Coin Laundry. Uji, Kyoto 2017
Coin Laundry. Uji, Kyoto 2017

In modern-day times, we are more consumers than producers.



What are you really buying?


Consider, we try to “Buy” a lifestyle, an image, or an attitude.

For example, I’ll drive a Porsche car to show that I’m suave, rich, and cool. I’ll wear an Hermès scarf to denote that I’m elegant (also rich).

With photography, we try to show our style and individuality via the camera we shoot with.

We use a Sony camera to show that we love technology, and more megapixels.

We use a Leica camera to show that we love heritage, we are sophisticated, and prefer the old-school and classics.

We use a Fujifilm camera to show that we’re a value-minded photographer, with an eye for aesthetics.

How to profit from the capitalist machine.

Anyways, the way that modern-day capitalism is setup, we NEED to be consumers and we NEED to consume to keep the whole machine running.

For example, if all these goods were produced, and nobody would purchase or consume them… how could the clockwork of the economy keep ticking?

Always be skeptical

So I don’t think we can change how the economy works, but YOU have the power to choose whether to be a consumer or not. You also have the control over the goods to purchase.

I’m not anti-consumerist per-se. I love buying shit. I love making stuff. And of course, in order to make a living, I need to sell things— whether I sell experiences, workshops, photography tools, or products.

But my encouragement is this:

Be realistic with the stuff you buy, and don’t think that buying a certain… something… will make you “happy” or “cool”.

The only truly way to be happy or cool is to be a PRODUCER, not a consumer.


I have made up a new concept, I call it “PRODUCERISM”. You create value for yourself and for society by PRODUCING.

For example, in my case, I produce blog posts. I produce videos. I produce pictures. I produce poems. I produce ideas and theories. I produce books, products, and experiences.

By producing something, you are creating VALUE. Value in terms of a physical product that can be used or consumed, or you cam create value in an experience.

Not all producers will become rich, “successful”, or well-regarded or respected.

You can produce good stuff all your life, but without a bit of luck and marketing savvy… you might fail. But the more you produce, and the more you increase the quality of your ideas, foods, Pictures, and art… the higher your chances for success.

And I can tell you this:nobody who is only a consumer will succeed in life. For example, just by watching and consuming Netflix, video games, or any passive forms of entertainment will create value. Unless, perhaps you can make your own YouTube channel for gaming, start your own life-stream Twitch channel, or perhaps create guides or something valuable to others.

Still, you must consume.

We all need to consume to survive and to create.

As humans, we consume resources. We consume food, air, water, electricity, coffee, and internet bandwidth. If we stopped consuming, we would die, just like any living organism.

The same with art— we must consume art and inspiration (from other humans or nature) in order to CREATE and PRODUCE.

My suggestion is this:

To become more successful, seek to produce 80% of the time, and consume 20% of the time.

An 80/20 split (in favor of creation) will increase your value as an artist and individual, in today’s capitalist society.

You’re not a machine

The difference between machines and humans:

Machines don’t need to “rest”. Humans need to rest.

Machines are not biological, complex, living things. Humans are.

Machines can be measured by “productivity”, whereas humans cannot (and should not).

Produce what brings you joy.

I know this is a bit confusing, because I’m encouraging you to become a PRODUCER, not a consumer. But don’t be focused too much on “production for the sake of production”. Produce things which you enjoy to produce. Whether that be pictures, words, videos, ideas, or something else.

Produce what brings you joy. Mihalay C calls the sensation of being in a state of “flow” as the optimal experience of a creative human being. We’re happiest when we are being challenged, when we are exploring, when we are developing our skills, producing, or overcoming difficulties. We are LEAST happy when passively consuming mindless entertainment.

Make like a child

Makers and producers shall inherit the earth. Take whatever life has given you, and increase it. Like Steve Jobs said, try to add a little dent in the universe.

Children prefer to make things, instead of buying stuff. They have pride in their own creations.

So friend, make make make! Build, build, build! Produce art, and never stop, until the day you die.

My hero is my grandfather, who kept painting Chinese calligraphy until he died at age 92. Literally, he was making a painting on the day he died.



ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP  by HAPTIC INDUSTRIES // Portrait by Benjamin Thompson

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Table of Contents

Learn how to make a living from your passion:

Photography Business 101

How to Make Money with Photography


Photography Marketing 101


How to Hustle.

Entrepreneurial Principles

How to be a Full-time Photographer

Photography Blogging

How to Teach Photography

Social Media

How to Save Money


Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship

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Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Photography

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