Portrait by Josh White

Portrait by Josh White

Dear friend,

The most powerful 3-letter word is “Why?”

Why is why important?

Hanoi, 2016 eric kim street photography hanoi
Hanoi, 2016

It is one of the first words we learn as a kid, yet is beaten out of us when we are young.

To be honest, when a kid always asks you, “Why?” it can get a bit annoying.

But that is where all of our creative energy, insight, and curiosity comes from.

To never be satisfied with answers, and to always keep asking:


How vs Why

Photo by Luis Donoso
Photo by Luis Donoso

I am a “how” person. I want practical skills, on how to do more stuff, to be more productive, how to be more rich, etc.

But more robust is the “Why?” question.

For example, don’t ask yourself how to make more money, but why make more money.

For me, I ask myself that all the time.

Why do you want to make more money, Eric?

Because I think if I have more money, I can help more people. I can help support my sister, my mom, myself, Cindy, and eventually have enough money to help my friends and local community in need.

Why do you want to help your family, friends, and others?

Because I believe they have so much untapped creative potential, yet their wages and dependence on money is holding them back.

Lesson: I want to empower everyone. To do the best creative work possible. To ultimately, empower all of humanity.

Blessings on blessings on blessings.

Berkeley, 2015 #cindyproject

I’m lucky enough that I have enough. Enough– I have the one all black outfit I wear everyday that I am satisfied with, that I think makes me look cool.

I don’t currently write on a laptop; all is done on an iPad on IA WRITER– it helps my carpal tunnel in my right thumb, from typing too much. I also prefer the 1 pound weight, even compared to the lightest laptops. I returned my 12-inch MacBook laptop recently, because I thought it was a waste of money for $1800. If I need to process photos or use Lightroom, I just borrow Cindy’s laptop. Or I might try to figure out how to use Lightroom on the iPad.

tokyo eric kim street photography-0000789

I don’t have a car, nor do I want a car. I don’t want to do stupid DMV payments, pay for insurance, fix and maintain the car, change the tires, change the oil, or have it take space. I prefer renting a car, or riding Uber.

I have a Ricoh GR II camera: the best digital camera ever made, for $600. If I lose or break it, I can easily buy another. I frankly think it’s a better camera, even compared to $7,000 digital Leica’s.

Dalat, Vietnam 2016 #cindyproject

If I’m bored of photography, I have my film Leica. And ultimately, film will always look better, and be cooler than digital photography.

I don’t like owning a phone. So no more lusting after a new iPhone or android phone. Thousands of dollars, and stress saved.

I don’t need anything else

cindy project - in and out - kettleman city

I like having bundles of cash sitting in the bank, doing nothing. Giving me some financial cushion, to sleep at night. I like not wasting money in stupid restaurants, with confusing names, and I always end up leaving hungry. I prefer eating cheap Vietnamese food anyways, and I can always eat my 5-6 egg snacks in the evening to assuage my hunger.

I have access to all the books of history via project Gutenberg, and I can read them for free as .epub files, or PDF, or text. No more books I need to buy.

Tokyo, 2016

I like living in a small studio apartment, or cheap hotel. I don’t like owning furniture, too much stress. I don’t really wanna own a home: too much taxes, stress of fixing broken toilets, and shit falling apart.

I don’t want to own an office space. Less freedom to travel to coffee shops and do creative work.

Dalat, Vietnam 2016 / Photo by Cindy
Dalat, Vietnam 2016 / Photo by Cindy

I used to want to live in a fancy city like SF, NYC, or Tokyo– but I don’t like paying a lot of money for rent. I prefer to live in LA, Saigon, or any city with a lower cost of living. Less stress about rent, more freedom to buy more espresso, and play.

I don’t want to have a lot of responsibilities or burdens in life. I just want maximum freedom to write, read, think, philosophize, share, teach, and explore. I want to be a child, forever.

I’ll always desire more.

eric kim self portrait dalat
Dalat, 2016

Obviously, I am still a sucker for technology, materialism, consumerism, and shit I don’t need. It’s in my American DNA.

eric kim street photography - the city of angels - black and white-5-nails-sweat-downtown-la

But whenever I feel stressed about money, worried about the future, or concerned– I always ask myself the question:


I feel that so much of us would be a lot more happy if we just asked ourselves “Why?” more often.

eric kim photography wedding - black and white - ricoh gr ii-5

For myself, I always desire to buy more shit I don’t need, or feel anxiety, because of the following reasons:

  • Desire to impress others
  • Fear of homelessness, bankruptcy, death.
  • Fear of living a life not to the maximum
  • Fear of looking dumb in front of others
  • Fear of regret dying with unfulfilled dreams

But honestly, I got everything I need. I got Cindy, my family, friends, internet, coffee, and my camera. I got this blog, and a mind that can create things from nothing. I got inspiration from living life on planet earth, and I’m alive.

eric kim photography wedding - black and white - ricoh gr ii-7

What greater blessing is there than being alive, and being grateful of being alive?

eric kim cindy project garden grove

For me, it is to create more. To me, affirming life is to create poetry, photos, art, words, ideas, thoughts, and products that can uplift you and others.

So friend, when in doubt in life, always ask yourself:




eric kim cindy project wedding garden grove

Conquer your fears and meet new peers:

Regarding workshops please email my manager Neil at neilta@gmail.com


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