layers street photography ERIC kim


Dear friend, an interesting turbo thought: the word for work, Ergon, is the same word as battle as in war.

Which makes me think, maybe that when we think about our photographic work and life, we should think about war.

1. Battle for what?

layers street photography ERIC kim

Question is, what kind of battle or work are we doing?

Whenever we go to make photos, we must put forth great effort to go out and actually make photos. And typically when you go out to make photos, there is a high likelihood that we find nothing interesting to photograph. Therefore, photography is riddled with much risking, much failure, and much uncertainty.

2. The camera is your sword, my Lord

Another thought I had, let us assume that you the photographer are the primary protagonist and hero. That the camera is your weapon, your sword.

Or if you’re John Wick, the camera is your pistol.

And the thing is, the reason why I like samurai swords, and Japanese samurai culture is the notion that every great samurai has his one master sword. Typically the samurai also optimize is for lightness, agility and mobility, instead of having a huge and bulky sword. Better for us to be a spartan 300, than a heavy medieval night.

This is why I consider the Ricoh GR 3 the ultimate camera, because it is the smallest, lightest, and most versatile camera. I really do think it is good for all forms of photography. Whether it be street photography, personal photography, travel photography, or family photography.

3. Greater fates, greater rewards

selfie crimson red ERIC KIM eye

The thing by Heraclitus, which essentially means the greater your risk and courage taking, the greater your rewards.

I typically find the same in street photography. The greater the risk you take, the higher your chance of reward, which is a great photograph. However, it is not always that way.

For example, if we think about the Iliad by Homer, even the great Hector, who is one of ancient Greek‘s greatest heroes, is still slain by Achilles, even though Hector is a great fighter. In street photography, you could be the worlds best photographer and still fail to make a great photograph, or encounter some negative situations. But that is part of the game. This is what makes street photography so interesting, our risk and appetite for danger.

Also something interesting I learned from The Iliad is that often the great heroes were disrupted by the gods, which caused them to get killed. For example, in the final fight of Hector versus Achilles, one of the gods deludes Hector, which causes him to foolishly fight and then is killed. That means, that when it comes to photography, even if you’re the most skilled photographer, a lot of making a good photo is out of your control. You must leave some to the fates and the gods.

But the more courageous you are, the better. Bruce Gilden said it the best, when he says photograph what scares you.

4. What’s the point of war?

It seems that from a political perspective, the purpose of war is for a nation to gain greater power, greater resources, and greater influence.

But what is the purpose if you’re an individual? Does an individual have anything to gain from war?

For example, if we think about the Iliad, Achilles is tired of fighting for king Agamemnon. He just wants to get his rewards and chill. Also one of the big takeaways from The Iliad is that no hero wants to die. Everybody wants to live.

Yet, it does seem that at least in the book, war brings out the best in people, at least in terms of showing bravery courage and might.

Yet I think the main reason why a lot of us are so bored in photography is because we don’t have great enough challenges. That is, we are actually not exposed to enough situations or scenarios which tests our courage. When we are always bored, it is because of lack of danger.

Thus, to be a less bored photographer, perhaps we must expose ourselves to more arbitrary challenges and dangers.

Another simple one is shooting in a busy downtown area, when people always don’t look so friendly. another one is going on a travel street photography adventure, to a foreign environment, or at least a less familiar one, to test your photographic abilities.

Ironically enough, I think we are actually happiest when we are in an unfamiliar environment to test our strength and courage. This is also why I love powerlifting so much, because it does test your strength and courage. Whereas bodybuilding is more about discipline, powerlifting is more about courage, testing your limits, and facing your fears, and testing the ability of your personal maximum, with a high likelihood that you actually might fail.

5. A strong, simple and sinister aesthetic?

A thought: assuming that we are warrior photographers, what kind of aesthetic are we going for? I say the simpler, darker, the harder, the more sinister the the better. This is why I typically prefer dark black and white. Maximum severity, maximum visual impact, with the least amount of resources.

6. Conquer today

As a photographer, you’re a conquerer of visual (embodied) reality. So the question is–

Given all your skills and resources, how can you best conquer today?




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Turbo thoughts

  1. Cowardice
  2. Durability is overrated
  3. Become more spendthrift (spend more money in speculative matters)
  4. Weight reduction
  5. Photograph what scares you

Great Cinema

  1. Ford vs Ferrari
  2. The Last Duel (you can buy via Apple TV store, for $19.99).

Crypto thoughts

  1. If you were to get into crypto today, I would recommend Chainlink.
  2. Don’t buy a Tesla, buy dogecoin.
  3. Best to think of Ethereum as the internet 3.0 (which is programmable, on the blockchain)
  4. If you want the ‘best’ crypto, Bitcoin is still the best bet.


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