2020 was a hell of a year. My deep optimism:
2021 will be a great year for your photography.
Why I’m so optimistic
Many reasons to be optimistic. Looks like we have produced a COVID vaccine much quicker than expected. I already know 3 people personally who have gotten the vaccine.
I look at my photography, and have figured —
Even though I prefer to travel and make photos, I have been able to make very interesting photos while NOT traveling, or being in other ‘exotic’ places.
The upside of monochrome
A new realization:
The joy of shooting monochrome is that it opens up more photo opportunities for us.
What I mean is this:
Because our lives have become more ‘boring’ and more ‘normal’ … it is hard to find new visual stimuli or sources of things to photograph.
But in monochrome… we can transform even the boring and normal things into interesting things to photograph.
Monochrome is magic. I see a lot of normal ‘boring’ mundane things, and when I look at it and hold up my Ricoh GR III in high contrast monochrome mode, it transforms the thing into something far more interesting. It is almost like using a blacklight on normal surfaces.
We take a common thing, and make it ultra-common (extraordinary) through photography.
A chance for you to ‘pivot’ your photography
To use Silicon Valley talk, the notion of ‘pivoting’ is good.
Too often in photography we become trapped into a singular, reductive way to approach our photographic artwork. My optimistic thought:
2021 can be a great chance for you to ‘pivot’ your photography, and switch things up.
For example, let us say that travel/street photography is your thing. But certainly your ability to travel in 2021 (with COVID) is greatly impacted. Thus, rather than bemoaning reality and complaining … best for us to exploit our (‘bad’) situation to the maximum advantage. This means:
Given my poor circumstances … how can I best transform these ‘downsides’ to upsides in photography?
For example, let us say you’re stuck in quarantine at home, or just restricted in your small boring city or town. Perhaps use this to your advantage:
It takes more skill to photograph really boring things and to transform them into interesting photos.
Treat this as the ultimate ‘creative constraint’.
If you’re stuck at home all day with your partner, kids, roommates, etc … use this chance to start a ‘quarantine’ photography project of your family and/or loved ones.
Time with loved ones is the ultimate non-renewable resource. To use 2021 to focus on family/friend photography is great.
Creative photographic flourishing
There are a few thing which bring me as much joy in life as photography. Simple things which have been incredibly fun for me:
- Designing more new e-books of my photos in Adobe Indesign, exporting the e-book into a PDF and sharing it with others. Using this chance to buff up my ‘books‘ section.
- Chance to deep-dive into new photo books. Huge thanks to my buddy Mark for sending me a photo book on Gabriel Cuadallo (feels like a more poetic Henri Cartier-Bresson), which infused me with new photographic motivation in monochrome. If you’re stuck in quarantine investing in new photo books is a great opportunity for you. For me in photography, buying books is the best bang for the buck to re-inspire and re-motivate your photography.
- Building your own photographic platform. Bluehost.com and install wordpress.org and transform this space to become your home for photography. Owning your own photographic platform is pure bliss!
No time to delay your photographic joy
If COVID has taught me anything:
We cannot plan the future.
To delay your personal artistic happiness and flourishing is foolish.
Let us say photography is your passion. Too much of us focus on work, our career, and think:
One day when I finally retire, I can travel the world and do all the photography I desire.
But this is before COVID-19 hit. Now this door is (temporarily) closed.
I personally predict as time goes on, things will become MORE unpredictable and MORE complex. This then means:
Flourish and delight in photography today, not tomorrow or the future.
Master Monochrome Online Photography Workshop (this Saturday)
If you want to kick of 2021 with a great new creative spurt of energy and inspiration, I cordially invite you to my MASTER MONOCHROME Online Photography Workshop this Saturday weekend (12-3pm Eastern Time).
Some photographic new year’s resolutions
Some very pragmatic new year photo resolutions for you:
- All black everything: For all of 2021, only shoot black and white (monochrome) photos. Or if you’re typically a black and white shooter and want a new challenge, only color photos for 2021.
- Buy one new photography book (once a month on Amazon) for every month, for 12 months (total of 12 new photo books for you). For inspiration you can look at my favorite photo books here.
- Stick to only one camera, one lens for all of 2021. This can just be your iPhone, your RICOH GR III, your Leica, your Sony, your Fujifilm camera, etc.
- Upload at least 1 photograph every day to arsbeta.com (and give at least 1 photographic critique) every day for 2021.
- Don’t censor yourself: This means for all of 2021, you shut off your inner-photographic critic.
Now is your year to conquer photography. Some new workshops:
- Jan 9th, 2021: MASTER MONOCHROME Online Zoom Workshop
- April 10-11th, 2021: BOSTON / Discover Your Unique Voice in Photography Workshop [Register Intent Here]
- May 1-2nd, 2021: CHICAGO / Street Photography Composition Masterclass [Register Intent Here]
- May 22-22nd, 2021: NEW YORK CITY / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS by ERIC KIM [Register Intent Here]
Creative tools to empower you.
Where you start, that is where you shall end up
For a quick refresher, start here.