Photo by photo — each photo as part of a particle steam or wave. This means:
It isn’t about a single photo, single moment, or even a contained photo “project” or set.
All your photos as part of one continuum or stream: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2021/02/20/each-photo-you-shoot-is-part-of-a-stream-of-becoming/
I am convinced: if you desire to maximize your photographic ability, you must get RICOH GR III.
Why? Let me outline some thoughts: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2021/02/15/why-you-must-buy-ricoh-gr-iii/
Simple principle and idea:
Focus 90% of your strength on your ‘archimedes lever‘ (what you are insanely good at, and what you *already* are doing to maximize your impact) and then use your superfluous 10% of energy and focus on very risky, uncertain entrepreneurial ventures to expand yourself.
This seems to be the optimal way to leverage your strengths, while still allowing yourself the opportunity to explore NEW ventures outside of your ‘domain expertise’.
On Feb 6th, 2:04am after an insane 52-hour labor from Cindy, Seneca Thiên Anh Kim was born into this world: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2021/02/13/why-i-photographed-the-birth-of-my-first-child/
The more uninhibited you can shoot as a photographer, the better: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2021/01/28/when-in-doubt-just-shoot-it/
When in doubt, just shoot it.
When in doubt, shoot lots of different iterations of the same photo.
You never know what a photograph will look like until after you’ve shot it. Thus, shoot things as a way to fulfill your own personal curiosity:
I wonder what this will look like photographed, or as a photograph?
Google Drive DL (mp4): https://drive.google.com/file/d/15DvU_NWPEubqEQpQ3hvBzGpuhVVwBPvM/view?usp=sharing
PDF SLIDES: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MhYJmg-tWiut6KeciyRUW_J-l89TMgnt/view?usp=sharing
ZIP of JPEG SLIDES: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1StQ9nSTavXZVNYGcL-xi3OKcerzOY--4/view?usp=sharing
Assuming that meeting our basic human needs is easy, then perhaps the best way to harness our human metabolism is towards artistic and creative ends?
YOU GOT THIS >
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 th
The thoughts of the day >
In my opinion, I believe it takes more skill and courage to be hopeful, joyful, cheerful and optimistic than pessimistic and nihilistic. Our goal as photographers is to have motivation to shoot until we’re 120 years old. So how does one do this?
Your style in photography is always changing and evolving. As Heraclitus would have said:
Your photos and style and creative/artistic vision is always in a stream of becoming.
My greatest power and strength– having the ability and skills to motivate others.
How does one motivate and move others? My thoughts:
First strive to un-censor yourself to the maximum. Also strive to figure yourself out, and figure out how to motivate and move yourself to the maximum. Then once you are in an extremely strong and robust position, then use your superfluous energy to motivate and empower others.
Share your thoughts widely on your own personal website-blog, your own YouTube channel, your own podcast, etc. Digital publishing is king.
In life, we have the option to complain or to NOT complain, especially when it comes to certain matters (within our power) and certain matters (outside of our power).
Then it seems the most intelligent thing to do is this:
Identify clearly what you can change in life (and change it), and ignore what you cannot change.
The stoic-entrepreneurial idea!
The goal -- not more money and resources, but more physiological power.
How to gain more physiological power?
More extreme intermittent fasting during the day
No sugar, no carbs, no alcohol, no weed
Eat more meat when you break your fast at night
When you’re tired, just take a nap with eye mask
Lift weights and become physiologically stronger
Do not go to photography school. Serious waste of time and money. Better to just learn for yourself via trial and error, by experimenting by yourself, watching YouTube videos, and reading websites blogs and forums than to waste serious $$$ (and time) to go to photo school.
I used to think:
If you get a full ride, or you can go to photography school for free… it is a good idea.
Now I take that back. Even if your photography education was fully-paid for and free … photography school is bad because:
Waste of your time (4 years you can rather do something more interesting … Industrial Design major at RISD seems like a ‘real’ major you can actually learn true technical skills like 3D, etc).
Your photos become generic. If you go to photo school, what will happen to you? You will become indoctrinated with the boring type of photo — apathetic, bored, and dis-interested photos of miserable people looking miserable.
Perhaps this is what drives us as entrepreneurs and creators:
What we currently see existing in the world is kinda lame, or ‘meh’ and we desire to create our own idealized things which we wish to see manifested in the world and in reality!
Just make it!
We all like great designed things. Fancy watches, sports cars, bags, clothing, cameras, gadgets, tools, etc.
But this is the problem with modern day capitalism-consumerism:
We think we are artists when we select our own aesthetic tastes by going online or to the mall, and buying things which we think represents us as people, artists, and individuals.
This ain’t good. Why? It limits you. This means your artistry or artistic self expression is limited by the things which already exist out there. But if you truly want to be a creator, innovator, or to push the needle forward … you gotta build it.
Simple: focus 90% of your energies on what you truly care for and you are passionate and good at, and invest the other 10% on other 'side projects' or 'side interests' which might become your strength!
Don't concern or worry too much about your own personal needs. Meet the bare minimum for your basic human needs, and devote the rest of your intellectual and creative metabolic energy towards greater ends!
In life if you approached it like it were all fun and games ... wouldn't you be happier, more productive, more creative and more passionate about living? https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/09/16/in-praise-of-play/
In Praise of Playing with Kids
For the most part, I FAAAR prefer interacting and playing with kids than adults. Why? We have soooo much more to learn from children:
Their phenomenal sense of creativity, disregard for rules and ‘social tact’. They speak what is *really* on their mind.
I wonder if children (if we observe their thought patterns and behaviors, etc) are the more *true* form of human being. The modern adult as simply a castrated, domesticated (herd) animal. Children are like wild beasts; is this our primal nature?
First of all I don’t believe in “white” people. This makes no sense. I’m actually more pale and more “white” in skin tone than many Caucasian people (the more accurate term for a “white” person) as a Korean.
So when I talk about “white washing”, what do I mean? I mean it is like applying bleach to anything which is saucy, interesting, enjoysome and “racy” and “inappropriate” in life to make it acceptable and “wholesome” to essentially placate over-protective parents, paternalistic members of the elite intelligentsia, and also to placate advertisers.
Why is change so scary and difficult? Why are we so reticent to change? My thoughts: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/09/15/change-2/
To change things or to change ourselves means:
I must take some sort of real life risk and have some sort of ‘skin in the game’ in regards to my personal actions in embodied reality.
It is safer to complain. Talk is cheap. Action is expensive. Expensive meaning:
If you fuck up in real life, there are real consequences.
However when you just complain, there is really no downside. Even when you complain, nobody will punish you for complaining. Actually it seems that 99% of social circles are just complaining parties. People come together, and love to complain about x, y, z. This is why I hate talking politics; it is all about complaining, no changing.
A thought the other day:
What’s underrated in life, and what’s overrated in life?
Sleep is underrated. Productivity is overrated.
Cars are overrated. Walking is underrated.
Shooting film is overrated. Shooting digital is underrated.
Bench press is overrated. Deadlift is underrated.
Leica is overrated. Ricoh is underrated.
Tesla is overrated. Toyota is underrated.
iPhone is overrated. iPad is underrated.
Sunlight is underrated. Indoors is overrated.
Email is overrated. Phone calls (audio only) are underrated.
Merino wool clothing is underrated. Cotton is overrated.
Sneakers are overrated. Barefoot is underrated.
Reps are overrated. One rep max is underrated.
What is the most difficult thing in life? To decide. To put your foot down, and to take extreme culpability and extreme responsibility for your self and life.
Simple thought and idea:
Once you’ve made your own needs and wants uber-basic, then you can devote all your energy, time, mental space, mental power, and human metabolism on creating things *beyond* yourself.
Note arsbeta.com (crowd sourcing real photography feedback). Why App — philosophical reflection tool.
The best way to leave a substantive and enduring legacy:
Don’t devote any of your life doing anything you hate for.
Also … only doing that which you truly love and care for.
And when you do what you do, share it openly and freely with others! In praise of OPEN SOURCE.
Of course we need jobs to pay rent, feed ourselves, etc .. but with today's brave new COVID world, what is really the purpose of a job?
For example for a lot of people, a job is their external identity and sense of self. For others it is a monetary thing; they have too much debt (debt is the devil) and cannot afford *NOT* to work (they are dependent on their job to pay off their bills, credit card debt, mortgage, additions to their house, car payments, etc).
You are the platform. You are the end goal. The goal ain’t to build some external empire in quick sand. No. The end goal is for you to build your own personal self to the max.
ENERGY VAMPIRES: people who TAKE and sap away more energy than they give you.
Let us not be fooled: our energy (and life) is limited. Therefore be very very very very very choosy on who you decide to give your energy to (or not):
An individualistic economics perspective:
Don’t worry about world global and macro economics. Focus on your individual economics.
Let us remember the first notion of “economics” is actually regarding home economics (Aristotle on Home Economics [Greek is Οἰκονομικά and Latin is Oeconomica]). “Oikos” as referring to “home”.
Also Hesiod on home economics (Works and Days, and his theories on household management— like starting your own farm, getting a woman maid, getting an ox, etc).
How to manage yourself, your household, etc.
Why help others?
Certainly it is not a universal 'rule' or duty for everyone. When it comes to duties, I believe all duties should be self-imposed. You only pursue a duty because you personally care for it, or because you personally have dictated to yourself:
This is a worthy and worthwhile goal for me. I shall pursue it because I deem it worthy for me.
For myself it has been simply a matter of my personal ethics:
So many people have helped me get to where I am today and thus I feel it is my duty to also give back and pay it forward.
Or in other words:
Help other kids who were once in a position like me!
To be 'critical' comes from the Ancient Greek 'kritikos' which literally means "to judge". Thus when it comes to any knowledge, informations, opinions or ideas... go to the source (primary documents, not human-centipede secondary documents) and judge for yourself.
Think more >
The Anti Meat Conspiracy Read Here
I am convinced --
One of the worst ills in modern society is this vehement anti-meat bias.
For example, ask yourself:
If you are an intellectual, are you allowed to go to a dinner party and tell everyone outloud that "I love to eat meat!"
No. You would be seen as a monster, someone who is killing the planet, etc. The more 'virtuous' thing is to be either vegetarian, vegan, or perhaps someone who only eats 'pasture-raised grass-fed humanely slaughtered' meat, preferably from Whole Foods or a farm, "once a while". Even more virtuous to "give up red meat"-- because it is 'bad for the planet', 'bad for your health' and 'inhumane to animals', etc.
Why do I care about this?
Now if you have a Netflix subscription you've probably seen one of the anti-meat propaganda films. I am not going to argue the ethics of meat eating in terms of environmental reasons (yet), but I desire to explore the contours of our strange new society which is profoundly dog-and-pet friendly, but anti-human?
Are animal lives EQUIVALENT to human lives?
First question. I say easily:
No matter what, a human life will ALWAYS be infinitely superior to an animal life of any kind. If I had a choice of saving a stranger's baby's life or the life of my (beloved) dog, I would always choose the life of the human being ... even if it weren't my own kid.
The best life:
Maximal freedom of speech, activity and thought.
What should we atone for most?
Self-censoring ourselves … lacking the courage to say what is *really* on our mind:
We are being distracted to death which prevents us from asking the simple (yet essential) question:
What do I really want out of life?
Why do some people soooo badly want the conspiracy theories to be true? Because it gives them some sort of comfort knowing that they can scapegoat someone else (Peter Thiel, Rene Girard) for their own suffering, pain, and existential dread: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/25/the-philosophy-of-conspiracies/
You must first love your body before you begin to love yourself.
Your body *IS* YOU!
No matter how rich or powerful you are, you can never transform your body to be anything else but what it is.
I have never met any person who loves their body, face, or look.
The sad reality:
Nobody cares for ethics because it doesn’t make money and isn’t lucrative.
But just because it ain’t lucrative doesn’t mean that it is not important or illegitimate!
Codified human-metabolism-movement power.
If money can be used as a tool to motivate people to do x, y, z for you … it is good.
It is true that money makes the world go round
Or better said:
Money moves people.
If we were perfectly balanced, technically we are stuck in a state of stasis. Progression movement and growth only works if we are unbalanced … leaning towards a certain way!
An anti-hippy, zen-Buddhist-Taoist modernistic notion of “enlightenment”.
What is a life post-retirement? A life which is more carefree, less busy. Slower. Only pursuing what you care for. No need for a monetary incentive to do ... anything!
Contrary to popular belief ... after you retire you can actually become *MORE* creatively productive with your own personal interests and passions in life!
Let us not get suckered. Computers should be 'bicycles for the mind' (Steve Jobs). Don't think that humans can be made redundant. We can get rid of all computers with zero downside. But can we get rid of all humans with no downside? https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/20/are-computers-made-for-humans-or-are-humans-made-for-computers/
To become wiser, become *MORE* skeptical of everything.
Also — know that ‘absence of evidence isn’t absence of evidence’ (Nassim Taleb). There is much hidden information unbeknownst to us. Hidden facts which are hidden from us.
“The truth is hidden deep, otherwise it wouldn’t be the truth” (Heraclitus)
Nobody really knows what they want out of life. Some people want to be 'happy' or to maximize their hedonic pleasure. But ... shouldn't we think *BEYOND* these base pleasures, and towards something deeper and more profound? https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/20/what-do-you-really-want-out-of-life/
‘Top Off’ JAY Z song.“I see the po-po behind me, I ain’t ‘gon stop!'” (JAY Z)
99.9% of the time you ain’t gonna get ‘in trouble’.
Also — most people are too slow. Don’t let anyone slow you down!
In life there ain't no right and wrong. The best goal is to simply share your uncensored personal truths with others. https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/19/just-share-your-own-personal-truth-with-others/
Let us not get suckered:
All news is fake news.
What do I mean by this? Well–
All news is cherry picked and taken out of context in order to maximize clicks and advertising revenue
Often we cherry pick what people said rather than what they *meant to say*.
In life, foods, and almost everything in life … bitter is better. For example coffee is sweet and enjoyful to us because it is bitter (small dose of poison, hormesis). Also, bitter greens (kale, collard greens) are only “healthy” to us because it is bitter (bitter substances stimulate our body’s physiological response).
Similar in real life, it is the bitter experiences which make us better and improve us. A life with no bitterness, sadness, sorrow, pain or suffering isn’t a life worth living.
Let us say all the hoaxes, conspiracy theories or whatever is true. Then what? Like Andy Warhol said:
Whenever I was criticized in life, I would just ask myself: “So what?” This fixed a lot of things.
This is my point of interest. Let us say all the isms which exist in America and beyond are true and irrefutable. Then the question comes:
So what are you gonna do about it?
Why I’m so greedy for the gains:
1. ‘Greed’ is subjective
The big problem:
People tend to think that ‘greed’ means “evil”.
But this is nonsense. Any human being who doesn’t want more is either mentally or physiologically sick. A human (and life in general) is about growth, augmentation, becoming bigger, better, and more.
hat is the future of lifestyle? My thoughts:
More time stuck indoors
The importance of mental and physical/physiological health
Money as less important (why save up for a home, if you know that staying home all day sucks?)
Existential dread — more people trying to find a purpose or direction in their life
More people who want to be creative while stuck in quarantine
A great chance to start blogging, vlogging, and just sharing whatever interests you.
The goal ain't work for work sake. The goal is to only work on things you truly care for (what you got your heart in). The goal is purposeful productivity: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/10/purposeful-productivity/
Contrary to popular belief, most of the (good) internet trolls are actually highly intelligent, motivated, smart, and educated individuals. But why do they troll? Some of my thoughts: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/10/the-psychology-of-an-internet-troll/
Movement is the goal. To move the human mass. Movement should better be thought of as “motivation”— the initial motive force that gets us humans moving and going! https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/10/movement-is-motivation/
I don't think I've ever read a comment online (or even in real life) which has personally benefitted me -- whether it be a positive one or negative one. No great ideas are created via committee. Avoid the trap of trying to placate others. Have extreme faith in yourself, your own ideas, and propagate them widely: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/09/why-i-dont-read-comments/
How did Trump win? Easy; the liberal media gave him probably $1 trillion dollars worth of free marketing and advertising.
Humans aren’t rational or objective. We are emotional beings. This means:
As as long you’re in the media spotlight, you will win.
Why I bought Bitcoin (BTC) and Digibyte (DGB) and think cryptocurrency (and other forms of crypto, like digital ledgers) are the future for photographers and this brave new digital economy: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/08/bitcoin-and-cryptocurrency-for-photographers/
To schedule is less wise. Better to takes a 'Bayes' approach -- a combination of tinkering with your schedule, going with the flow, following your gut (and legs) and not putting yourself into a 'Procrustean bed' of a (boring and rigid) schedule.
Because most people are either cowards (no skin in the game), or their opinion (online) depends on advertising, revenue, sponsorship, etc: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/06/why-is-everyone-so-fake/
My thoughts: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/08/06/why-im-so-suspicious-of-everyone-online-and-on-the-internet/
As long as someone monetizes their YouTube channel with advertising or their own website-blog with ads … don’t trust them. Why not? They cannot truly be 100% free with their thoughts, in fear of losing sponsorship or advertising revenue.
More trust of people who are either independently wealthy, have a random side-job (plumber, janitor, cleaner, construction worker) than someone who is employed with the aesthetics of their body composition. No trust in ‘fitness experts’ who hasn’t publicly admitted to steroid usage. This is why I trust CALUM VON MOGER more than other guys, because he has openly admitted to steroid use!
Or in other words:
Only trust assholes. Don’t trust ‘nice guys‘.
I would PAY MONEY for the *PRIVILEGE* to workout. To me, human grandeur and apex happiness is not possible without working out and eating lots of delicious meat:
One of the worst ills of ‘Gen Z’ kids: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/07/31/social-fear-aversion-therapy/
They cannot make eye contact, have poor social skills.
Even us ‘Millenials’. We cannot make eye contact. We always got our AirPods in. It is not considered ‘cool’ to talk to strangers. Worse yet, most people don’t got the guts (or social skills) to talk to strangers.
But what is the real problem here? Twofold:
Modern society doesn’t encourage talking to strangers or interacting with strangers (stranger danger)
Technology and our phones make us socially averse to other people.
I have high expectations of others. A big one:
One’s back-stage self should be the same as one’s front-stage self.
In other words:
Don’t talk a certain way behind the scenes and talk a different way in front of the camera.
Make it the same.
Make yourself consistent: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/07/30/consistency/
The general gist of fear marketing:
More effective to drive people towards certain decisions and behaviors based on fear, rather than praise-reward-encouragement.
Everyone has told us that capitalism and consumerism is evil. But truth be told, capitalism and consumerism and international trade/finance has probably led to more tolerance as well as more peace. As a pacifist (I am anti-war), I prefer a world with more tolerance and mutual peace. As unjust and cruel as capitalism is, it seems to be the least bad system to promote global tolerance and peace.