Over the last few months I’ve been ‘stalking’ Eric Kim and his blog and learning patiently from him. I got to know of Eric Kim through Nigeria’s famous wedding photographer Jide Odukoya (who also acknowledges Eric as one of his photography mentors). Started to stalk Eric on his blog and YouTube videos and watching his classes, reading his free e-books and other educational materials has thought me a lot but in this post I want to explore the top 5 Things Eric Kim has thought me.
1. Impact others
Top of the list is the spirit of sharing valuable information to others who are lost in the realm of discovering where they lie in photography. In his free e-book titled the social media black book for photographers Eric discusses the need for photographers to use the social media as an Avenue to impact knowledge to other aspiring photographers. He says “instead of spending excessive time on your Facebook page why not record a video tutorial or write a blog post” I believe what he meant indirectly was “why not teach others with your spare time?” to that effect I began to write on my blog (this is just my 3rd written blog post).
2. Understand why you shoot any image on the street.
As a street photographer, you don’t have to point your camera at any event you see on the street. Always have a solid reason why you want to take a certain shot, is it because the subject looks happy and you working on a project that showcases happy people on the street (now that’s a good reason) or you take a photo of someone laughing because you like their teeth (now that’s absurd). Eric Kim has thought me to always read a meaning to every image before I decide to take a picture of it. It gives you confidence whenever you are challenged by someone or probably the person you photographed (if they see you photographing them)
3. Buy Experiences not Gears.
Funny? Yeah, funny. In this part of the world where people think a bigger camera lens means you’ve got a better image to produce then most photographers are after gears, I do believe there are 3 important gears for a photographer : a camera, a lens and a speed-lite. Remember I said a lens not 9 lenses. Eric Kim stresses the fact that a trip to a neighboring country, let’s say Ivory Coast or probably as far as South Africa to take some pictures for a project of yours would give you more pleasure than when you buy 5 lenses in one day or a couple of reflectors. Fact is you can’t use all gears at the same time and would lose the joy whenever you’ve used it over and over again. I remember when I bought my first mobile phone in 2008 it was my companion but a year later I was fed up with it, wanted a new one. Same applies to photography so instead of planning to scare other photographers with your 500mm lens at the next event you will cover why not plan to take a road trip to a different part of the world (could still be in your country).
4. Follow your heart.
The story of Eric Kim personally has been one of making decisions, tough ones at that. Right from deciding to leave his ‘suit’ like job to deciding to ask girls dressed in red gowns for permission to take their images (and some I may have forgotten) one thing can be drawn out – follow your heart. Your heart would probably not deceive you as it means you are doing what you love doing. Don’t be a photographer Because you heard people make money from it, be a photographer because your heart draws you to it. Don’t be forced to making decisions for your photography business, follow your curiosity on the street, it might just take you to a house of Gold.
5.Be open to criticism.
The biggest problem every photographer encounters is believing that they are quite wrong about an image. Photography is a work of art. Now imagine it from an artist view, how do you think a painter would feel if a client walks in and says “your painting was bad” happy? I bet not in a million years to come, or a musician taking his track to the next door disc jokey and he says “bad beat, work on your flows bro” same applies to photography. No photographer wants to ditch his or her favorite photos because they see it as favorite but when another photographer comes a time checks the image, he’s like, “your image is quite underexposed” does that weigh you down? Don’t let it weigh you down again, There are always two sides to a photograph, the way you see it and the way the viewers or fans see it. You need to let both views become one, either by explaining to the viewer (could be a fellow photographer) or by adjusting to the viewers opinion. Ditch images people whom you trust in the industry consider as lacking value and only proceed with images and every one can read a meaning to. Let me share this, Chinwe Aghanwa is a graduate of photography at the New York Film Academy, we met while we were to photograph Nigeria’s giant music record label Mavin for an entertainment Magazine. During the shoot, we worked together, chatted and exchanged contacts. She was fascinated at my love for photography at the age of 18 and most importantly for taking to Street photography in a country where photography hasn’t grown to that level, Nigeria. We have both become role models for each other, I admiring her professional advice to my work and her admiring my street photographs. Guess what, she will be with me on my next street photography walk which is for a broad project.
So thank you Kim, I hope you read this, and I hope one day you will be in Nigeria to photograph, come join the hot son brother, lots of suits here for you, haha haha hahaha, just kidding. PEACE OUT!