Dear friend,

A good way to stay inspired in your photography — realize that your first million photos will probably be your worst.

10,000 photos on film = 1 Million on digital

Contact sheet from Henri Cartier-Bresson in Seville, Spain, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
See how many pictures HCB shot of the scene. Contact sheet from Henri Cartier-Bresson in Seville, Spain, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

I think it was Henri Cartier-Bresson who once said,

Your first 10,000 are your worst.

In today’s digital world

Your first million photos are your worst.

Sweat. Downtown LA, 2016.
Sweat. Downtown LA, 2016.
1-la sweat contact eric kim photography sheet
Contact sheet of Downtown LA sweat.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself

eric kim contact sheet new orleans street photography portrait orange
Contact sheet, New Orleans.

I like this idea, because it puts less pressure on us.

New Orleans, 2015
New Orleans, 2015

It gives us the self compassion to make bad photos. It encourages us to experiment, have fun, and not take ourselves too seriously.

Red shirt and green background. Low perspective shot. New Orleans, woman and deer.
Red shirt and green background. Low perspective shot. New Orleans, woman and deer.

And just consider, if you took a million photos, aren’t you bound to get at least 10 photos you really like?

Newport Beach contact sheet.
Newport Beach contact sheet.
STREET PORTRAIT. Newport Beach, 2017
STREET PORTRAIT. Newport Beach, 2017
Newport Beach, 2017

Just seek to make one good photo a month

Woman with Star of David. NYC subway, 2017
Woman in New York Metro who is looking directly at me with eye contact. The dynamic tension of, “What is she going to do, or say next?”

To be honest, even if I make one photo a month I like, I’m very happy. 12 good photos a year? That’s fantastic.

Street portrait of man with one white eye, looking directly at viewer/photographer with eye contact.

And then I just aim to make 1 GREAT photo a year.

Contact sheet. Tokyo eye, 2016.
Contact sheet. Tokyo eye, 2016.

Consider, assuming a small exhibition is 5-6 pictures. You can make a solid exhibition in just half a year. Or for a website portfolio (10-12 images), it will only take you a year.

tokyo street photography eric kim

Tokyo eye abstract, 2017 by Eric Kim


JUST SHOOT IT.

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

When you shoot, never think,

This needs to be a good photo.

When you see something interesting, just shoot it. Don’t think too much about it. You can choose your favorite photos when you go home.

The devil silhouette of the bull “about to” collide directly with you. The effect of shooting head-on with a wide-angle 28mm lens.
The devil silhouette of the bull “about to” collide directly with you. The effect of shooting head-on with a wide angle 28mm lens.
Marseille contact sheet.
Marseille contact sheet.
Istanbul contact sheet.
Istanbul contact sheet.

Seek to make 10 million bad photos in your life

So friend as an encouragement, just make your first bad million photos. Perhaps — you can become a master photographer once you hit 10 million bad photos.

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!
ERIC


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