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The Purpose of Life is to Make New Stuff!

Cindy at night in Tokyo with red and orange light at crosswalk. Ricoh GR II x ERIC KIM PRESET
Cindy at night in Tokyo with red and orange light at crosswalk. Ricoh GR II x ERIC KIM PRESET

Dear friend,

A small epiphany: the purpose of life is to make new stuff! To make new photos, new videos, new films, new poetry, new clothing, new ideas, new products, and new children; this is what life desires, and this is what we should also desire!


Nature thrives on the new

Sunset Tokyo
Sunset in Tokyo, 2018

So let me give my reasoning:

First of all, if you observe nature, it is all about new growth. A forest thrives off of new plants, new animals being born, and the beautiful struggle of all of these things seeking to grow taller, stronger, and more powerful.

I think us humans are the same. We must seek constant growth, or else we are dying. We must seek to integrate new ideas, methods, and techniques into our lives, to make us more effective, to make us more productive (to produce or make more stuff), and for us to be more prolific and life-promoting.

The old is important, because it teaches us history, culture and wisdom from the past. Much of what has existed for a long time has been around for a good reason; because it works, it is beneficial, or has some sort of utility or usefulness. Many older human customs, religions, and cultural memes/concepts have helped humans thrive for the last several thousands of years.

Anti romanticism of the past

tokyo cindy portrait hotel turning back pearl earring
Cindy turned around (reminds me of Vermeer girl with pearl earring). Tokyo, 2018 aman hotel

I’ve started to realize that I’ve been suckered in a lot of ways in the last decade: I’ve been poisoned with romanticism of the past, instead of looking at the present and future with hope or optimism.

For example, in photography, I became overly-obsessed with the old school, the retro, and the classic. I thought if I mastered film photography, and the thoughts, philosophies, and the artistic approaches of the past (like making books, having exhibitions, etc) I’d become fully-happy and fulfilled in my artistic and photographic endeavors.

I’ve learned much from the masters of photography from the past and much wisdom which has helped me. But the ultimate takeaway I’ve learned is this:

Seek to innovate, in a new and novel way, and do it totally your own way; for you to not compromise your crazy and idealistic ideals, and to continue to keep growing and evolving you must focus on making and doing new stuff!


Innovate for the sake of innovating!

For example, ever since I deleted my Instagram and had more time and mental focus to meditate on the purpose of photography, I’ve realized this: I like to innovate for the sake of innovating. I enjoy experimenting with new ideas and approaches for the sake of it; regardless of whether my endeavors will be “successful” or not in the real world. That means, I get the most joy when I am playing and experimenting with the new; this is when I feel the most excited, fresh, childlike, and creative.

In my photography I’m super excited about making new photography slideshows making my own beats in GarageBand, and making the slideshows in iMovie. I really enjoy shooting video now, and experimenting making my own short films. I realize that art is all-encompassing; I don’t want to restrict myself only to still photos. There is such a massive, untapped, and exciting brave new world of photography and audio-visual imagery and storytelling which I see untapped! Unfortunately a lot of us are still trapped in the Instagram Bed of Procrustes (limiting box), which holds us back from innovating.


How to innovate today!

Salarymen in bar. Asakusa, Tokyo 2018
Salarymen in bar. Asakusa, Tokyo 2018

Practical ideas:

  1. Experiment with video: Use your phone, or the video function on your digital camera. Keep it simple, fun, and silly. Shoot yourself talking like a “vlog” format; talk about your own life experiences, review your favorite camera gear or books, and even experiment doing “video street photography”: not just a single still photo of a “decisive moment”, but an ongoing and beautiful moment.
  2. Start your own YouTube channel: Super simple. You can learn more about this in my new Photography Entrepreneurship course on Udemy.
  3. Make your own Photography website and blog on 1and1.com and WordPress.org to empower yourself to publish and share your photos with more freedom, flexibility and control. Experiment by NOT sharing any of your photos or content on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat for a month, and posting it to your own blog instead. See if this will make you more innovative and creative wirh your approach. Just consider, if you upload a photograph a day to Instagram or Facebook, who are you really benefitting… yourself or Facebook? And consider all the short video clip Snapchat videos you send; what if you still shot all of those clips and later edited the footage in iMovie and made a fun little film from it all, which you can fully archive later.
  4. Focus on making new photos: To be honest a new camera or gear or equipment or lenses won’t motivate you to make new photos. The best motivation to making more new photos is to walk more, to live more adventurously, to travel more, and to find more sources of inspiration from other artists. A tip: steal ideas and approaches and techniques from other photographers, but don’t copy them. The productive photographer who shoots a lot is the happiest photographer!

Be bold and never stop shooting,
ERIC

Empower yourself to innovate in your photography with my new online Udemy course, “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship” >

By ERIC KIM

Artist-Philosopher