One of the best types of photography: the selfie.


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Selfies are serious.

To start, historically, think of all the famous self portraits made in history. Picasso, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol.

Why are self portraits great?

Self Portrait © Lee Friedlander

They are personal. They help you look into the soul of the artist — especially how the artist sees themselves.

Vivian Maier self portrait

In photography, great self-portrait photographers include Cindy Sherman, Lee Friedlander, and Vivian Maier.

Why I like selfies

Selfie in mirror. Kyoto. 2017
Selfie in mirror. Kyoto. 2017

Sometimes it’s hard to find subjects to photograph. You’re the best subject to shoot. You’re always available. You will always say “yes” to yourself.

When I have nothing else to photograph, I like to shoot myself.

1. Shoot a selfie through distorted reflections

ERIC KIM abstract selfie, Amsterdam 2017
ERIC KIM abstract selfie, Amsterdam 2017

Shoot selfies of yourself through fun house mirrors, or reflective metal surfaces that distort your face.

Selfie through broken glass with flash.
Selfie through broken glass with flash.
Kyoto selfie with Cindy. Reflection, 2017
Shot through the reflection of an aluminum espresso machine. Kyoto selfie with Cindy. Reflection, 2017. Orange and Blue.

2. Super minimal space

Eric Kim selfie with flash.
Eric Kim selfie with flash.

Shoot ultra minimalist selfies of yourself. Add a lot of black or white space, or negative space around the frame.

Selfie. Saigon, 2017. Minimalist negative space.
Selfie. Saigon, 2017. Minimalist negative space.

3. Don’t look at the camera

Kyoto selfie. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto selfie. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

4. Get yourself in the reflection

Selfie with Cindy in Saigon hotel with lipstick kiss in mirror. 2017
Cindy Nguyen. CEO of HAPTIC

When photographing others, get yourself in the background.

Selfie with Cindy in car. Berkeley, 2016.
Selfie with Cindy in car. Berkeley, 2016.

This makes the photo more intimate.

5. Shoot a selfie against a simple black, grey, or white background

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

This is like Richard Avedon — find a simple clean background, so the viewer won’t get distracted. They will just focus on your face.

6. Put your shadow on random objects

Selfie near my Berkeley apartment. Trix pushed to 1600.
Selfie near my Berkeley apartment. Trix pushed to 1600.

7. Cover your face with your camera

eric kim street photography portrait
Dalat, 2016. Selfie with Olympus Pen F.

This makes you look more mysterious. More mystery is more interesting to look at.

8. Create separation between you and the graphical elements you photograph

Selfie of bicycle spot

I shoot a selfie of my shadow, yet note the negative white space and separation in-between myself and the elements I am photographing.

9. Shoot selfies of yourself in the passenger car mirror

Dubai selfie on the Mamiya 7
Selfie of myself in car. Seoul, 2011
Selfie of myself in car. Seoul, 2011

10. Overexposure your face

White ERIC KIM FACE. Selfie, Saigon 2017
+1 exposure compensation. White ERIC KIM FACE. Selfie, Saigon 2017

Increase the brightness and exposure of your camera, make it +1 or +2 to create a surreal effect.

11. Use a flash in a mirror

By using a flash in the mirror or glass reflection, you will make a more surreal selfie of yourself.

12. Frame yourself in a frame

Selfie inside frame. Saigon, 2015
Selfie inside frame. Saigon, 2015

Put a frame around yourself.

13. Shoot selfies of yourself in the elevator

Selfie with Ricoh GR II in elevator.
Selfie with Ricoh GR II in elevator.

Elevators are great spaces for reflections, glass, and surrealism.

14. Shoot selfies in changing rooms with lots of mirrors

Selfie in Saigon changing room, 2016
Selfie in Saigon changing room, 2016

15. Have other people shoot your selfie for you

ERIC KIM SELFIE by CINDY NGUYEN
ERIC KIM SELFIE by CINDY NGUYEN
ERIC KIM SELFIE by CINDY NGUYEN
ERIC KIM SELFIE by CINDY NGUYEN
Selfie by CINDY NGUYEN
Selfie by CINDY NGUYEN
Eric Kim inception

Conclusion

eric kim photography - cindy project - film - 35mm - leica mp - kodak- portra - 40049
Selfie with Cindy at the dollar store in Berkeley, 2015

Shoot your selfie as a reminder of your own mortality. To be grateful you’re alive, and being able to live this beautiful life that you live.

HONOR THY SELFIE,
ERIC

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