The Art of Cross-Pollination in Photography

bauhaus walking lady ERIC KIM annette kim

As a modern photographer, you must learn how to cross-pollinate.

HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower Your Artistic Vision >

What is cross-pollination?

You are a visual bumblebee. You collect nectar, and sources of visual inspiration from various fields and flowers.

It is your duty as a visual artist/photographer to make your own unique VISUAL HONEY.


1. Don’t limit your sources of visual inspiration

You will find the sources of visual inspiration in the most random, strange places.

For example, I’ve been studying a lot of BAUHAUS art, abstract art, and have been on a binge of Piet Mondrian, Leonardo da Vinci, and architect Zaha Hadid.

Don’t get stuck in the ghetto of the photography world. Expand your horizons.

Assignment 1: Don’t look at any photographs for a week

If anything, to be a more creative photographer, make it an assignment for yourself to NOT look at any photographs for a week. Only look at visual art outside of photography.

Study sculpture, drawing, painting, drawings, architecture, fashion, or design. Study anything. But don’t look at any photographs for a week.

Then after a week, start to see what kind of visual and dynamic compositions you’ve discovered in the visual art you’ve been studying, and see how you can apply these outside concepts to your photography.

2. Don’t call yourself a photographer

Call yourself a “visual artist”. This means that the visual art you create can be from any visual medium.

That means you can make visual art and pictures with your camera, with your pen, with your phone, with your iPad, with your ink, with your paints, and it can be digital or analogue.

The reason why this will help you as a photographer: you don’t always need to be making photographs. When you’re not making photographs, you can be drawing, painting, making sculpture, etc.

You can be prolific as a visual artist, regardless of the weather, the city you live in. You expand your visual horizons, and elevate your artistic potential.

Ultimately, you might want to remain a “photographer”— to have photography be your primary form of visual communication and self-expression. But, don’t let the definition or genre or “photography” or “photographer” limit you.

Assignment 2: Change your biography to “visual artist”

On your website, Instagram, or artistic statement or biography — take out the word “photography” or “photographer.” Just call yourself a “visual artist”— keep it short, simple, and to the point.

Then, for the next month or so, explore and experiment with other forms of digital art — and see whether this helps motivate you even more in your photography.

DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM
DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM. Made with iPad Pro and Procreate app.

3. Make moving pictures

The biggest inspiration I’ve got recently is from Cindy — who is truly a modern visual storyteller who combines photography, audio, music, voice, film, and cinema— to create a compelling “moving picture” — or a beautiful latticework and visual tapestry of ideas, thoughts, words, expressions, emotion, and soul.

Don’t limit yourself to still pictures or photographs. Learn how to use iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premier to make moving pictures.

Assignment 3: Animate your pictures

Start with a simple slideshow, and experiment with the “ken burns” effect to move your picture, to move the vision or eyeballs of your viewer. Direct their vision, with your artwork.

Or, don’t have any “ken burns” effects, and make a static slideshow of your pictures. But add music — either instruments of songs you already like (go on YouTube and search “song name instrumentals” and then use an online “YouTube to mp3” utility/website to “rip” the audio from YouTube to your computer. Or use GarageBand to make your own music/beats with the “loops” tool, to add music and drama to your slideshow.

Also, experiment with the timing of your pictures and the sequence of your pictures. Figure out the order of images (sequence, by which pictures come in which order), and also the timing of the pictures (how many seconds you want the viewer to dwell on in your pictures).

When you’re done, upload your video to YouTube, then share the links with your friends, family, and online followers.


Vitruvian Man: LEONARDO DA VINCI x ERIC KIM SKETCH on iPad Pro and Procreate app

You got no limits. Fly high as a visual artist, and spread your golden wings.


HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower Your Artistic Vision >