How to Find Personal Meaning in Your Photography

Dear friend,

I think a lot of us feel like our photography has no meaning.

I. Why make photos?

Photography isn’t about making photos. It is about making meaning. Making meaning in our lives. About finding what we truly appreciate and cherish in our lives.

Street photography has taught me to cherish intimacy with strangers.

Personal photography has helped me cherish the lives of my loved ones, while they are still alive.

Shooting self portraits has helped me better cope with my thoughts of my own death.

Photography is a meditation on mortality. Whoever we photograph will eventually die. And we will eventually die.

We seek immortality through making photos. But rather than seeking immortality, I think we should seek meaning in our lives while we’re still here on planet Earth.

II. Why does Eric Kim do it?

I can’t speak for you, because I don’t know you. But I can speak for myself.

For me, I always thought photography was about buying the better camera, to make better photos to get more followers and likes on social media, and to seek external validation from others.

I deleted my Instagram, because I found social media was fucking with my self esteem. Rather than focusing on making photos that gave me personal meaning in life, I was just seeking to maximize my likes.

Photography is not important in the grand scheme. The important thing is to live a meaningful life.

To me, living a meaningful life is to devote every waking hour to improving myself, in order to help others.

I’ve been working to delete my demons from my past. It took a lot of time for me to become comfortable cutting my Dad out of my life. It took courage for me to become selfish, in order to help more people.

I don’t eat breakfast or lunch anymore, to fast, feel hunger and feel connected with all those living in poverty and hunger in the world. Also, I fast to stay more mentally productive through the day. And also for vain reasons regarding my self image.

I’m seeking to find truth. And I want to share that truth I discover with others.

Of course my truth is not your truth. You need to discover the truth for yourself. I can only act as a guide. Because I’m only sharing things with you that have worked with me, which probably won’t work for you.

III. Eudaimonia.

Happiness in Greek times was called “eudaimonia”, of human flourishing.

In modern times we think that happiness is pleasure and feeling good. I don’t agree. Otherwise, happiness is just jerking off to porn all day, playing video games, watching Netflix, getting high, drinking alcohol, and of course lots of heroin and ecstasy.

To me, human flourishing mean to create art. To create art that expresses your soul. To make photos that speak to you. To make illustrations that stir your visual creativity. To make music that causes the strings of your heart to quiver.

The most ancient artists were poets.

Photography is just poetry with images.

Dancing is poetry wth your body.

Music is poetry to a beat.

IV. Don’t waste your life.

While you’re still alive, seek to make the most beautiful art. Art for yourself, and art for your local community, and your online community.

To be a humanist means to love human beings for the sake of it.

Always love yourself, and love others. And use art and photography as a tool for self empowerment, and empowering others.

Be strong,
Eric

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