Vitruvian Camera design: made after the ideal proportions of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

Make Photos to Make Meaning in Your Life

Vitruvian Camera by ANNETTE KIM

The world is a confusing place. My theory:we make photos to try to understand the world.



The world is a crazy place.

Surreal. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject
Surreal. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

Let me break this down:

  1. The world is a complex, messy place.
  2. When we live in a world of chaos and disorder, it scares us. Why? Because in a world of disorder (in which we cannot control), we can possibly die.
  3. Therefore, we seek to exert our power over reality… to first try to understand it, then CONTROL reality.

Ok, how is photography related? My idea:

  1. Photography simplifies the world. We can subtract all the chaotic and ugly parts of reality, by deciding what to include inside our frame.
  2. By making a FRAME around a scene, we are exerting our CONTROL of reality. We are shaping reality how we would like to see it. In other words, through photography, we are creating our own “ideal” reality.

Why do we need to make “meaning” from the world?

Cindy in elevator. Saigon, 2017
Cindy in elevator. Saigon, 2017

My theory:

  1. In the past, we had to fight to simply survive.
  2. Now in modern times, we no longer fear death. To live is relatively easy. No more hunger, starvation, cold, or thirst.
  3. Therefore, we have all this free time on our hands. Too much free time makes us anxious. Most of us become MORE lazy with more free time.
  4. When we have too much time on our hands, and life is too easy… we finally have the chance to think, meditate, and reflect and ask ourselves, “Wait… if I already have enough food and water and shelter to survive, what is the purpose of continuing to live?” This is where we become anxious, lost, and frustrated with life. At this point when we have our basic needs met, we seek a philosophy of living. This is where we seek to find more meaning in life by either making more money, by buying more shit, bigger houses, upgrading our cars and gadgets and seeking more power, influence, and social media followers.


The solution

Kiss. Cindy, Saigon, 2017
Kiss. Cindy, Saigon, 2017

Ok, so we can understand why (some) of us make photos.

We make photos to make meaning in life.

So how do we make more meaning in our lives? Some ideas:

  1. Make photos of your loved ones:Your partner, kids, friends, or selfies of yourself.
  2. Use photography as a tool to meditate on death. For example whenever I shoot a selfie or self-portrait, I reflect, “Eric, you won’t live forever. You will die. This image of you is also fleeting. Because you won’t look like this 10, 20, or 30 years from now).
  3. Photography as art: I feel once you have all your basic needs met, dedicate your life to MAKING ART! To make art will never get boring. And boredom is the elixir of death.

For more inspiration and guidance, buy HAPTIC TOOLS and empower yourself.

Also conquer your fears and meet new peers in ERIC KIM EXPERIENCE and join ERIC KIM FORUM.


Photography Philosophy


Philosophy: love of wisdom.


Personal Philosophy »

Stoicism »

Zen Philosophy »

Life Lessons »

Learn more: Start Here >

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top