My Life Lessons From 2017

Dear friend,

I want to use this opportunity for me to count my blessings, and also thank you.

2017 has been an incredible year of personal growth, challenge, and learning.

Here is a brief overview:


Traveling with family in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Seoul.

Cindy’s mom and Cindy in Hanoi, 2017

Cindy’s moms first back time in Vietnam

Celebrating new years/lunar with moms in Hanoi, Hue, Dalat, and Hoi an.


Sa Pa, 2017

Epic Hanoi-Sapa workshop.

Hanoi to Sapa Group Selfie 2017

Hosting friends in Hanoi

Feb-May (life in Hanoi)

Diagonal composition, Cindy minimalism // Hanoi, 2017
Dramatic picture of Hanoi woman. Background darkened, and her face and eyes brightened for dramatic effect.
Silhouette of man, rooftop bar in Hanoi.
Cindy in elevator. Hanoi, 2017

Hà Nội, 2017 #Cindyproject
Hanoi, 2017

June: Moving to Saigon

Cindy power pose. Saigon hotel, 2017
Cindy and arms. Saigon, 2017

June-July: Life in hotel in Saigon

August: HAPTICLABS internship in Kyoto with sisters (creation of CREATIVE EVERY DAY)

Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017
Uji, Kyoto, 2017

September: Kyoto + Tokyo Workshop

September: Back to LA, time with family

September: Madison: Mark & Isi Wedding

Photographing my friends wedding on digital medium format

October: Stay with Alex in NYC, NYC Workshops / stay with patty in Fort Lee

Sunset. Fort Lee, New Jersey 2017

Experimentation with digital medium format photography

Blue and green urban landscape. Nyc, Pentax 645z
Yellow tones. Ceiling clouds. New York Public Library. Pentax 645Z
On top of a skyscraper, looking down. High Perspective, looking down. NYC, 2017


Woman with cross neck tattoo. Berlin, 2017
Cindy working in Airbnb. Berlin, 2017

November: BERLIN HAPTICLABS internship with annette.

Cindy Silhouette and purple background. Berlin, 2017
Low angle perspective picture of Cindy. Berlin, 2017
Selfie of me and Cindy in elevator. Berlin, 2017
Cindy with red scarf. Berlin, 2017

Berlin workshop:


November: Amsterdam workshop

Face abstract. Amsterdam, 2017

Experimentations with shape and form in Amsterdam.

Finger pointing. Amsterdam, 2017
Blue face and eyes. Amsterdam, 2017

Fun Airbnb with Cindy in Amsterdam:

Cindy’s standing desk in our Airbnb in Amsterdam, 2017
Cindy standing desk. Airbnb Amsterdam, 2017
At work in our Airbnb in Amsterdam, 2017

Going for a work break. Amsterdam, 2017 #cindyproject
Amsterdam, 2017 #cindyproject

Fun Amsterdam workshop at Leica store Amsterdam:

ERIC KIM Amsterdam Street photography workshop group picture, 2017
Steph and Pierre // RICOH MAFIA, having fun on the streets of Amsterdam at ERIC KIM WORKSHOP, 2017

Epic light in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam sunset, 2017. Shot on Ricoh GR II.
Red and blue abstract. Amsterdam, 2017

December: Prague (3 weeks) with Martin

ERIC KIM SELFIE: White strip. Prague, 2017
Silhouette of Cindy. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

December: 1.5 weeks in Marseille (Cecile)

Marseille Cindy on stairs
Family dinner with Yves in Marseille, 2017 #cindyproject #everydayphotography
Yves selfie at market

Happiness is counting blessings

Cindy in red scarf, red background. Marseille, 2017

I’m insanely grateful. Grateful for all the blessings in my life. The blessing of having wonderful friends, the opportunity to share my passion of photography with others. The chance for me to keep learning, augmenting my skills, and pushing myself to innovate.

Also, having the unique opportunity to live abroad — living abroad in Hanoi, Saigon, Kyoto, Berlin, Prague, and now here in Marseille.

I like simple everyday life

One lesson I’ve learned about living abroad:

You can be happy anywhere you live.

The greatest joys I’ve got when living abroad is simple everyday life. Waking up in the morning, having an (ice-cold) shower, grinding a fresh cup of coffee, enjoying a coffee while looking out the window, thinking of new ideas to write about.

Selfie of me and Cindy in Marseille, 2017

The joy of going to the grocery store, and trying out new foods, cheeses, and the joy of walking.

Green beans and cauliflower cooked at home in marseille
Canard and green beans on red plate. Cooked at home in Marseille, 2017
At work with our cat Callisto. Photo by Cindy. Marseille, 2017

Child mind

Painting by child, Margot in marseille

In terms of photography, I’ve also regained my childlike naïveté. I love shooting with the RICOH GR II, just pointing and shooting. I’m becoming less dogmatic with my photography, and more open minded to shooting without a genre. To just shoot, enjoy life, and to photograph the small things which bring a smile to my face.

Curved red curtain and shadow. Marseille, 2017

iPad fun

Callisto cat abstract by ERIC KIM

I’ve also been having so much fun playing around with the iPad and the Procreate app. To use this to create new pictures, analyze compositions, and to understand the cross-over between art, painting, and photography. I feel like I’m paving some new paths which has been very personally interesting to me.

5 Henri Cartier Bresson composition lessons

Less is more

Abstract. Cindy with hands on face. Red, Kyoto 2017

I’m also happy I’ve been able to simplify my life even more — with fewer physical possessions, and fewer mental burdens. This has helped me have more focus, to be more productive and prolific as a writer and artist. To have less doubt in myself, and to feel more joy, and less obstructions.

Visual Artist


One of the ideas that has excited me a lot:

Thinking of yourself as a visual artist, not just a photographer.

The reason why this is exciting to me:

You can make any form of visual art, and thus, have fewer limits to your art.

You can draw, paint, photograph, and make art either analogue or digitally.

Productivity is happiness

Selfie with Cindy in mirror, marseille

Also, realizing that the more productive I am as an artist the happier I am.

Sunset and red shades in marseille

This means, don’t worry so much about making great or perfect art — but just treating photography and art as an experimental visual playground. To have a childlike mind of fun and play. To not take our art too seriously, but to treat this spirit of play very seriously.

To appreciate the journey, but strive for more

Cindy and spiral staircase. Marseille, 2017

Also another thing — to enjoy our journey in life, and our progress in our photography, but to strive for more.

Green Wall Street Photo in marseille

To me this is great because we find joy and happiness in our past accomplishments, but we stay inspired to make NEW discoveries, and have NEW adventures — which is our lifeblood as humans.

All art is art

Double eyed selfie surreal in Prague

Also an exciting thing for me in Street photography has been the cross over between street photography and surrealism. I’m super into Rene Magritte, and seeing how Henri Cartier-Bresson has been inspired by the surrealists has been inspirational. Also, I’ve also had a huge new Inspirational source from Sergio Larrain — a very underrated photographer, and unfortunately — not as well known.

Sergio Larrain, surreal photo with girl on top of dog
Magritte surreal horse on car

Color photography

Orange stripes

Another discovery: the joy of just shooting jpeg, high contrast color on the RICOH GR II. This has allowed me to enjoy the joy and emotional impact of color. Studying Matisse has also inspired me in terms of colors, and studying the abstract of Piet Mondrian has also inspired me.

One piece I’m proud of: Color Theory for photographers.

What next?

Pink toilet paper. Marseille, 2017

“I’m onto the next one.” – JAY Z

New ideas:

  1. Cross-over between surrealist art and street photography
  2. Studying more about classic composition, and how we can apply this to our photography
  3. Perhaps more ideas on photography therapy — how we can use photography as a tool to heal our minds
  4. Photography entrepreneurship — how to succeed as a modern photographer, without being a slave to traditional forms of social media (Facebook/Instagram), and how to feel a sense of self joy and progress in our photography, without likes and followers. Also, how to stand out as a photographer in today’s world — and how to push the genre of photography forward.
  5. New photography workshops and seminars — to continue to empower other photographers.
V composition street photograph with flash and wine bottles. Marseille 2017

Thank you

Selfie of me and Cindy in Marseille, 2017

I’m so grateful for your support and love over the years. I started this blog in 2010, and it is already 2017. That’s crazy, 7 years and I’m still (not yet) dead.

Cindy dramatic chiaroscuro shadow play. Marseille, 2017

Still tons of new ideas on photography, philosophy, and life. I updated the START HERE page, and currently making new videos with Cindy.

Key and shadow. Marseille, 2017

The future is bright. 2017 has been great, are you excited for 2018?