Photography is the ultimate tool to conquer your fears in life, and to empower yourself to live life with more confidence, zest, and courage:
Photography empowers you
First of all, photography is for me, a tool of empowerment.
I don’t think the ultimate aim is to be the worlds best photographer. The goal is to use photography as a tool for us to build more self-confidence in ourselves, and to empower ourselves.
Photography should be used as a tool for us to be more curious, more brave, and more playful in life. Photography should open up doors for us, not close doors.
The camera empowers you
The camera is a tool of empowerment. With the camera, you enhance your vision of the world. With the camera, you have the true “augmented reality”. You can see the world more vividly. With more colors. With more depth, tones, and soul.
As a photographer, you can use your camera as an excuse to enter the lives of others. I am genuinely convinced that all photographers are social creatures, and therefore, our camera is a tool that helps us become more social. With the camera, it is less creepy to approach a stranger and have a random conversation with them.
For example, if I’m approaching a stranger with the camera around my neck, and start having a conversation with that stranger — they will see that I’m a bit eccentric, unique, and because I am a photographer, I might do unusual things like approach strangers and randomly chat with them. They might know that I want to photograph them.
Why street photography empowers you
This is why street photography is so beautiful — it gives us the opportunity and excuse to enter the lives of others (strangers), for us to have an excuse to enter the world and engage with the world, and for us to improve our social skills.
I was having a conversation with my friend Pierre-Yves, and he told me,
I think everyone interested in street photography must love people.
All photographers are social creatures
To become a better street photographer, or photographer in general, first of all— learn how to love people more, or show more genuine interest in them. Rather than seeing them as objects to photograph, see them as real, breathing, living, fellow brothers and sisters that we can connect with.
No photographer is his or her own island.
Assignments to empower yourself
To empower yourself with photography, be creative every day, and make pictures every day, which speak to you.
Every day, make a photograph that makes you feel uncomfortable. By pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you will grow.
Assignment 1: For an entire week, whenever you see something that scares you, you must photograph it. IF it is a person, you must ask for permission. You are not allowed to shoot any candid pictures this week —only “street portraits” with permission.
Assignment 2: For one month, you must wear your camera around your neck everywhere you go. You don’t need to force yourself to make pictures every day. Just wear your camera around your neck, and if you see a good scene, just photograph it. Wear your camera like a necklace on the way to work, to the grocery store, or dinner. This will help you see more photo opportunities, and find more appreciation in the beauty of the everyday, ordinary, mundane life.
Assignment 3: Honor thy selfie. Every day, make a self-portrait of yourself. This will help empower you by making you feel more comfortable with your physical appearance, and help you conquer any self-doubt you might have.
Conquer the streets with Henri PHANTOM BLACK.
ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP
Read more: Street Photography Stoicism >