Existential Photography

My buddy Jeffrey Lam is currently working on this notion of ‘existential health’, which is basically this:

Wondering the philosophical underpinnings of health.

For example when a doctor sees a patient, the doctor will ask the patient about their existential life goals, not just to “lose fat”.

I often do this at my workshops: I will ask my students:

Why do you make photos?

To piggyback off my friend Jeff, I want to start exploring more of this notion of ‘existential photography’:

You exist, now what?

Eric Kim Ricoh selfie

It is a fact that you exist and are alive. Now what?

Why share your photos?

Another thought:

If you are a photographer on a spaceship (without the internet), or if you’re on Mars, who (and how) can you share your photos?

Obviously thinking about a future of photography without Instagram.

To share is human

Why share photos? I think there is something intuitively human about wanting to share.

For example, it would have been insanely dumb if Homer didn’t share The Iliad with us. Or if Picasso didn’t share his paintings with us. Thus the notion of the artist in the cave who only makes art for themself and doesn’t share is absolute nonsense.


Vegas, 2019 #cindyproject #silhouette
Vegas, 2019 #cindyproject #silhouette

To wrap things up (for now) some takeaways:

  1. Pursue photography in a manner in which you desire your photos (and name) to remain 300 years from now.
  2. Don’t worry too much about hype of new cameras. They will (like the new iPhone) get outdated quickly.
  3. Think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind as a photographer/visual-artist.
  4. Print your photos, print books. Publish your photos as free PDF e-books. Also share ‘open source‘ photos as JPEG’s. The more open and free your photos, the more likely your photos, work, ideas, and aesthetics will continue to exist.




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