with Cindy is limited. Let me enjoy every moment.


Amsterdam, 2017 #cindyproject
Amsterdam, 2017 #cindyproject

Your life partner is the best person to photograph. You can photograph them at home, at the restaurant, or whenever. It is the best form of every day photography — personal photos of your loved ones.

Cindy with red scarf. Berlin, 2017
Cindy with red scarf. Berlin, 2017

Photograph your life partner while they are working, at home, or in the living room. Always have your camera handy.

Cindy working in Airbnb. Berlin, 2017
Cindy working in Airbnb. Berlin, 2017

When you go out together always bring your camera, and keep it around your neck or wrist. Shoot a lot.

Cindy walking with purple lights. Berlin, 2017
Cindy walking with purple lights. Berlin, 2017

Ask your life partner to pose for you, when you see an interesting scene or background.

Cindy with framed hands. Saigon, 2017
Cindy with framed hands. Saigon, 2017

But what if your life partner doesn’t like being photographed?

First of all, ask them:

Why don’t you like being photographed?

For Cindy, it was initially that she had no control over her image.

So now the rule is:

Before I post pictures, I show them to Cindy. If she doesn’t like a picture, she tells me not to post it.

I like this — because the photo making process of Cindy becomes collaborative. I’m giving her power, control, and autonomy over her image.

Me and Cindy in elevator. Berlin, 2017
Selfie of me and Cindy in elevator. Berlin, 2017

Not only that, but Cindy becomes a collaborative partner. She poses for the camera. She knows what her good angle is. She also helps me choose the best pictures of her.

Cindy with elbows flared outwards.
Cindy power pose. Saigon hotel, 2017

Taking photos of Cindy is like dancing. Sometimes she takes the lead, other times I take the lead. We try hard to not step on each other’s toes.


Remind yourself:

Your love for your life partner is more important than making good pictures of them.

And consider,

Don’t treat your life partner as just a photo object. They are the love of your life — treat them with love, compassion, and treat them like a living breathing human being.

Cindy in blue Yukata. Uji, Kyoto 2017
Cindy in blue Yukata. Uji, Kyoto 2017. Low Perspective.

Do you let your partner photograph you?

Another idea, empower your life partner to photograph yourself.

Why?

You put the power in their hands.

Don’t do unto your life partner, what you wouldn’t want them to do unto you.

In other words, if you want to photograph your life partner, let them also photograph you.

Some pictures Cindy has shot of me:

RED ERIC KIM by CINDY NGUYEN

ERIC KIM EYE by CINDY NGUYEN. Hanoi, 2017
ERIC KIM EYE by CINDY NGUYEN. Hanoi, 2017

RED ERIC KIM by CINDY NGUYEN

Red ERIC KIM by CINDY NGUYEN

Portrait of ERIC in Yukata by Cindy.
Portrait of ERIC in Yukata by Cindy.
Portrait of ERIC KIM by CINDY NGUYEN. Kyoto, 2017
Portrait of ERIC KIM by CINDY NGUYEN. Kyoto, 2017
Picture of me sleeping by Cindy. Uji, Kyoto 2017
Picture of me sleeping by Cindy. Uji, Kyoto 2017

Learn more: How to start your own Cindy project >