Why I Make YouTube Videos For You

Dear friend,

I spend a lot of time making YouTube videos — but why do I do it?

Why videos?

First of all, you can check out all of my (free) videos on YouTube.

eric kim photographer hanoi portrait by cindy a nguyen
Hanoi, 2017 // Portrait by Cindy A. Nguyen

I love YouTube because it is democratic, open, and free. A lot of people think I make money off YouTube– but I actually don’t. I have the choice to put on advertisements on videos, but I personally hate them myself. So I won’t do that to you — just to earn a few hundred bucks in online advertisements.

For me, I make these videos for you because I know some of you prefer to watch video instead of reading text. I also feel that at the end of the day– I am a better talker than writer. I feel I can communicate more emotion, soul, and feeling into my words. If anything, I try to write how I talk.

I also hope that these videos can give you practical street photography tips and guidance. Because to show is easier than to talk. Not only that, but I want the videos to be your personal guide– like you’re almost getting a free 1:1 workshop with me.

Not only that, but I like the idea to be able to share my life and experiences with you. I am very privileged to travel the world and do cool random stuff. If you’re stuck in a cubicle, or somewhere boring– I feel for you. I hope the videos add some value, entertainment, or education or inspiration to your life.

I also want to keep information open and free to you, because I remember how it was to be 12 years old, poor, and having no money. So I hope to be able to give you practical, useful, and empowering videos to help you become a better photographer/artist:

I also don’t like to censor myself. I like to be real. Authentic. I don’t want to ‘front’ (be fake) with you. No boundaries:

I want to help empower you to become the best photographer or artist you can be. To unleash your inner-genius. To unleash your inner-child. To also overcome your personal doubts. To help you make good photos– photos that give you personal meaning in life. To make you feel more human:

I also am an idealist/romantic. I think that all information (if useful to humanity) should be open and free. Of course I cannot change copyright laws, but I can keep my own stuff open source— to have them open and accessible to you. To give you free downloads, free presets, and free books. To give you personal lessons and access to information that can empower you:

To improve your composition:

When I did that epic live-streaming workshop with Adobe:

When Kai and I did that video shooting on the streets of Hong Kong for Digital Rev:

To help you appreciate your loved ones, and to meditate on life and death:

To share lectures with some of the top photographers in the world, like this video of Junku Nishimura:

Or my buddy Sean Lotman:

Or my buddy Chu Viet Ha (best street photographer) in Hanoi:

Or capturing street photography GoPro action in Vietnam– letting you see what I see:

To learn how to be less self-conscious:

To get into the zone in street photography:

To take you behind-the-scenes to cool random stuff, like shooting a fashion shoot:

To share with you the lives of ‘real’ photographers, like one of my best friends Walter Margerison:

How to put on an invisibility cloak in street photography:

Or break down composition for you, in practical terms:

To help you steer clear of the haters, and find your own style:

To distill everything I’ve learned about street photography in the last decade, and break it down into 15 easily-digestible tips/techniques:

How to make more soulful black and white images:

To distill 3-4 years of shooting film, in a non-pretentious way:

To shoot with you in the streets of Paris:

To get really deep, and personal, and ask real questions with great photographers like Daniel Arnold:

How to approach strangers, and shoot street portraits:

And to show how it is to shoot in the streets of Saigon (2 years ago):

Or to bring it to the streets of the D (Detroit) with Brian Day, one of the photographers I have the most respect for:

Or even 5 years ago, in this documentary my buddy Hiroaki made in Tokyo:

Or when I first tested the Leica M9, and showed you what it was like to shoot with a rangefinder:

I can’t believe the YouTube channel is only 5 years old — see this great video that Cindy made for me, when I still lived in my apartment in West LA, 2011:

Or my buddy Daniel Seo, who did this documentary on me when I still had my day job:


Let’s walk together

Honestly, I treat the YouTube channel like a playground. When I started it, I had no intentions on making a living from photography. I started it when I had a day job, and did it for fun, to share what I learned along the way.

I am excited for us to continue walking together– in this journey of photography. Because honestly, I don’t know (that much) more than you in photography — or better yet, you might know more than me in photography and art. But it is all about sharing, and exploring together.

I don’t even see myself as a photographer anymore. I’m like a big ass kid, who wants to stay curious forever.

I want to keep making videos and blogging until the day I die. I aspire to be 120 years old.

So friend, I hope these videos keep you good company. I’m always with you. Always believe in yourself, and just have fun, and make more art.


New videos in Hanoi

Some new videos on the YouTube channel, to help you get caught up:

Why Do You Shoot Street Photography?

Always ask yourself the question: ‘Why do I shoot street photography?’ before asking yourself anything else:

5 Practical Street Photography Tips

If you are lacking inspiration, get started with these 5 practical street photography tips:

Street Photography Freestyle Rap II

Some ‘spoken word’ poetry/rap about street photography (off the top of my head):

Also as a goody, this humbling video that my buddy Theoria Apophasis made for me (also known as the ‘Angry Photographer’):

Re-inspire yourself by picking up a copy of STREET NOTES, or check out UPCOMING ERIC KIM WORKSHOPS.

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