Selfish Photography

After deleting my Instagram about a year+ ago, and not using social media anymore (post-like society in photography), I’ve discovered some new truths in photography:

Make photos you like looking at

This is the big one:

If you couldn’t share your photos with anyone else, would you still shoot them?

If so, you would probably want to make photos that bring you delight; photos that you like looking at!

What kind of photos does ERIC KIM like looking at?

Now what kind of photos are these?

  1. Aesthetically beautiful photos: Photos that you shoot purely for aesthetics– they look beautiful to you, and just looking at the shapes, colors, forms, and tones– it brings you joy.
  2. Photos of loved ones, family — people you care about.
  3. There are no rules in photography: No rules in how to shoot, how to post-process, how to select– etc. Only choose photos you like looking at.
  4. Not being in such a rush: If you’re shooting for yourself, and not hungry to get likes or external social validation — you can take your time in your photography. You enjoy the process of photography more.

In other words,

Be very selfish with your photography; make photos for yourself.

Compete against yourself

Compete against yourself in photography:

How can I push my own artistic ability further?

How can you continue to make even more beautiful photos– photos that bring you delight?

Document your own life story

Much of photography is memory-recording. But this is my thought:

Why not shoot photos that are BOTH artistic AND memory-recollection?

This means:

Shoot photos of memories you want to preserve to bring you future delight– and do it artfully.

Master your own aesthetics for yourself

There is no such thing as an objectively “good” or “bad” aesthetic. You must dictate and determine your own artistic tastes for yourself.

In other words,

Decree for yourself what you deem a “beautiful” photograph.

When you shoot a photo, you’re making an attempt (essay) at making a beautiful photo. On the road to make a few beautiful photos is littered with lots of ugly photos. But that is fine! It is all part of the game!

Much of the photographic process is editing; choosing your best work, and post-processing your work. What matters the most is this:

Use all of your photographic and artistic powers to craft the most beautiful photographs.

As our buddy Ansel Adams once said:

You don’t take a photo; you make it.

Embed your soul into your photos

Honor thy selfie by putting yourself into your pictures. After I die, I’m glad that I will live on through the photos I’ve shot– especially the photos with my selfie in it.

Also — I immortalize those who I photograph. For example, in photographing Cindy (#cindyproject)– I’m immortalizing Cindy and my love for her.

If you photograph who and what you love; your photos will last.

Shoot a lot

You might need to shoot 100,000 photos to get 1 good one. In my eyes, if you can make 1 photo a month you like, and 1 photo you REALLY REALLY like (once a year)– you’re doing well.

Photography is like baseball. It is rare you will hit a home run. The more you train, and the more you swing your bat, the more likely you are to hit a home run. In photography, the more you train your visual acuity, the more you shoot, the more likely you will make a photograph you’re proud of.

Treat your photography/play seriously

I do see photography as playing. Like children, we should take our photo-play seriously.

Be ruthless and exacting with yourself as a photographer. And only judge yourself. Don’t be the slave of anyone else’s opinion or judgement.

Stand independent, stand far– and be very very selfish in your photography.


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