ERIC KIM philosophical photographer

How to Become a More Philosophical Photographer


Dear friends,

The turbo thought of the morning:

Perhaps we all just need to become a bit more philosophical in our photography.

Because what is needed in today’s world in photography? Not more cameras, equipment, or lenses or better iPhone cameras, but more philosophical understandings and notions in our photography. More ‘photolosophy‘ (photography philosophy).

To spark you and ramp you up, I am now offering PHOTOLOSOPHY OPEN SOURCE COURSE (produced by ANNETTE KIM x HAPTIC) for free. Feel free to share, store, download, and use on unlimited devices, and share it with your friends!

Contemplate the meaning of your photography

The big thing:

Think about your photography, what it means to you, and WHY you do it.

The main impetus behind creating the WHY APP? is giving us the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the intrinsic motivation we have in doing our photography.

Autotelic photography

The secret behind photographic motivation:

To shoot by yourself, for yourself.

‘Autotelic’ means (auto, by yourself) + telos (purpose, end, aim). Thus to be autotelic means to be self-driven by your own internal purpose.

I cannot speak for you, but for me, my ultimate purpose in life is to create ‘photo turbo thoughts’ and to share them with you. I strive to become a great photography educator and to create information to empower other photographers. This is what drives all of my energy to create books, products, and to teach workshops.

Also as my first attempt to create the first ‘productive’ online photography community platform for photographers to offer real feedback (first double blind photography platform).

Why study philosophy?

The great benefit of studying philosophy:

It will give you a chance to think deeper in your own personal life, and to give your photography new wings.

In fact, I have found more inspiration to my photography in studying Nietzsche than from any photographer or photo book. Studying stoicism was also huge in inspiring me to ‘unplug’ from social media (delete my instagram) and to give me the motivation to do ‘crazy’ things in my photography, and to innovate.

Every photo you make is just another particle of light in a never-ending stream

ERIC KIM selfie face mask

The last thought:

Every photo you make is just another particle in a stream of becoming.

Heraclitus vibes.

So some practical things you can do:

  1. Start your own blog. Start blogging your own photography philosophical thoughts and share them with others.
  2. Start your own YouTube channel or Podcast (I recommend Anchor app via Spotify to easily create one). For your own YouTube channel, the iPhone as the ultimate vlogging tool (just shoot with the default iPhone Camera Video app, in selfie mode). Just do it all in ‘one take’, and treat the reason of vlogging to just explicate and flesh out your thoughts.
  3. Strive to create new innovations in your photography whether it be creating slideshows in iMovie, creating e-books PDF (Affinity Publisher) or any open source type of information or education.

The never-ending journey

If you aspire to shoot photos until you’re 120 years old, then never stop shooting, thinking, reflecting, and sharing your thoughts!


32 Photography Tips by ERIC KIM

  1. If you want more photographic inspiration and opportunity, black-and-white is best.
  2. In terms of the most versatile lens, a 28 mm prime lens is your best friend.
  3. When you got nothing left to photograph, just shoot your selfie.
  4. If you want photographic composition motivation, watch old-school films. For example, any film by Akira Kurosawa, or any of the film nor classics.
  5. Rather than optimizing for the best camera, strive to optimize for the best shoes.
  6. In my experience, the best all day carry camera is a ricoh gr 3.
  7. Any camera that collects dust on your shelf and isn’t shot with all day every day, is useless.
  8. The ideal number of multiple subjects to photograph is three. Strive towards triangle compositions.
  9. My three favorite photographers of all time include Henri Cartier Bresson, Josef Koudelka, and Richard Avedon. The three black-and-white masters.
  10. The best way to improve your photography is to walk more. Perhaps best to use your walking tracking app to see how many steps you walk in a day, and accord that with your photographic productivity.
  11. Better to shoot a bad photo than no photo.
  12. The best photo you have shot should be easily recallable in your mind.
  13. The best way to become more innovative and your photography is via negativa: that is, to delete your Instagram.
  14. With COVID-19, the best place to travel and shoot street photography is Mexico City.
  15. The more photos you shoot in a day, the happier you will become.
  16. Buying a new iPad is a better investment than buying a new iPhone.
  17. To best way to study the compositions of other master photographers, is to trace over their photos. I recommend using the Procreate app on iPhone or iPad.
  18. Approach your photography as if you were already a billionaire.
  19. The best way to spread your influence as a photographer is to start your own blog, and to post every single day. Ideally, several times a day.
  20. The best way to think about the future of photography is to think about the past of photography.
  21. How to know if your photos are good or not: ask yourself, will these photos still ring an emotional feedback 300 years from now?
  22. No photography project is ever finished. All photography projects are always a work in progress, and always in flux.
  23. There is no right or wrong in photography, only tips and suggestions.
  24. Going on on the photography road trip is a very productive practice.
  25. Ultimately digital photography is superior to film photography. However, studying and practicing film photography will make you a better digital photographer.
  26. Do you never really know how you feel about a photograph, until 10 years later.
  27. If you can make one memorable photo in your lifetime, your job as a photographer has been justified.
  28. Never ask the opinion of another photographer about your photographs, until you have consulted your own.
  29. What is photography composition? Knowing what to subtract rather than add to the frame.
  30. Buy books, not gear.
  31. Best to shoot photos while you’re hungry, and praise of intermittent fasting during the day when shooting photography.
  32. When in doubt, just shoot it.


Turbocharge your photography:


Dope creative products:

  5. Photolosophy Course: NOW FREE!

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