Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM

The Purpose of Photography

Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM
Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM

Why do you make photos?

1. To feel more confident

Hands. New Orleans. I wish I were confident like him.
Hands. New Orleans. I wish I were confident like him.

Here is what I think the purpose of photography is.

Primo, to feel more confident in life.

For example, when I make a photo, it is an act of CONFIDENCE. I am asserting my creative and artistic view upon the world. I decide how to curate reality. I am a visual surgeon— I decide what to include in the frame, and what to EXCISE (cut away).

2. To be more adventurous

Eric Kim shooting Jazz hands. Action photo.
Eric Kim shooting Jazz hands. Action photo.

Photography makes me more adventurous. We all need more sex, danger, rock and roll, and adventure in life.

Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM
Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM

As humans, we are EXPLORERS. We have a reason to live when we can keep exploring. For example, consider STAR TREK:they want to find new forms of life, and explore, and help out. This is a part of human nature that will never change. Consider the 49ers who went West in search of profit, gold, and adventure.

Today’s world, we are no longer dangerous, brave, adventurers. We are passive cows.

Flipped car. Orange County, 2016
Flipped car. Orange County, 2016

Society shames us into submission. Our teachers tell us to shut the fuck up, sit down, and take multiple choice tests. We are told to “think outside the box”, but it is only ok if we color inside the lines. We are all living in glass boxes, drive our boxes to work, we are trapped in cubicles (boxes), we look at our phones all day (black box for our attention), and we upload our lives and art to the Instagram box.

I say, fuck all that.

As photographers, let us “unlearn” the rules of society. Let us create our own reality, by refusing to follow the rules superimposed on us by society.

This also means for us to UNLEARN these “rules” in photography.

Shoot whatever you want. Process your photos however you want. Crop your photos, crush the blacks, shoot with whatever lens.

The only rule in photography,

Have fun.

3. To appreciate being alive!

Almonds after doing deadlifts. Emeryville, 2016
Almonds after doing deadlifts. Emeryville, 2016

Photography will also help us find more APPRECIATION in life.

When I photograph Cindy, I remind myself

One day we will both die. I want to cherish every moment with her, and never take her for granted or to be petty.

My wedding ring with Cindy’s hand. 2016
My wedding ring with Cindy’s hand. 2016

I am a STOIC PHOTOGRAPHER. Which means, I always MEMENTO MORI…remembering that I must die. It is my duty to die. And also, my duty to EMPOWER others. To empower Cindy, my family, friends, and everyone online.

That means for me to not complain. Not to whine. To be the change which I wish to see in the world.

Hands of 92 year old woman in Hanoi, 2017.
Hands of 92 year old woman in Hanoi, 2017.

I see so much shitty photo websites online. I can’t complain. I just gotta create the knowledge which I wish I had access to in photography.

Photography ain’t about making photos to get a lot of likes on social media. Photography is about loving life. Photography is about appreciation of life.

At a lovely French dinner with Cindy in SF, 2015
At a lovely French dinner with Cindy in SF, 2015

Whenever we make a photo let us proclaim:

Damn it’s good to be alive. I’m so grateful I have my mind, my eyes, and my sanity to perceive the external world, and to AFFIRM it by making beautiful photos.

Conclusion

Cindy flexing. Wedding, 2016

So friend, why do you make photos?

Share your philosophy on ERIC KIM FORUM.


ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP
ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP

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