WHY I’M A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER.

Selfie with Ricoh GR II x ERIC KIM STRAP

I’m not the best photographer, but I’m a great photographer.

I. I don’t envy any other photographer.

I used to envy other photographers who I considered a lot better than I was. Now, I envy no other photographer, or human being. I admire photographers, like Josef Koudelka, Josh White, Charlie Kirk, Richard Avedon, Blake Andrews, Jesse Marlow, Junku Nishimura, Sean Lotman, Alex Webb, Bil Brown, Bruce Gilden, Anders Petersen, Daido, and many others– yet I don’t envy them. Rather, I draw inspiration from their imagery, and it pushes me to challenge myself, and become a better photographer myself.

To be a great photographer:

Never wishing you were another photographer, except yourself.

II. I’m not a photographer

I’m not a photographer. I’m an artist. Better yet, I’m a child with a camera. I’m Andy Warhol meets Pablo Picasso. I’m Kanye meets Jay-Z. I’m Elon Musk meets Steve Jobs.

I’m one of a kind. I’m the only ERIC KIM I know. And you’re the only one of you. So why belittle yourself? You’re dope. Your photos are dope.

To just call yourself a photographer is putting yourself into a little box. If you see yourself as an artist, the heavens is the limit. You can fly, with your wings of creativity. And no, you will not die by flying too close to the sun.

I’m great because I consume all forms of art. I have a good health. I consume cubism, hip hop music, sculpture, Ancient Greek philosophy, somewhat more modern Roman Stoic philosophy, poetry from Horace, innovation from Buckminster Fuller, renaissance from Leonardo da Vinci, economic philosophy from Karl Marx and Peter Thiel, b-boy dancing and Bay Area “hyphy” (watch “Tell me when to go” by E40), car design from Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini, and I consider myself an artisan — a wordsmith and photosmith.

For you, you are great if you escape the photography ghetto. Consume all art. Google “every painter paints himself” and “wiki art” to find inspiration.

III. I have no fear.

I’m the most fearless photographer I know. I have huevos of steel. Because I’m not afraid of rejection, looking dumb, and I know how to take a punch.

I am the most qualified person to teach street photography, because I have a steel spine. I can talk to anyone, without hesitation. I still feel fear, but I face it. I push myself forwards, and photograph what scares the shit out of me.

As a simple assignment: shoot what you’re afraid of.

Assignment #2: keep asking strangers permission to make a portrait of them, until you get 10 people to say “no”. This will force you to push yourself out of your comfort and, and no longer fear rejection.

Conclusion

You are a great photographer. You don’t need nobody else to tell you that.

Rather than caring for likes on Instagram, give yourself a pat on the back. Follow your creative vision, and stay on track. Keep shooting black and white, or chroma– and don’t become a creative loner. Surround yourself with other artists and inspiration, and know that there is no artistic final destination.

Be strong,
Eric

The Art of Photography >

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