Shadow selfie. Orange County, 2018

Why Make Photos?

Dear friend,

A simple question — why make photos?

There are many reasons why we make photos:

  1. Documenting your personal life and experiences, to revisit them, to relive the joy and happiness these experiences brought you.
  2. A fear of forgetting: “If I don’t take a photo of this, I will forget this nice memory.”
  3. Making photos to make art: art as a compulsion within human beings, to express themselves. Without artistic self-expression and making stuff, we get depressed, and suffer boredom/ennui.
  4. Photography as a way to be more adventurous in your everyday life. Photography as an excuse to travel, and experience more novelty in our everyday life.
  5. To create some sort of legacy: To make a name for ourselves as photographer-visual artists, and to maybe be written about in the history books.
  6. To make photos which inspire and empower others, which brings us joy.
  7. To document injustice/inequality in the world (much newspaper, photojournalists, street photographers, reportage photographers, documentary photographers— all humanist photographers)
  8. To appreciate the beauty in mundane, everyday, ordinary life.

Carpe diem photography

Photograph because it is your compulsion. Photograph because it is your personal imperative. Photograph because it gives you direction, purpose, and meaning in your life.


Shoot everyday like it were your last. Don’t wait until the distant future to photograph. Don’t wait until you retire before you photograph. Don’t wait until you have that new camera. Don’t wait and delay your personal happiness and joy in photography to the uncertain future.

new york legs and pipe, curve,

There is already so much great material for you to photograph around yourself, right now.

Photograph your friends, your family, your selfie, your neighborhood, trash on the ground, urban landscapes, photos during your commute to work, street photography, or things inside your home.

Learn how to see by finding beauty in anything and everything.

Find beauty in texture, colors, shape, form, reflections, proportions, curves, and anything in between.

The more you shoot, the happier you will be. The more productive you are as a photographer, the more meaningful you will feel. The more control you will feel like you have over your own artistic destiny.

Use your disadvantages to your advantage

Palm trees. Orange County, 2017

Your camera not good enough? Good: make the best photos with your “shitty” camera.

Your neighborhood boring? Good: make interesting photos of your own boring city.

Walking meditation

Cindy going down escalator. NYC, 2018
Cindy going down escalator. NYC, 2018

Can’t find inspiration to shoot? Just turn off your phone, walk slowly, and listen. Listen to the sounds of the birds chirping, look at the clouds in the sky, and look closely at things, and observe what you find interesting. Don’t worry about taking photos that will get a lot of likes on social media. Rather, treat photography as visual therapy —to find more peace, quiet, and joy in your everyday life.

Never run out of inspiration

STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual
STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual MOBILE EDITION

For further guidance for what to photograph, pick up a copy of STREET HUNT: Street Photography Assignments Fieldbook or HOW TO SEE: Your Visual Guide to Composition, Color, and Editing.

Also share why you make photos on ERIC KIM FORUM.