Is Photography Art?

eric kim portrait
Portrait by Cindy / In our apartment / Hanoi, 2017

Yes, photography is art.

## 1. My definition of art

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I define art as the following:

> Integrating your soul into the creative work you make.

I don’t believe that there is such a thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art. Rather, I only think there is art that is soulful, or not soulful.

A soulful piece of art is you. It is authentic to you. It shows your face, your heart, your emotions, your life experiences, and how you see the world.

A *non*-soulful photograph is lacking in authenticity. It can be done easily by anybody else.

For example, as a test, think to yourself:

> Can a Google Maps car take the same photograph?

Or, has the photograph I made already exist on Google Images?

## 2. What does the world need?

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The world doesn’t need another photograph of the Eiffel tower. Rather, the world needs *your* personal vision. Your authentic voice. Your perspective.

## 3. Art is creation

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I also believe that art is about creation. You cannot be ‘creative’ without actually creating something.

In photography, to be an artist is to make photographs with grace, beauty, and soul.

You need to make compositions that are simple. That have clean edges, that have a strong single subject.

You want to make photos that have emotion. Photos that punch the gut of your viewer. You also want to create a *reaction* or a *response* from your viewer. This is the only way you can burn the impression of your photograph into their mind.

## 4. Where to find inspiration to create art

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Where do you find inspiration to make photos? From within yourself. Based on your life experiences, and how you see the world.

Of course, you can also seek inspiration from the external world. From nature. From Renaissance painters. From hip hop artists. From painters, sculptors, dancers, theater, and music.

I find art the most in children. When they have no restrictions or borders. They treat art like playing. They have fun.

Picasso said, ‘We are all born artists as children. The problem is staying an artist when we grow up.’

## 5. The importance of following your curiosity

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I think to be a better photographer and artist, we need to be more curious.

I think most of us are naturally curious as children, but we got it beaten out of us when we got older by our parents and teachers.

I know for myself, I would always annoy adults by asking: “Why?”

*Why* is the best question to spark your creativity and curiosity.

For example, some thoughts of mine which resulted in some fun ideas:

– Why make photographs?
– Why make art?
– Why live?
– Why wake up in the morning?
– Why be a good person?
– Why make a bunch of money?
– Why is success in photography based on numbers?
– Why do I make photos?
– Why blog, write, dance, or share art?

## 6. Feed your curiosity

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A child is the most creative when allowed free play, to their soul, spirit, and to follow their curiosity wherever it goes.

I know for myself, I feed my curiosity through the internet. I love going to Wikipedia, Wiktionary (to see the root or etymology of words), to Google Images to study art, or just exploring the real world with my camera.

I have always believed that information is power. And I believe in self-empowerment. I have been frustrated by a lack of information about street photography, so I started this blog.

As of late, I’m curious about the cross-over between photography and art. And therefore, I’m studying a lot of Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael — as well as some other greats.

The best way to be more curious — don’t let anyone kill your curiosity. Don’t ask for feedback. Just do it.

A child doesn’t ask for feedback on their crayon-drawings. They just do it, smile, and have fun. Then move onto the next drawing. They don’t make their masterpiece with their fingers and paint, and then look up to other children and ask them: “My drawing is great, right?” Children don’t care about feedback or praise. Until they get older.

## 7. How to be more artistic

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So to re-iterate; I believe that photography is art. And to be more artistic, you just need to find more inspiration everywhere in the world. And to allow yourself to follow your curiosity. Some ideas:

### a) Pay attention

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Just pay attention. I find more inspiration by turning off my phone, and by allowing myself to get bored. When I’m bored and not always stimulated, I actually look around the room I’m in. I look at stuff. I let my mind wander, and ask myself: “Why does that do that? Why do trees grow that way?” I studied sociology to understand *why* human beings do what they do. Thank God my mom encouraged me to follow my curiosity.

### b) Don’t just look at photographs


I find the best sources of inspiration (for photography) to be outside of photography. Of course you can gain a lot of inspiration from the masters of photography, but there is a much longer history of art. Study ancient sculpture. Study metal-work. Study pottery. Study painting (like the work of Leonardo Da Vinci).

And all art is derived from the beauty of nature. So go on a hike, look at the trees, and revel in the beauty and majesty of the natural world.

## c) Make more art

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To be more artistic, make more art.

Make art by expressing yourself more. Write more blog posts, about your current thoughts, or ideas. Make music with Garageband or whatever application is bundled with your computer. Or just download a free ‘beat-maker’ on your smartphone.

No limits on your art.

For myself, I’ve been making ‘beats’ for fun, I’ve been writing more, making more photos, and writing poems. I don’t really care whether they are any ‘good’ or not. However, I am just treating myself like a kid. Allowed free reign to creative tools (mostly on the computer).

### d) Create the art you want to see

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I think mother is the necessity of all invention and innovation.

I started to blog on street photography because I couldn’t find any information on it.

I started to make my own music/beats in Garageband because I kept getting annoying copyright infringement notices on YouTube/Facebook.

I started to write my own poems, to better show my love for Cindy.

In my photography, I like to make photos which I like looking at.

What kind of art do you like looking at? Just fill in the gap. Follow your own curiosity, and make photos that uplift your own soul.

## Conclusion: Let your soul sing

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Art is an expression of your inner spirit— integrated into the art you create.

Whoever says that photography is not art is a pretentious asshole. Just ignore them.

Don’t care whether your art is good or not. Just do it. Be like a kid. Give yourself some crayons, some watercolors, and just start putting things onto the blank canvas.

Express your inner-spirit. Make art that uplifts your soul. Make art that makes you feel human. Make art that reminds yourself how much of a blessing it is to be alive.

No limits. No boundaries.

And don’t forget, have fun.


## How to make more artistic photographs

Some images to inspire you:

## Slideshow: How to make artistic photographs

How to make more art

Achilles-wallpaper eric kim

Never stop making art:

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