Wing detail

The Joyful Photography

The purpose of photography:

To express our joy of being alive and of society and reality.

Also, for us to spark joy into the lives of others — those who look at our photos and experience our joy in our images.

Joy and gratitude in tragedy

Even when photographing death— I feel extreme joy and gratitude of my life, the lives of others, and even the ability for death and funerals to bring together families.

  • Death

To see life joyfully — the only way to live.

Why joy?

Joy as the great stimulus to life. Joy motivates us. Joy strengthens us. Joy puts motions into our muscles. A life without joy isn’t a life worth living.

Whenever I look at my photos, I always see my deep joy embedded into them — despite whatever I photograph.

How to feel more joyful

First, seek joy. Then photograph.

Making more photos does augment our joy, but it still seems that it is more effective to build up our physiological happiness, strength, and health, then to harness that energy to make joyful photos.

Marseille, 2015 #cindyproject
Marseille, 2015 #cindyproject

I think it is quite simple: joy is a physiological phenomenon which is embedded in our bodies. In our muscles, sinews, bones. To feel maximal joy, it requires:

  1. Much sleep
  2. Fun, exciting, and thrilling physical activity and exertion
  3. Much walking, movement, and exposure to different external stimuli (motion, audio, conversation, temperature, heights, humidity, smell, pressure, etc).

Practical physiological joy-enduring ideas

Hanoi Eric portrait chu Viet ha
Hanoi, 2019

Practical things I do which improves my joy:

  1. Icy cold showers twice a day (morning, evening): The great hormonal rush and thrill of a cold shower awakens my senses. It’s impossible to feel depressed when you’re in the middle of a “life or death” icy cold shower situation in the middle of the winter.
  2. Hot sauna, or hot Japanese/Korean hot baths (onsen, jjimjilbang)
  3. Delicious light roasted (Ethiopian) espresso— nice and bright.
  4. 100% hot cocoa (100% cacao powder, no added sugar or milk)
  5. Great and deep, meaningful and philosophical dinners and conversations with friends
  6. 1 rep max attempt “personal records” for powerlifting at the gym
  7. Intermittent fasting, then breaking the fast after 6pm (in praise of one big meal a day)

The philosopher-photographer

We as photographer deal with philosophy and reality. Perhaps we should combine both– a hybrid between photo-philosophy?

Shoot and think on!



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