Japanese man. Kyoto street portrait, 2017.

Why Are You Scared to Share Your Pictures?

Japanese man. Kyoto street portrait, 2017.
Japanese man. Kyoto street portrait, 2017.

Dear friend,

What hesitations or fears do you have when sharing or punishing your work?


Why I am scared to share my pictures

One light on. Kyoto, 2017.
One light on. Kyoto, 2017.

Some things that used to scare me:

  1. Fear of being ignored:The worst is when you publish an art work, and it gets 0 comments, and 0 likes. This feels shitty.
  2. Fear of having people leave negative feedback: People saying your work is boring, or it sucks. But to be honest, this almost never happens, unless you are very famous. Most people will either ignore your work, not leave any feedback, or give you a pat on the back and say it is “great!” So in this sense, getting false positive feedback is bad for us, because it will prevent us from getting honest, constructive critique, to improve our pictures.
  3. Fear of annoying others: Whenever you open up your social media feed, there is at least 1,500 pieces of content fighting for your attention and eye balls. In the past, I was afraid of “over-publishing” in fear that I might annoy people. But then I realized:People have the freedom to unfollow me. And that’s cool.
  4. The fear that people will “unfollow” you. Probably the biggest fear with social media. This is what prevents you from experimenting. You follow traditional photos that you’ve made in the past that got a lot of likes. You seek to maximize your like and follower count, and don’t follow your own heart. You become trapped in a past version of yourself. You fear if you experiment, you will alienate your followers, and lose followers. But why is it a big deal to lose followers?

The more people who un follow you, the more successful you are.

Dead duck. Kyoto, 2017.
Dead duck. Kyoto, 2017.

But let’s dig deeper.

Why is it a big deal if people unfollow you?

Human bias: we quantify our self-worth via numbers.

We do this with money, number of possessions, etc.

caption id=”attachment_62582″ align=”alignnone” width=”800″]Cindy in Kyoto, 2017. Cindy in Kyoto, 2017. [/caption]

With social media, we value our self-esteem, and our self-worth as artists via our follower count. We wrongfully think that the more followers and likes we have, the more “successful” we are. We try to build up our own ego through social media.

Therefore, when you lose a follower, you feel the pain of losing self-worth, and your ego.

I say fuck that. It is better to lose followers than gain followers. Why? It means you are not boring. It means you are controversial and interesting.

The real secret to knowing if you’re “successful” in photography… if people wonder why you don’t have an Instagram, or why you don’t use a certain social media platform.

ERIC KIM SELFIE with black wall. Kyoto, 2017
ERIC KIM SELFIE with black wall. Kyoto, 2017

To be honest, I’m sorry to say this, I would rather count my dollars than my social media numbers.

Why? Who cares for having a million social media followers, if you’re not making much money? JAY Z is insanely successful, yet doesn’t have many followers on social media. He doesn’t get distracted by petty online stuff.

As a general tip,

Study successful people you want to emulate. Rather than studying what they do, study what they DO NOT DO.

For example, many successful people I like do NOT:

  1. Do not use email.
  2. Do not attend meetings.
  3. Do not use social media.

Therefore, think of yourself as “successful” in terms of what you DO NOT NEED or DO NOT DO.

I think I’m cooler because I don’t own a car, home, or have obligations. I think I’m cool, because I don’t own many clothes, and mostly wear the same outfit everyday. I think I’m cool because I DON’T NEED nor desire all these trendy new digital cameras (even though I can afford it).

Essentially, be pretentious in terms of what you don’t do, don’t own, don’t say, or don’t partake in.

Find joy in the negative, or the anti-action (credit NASSIM TALEB).

Have no fear; share your work with your peers.


Sorry for the rant, I got off track.

Essentially, to sum up, I want to make these points:

  1. Don’t be afraid to share your work for fear of losing social media followers. If you lose social media followers by sharing controversial pictures, you’re onto something (everyone first hated Picasso and his cubism, or Andy Warhol and his Soup Cans).
  2. Only share or publish work that YOU LIKE.
  3. The more you publish, the more confidence you will have.



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