Man turning back on stairs. Ueno, Tokyo 2017
Man turning back on stairs. Ueno, Tokyo 2017

Dear friend,

As a reminder— know it is your duty as a visual artist to make beautiful pictures—for your own sake, and for the sake of humanity.

OPEN SOURCE

DOWNLOAD PDF: It is your duty to make beautiful pictures


1. You are a “visual artist”

Orange and blue texture. Tokyo, 2017
Orange and blue texture. Tokyo, 2017

Okay, so to start off— call yourself a “visual artist”. This will expand your view of yourself, and your purpose and duty in life.

Woman walking by blue wall. Ginza, Tokyo 2017
Woman walking by blue wall. Ginza, Tokyo 2017

Visual artist:You’re just using the camera as a tool to make pictures. To me, using a camera is a more effective and efficient tool to make images and pictures…instead of just having to draw out everything.

Blue tarp. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017
Blue tarp. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017

I’m addicted to making pictures. I’m too impatient to draw. And funny enough, the challenge of making a good picture is with a camera is more difficult than drawing a picture. Why? Taking pictures with a camera is more difficult —because you gotta leave your house. You must interact with others and the outside world. Street photography is particularly hard, because you must overcome the fear of making pictures of strangers.

2. What do you find “beautiful”?

Textures tape. Shibuya Tokyo 2017
Textured tape. Shibuya Tokyo 2017

“Aesthetics” is a field of photography which posits the question:

”What is beautiful, and what is not beautiful?”

To me, beauty is all subjective. You must find what is beautiful to YOU.

Woman going down escalator and flash. Tokyo, 2017

For me, I like edgy, dynamic pictures…which reveal the soul of the maker. That’s how I define a “beautiful” picture. I don’t see “beauty” as something pretty. I can see an abstract picture of peeling paint as more aesthetically sublime than any furniture in the palace of Versailles.

Old people laughing and pointing. Omotesando, Tokyo 2017
Old people laughing and pointing. Omotesando, Tokyo 2017

As an artist, it is your duty to make beautiful pictures, and to share your definition and vision of beauty with others, and with society. To me, the artist must fulfill a social role. Of course, we must make pictures first and foremost for ourselves. Then, we must move onto SHARING our pictures with the public—to motivate, inspire, and empower our viewer.

Man shot with flash in mall, with two people behind him, making triangle. Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017
Man shot with flash in mall, with two people behind him, making triangle. Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017

3. You are the only judge of your pictures.

Low angle shot of man with flip phone. Shot with flash. Tokyo, 2017

Judge your own pictures, and you can judge them as “beautiful” if your pictures bring you inner-joy. Never let anyone else dictate whether your pictures are beautiful or not.

Elderly woman and phone. Tokyo, 2017

For me, I see beauty in impermanence. In decay. I love the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi-sabi”— that with use, comes beauty (I see patina as beautiful). Kind of how your RAW denim comes more fashionable and aesthetically beautiful with wear (the wear marks conform to your body, and show the wrinkles and adventures you and your jeans have gone through). Similarly, I see older faces with wrinkles as more beautiful than picture-perfect skin, because I can see a person’s life story through their wear marks on their face.

Tokyo flash rain.

I see beauty in texture. Irregularity. Randomness. I prefer curved lines over straight lines. I prefer minimalist compositions and colors. I find off-centered, unsymmetrical things as more beautiful. I find high contrast beautiful.

My hand and umbrella, yellow lines, and white zebra crossing lines. Tokyo, 2017
My hand and umbrella, yellow lines, and white zebra crossing lines. Tokyo, 2017

Of course, this is just me. I’m finding my own aesthetic and definition of beauty by making more pictures that bring me joy. I’m always asking myself,

“Which of my own pictures do I like, and find beautiful…and why?”

Cindy and hand through criss-cross diamond-patterned, translucent glass window. Tokyo, 2017
Cindy and hand through criss-cross diamond-patterned, translucent glass window. Tokyo, 2017

Keep asking the “why” question— and you will discover what you find beautiful.

BE STRONG,
ERIC

Cindy and flash and umbrella. Tokyo, 2017
Cindy in Ginza, Tokyo with umbrella 2017

MOTIVATION

JUST SHOOT IT.

Just shoot it:

See all articles >

ERIC KIM workshops red hand

Unleash your creative potential:

2020:

2021:

Be notified of when new workshops are live here.


ERIC KIM NEWSLETTER

Free Motivation for You >






ARS First Double Blind Photography Feedback Platform
Get Real Feedback on Your Photos >
Haptic industries bauhaus logo
HAPTIC INDUSTRIES

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship

My brand-new Udemy Course, "Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship" now live! Seize your destiny >

Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Photography

eric kim ultimate beginners guide to mastering photography udemy Master photography >

Henri Neck Strap (MARK III)

THE OG STRAP >

#RICOHMAFIA

ERIC KIM wrist strap mark ii JUST SHOOT IT!

HENRI SHOULDER STRAP

Film Leica MP x Henri Shoulder Strap (CREMA BROWN) Supreme >

Street Photography Starter Kit

street photography starter kit by ERIC KIM Master street photography >

SUITS by KIM

suits by ERIC KIM Own a piece of street photography history >

HENRI WRIST STRAP PRO

Henri wrist strap pro For you >

Products