Sapa, 2017

The less real, the greater the worth.

(How artists see The World?, via Nietzsche)

A fun idea: don’t make photos that look like reality.

Rather, make photos that “glitch”, or distort reality.



First, consider cubism.

Second. Consider wide angle distorted lenses.

Third, consider black and white photos.

Why cubism?

Cubism works because it shows how real life feels, rather than what it really looks like. I love Picasso because I can feel his pictures and paintings. Picasso strove to show his inner mind through his pieces of art. Same with Basquiat.

2 Human eyes vs 1 camera eye

Hanoi, 2017

We don’t see the world like a camera lens.

We have two eyes. The camera only has one eye.

We see depth with our two eyes. The camera doesn’t see depth.

If I shoot with a 28mm lens, I see the world from a different perspective. If I shoot a fashion photo of Cindy from a very low angle, I will exaggerate how long her legs are.

The problem: we trust the “reality” of the camera lens and photos more than our own two eyes.

Human eye is 40mm?

Apparently we see the world roughly from a 40mm perspective. I’m not sure if that is true or not, but I know I don’t see the world from a 50mm or a 28mm perspective. Something in-between.

How do you see the world?

Sa Pa, 2017

We also don’t see reality from a vertical perspective. We see reality from a landscape view (our two eyes are positioned horizontally). Some photographers don’t like to shoot vertical (portrait orientation photos) because they don’t see reality like that. Technically, this is why cinema makes more sense horizontally or landscape orientation, because this is how we usually see reality.

But photography ain’t about showing objective reality. It is about creating our own reality. Our own view.

Reality isn’t monochrome

Hanoi, 2017

When we shoot black and white, we are creating our own reality. Reality isn’t black and white. We perceive it in color.

Depth of field

Sa Pa, 2017

We change reality via the f-stop, or aperture of our lens. The human eye has the ability to focus at will.

Hanoi, 2017

We don’t see reality at f 1.4. Nor do we see it at f22.

We scorn the “normal”


Photos are interesting when they are not real.

Art is interesting when we show reality in a different, unique, or novel way.

Hanoi, 2017

This is why we like drugs and alcohol. It change show we perceive reality. Which is less boring and more fun.

How to make more interesting photos

Hanoi, 2017

To make more interesting photos, make them look less real.

Saigon, 2017
  1. Use a wide angle lens: Distort reality. Get very close to your subjects, and exaggerate their arms, legs, or face. Use a 28mm lens.
  2. Use a flash: Use a very slow shutter speed with a flash, to make light trails. Use flash during the day, to make surreal looking images. Use flash when your subject is in the shade.
  3. Create depth and layers in your photo: Focus on what is furthest away from you, to create more interest and depth.
  4. More blur in your photos.
  5. Monochrome, not color.
Hanoi, 2017


eric kim street photography only in america19