Singapore, 2016

Okay, please pardon me friend, but one thing I have is no patience for excuses. Imma rant a bit if you don’t mind. Please close this if you don’t like it.

I don’t have a laptop right now.

Singapore, 2016

The last few weeks in Saigon, I’ve been doing all my blogging on an old iPad Air (Version I) and an old Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

I’ve been doing all my photography on a $600 Ricoh GR II.

Orange County, 2017

This ain’t an attack on you. It’s an attack on (past) ERIC KIM, who always complained his shit wasn’t good enough.

There’s a new producer on the block, who makes all his beats on his old iPhone 6. He has produced a hit record for Kendrick Lamar. All on Garage band on his iPhone and a few other apps.

Hanoi, 2017

I always thought, my innovation and creativity was held back by my lack of tools. I always thought, if I had a better camera, I could be a better photographer. If I just had a better laptop, I could write more good blog posts. If I just had a good video camera, I could make more good YouTube videos.

Sapa, 2016

Now, I realize that is all bullshit.

Rather, innovation comes from lack of tools.


SF, 2016

I only innovate when something is annoying or pisses me off.

For example, I bought a point and shoot digital camera (Ricoh GR) after being frustrated how heavy my DSLR was. I carried my camera with me more often, and therefore, shot more. I innovated more, using a flash, and shooting with a deep depth of field, because you can’t get nice ‘bokeh’ on a non-DSLR camera.

Hanoi, 2017

As a random note, I think bokeh is the worst creativity crutch in photography. You become lazy. You think a good photo is just shooting wide open. I fell victim to bokeh addiction, upgrading to a full frame camera just to get a more ‘creamy’ and ‘3d’ bokeh, instead of making a photo with emotion, soul, and showed beauty.

Innovation in phone photography


To continue, I think the most innovative folks in photography are the ones shooting with only a phone, like Aik Beng Chia, Oggsie, Minho Baranovic. Why? They used their limitations to a creative benefit.

Hanoi, 2017 #cindyproject

For example, the original iPhone had really bad image quality. Therefore to make a good photo you could only shoot in good light, or during “golden hour” (sunrise and sunset).


With an old iPhone or smartphone camera, you cannot get “bokeh”. The sensor is small. Therefore, you have to work to get a simple and clean background, rather than just relying on shooting wide open at f/1.4 or f/1.8.


When I had a point and shoot digital camera, my first camera, the Canon SD 600 (thanks mom, I got it at age 18 as a high school graduation present) it was always in my front pocket. I loved it. I always made photos because of the compactness and portability.

Then I wanted to make “bokeh”, so I got a Canon Rebel XT 350D with a kit lens. Then I was confused…why couldn’t my expensive camera get those “blurry background” photos I saw online? I realized I needed a 50mm f/1.8 lens. So I bought it. I shot everything at f/1.8 for a week. My friends would “woooo” and “ahhhh” to see the shallow depth of field. Because back then, compact point and shoot cameras couldn’t do that. They were more amazed with the novelty of shallow depth of field.

SF, 2015 #ricohmafia

Now, new apps allow us to make shallow depth of field with our phone cameras. You see this on the iPhone plus and other dual lens phone cameras. Obsession with bokeh is now available for the masses. You no longer have to spend $1000 on a DSLR and lens.

Innovation comes from restrictions.

NYC, 2015

The funny thing: we have all the most amazing technology with photography. Why are we uninspired?

My idea:

We are uninspired, because we are too distracted with our unlimited options in photography, ranging from our cameras, tools, post processing options, and apps.

For example, Barry Schwartz calls this the “Paradox of choice”. We think having more options will make us more happy. The truth: more options makes us more stressed.

Tokyo, 2014

For me, having too many cameras and lenses and options gave me “paralysis by analysis”. I had so many options, I would waste precious energy and mind power to decide which camera to shoot with today. This hurt my creativity.


The only way to find more creativity and inspiration:

Never complain about your gear. Just make the best use of what you already have.

If I just bought that new camera or lens…

Selfie at Cindy’s family house, 2017

We all know this feeling: I feel uninspired. I think, “Oh, if I just bought that new camera, lens, or tripod, I’ll be more inspired to make more photos, and therefore be be more creative and happy.

Paris, 2015

It’s not your fault. It’s the credo of capitalist culture: “Buy this, and you’ll feel better!” Or, consider “retail therapy”.

My theory:

Capitalist culture wants us to be good worker bees, stuck in our cubicle prisons. We collect a good salary, and no longer have fear of starving to death. We trade our freedom for security.

And of course, we feel miserable. Why? Nobody likes feeling like a slave.

Hanoi, 2017

To feel better, on the weekend, we hit the mall. We drive around in our sports cars. We get fucked up on cocaine, weed, and alcohol. We drown away the pain and sorrow. Then on Monday, back to the fucking grind.

Art is the answer.

Okay, so what is the answer to all this miserable feeling of oppression?


Make more art.

Art is everything.

Art is a blog post, poem, a beat you make, a video you upload to YouTube, or a photo you make.

Art is not for the elite. Art is for the masses.

Art is just a creative expression of your soul.

Create art on your own standards.

Saigon, 2017

You are already an artist. You don’t gotta study pretentious artists to become an artist. You don’t gotta go to art school. I think art school is the worst waste of money if you need to go into debt.

Hanoi, 2017

As a photographer, you are an artist.

So just go out, and JUST SHOOT IT.

Hanoi, 2017 #ericproject

To find a creative community of mutual love, growth, and support, join ERIC KIM FORUM.

Also, for creative empowerment in your street photography, buy STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION for inspiration during your morning commute, and whenever you need a “shot” of motivation.


Hanoi, 2016



Just shoot it:

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