An epiphany：if you buy bespoke, one of a kind, custom, classic, or old school stuff… you are less prone to falling victim to gas (gear acquisition syndrome), and more likely to actually be content and be appreciative of what you already own.
Also refer PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101
1. Buy an old film camera
Example, old school film camera. It will never get outdated, because it is already outdated. It will never change, or need an “upgrade.”
Camera bliss and zen.
Buy FILM NOTES.
If you want to be more satisfied with your stuff, customize, hack, and modify it.
For example, I had more fun as a high schooler modding my 1991 Sentra SE-R with the SR20DE engine, than buying a brand new car.
By customizing something, you make it truly yours.
So if you’re like me, and addicted to cars, my advice：
Buy an old, outdated, or classic car for cheap… then have fun modding the shit out of it.
Phones get outdated every 6 months to 1 year. It sucks. We are on an iPhone treadmill… always wanting the new new thing.
I remember the madness for the first iPhone(2g), then the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 6s, 7, and now the plus variation or the rumored iPhone 7s or 8 or whatever.
To feel less phone acquisition syndrome, a simple suggestion：
Buy an android phone, and hack it by “rooting” it (jail break), and install your own custom operating system (rom).
This is fun, because when you’re bored of your phone or wanting to “upgrade” it, you can install a new operating system…. which always make it feel more exciting, fun, or new.
Other simple ideas for your devices：
- Install a new launcher, rom, or just put on a new wallpaper.
- Put on a new sticker on your device.
- For the ambitious, get your device painted (get a custom pink laptop). Do it yourself, or have a professional do it.
By having custom stuff, you feel different, cool, and apart from the crowd.
4. Make your own shit
I used to have “bag acquisition syndrome”, always wanting a better, more “perfect” camera bag. I was never satisfied.
Then, I got a custom camera bag made from our friends Lan and Uyen, who make the custom products for HAPTIC.
Because the bag is handmade, one of a kind, and has the love of the maker infused into it… I am 100% satisfied with it. Even if there are things I don’t like about it, I see it as a feature, not a bug. Beautiful imperfections.
5. Use leather and brass.
I’ve realized materials matter.
For example, the more you use or wear leather products, the better it gets. It molds to your body. It feels like “yours”. The same feeling that people get with their favorite “raw denim” jeans.
Or the same feeling I get with my black paint Leica MP film camera. The more I use it, the more beautiful “brassing” or “patina” it shows. The “wabi sabi” concept… the more you use it, the more imperfect the wear marks, but the more beautiful it is. I am proud of the “battle scars” of my Leica, when I’ve dropped it, scratched it, or used it to hell. The golden brass that peeks out from the edges make me smile.
Avoid materials that get WORSE with use.
6. Build yourself and your own platform
Make your own clothes. Make your own T-shirt designs in photoshop or illustrator, and print them via SpreadShirt.com
Make your own online social network, aka forum. Use the “Forum Engine” theme for WordPress.org, which Cindy and I used to make ERIC KIM FORUM.
Make your own photo blog. Don’t be a slave to Facebook or Instagram. Make it via bluehost.com or 1and1.com and use WordPress.org.
Make your own gym in your backyard. Or buy a 70 Pound kettlebell.
Design your own products. Paint your own custom white Nike shoes, like my friend Jacob Patterson does.
Don’t buy watches, design them and build them yourself (Yes, you can do this… google it).
My next step as ERIC KIM：build my own digital camera. Fuck buying expensive shit from other companies. I’m gonna figure out how to hack together a full frame, digital rangefinder, that accepts M mount lenses. It will only be black and white, no color. No lcd screen or superfluous buttons.
7. Other custom stuff
Get your own headphones made. Or buy them from a small artisan. Don’t buy expensive “mainstream” stuff.
Design and build your own home. Or just buy the furniture or artwork you like from IKEA to make your apartment really “yours”.
Don’t buy a new car, maybe get some new custom rims. Or get a new paint job. And maybe paint your car yourself (I have, it doesn’t look great, but it is fun).
Be a builder, maker, producer, entrepreneur.
Don’t be a consumer, passive swallower of information, or mindless zombie playing video games.
Build your own crazy lab, workshop!
Build your own future. Write your own future.
You got this shit.
HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower You.
ERIC KIM STRAP: Your Power Strap.
HENRI NECK STRAP: Never miss the decisive moment.
HENRI WRIST STRAP: Street Photography Sharpshooter.
STREET NOTES: Take Your Street Photography to the Next Level.
PHOTO JOURNAL: Find More Personal Meaning in Your Photography.
FILM NOTES: Respark Your Joy For Analogue Photography.