How to Become More Robust
Dear friends, a thought on my mind: seek to become more robust, more anti fragile.
Robur, oak. Red. Same word as rubber.
The oak tree is a good analogy because it is insanely big and strong, hard, unyielding.
Currently here in Saigon Vietnam, and a new passion and interest; towards robusta coffee, which has a higher caffeine content, and also less sugar. So purely from a health and physique perspective, robusta coffee should be superior to arabica because arabica is sweet, arabica has more sugar molecules in it than robusta.
How to lose fat
The secret of losing fat, body adipose tissue is very simple and straightforward: simply abstain or do not consume any starches, carbs, starchy vegetables, fruit, anything sweet, whether real sugar fig sugar or some other silly “zero calorie”. this means no Coke zero, no diet coke, no monk fruit, none of that nonsense.
I have a theory that if you want to become more robust, it is simple, only consume a 100% beef-based diet, and the only non-meat items you consume or bitter ones. Don’t eat anything sweet. That’s your side dish is simply really bitter dark leafy greens, whether it be Collard greens, mustard greens, perilla leaves etc.
Become more primal
Who is that the reason why so many people are miserable in modern day living is that we no longer have the privilege or opportunity to be primal. For example, we are no longer permitted to be loud, yell, scream and shout, cry, express anger, thump our chest etc.
For example something that I have observed is traditionally, in modern day society at least in the more “modern” ones, to be quiet, silent, unobtrusive, low-key, avoiding eye contact or confrontation is seen as a virtue. We often scorn people who are loud, rambunctious, having a jolly old time.
For example, what is K-12 education? Learning how to deal with boredom, learning how to become silent, sitting down and shutting up, obeying the teacher etc.
A new path
Assuming that happiness is indeed your life goal, or perhaps becoming more, allow yourself to become louder, more rambunctious, more flagrant.
For example, I think the reason why people hate Kanye West so much is because of several reasons; first and foremost, they hate how outspoken he is, how he speaks his mind without any self-censorship. Yet this is precisely what gains him diehard fans like myself, Because indeed he speaks his mind, he doesn’t lie, whether you agree with him or not, at least you know he’s not lying.
With words, thoughts, philosophies, techniques methodologies etc., I believe that the robust ones are supreme.
For example, any thoughts or topics in which the ancients have touched upon, or any words and etymology which has gone back to the Proto Indo European, tend to be robust. Much of modern-day thinking is fragile at best, notions of “equality“, “justice“, “fairness”, etc. are modern day notions. In ancient times, ancient Greek times, some ancient Roman times, it was more about rank, hierarchy, power, courage, bravery, lethality etc.
For example, Achilles was seen as supreme because he was the most lethal. Nobody was even half a chance to him, he was even so lethal and powerful that not even the gods could take him. The only difference between Achilles and the gods was that Achilles was mortal whereas the gods were not.
Modern day times
What makes one fragile in modern day times? Social media numbers and followings, numeration of money, popularity, fame etc.
What makes one robust? Self-confidence, self faith, self assurance, etc.
Avoiding modern day pressures
A personal life thought is that we must seek the past for more robust modes of thinking.
For example, in modern day times it is seen as virtuous to be more “productive“, and work is also seen as a virtue. However, can you imagine an ancient Greek or Roman; they would be befuddled …
“Isn’t “work” simply for slaves?
For example, the ancient Spartans. What did an ancient spartan nobleman do? Simply enjoy his leisure, training for physical combat, hang out with his buddies, philosophizing, making pithy jokes etc. Who did all the grunt work? The helots.
HAPTIC ARMOR — our solution.
What should be the purpose of coding? I believe that clothing should be seen as modern day armor. Good clothes make you feel more confident, stronger, more ready for anything.
For example nowadays, the only clothes I wear are fitness clothes, because I want to be always ready to lift.
Even though I love merino wool, I hate it because it is so fragile. It seems at best, merino wool really lasts you only maybe a year or two, then eventually it falls to shreds.
A new fabric that I’ve discovered which is surprisingly robust is linen. Why? Linen has been around ever since ancient times, apparently even the ancient Romans used something called a “Linothorax”, which was essentially armor entirely constructed out of linen, albeit that it was layered almost 50 times, with some sort of animal glue in between.
Also while on the road, lightness is godlike. Linen is insanely light, robust, and also tries insanely quickly. This new HAPTICWEAVE style of linen I have discovered is phenomenal because of the unique three-dimensional octagonal pattern, which almost looks like modern day medieval armor. Imagine like modern-day chain mail.
Clothing is a bad business to be in?
Going to the MUJI store the other day, and looking at Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, etc., Cindy commented:
Perhaps clothing is a bad industry to be in.
Why? Places like MUJI, Uniqlo etc. have thousands of different linen products, constantly new styles and innovations coming out etc. Isn’t it simply easier to just buy it, instead of designing, producing, and selling it?
I desire to become the new Cristobal BALENCIAGA.
Why? I have always been passionate about clothing ever since I was a kid, in terms of style, and then later on into function. Being a globetrotting nomad, to me fabric is so insanely critical because when you want to pack as light as possible, you don’t want anything additional.
For example, HAPTIC ARMOR. You can simply use it every single day or several times a day as a bath towel, or you could take it to the gym to put over your yoga mat during hot yoga, or when you’re out in the brutal sun, use it as a shawl or a scarf to protect you from the sun while also absorbing moisture away from your body.
Creating beautiful products you believe in
I use my HAPTIC ARMOR many times a day, maybe 5-6 times a day. To me it brings me insane pride and joy that I designed, prototyped it, and now, it is available to purchase immediately, and available to ship immediately within the states or internationally right now!
Truth be told, we all live within a capitalist consumerist society, and I think that the reason why world peace exists is precisely because of free market capitalism. The reason why I am skeptical that China will ever go to war with America is that the rich mainland Chinese love their iPhone Pros, and their designer luxury goods. Can you imagine if suddenly overnight, rich mainland Chinese people no longer had access to iPhones, and other American goods?
Also on the flipside, what would Americans do if we no longer have access to high-quality Amazon goods, most of which are made in China. Let us also not forget that the iPhone, and pretty much all the Apple products are produced in China.
Create products you desire to see manifested in reality
The ethos behind every single HAPTIC PRODUCT is simple:
If I could design my own perfect thing of a certain thing, what would it look like?
Oh for example, the Henri neck strap was born out of my personal desire of creating the perfect neck strap. And later on, ERIC KIM strap series came out of my desire to create a perfect strap for my Ricoh GR camera— WRIST X NECK.
Robust Life goals?
What are some robust life goals you can seek? I think ones which do not require the approval or the nod of others.
Seek more — ERIC KIM PHILOSOPHY >
Never stop thinking
Feeling a little more robust?
If so, feel free to forward this to a friend!
A simple thought on life; a life lived with maximal passion, ambition, and personal interest:
First of all, let us address ambition:
How to Become More Ambitious
Ambition is funny because sometimes it is seen as a virtue, sometimes it is seem as a vice.
For example to be too ambitious is seen as a bad thing, because you do it at the “expense” of others.
I say fuck it — ambition is good. Ambition, to hunger and strive for more is one of the greatest virtues of man!
Ambitious for what?
This is the even more tricky thing — let us say you are ambitious, but for what?
Personally speaking I am more ambitious to see more, discover more, think more, become stronger, advance and evolve myself with more unique interesting and diverse experiences, to ultimately become more.
Truth be told I have almost zero interest in money. Why? To me, my greater goals are related to physical and physiological strength, towards innovation, entrepreneurship, and creating cool shit and sharing it with others! I seek a life with the maximum thrill, fun, uncertainty, creative risk, guts, and balls.
Your creative risk life goals?
I believe in the age beyond money and silly notions of success, I say it all comes down to creative ambition. That is, what do you desire to create?
Build your own platform, company, or business
Profits are simply a means to an end.
Nothing needs to get “done”.
I still think there is a robust future ahead of us in terms of websites, website technology, blogging, etc.
Amazon web services, WordPress, and open source websites.
Now let us address value:
What is “value”, and how does one create it?
First of all, consider … what do you value and desire?
For myself I value certain ideals like becoming stronger, one rep max at the gym, atlas lift, rack pull etc.
Therefore for me, to create value in the context of weight lifting is to create things which inspire or motivate others to also increase their one rep maxes in the gym and beyond. Sharing my videos of me doing it, my thoughts and theories etc.
Second — does it need to be physical, or is digital fine?
Creating value for the sake of what?
Valor, valere— having worth, pr ultimately being brave.
To me the “economy” is simply human activity. Thus to stimulate the economy or the movement of others is the #1 critical thing of value!
Takeaway point — anything which moves people is what has the ultimate value!
- All of the money is just fake money. Just ones and zeros, and digital data. Therefore, do not use money is a metric for “success”.
- What is a more noble goal? Reckless and audacity in terms of creativity.
- Design is still the future: we buy it for the design, not anything else. Consider the great renaissance of Hyundai Kia and Genesis, by going all in on disruptive design, they have totally changed the game.
- Currently here in Saigon, the growth and entrepreneurship here is phenomenal.
- Currently the city or space which interest me the most is Pan Am Penh Cambodia. While there are still lots of opportunities here in Vietnam, I believe there to be more opportunities in Phnom Penh.
Become the all black on black on black, murdered out Range Rover defender
It looks like currently speaking, people are going bananas on the murdered out, black on black on black, Matt black look for cars. But instead of just buying it, why not transform your body to look like it? Become more mean in medicine, more muscular, Less body fat.
Becoming more passionate
My personal life: thought; becoming more ambitious, and also, becoming more passionate.
Why is passion important, and what does it mean?
First and foremost, I believe passion to just be a burning desire for something. A burning desire to become a change what you wish to see manifested in the world, or the desire to create and propagate your passion to the rest of the world.
Two feet down
The first step: once you’ve put your heart to something, commit. 2 feet down, all in.
I believe this to be like a “one rep max philosophy to life”. The basic idea:
Once you’ve committed to something, go all in.
For example, HAPTIC ARMOR. My new insanely ambitious approach to fabrics, materials, new cloths.
Why do I care?
What you decide to care for and not care for, I don’t think there’s any real logic to it. Simply, you must commit to your heart.
How to know what you’re passionate about?
I think the problem in modern day life is that there is a social pressure what one should be passionate for and what one should NOT be passionate for.
However, the problem is that these tyrants try to superimpose their value structures upon us. What we must do is instead, turn our head and shoulder away, and blatantly ignore all of this nonsensory.
Commit to your passion
What I encourage is this: whatever you’re passionate about, commit to it, disregard modern-day notions of economic gain, or “productivity“. It doesn’t need to be productive, simply authentic.
Conquer the Unknown
How to unlock and unleash your passion
- Spend some time thinking about what you’re passionate about, and with all of your might and mind, strive to strip away what society wants and expects of you.
- Beyond economics: Once again, disregard notions of material and financial gain. Passion is beyond money and numbers, commas and zeros.
More turbo products in HAPTIC SHOP >
The Will to Simplicity?
To mirror the thought of our best friend Nietzsche, the will to simplicity is a good one. In your design thinking and body, your life etc., strive to simplify.
Conquer it all!
ERIC KIM PHOTOGRAPHY
How to Disrupt
Disruption is doing the things I am most passionate about. Why?
I have always been a disruptive person. I would disrupt the teacher, disrupt others when they are talking, etc.
Typically, this is seen as a bad thing. But as we all know in Silicon Valley, this is actually the desired end.
The difficult irony is typically speaking, in real life, being disruptive is frowned upon. Why? When we disrupt or or disruptive, we often think of it as negative detriment to our own authority.
I believe in order to innovate, you must disrupt. Disrupt the old way of doing things, the old way of thinking of things, etc.
For example, when I first pioneered the open source approach to photography; making my photos all available for full resolution, JPEG online for free. No stupid watermarks or “image protections”. This ended up actually benefiting me in the long run, as it allowed my images to propagate.
The reason why it was disruptive was all the other photographers out there started complaining, because I set a precedent; they saw that my innovation or my approach was positively detrimental to themselves.
What is that true? No. This only applies if you see the world in a zero sum aspect; my approach doesn’t change yours. Anyone who thinks it does is petty minded at best.
1. See yourself on the other side
I don’t know about you, but personally speaking, I hate having to pay anything for information, knowledge, e-books etc. Therefore my approach has been to make it free.
Also, I hate subscriptions. And should be taught I don’t think anyone really does. Therefore, in terms of the products you make sell etc., I am very anti-subscription model. I think there are more innovative ways or other ways to monetize effectively.
2. Don’t give a F
I think when you think too deeply or critically about things, you fall victim to “paralysis by analysis”. That is, thinking too much will harm you more than benefit you, because too much thinking means you don’t act.
I think the best way to approach innovation and disruption is a bricolage technique and approach; that is, nobody has any idea how something will result, unless you just try, attempt, and experiment.
As a consequence, perhaps the best strategy is,
Just fuck it — just try it out!
3. Aberrant thinking
What does it mean to “think different”?
The difficult thing is that the goal is to think differently, in the substantive and genuine and honest way. Not to simply go against the crowd for the sake of it, but to truly think and consider for yourself, is the same better, or a different better?
For example, I was very anti-Apple and iPhone etc. for much of my teenage and college years. I didn’t like the lemmings, the Apple fan boys.
However, when I did finally switch in my 20s, I actually did discover in fact, Apple was superior to Windows and PC, and iPhone and iOS was really truly superior to android by at least 1000 degrees.
Therefore, don’t be like those superficial individuals who try to distinguish themselves by being a strange, retro, or abstruse as possible. We want to be substantively different.
4. Travel and or live abroad
I believe one of the greatest benefits of traveling or going abroad is the fact that it disrupts your traditional way of approaching things. For example, when Cindy and I were in Daegu for a conference, the Airbnb we stayed blew my mind. And one of the funny innovations they had was they had a hand pump, which look like the typical hand soap pumps, but in fact, it ejected toothpaste!
This was so inspiring to me, because the thought about toothpaste, it is insanely wasteful. After you’re done with the tube, you have to throw away the whole thing. All that waste and packaging. While I do think that all of this hippie nonsense about “saving the planet” is superficial, one of the big benefits of a more “sustainable include approach is that it actually just makes your life easier. For example if you were just able to fill up a hand soap pump with toothpaste, and just use toothpaste that way, the benefit as you don’t have to buy toothpaste is often, and I also believe that the toothpaste industry is such a huge scam; it is insanely expensive, and is bad for the planet. Even Nassim Taleb has a suspicion against toothpaste— the bristle for brushing your teeth is natural, but adding additional chemicals into your mouth to offset all of this sugar and starch we consume, perhaps this is not necessary. As a result even I am starting to get suspicious against fluoride in toothpaste. Fortunately I do not consume any sugar and starches.
Another difference I have discovered here in Korea is the whole bathroom situation; essentially in tight quarters, the concept and idea is to have your showerhead connected to your sink faucet, saving space. As a consequence the whole bathroom is perpetually wet. Koreans use bathroom slippers to enter, and ultimately I think this is smart because it saves space, and also it is good when your kid wants to just hang out in the bathroom and shooting water all around the place with a showerhead.
The great thing with traveling and going to foreign places is because it helps you discover that there are 1 billion different ways to do different things. There is not one “standard“ way to do things. And as a consequence I find this extremely enlightening because you can simply pick and choose the approaches and things that you like, And filter it yourself.
Same thing in Asia, typically we Asian people sleep on the floor with thick futons. Instead of Americans are Westerners who’s sleep in beds with traditional bed frames.
I think ultimately this is good onto innovation and disruption because it teaches you:
There is not one “correct“ way to do anything.
Therefore as a consequence, your approach is unique and good.
5. Allow yourself to become more “Asperger‘s“, or “autistic“
A note; I think if I was put in the traditional K-12 education today, and I had some sort of mildly intelligent educated parents here in the states, I would definitely be classified somewhere “on the spectrum“, or diagnosed with some sort of fake thing like ADHD etc.
Certainly there is very very obvious forms of autism, especially when it affects children in terms of their morphology and their motor functional skills.
However, for a lot of other things, it is easy to put people into these pseudoscientific boxes, just because they think different, act different, and approach the world a little differently.
Even Elon Musk said he had some sort of Asperger’s or autism or some thing when he was on SNL. My personal thought is he probably isn’t, but, the intelligence of branding yourself like that is that allows you to get away with a lot of aberrant behavior.
I think in order to truly disrupt and be innovative, you gotta be a little bit crazy. Or, you disdain the same.
Even for myself, the people I much prefer interacting with our children, young children, teenagers, or even college kids. It seems that once people graduate college and get “real jobs“, they start to lose their child like curiosity and ingenuity.
Also, my personal favorite people to hang out with or a little bit socially different, in terms of how they think I can interact etc. To me this is much more inspirational than the traditional “normal“ person.
6. Call out BS
One of the greatest things and benefits of studying sociology is that it made me realize that so much of modern day life and sociology is a bunch of BS. Use your own inner BS detector well — refuse to follow BS traditions, or things you don’t believe in.
For example, one of the most inspiring things that I learned from Walter Isaacson‘s biography on Steve Jobs was how Steve Jobs refused to follow any sort of tradition, whether in the states or in Japan. Apparently there were periods that he refused to wear shoes, and will just walk around barefoot all day, and also refused to shower, saying that his fruitarian diet prevented him from smelling (he smelled).
I think currently speaking, Kanye West is like Steve Jobs 2.0 to me. This is why I am such a huge fan of Kanye, he simply thinks different, and does different. And it is his “unrealistic“ audacity is what inspires me.
7. So what now?
Become to change what you wish to see manifested in the world.
Also, as time goes on, become more reckless, more daring, and ignore others even more.
Or in my thinking, the time goes on become more crazy!
HAPTIC ARMOR: Become indestructible:
- 100% Lithuanian linen weaved in South Korea with cutting-edge technology.
- Created, made, and stitched by hand, with the soul of the artisan.
- Octagonal three-dimensional weave pattern; virtually indestructible and absorbs water and dries at least 50x faster than cotton.
- Perfect for the traveler and nomad: Your new travel companion that you could take with you anywhere— whether on the road, internationally or back home.
- Engineered for the furthest use: Use it as an every day bath towel, to wick away your sweat while in hot and humid environments, and to protect you from the sun. Suitable as a covering for your yoga mat, or even a floormat for you to lay down and take a nap on! Can also double as a picnic blanket or a beach towel/blanket.
The only limit of HAPTIC ARMOR is your own imagination.
Available now for pre-order. Shipping starts immediately August 7, 2023!
Currently only 19/20 left!
HAPTIC ARMOR: Become the traveler, nomad and adventurer you desire:
Your Linen Armor
Inspired by the Ancient Greek and Roman Linothorax (a 50x layered linen based armor chestpiece), we present to you HAPTIC ARMOR— an experimental 100% HAPTICWEAVE cloth which is your new metaphorical suit of armor.
HAPTIC ARMOR is forged using 100% linen imported from Lithuania— the center for the highest quality linen in the globe. Secondly it is processed and weaved here in South Korea using advanced Korean weaving technologies to create a unique octagonal three-dimensional texture, optimized for strength, durability and weight. 100% linen fabrics are the most supreme at wicking away moisture and water, and the grid-weaved waffle texture means that the HAPTIC ARMOR will dry insanely quickly.
The Best for the Best
Seek the best, the most supreme.
HAPTIC ARMOR is the synthesis of my obsession with fabric— I currently the most supreme fabric I have ever discovered, even supreme to my beloved merino wool.
If you desire the most supreme of supreme fabrics, HAPTIC ARMOR is yours.
A day in the life of HAPTIC ARMOR
HAPRIC ARMOR is meant to be used and abused, engineered for the furthest use. Hang it in your bathroom, or on the rack, and use it whenever you hit the gym, or whenever you wash off at home. If you’re ready to jet set, throw it in your travel bag!
Your New Travel Companion
Venture further with your HAPTIC ARMOR. When you’re in transit, just wear it around your neck like a scarf or a garb, and when you visit new places with relentless sun, use it as a cloak to protect yourself from the sun.
HAPTIC ARMOR is naturally made from the highest quality in Lithuanian linen, 100% pure, strong, and legendary. Linen connoisseur from all around the world know that linen is the site of the greatest linen raw material, harvested and produced.
Leveraging advanced Korean technologies, HAPTIC ARMOR is mythical and one-of-a-kind. How it will upgrade you:
- It will save you time: last time having to wash it, compared to inferior cotton fabrics.
- Become stronger: It will encourage you to hit the gym or yoga more often; a perfect companion in your gym bag or on top of your yoga mat during hot yoga.
- Hike further; 1000 times superior to any “travel“ towel you will discover at REI and beyond; linen is the most superior towel that naturally wicks sweat away for your body, while still remaining cool and dry to the touch.
- Effortlessly elegant: the octagonal three dimensional weave is one of a kind. Like the noble aristocrats of ancient Korea, you will be distinguished by this fabric.
- Armor: it is engineered to spark confidence within yourself, more courage.
- Hygroscopic: Draws moisture and water away from you and your skin, 10x more effectively than cotton or any polyester-based microfiber fabric.
- Naturally hypoallergenic: 100% pure Lithuanian linen, weaved and produced in South Korea; comfortable and confident inspiring even with individuals with the most sensitive skin.
- Powerful: The unique Korean octagonal three dimensional weave makes it suitable for maximal tensile strength. Just try it out; wrap it around to dumbbells and lift it off the floor!
- Fashion is Function: Armor is not just aesthetic, it is functional. The perfect marriage between function and fashion.
- Distinguish yourself and stand out: why stand in, when you can stand out?
Where Will You Venture Next?
The difficulty of modern day living is that we lack the opportunity to adventure, quest, and conquer. HAPTIC ARMOR will be your mythical and unique carb, in which your only limit is your courage and creativity.
Shipping and Limited Availability
And the first batch of HAPTIC ARMOR is produced in an extremely limited quantity of 20. Preorders are available now with shipping starting August 7th, 2023:
Pre-Order Your Destiny
Be the first to achieve and receive HAPTIC ARMOR. The rare for the rare. The first line comes in only a limited quantity of 20 suits of armor. Seize your chance before they all sell out!
Use and Abuse It!
The great thing about HAPTIC ARMOR is that it doesn’t require any special or sensitive care. Just throw it in the washer, with normal detergent, and dry it in the dryer as well.
If you’re on the road, all you gotta do is put it outside in the direct sun and let it hang dry. The great benefit of 100% linen is that it doesn’t smell or retain any odors. And as Elon Musk said, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
You Can’t Fake Passion
First, Cindy and I have a passion for creating revolutionary products that will legitimately make your life better. We have been using it for ourselves the last two weeks, and it has legitimately made our lives better. For example, now that we are currently on the road away from home, being able to use haptic armor as a bath towel has reduced the insane annoyance of having to constantly wash and dry our towels.
Secondly, to stimulate economic activity. Our current production line includes myself, Cindy, my mom and Lily (linen “ajoomah”) currently here in Hadong South Korea. And being able to create a brand new product, built with passion and pride is insanely fun for all of us!
Third, to improve your life. If HAPTIC ARMOR even gives you a tiny bit more motivation and inspiration to travel, hit the road, exercise, workout, hit the gym, hit a hot yoga session, or get out of your house and do more creative things, it is worth it.
This is a rare drop. Do you have ventured requested far enough; now it is time to seize your prize!
Available Everywhere on Planet Earth!
Available now for pre-order and internationally. Seize your destiny now!
Disrupt photography, art, creativity, travel and beyond:
- Consume the beverages and things most local to the local environment. For example, maybe while you are in East Asia, like Korea, better to just drink Hadong Green Tea instead of coffee. However if you are in Vietnam or Southeast Asia, just buy and drink coffee from Vietnam.
- Cash thoughts: cashmere as one of the most underrated fabrics out there; for example I just made an experimental cashmere suit of armor, and it is actually very suitable currently in the hot and humid Korean summertime.
- Create your own desired future: rather than just purchasing things, buy the raw material, and make it yourself. If you don’t have the skills to actually make things, find somebody who does, share your vision with them and have them build and produce it. You are the designer, the idea concept person. Work with skilled artisans to produce your vision. HAPTIC ARMOR CONCEPT.
- Maybe our next car should either be a Hyundai, a Kia, or Genesis, doesn’t matter if gas, hybrid, or fully electric. My personal belief is currently speaking, Korea is at least 5000 times more disruptive and innovative than any other car company, even Tesla, in terms of car design.
- Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson
- Invent and wander by Jeff Bezos. Lessons I’ve learned.
- THE LIFE OF OJ song by JAY Z— you still taking advances huh? me and my jiggas are taking real chances huh! Or any song about business and entrepreneurship by JAY Z — “I drop the label”. “World can’t hold me too much ambition it was still like this when I was still in the kitchen!”
Forward the disruption
Feeling a little bit more disruptive? Feel free to forward this to a friend!
Never stop learning
INTRODUCING HAPTIC ARMOR: DISRUPT THE WORLD
Dear friends, I am insanely excited for the launch of our totally brand new, insanely innovative new idea. The basic concept is this: your new personal suit of armor. HAPTIC ARMOR.
I have an insane obsession with fabrics, materials, clothing and concepts. But I personally believe that in today’s world, most of the field most road for disruption is new clothing, fabric, lifestyle concepts.
For example, my new obsession with Linen. I call it “HAPTICWEAVE.” It is forged by 100% of the finest linen on planet earth, straight from Lithuania. Then processed, synthesized and weaved here in South Korea.
Why the big deal?
To me, I consider HAPTIC ARMOR a fabric revolution. Linen has been around since the ancient Roman and Greek times, and once was even used as armor. Why? It is insanely light, breathable, and strong. Apparently even the ancient Roman and Greek armies used something called a “Linothorax,”— literally a chest plate of armor but made 100% with linen, but the secret was creating almost 50 layers of linen with some sort of animal-based glue, to make a lightweight, breathable, and supple armor which could withstand the penetration of an arrow, even at point blank range. It might have even been able to stop the penetration of a spear at close distances.
This was especially good because as we all know, in the Mediterranean, in Greece and in Rome, during the hot humid and arduous summer campaigns, it was insanely hot and humid. Imagine trying to fight battles in 100degree weather, hot and humid in the direct sun. You wouldn’t want some sort of medieval plate armor, you’d roast to death.
The future of innovation often lies in the past.
Things that actually improve your life?
The funny bias in today’s world, there is a strange bifurcation; on one hand we all thrive because of free market capitalism, consumerism, production of capital and products, etc. But on the other hand, it is considered immoral to be too into purchasing things. It is my personal belief that world peace is only possible because of international and mutual commerce.
For example, the reason why China will probably never start World War III with America and the rest of the world is that China needs us for economic opportunities. China wouldn’t be the China we know her today if it weren’t for the vast market for Americans, American products etc. The spending power of the Chinese is good, but, the spending power of Americans is much stronger.
Enter HAPTIC ARMOR
My friend Christophe has this funny story in which when he was really into Diablo II as an elementary school student, he really wanted this rare armor called the “Silks of the Victor,” the best armor you could get for your Necromancer. He outlined this hilariously cute story in which he found some online website which sold items, it might’ve been 10 or $20, and at the time because there is no real good way to send payments through the Internet, he arranged with this Stanford college student to send $20 in the mail, just a $20 bill through the mail, in order to arrange an item transfer.
My friend Chris, very excited quickly sent the money in an envelope through the mail, and was insanely disappointed because he didn’t hear from the guy for about a few months. He thought he was scammed, and lost his money. But fortunately eventually the guy got back to him, and apologized and said that he was busy with finals or something, and then promptly dropped off the item in-game.
The reason why I find the story so enlivening is that at least in the world of Diablo 2, assuming we take a Diablo II analogy to real life, the point isn’t to endlessly obtain gold, which is actually quite undesired at the end stage of the game, but instead to seek rare, mythical and unique items. The items being helmets, amulets, runestones, rings, shields, chest armor, weapons, greaves to cover your shins and feet etc. And then the ultimate goal is PVP, to create some sort of insanely powerful individual character, like a barbarian with whirlwind, and just being able to secure equals and challenge them to 1on1 combat.
My concept of HAPTIC ARMOR is like creating some sort of mythical garb, or armor for real life. Something engineered and created for the furthest used cases possible. For example, part chest plate, part travel garb, part everyday bath towel, part blanket to keep you warm on long and cold international flights, or even something to put over your hot sweaty and slippery yoga mat during those arduous hot yoga sessions. Or just something you could throw into your gym bag, When you hit the gym, or when you hit the road.
So what is HAPTICWEAVE?
First, this insanely unique octagon and 3d weave pattern, something I have never witnessed in real life before. Second, created with the highest quality linen in the world, from Lithuania. Third, weaved here locally in South Korea, using advanced machinery and technology.
The result, a sublime fabric that is supple, soft, breathable, yet phenomenally strong and virtually indestructible.
The more surface area, the better.
The reason why I’m so jazzed about HAPTIC ARMOR is for its unique three dimensional weave pattern. Effectively what this does is increases the surface area of the fabric, which makes it even stronger, even more breathable, and even more effective for working away sweat and moisture from your body and also drying insanely quickly. 100% linen dries at least 50 times faster than cotton, and also is naturally breathable.
Whenever I go on the Internet, REI, etc., traditional travel towels and fabrics are made typically out of some sort of polyester, nylon, or synthetic fibers; which smells really bad, is not breathable, and also just feels really cheap.
My personal theory is the reason why animal or plant-based fibers and fabrics are so superior to synthetic ones is that you cannot fool mother nature; natural plant-based or animal fibers are so robust because of the hidden biology behind it; flaxseed, and plants have a survival based mechanism for the fabrics they produce, which comes in real handy for us humans.
Barbell, hybrid innovation
What I find so fascinating about our approach is we are mirroring two high contrasts, a hybrid barbell baaed approach — First, importing the highest quality linen on the globe from Lithuania, the raw material, and synthesizing our approach with modern day advanced Korean technology, with the processing and weaving of the fabric.
If you have a passion for materials fabrics or aesthetic things; this is actually your opportunity to get a taste of South Korean aesthetics and heritage; Korean traditions which have been around forever.
Only the rare for the rare
Once again, let us say that we are taking a Diablo 2 analogy to real life, what is it that we really seek and desire? I believe it to be rare things, where items, which are truly one of a kind, beautiful valuable and functional.
Also, my ambition is for you to use HAPTIC ARMOR forever, until you die. I have an insane frustration with fabrics or things which lack durability. For example, even though I really love my merino wool clothing my insane frustration is that after a year or two of hard use, it disintegrates. If I’m going to spend $120 on a T-shirt, I want it to last forever.
What is HAPTIC, why HAPTIC? HAPTIC is me and Cindy’s brain child— HAPTIC INDUSTRIES was born out of a playful experiment when we were first living in Vietnam. My passion to create things items and objects which I wish to see manifested in the real world.
For example, the HENRI NECK STRAP, which is currently on the fourth version. A sign of a good creation. Essentially my thought was this,
If I could make a perfect camera neck strap for myself, what would it look like and be?
For myself, I have this obsession or passion to create or discover what I consider “perfect“ products. Certainly there is no such thing as anything which is perfect, but striving to seek or create perfect I believe to be an interesting and noble goal.
This is my Steve Jobs approach!
Nature doesn’t muck around
The octagon. Eight sided, just like a beehive or honeycomb. Max more string and durability, a shape which can withstand even the most brutal of wear and tear.
I hate fabrics which need to be babied and require special care. The great thing with HAPTIC ARMOR is that you can just toss it in any standard washing machine, add normal detergent, and just throw it into the dryer, at normal or maximum heat. None of this nonsense of “tumble dry low“.
Or, just letting HAPTIC ARMOR dry directly in the sun. Like Elon Musk said, the best disinfectant is the sun.
Ready for anything.
What are you fine insanely exciting about HAPTIC ARMOR is that literally, it is ready for anything and everything.
For example, when I recently did my 16 hour flight from LAX to Incheon to South Korea, I was actually really caught on the flight. If I had my haptic armor with me, I could just use it as a blanket to keep me warm.
Or, taking a nap. Even though it is a bit narrow, it comes in handy as a quick blanket on the go, when you least think you need it.
Oh my personal ambition is to create beautiful things which will legitimately help the lives of others, and also, for me to create things which I think will benefit others and the world.
And beauty function in fashion is all underrated. Seize your destiny.
Some current thoughts I have on innovation:
- I currently believe that the new wave of innovation lies in new concepts. For example, new clothing concepts, new ways to think about how to wear garbs around your body, and new ways you could use the fabrics we already got. For example, linen has been around forever, but has been lately overshadowed by cotton, because cotton is much easier and cheaper to produce. For example when we talk about “linens“, when we talk about our bedsheets, the hilarity as we still call it “linens,” but in fact most of it nowadays is cotton. My current thought is changing everything I got with our new HAPTIC LINEN— whether it be covers for my pillows, my shirts and overcoat, maybe even my pants or skirts.
- The philosophy of aesthetics: something I believe to be insanely critical is your philosophy on aesthetics. For example I think I really love this idea of mirroring old concepts with new concepts. To integrate and create the perfect synthesis and hybrid between the old school and the new. I have yet to believe that any Korean American, or Asian American has done it effectively for Korea and South Korea; there is a beautiful future ahead of us, which has not yet been discovered. Perhaps I will be the first to touch upon it.
Korean Car Design
Check out and Google the new Hyundai Grandeur, and also the new Hyundai sonata. Korea and South Korea is currently killing it with car design, even the new Kia EV 9 SUV car design is insanely disruptive.
What I find very interesting is that Korea South Korea has a tradition of simply following the crowd and playing nice with the past. Yet it seems nowadays at least with car design, Koreans are making everyone look basic and iterative by design.
Reckless innovation and disruption
I think one thing that Korea and South Korea and Hyundai Kia and Genesis has going for it is that there is not too long of a tradition with their design language and aesthetic design. And I believe this to be a huge benefit, because it allows for radical disruption.
Let us consider the tragedy of German design, like the Porsche 911. Even if they wanted to do something insanely disruptive with it, they can’t. Why? All of these heritage snobs from the past who refuse to allow it to change.
A personal note on my identity. I was born in 1988, in San Francisco, and was raised my whole life in the states. I always wanted to perfect my Korean in my Korean speaking abilities, mostly out of shame that my Korean speaking ability was not fluent.
Yet now, I see this as a feature, not a bug. That means, I am actually insanely well positioned to be the bridge between America and Korea, in terms of cars (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis), in terms of mobile technologies (Samsung, LG), and now, Korean aesthetics and fabrics.
Seize your destiny
My current workshops lineup —
- Rather than wasting money on a car, buying a new car or a used car, invest the money instead of upgrading your technologies for your website blog etc. For example, you can start a WordPress right now with Amazon Web services for free, the most basic package is only $3.50 a month! You can literally build 100 websites, for only about $350 USD a month! This will be my new direction.
- Don’t be weighed down by material things; sometimes I have this sense of opportunism which I just want to buy a bunch of stuff. But instead, don’t let things weigh you down. Instead what you could do is just rent as needed.
- If you want to get honest feedback on your photos, upload it right now to arsbeta.com
- If you want to gain deeper inside and philosophy of your life, have a chat with Zen of Eric, why app?
Or always find inspiration on EK BLOG >
- Something I am thinking more and more about is how annoying and difficult it is to remit payment and money while you’re abroad. For example, I am limited to only taking out about $300 a day for foreign ATMs in Korean won, insanely annoying. Fortunately my Amazon prime credit card works well internationally, but still, there needs to be more of a global seamless way. A promising thought is chainlink is partnering with swift, the international banking concept, to propose in a solution.
- Bitcoin may be the future world currency; currently speaking the US dollar is imploding, and we have too much fake money in the economy. Also the Chinese yuan is suffering massively. Maybe bitcoin might be the way. For example, imagine just buying a car for single bitcoin, or buying a house for 10 bitcoin. Crypto Thoughts >
Where to next?
Currently chilling in Hadong South Korea, but leaving in two days. Then going to be in Saigon Vietnam for about a month, lots more great innovation to come.
Stay updated on the ERIC KIM BLOG, feel free to forward this to a friend!
Stay posted with ERIC KIM NEWS >
Where to find inspiration?
- Watch the new John Wick 4, I consider it a 12 out of 10. Just buy it on Apple TV and watch the extras. Insanely inspiring.
- Spend more time with kids, or people who are under the age of 18 who have not yet been corrupted by the system. Spending time with them is insanely refreshing. Nowadays I despise spending time with adults, all of them think too same same.
- Travel, go abroad, jump in a plane and just go somewhere.
- Hadong South Korea might be my new creative paradise. I see a bright future ahead of me here, in Seoul and beyond.
- It seems that people really like the new Samsung smartphones. While I still think that iPhone is superior, maybe taking a more critical look at the new Samsung S phones is worth looking at.
- When in doubt, just shoot it.
- Life photography: don’t bifurcate your photography, just shoot it all.
- The best camera fits in your front right pocket. Currently speaking the best shorts to get are the Lululemon license to train shorts, big enough to fit even a relatively large camera in your front right pocket.
If so, START HERE.
How to Stimulate Economic Activity
Something that is currently on my mind is the thought of stimulating economic opportunity and activity. That is, how do you move people metaphorically and physically?
Not money, but economic activity?
An interesting thing being here in Korea; everyone uses the Korean won, KRW. A simple estimate is 10,000 won is around 8 dollars USD.
To me as an American, this is wholly confusing because I don’t really have a sense of how much things cost. For example let’s say you want to buy a home or a car, two very expensive things, the amount of zeros in commas is mind blowing.
Also, a funny thought at the end of the day:
It is all just monopoly play money.
For example, whenever I see a 10,000 won note, or even a 50,000 won note, it looks like fake money or play money to me. The same thing is when I see Vietnamese dong, or now even the US dollar.
My current thought is the best way to use and leverage money is to stimulate economic activity and to produce new things of value. For example, are insanely excited to share the announcement of HAPTIC ARMOR — available in the HAPTIC SHOP and ready for preorder. Shipping will begin mid August 2023. Don’t miss your chance to be the select few innovators to get this never-before seen product.
When I was back in Kyoto, I came up with this notion of “producerism“, the antithesis or the exact opposite of consumerism. The negative bias that we got in today’s world is that we think that we can only purchase things that we like, the culture of producing and making stuff that we like is a non-concept.
For example, let us say that you are really into fashion and design and other stuff like that. The typical workflow that we do is that we simply peruse stores, the internet etc., and we try to use our discerning taste to purchase clothing items or fashion items which we believe to echo our own personal aesthetic. However I believe a much more empowering path is to figure out how to obtain purchase and procure the raw material, and get either your mom, or someone with skills to actually sew and produce it.
I ever since becoming an itinerant nomad, I have a passion for fabrics and materials which I believe to be the most supreme. For example, my never ending quest to discover, produce, the best travel clothing, whether it be Marino wool for T-shirts, Lululemon license to train shorts with zippers in the front and back, or even the vibram five finger shoes. And the exofficio boxer briefs.
Something that I personally believe in is that if you desire to achieve the best possible life and lifestyle, becoming some sort of intermittent nomad is the best one. I call it the Genghis Khan lifestyle. That the purpose your life isn’t to buy a nice house somewhere and settle down, but always to be “on the road” or in transit, in between places. Never in one spot forever.
Some equipment that I am currently innovating:
- ERIC KIM CASH ARMOR: I have had a passion for merino wool the last decade or so, yet a new material and fabric which is new and foreign to me is cashmere. I actually believe that cashmere is the future and is merino wool 2.0; it is superior in terms of function. Another day I just put a typed traditional Japanese/Korean inspired cloak, made out of 100% cashmere. It is like my invisibility cloak.
- HAPTIC LINEN: While in Hadong South Korea, I discovered this new type of linen which I believe to be the game changer. Essentially it is 100% linen imported from Lithuania, one of the highest quality linen fabrics in the world. Yet what makes it interesting is that there is a South Korean company which processes and weaves the fabric, creating a unique three-dimensional grid weave pattern, with traditional Korean aesthetics. What makes it so phenomenal is that it is insanely strong, because it has a three dimensional hexagonal pattern; think of the octagon, which is one of the most powerful and robust patterns out there; just think of beehives and honeybees. We already have a prototype proof of concept product, which we will release an extremely limited quantities (first run is only 20 units). The use cases of it include an every day bath towel which dries insanely quickly, the other day Cindy used it to dry her self and Seneca off, and then I used it, and it was still dry. And within a few hours it already dried. Compare this to the hateful nature of cotton; it is heavy, smells bad, and takes forever to dry. It also doubles as a hot yoga mat towel; when you’re doing yoga or hot yoga, you can just drop it above your yoga mat, to prevent slippage. The third use case is using it as a rope or a shawl when out and about in nature or hiking, it is insanely breathable and can protect you from strong sun. Learn more about HAPTIC LINEN ARMOR >
What is the future of the new global economy? Not China, not Japan. The issue is that more and more companies are leaving China because of the tense political relationship between America and China. Let us consider that most manufacturing is all moving to Vietnam; Lululemon makes their clothing in Vietnam, Samsung makes their smartphones in Vietnam, and I think Apple is starting to move more production into Vietnam, I think they produced some AirPods in Vietnam.
I call it the Golden triangle; America, Korea and Vietnam.
America because it is the center of the universe; it has the world’s biggest military, and also the worlds highest spending power. South Korea I am shocked; the spending power of South Koreans is very strong. And third Vietnam, a new emerging middle class and noveau riche class in Vietnam, and also it is becoming the new mega production center.
Also, Samsung Hyundai Kia genesis and LG. America used to buy Sony TVs, now it seems that all the smart TVs produced and purchased in America are now all Samsung. Also, Americans are buying lots of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis cars. I think that Hyundai/Kia/Genesis will become the new Toyota and Lexus.
So a big thought is what is the purpose of economic activity and stirring and stimulating economic activity?
First, I think economic activity just makes everybody happier. For example, building new things, new buildings, new concepts motivates people. Second, it is good for world peace. If mainland Chinese want to keep purchasing iPhone Pros, would they really want to invade and create some sort of new World War III? No.
I also as individual entrepreneurs, life is just more fun and interesting. It is all an economic risk, but isn’t that what makes life fun and interesting?
How can you as an individual solo person stimulate economic activity?
Very very simple; produce products and attempt to sell them to other people, plan and schedule workshops or travel experiences and try to get people to sign up for them and travel with you, or just motivate people to do something.
For example, my personal impetus is that I want to inspire and motivate people to create more. To become more creative.
How to Become More Creative
Becoming more creative— some tips:
Creativity is our life blood. I believe the maximally happy life is the most creative one!
1. Create like a Child
The first thought is become more like a child. Why? A child creates without constraints, hesitation or fear.
Honestly one of the best benefits of having a kid is that it is probably the most interesting witness to creativity; you learn and understand how a child is creative, and you could cross reference this to your own adult life.
2. “Name one genius that ain’t crazy!”
I think it was once Aristotle who said something that behind every genius is a touch of madness.
I think in order to create recklessly, you must allow yourself to become a little “crazy“. Let us consider, how crazy people thought when Thomas Edison was trying to invent his lightbulb, how crazy people Elon Musk thought when he was trying to start Tesla and SpaceX, or how crazy people thought that Nikola Tesla was.
What is “craziness“ anyways? Unless you are actually afflicted with a obvious mental disorder, when people call you “crazy“, what do you mean to say is this:
“What you are doing or saying is so unlike what I believe in, how dare you be so unlike me!”
3. Creative spaces?
I think I also believe in is that there are certain physical spaces which encourage more creativity. Typically if you are surrounded by rolling hills, and greenery, a forest, and big open spaces, this will encourage more creativity.
Something that I have discovered more recently is Hadong South Korea is my new creative paradise!
4. Creative collaborative partners?
Perhaps the best optimization you could make in life is when it comes to marrying your partner, marry somebody you could be maximal creative with. For example, Cindy.
Why the economy?
What is the economy? To me it is just movement and activity of human people and bodies. For example, anything that can help motivate people to move literally and metaphorically is good.
For example, after John Wick came out, how many people were inspired to buy muscle cars or black dress shirts and blazers?
Or, let us consider how effectively Henri Cartier Bresson revolutionized photography and the whole photo industry; it is precisely because of a Henri Cartier Bresson that photography became mainstream. And also even now, the only reason someone will buy a Leica camera or Leica M rangefinder is because of Henri Cartier Besson. Essentially the ethos of Leica is simple; if you purchase our cameras you can become Henri Cartier Bresson. Or also more recently, by purchasing a Ricoh GR camera you can become ERIC KIM.
Very very simple. The number one most critical thing you do is start your website, self-hosted. The current workflow I recommend is building a WordPress website with Amazon web services.
Second, use media as your Archimedes lever. Produce videos, thought pieces, anything that can inspire other people.
Third, I currently believe that the best marketing tool is having your own self hosted email newsletter. That is, I recommend using sendy.co and setting up your email platform with Amazon web services (SES)— simple email service. The future is not Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, not even YouTube.
What do you desire to do?
I am no longer interested in what you can become; I am more interested in what you could do. What you could build, innovate, and put out there in the real world, or even the digital world. This is the great inspiring and motivating thought!
Innovate with EK
EK EXPERIENCES — curated and bespoke experiences to elevate and advance you to the next level:
Conquer the unknown with HAPTIC ARMOR >
Don’t delay, build now!
Fortuna Adiuvat Fortis
Fortune favors the brave:
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If this inspired you, feel free to forward this to a friend!
Some thoughts being here in South Korea:
Some optimistic motivational happenings
One hilariously optimistic thing was recently visiting the Costco in Daegu, South Korea. Cindy presented at a conference here, and it afforded us the chance to check out Daegu, which is the third largest city in Korea.
Daegu really cool, it was like the Osaka of Korea. Industrial and gritty, with lots of wabi sabi textures and patterns. Also we stayed at an insanely epic Airbnb there, which was very very inspiring. A look of what architecture could look like.
One thing I find very exciting about the future is this link between South Korea, and being an international American person. For example my mom recently got a Costco membership here in South Korea, and it only cost around 15 bucks for the whole year! Visiting the Costco in Daegu was so inspiring, because literally everything is there!
For example, Seneca only likes to eat his meat crispy and crunchy. Back home in the states we got an air fryer, but we didn’t really have that option here in Korea. Open till we went to the Costco, and we just bought an air fryer at the Costco for only 45 bucks!
Also, meat. We got a ton of ground beef at the Korean Costco, very good prices, and the hilarious thing is that the layout looks exactly the same as Costco back in America!
I’m currently in the midst of creating some new products, products which I believe can aid our every day lives, in both a practical and substantive way.
First, blankets. Ever since summer has hit us, I found a lot of these traditional cotton or microfiber blankets to be very unsatisfying, even the new bamboo ones. I’ve been really fascinated by linen lately, and I had this idea of creating a 100% linen blanket.
About a year ago I met a woman here who runs a Linen shop, she herself calls herself a “linen-holic”. The other day we finally had the chance to visit her store, which is beautiful and huge, and really inspiring. I was able to look through all of her fabrics, and all of her linen raw fabric material, and I chose this really exquisite grid weaved linen, very high-quality stuff from Lithuania, weaved here in South Korea.
I asked Lily (the linen ajoomah) about whether or that material could be weaved or made suitable for a summertime blanket. She said yes, and she even offered to sew and hen the edges, and was able to deliver the final product on the day of!
I slept with the 100% grid weaved linen blanket the other night, and it was literally the best night of sleep I’ve had. Typically when I sleep, I get really hot and sweaty, but with this 100% grid weaved linen blanket, it is so breathable and natural, that I was able to sleep through the night without any additional moisture or sweating.
My first inspiration with linen and the grid weaved pattern was getting this 100% linen grid weaved towel from outlier.nyc as a result of being so insanely frustrated with these cotton towels which take forever to dry, and also absorb too much moisture and smells. I think I bought the towel for $110, and it has been one of the best ways I’ve spent $110, and I use it almost 3 or four times a day! It even works well when I am doing hot yoga with Cindy, I just put it on top of the yoga mat, and it captures moisture very well, and dries so fast!
Therefore I am currently prototyping several products, which include a 100% linen grid weaved travel/everyday towel, hand towels to use in the kitchen, as well as some clothing options.
One of the best things about jumping on the plane, and traveling is that it really reawakens your inner spirit, and is thoroughly motivating for your soul.
For example, I’m starting to think that the Mongolian Genghis Khan approach to life might be best; living some sort of semi nomadic and itinerant life, with much questing, exploring, and conquering.
Also, photography. I still believe that photography might be one of the most underrated things out there. Even though now we all have an iPhone, or a smart phone, and we photograph everything, there is still so much opportunity to be had in terms of using the camera as a creative tool. Even checking out some of the local sites here in Hadong South Korea, I am so inspired.
The world is infinite
Another cool thing; using AAA, I was able to get an international drivers license, which works here in South Korea. Therefore the last week or so, I’ve actually been driving here in South Korea! Driving in South Korea is very straightforward, more or less the same as driving in the states. The only difference is that there are 1 billion speed cameras everywhere, but as long as you observe the local speed laws, you are fine.
Driving through the mountains of Hadong, I rate it as 1000 times more beautiful than even going to Yosemite! Much more mountainous, more trees, and some of the driving Pats are even more sublime then being in Kyoto Japan.
Anyways my thought was even if you spend the rest of your life here in South Korea and going on road trips, you would still not be able to see you at all! Which means,
Even if for the rest of your life you dedicated your life to photography and travel, and even if you shot 100 trillion photos, you would still not be able to capture it all!
Watching John Wick 4, the evil head honcho apparently had “unlimited resources“ from the “high table“. I also wondered to myself what would I do or how would I live my life if I had unlimited resources.
First, not being confined to any indoor space. The ideal is being able to always be out and about outside, either with my iPad or iPhone, with some sort of 4G or 5G connection.
Second, I need to figure out a more sustainable way to approach my weightlifting and fitness. For example back in the states, I am able to lift over 900 pounds at the gym, but when I’m on the road, it is an impossibility. Lately I’ve been getting good exercise just walking up and down the hill and mountain, holding Sen.
One thing that I love about South Korea is that now that we have access to Costco, I will never have to concern myself at all in regards to procuring my meat.
One thing I still think about the benefit of being in South Korea versus the rest the world is Internet speed and access. I actually believe it to be quite tragic that even back in the states, our Wi-Fi sucks. It is so slow, inaccessible and also expensive. Here in South Korea, gigabit Internet speeds is like tapwater.
However one thing which is still kind of like a mafia business is 4G, 5G data connections for your phone. For example, in South Korea, it is notoriously difficult to obtain an international Sim card, unless you get it at the airport. Things are even getting a little bit more complicated with the whole “eSIM system.”
Your ultimate life goals?
At the end of the day, I believe what we need to concern ourselves with is our ultimate life goals. That at the end of the day, what is it that we truly desire seek and want?
For myself, it is radical and insane innovation. To me, I believe my personal Archimedes lever is the ability to think aberrantly, and also have the chutzpah, guts, balls, and audacity to attempt new things. For example, thinking new theories, and acting in different, diverse and new ways.
Some life goals and approaches for myself:
- Creating new products which I believe can aid myself and others. For example, my current obsession with 100% linen, and this grid weave pattern concept.
- My obsession and my personal interest in diet health fitness etc.
- My passion for photography, photography art creation, and also video blogging blogging etc. Trying to figure out ways to help “platform“ (cindyanguyen.com) other creators.
- Trying to discover and innovate and pioneer new ways in which we can more effectively select our best photos. For example, I currently have a backlog of around 5000 photos, what is the best way for me to sort and sift through all of these photos, and quickly and effectively upload it and share it online to disseminate it to others?
- New clothing concepts? Trying to discover a better solution for travel clothing, and also every day clothing. Some current thoughts I have include creating a merino wool tank top, in which the bottom of the shirt doesn’t drag too low; to be just at your waist line. Also shorts. The current best shorts I have discovered is the Lululemon license to train shorts. Yet the problem is that the 7 inch length is simply too long. I’m interested in the 5 inch model, but maybe I need to go shorter. 3 inch?
- Merino wool leggings for travel, even in the summertime is a good idea. Why? The ability to create some sort of base layer which at least protects you a little bit from pesky mosquitoes which seem to really enjoy biting my ankles, and my legs.
Passion for car design?
Being here in Korea, I just witnessed the brand new Hyundai Grandeur on the streets and was insanely inspired! And it essentially looks like a futuristic Rolls-Royce, with the most fascinating futuristic cyberpunk design. Flush doorhandles, a rear end with a singular light strip, and proportions which simulates a Rolls-Royce sedan; high, rectangular, poised and confident. It is currently my new favorite car design.
Also the new Hyundai Ioniq 6; seeing it in the flesh, it is insanely cool. One of the most inspiring rear ends in a car. I read it as 1 million times more inspiring than any Tesla car.
The funny thing with cars and car design is this:
For myself at this point, I don’t really seek the “best“, which is actually probably a Tesla or something else. What I am more interested in is disruptive, futuristic, and badass design.
Once again, if I had the option of owning a Hyundai Grandeur or Hyundai Ioniq 6, or any other car out there, I would prefer a Hyundai Grandeur or the Ioniq 6, even though objectively both are probably not the best cars.
Lots of cool stuff to come. Stay posted.
If your hungry to broaden your horizons, and become more, check out some of my upcoming workshops in the states and beyond:
- Conquer Street Photography in PHILLY — October 14, 2023
- Conquer Creativity in Seattle, 2024, Feb 10th
Currently interested in some of the new cameras which are incipient (incoming). For example, everyone is waiting on the new RICOH GR IV to come out. What is personally on my wish list include a single thing; a built-in flash. Everything else is perfect in the RICOH GR III/IIIX.
Also, I am actually pretty excited or interested in some futuristic Fujifilm cameras, for example the Fujifilm x100VI, or even a really really compact Fujifilm camera that doesn’t have an electronic or optical viewfinder. I really think that electronic viewfinders or optical viewfinders are both a waste of space and design. All you need is an LCD screen.
Also, you don’t need a tilting or articulating LCD screen. This is another frivolous design concept.
The future of media creation?
It seems that one thing we have an insatiable appetite for is media. Media in the context of videos, film, Cinema, movies, podcast, YouTube videos, music, music videos etc.
Thus, the simple goal to entrepreneurship:
Just create and disseminate more media!
Create more, become more
Looking at some my photos here in HADONG South Korea, sublime.
What is sublime photography?
The first question at hand is what is sublime photography, what makes it sublime etc.? First and foremost, I think a sublime photo is effortlessly beautiful, has a lot of curves and squiggly lines in it, arabesque composition etc.
Also, to me a sublime photo is black and white monochrome. Grain, contrast. The best way to do this is use a digital camera which has a built-in JPEG setting that allows you to add maximum grain and contrast. For example I really actually like the grain simulation in my Panasonic Lumix G9 camera, maybe even the green effect is even more beautiful than the Ricoh GR 3 and GR 3X.
Wabi sabi aesthetics
Why grain? I believe that grain makes a photo beautiful because in terms of aesthetics, images which are too clean and perfect and sanitized lack dynamism. For example, just shooting a typical iPhone photo with HDR enabled in color mode, default mode, with all of the highlights and shadows true to life, typically speaking the photos are not that interesting. Why? We disdain the normal and every day and the real. Instead I think what we like is the hyperreal the surreal etc.
For example, the reason why I find Kyoto Japan to be one of the most beautiful places on planet earth is because of the wabi sabi aesthetics; the beautiful wear and tear and patina. Also what makes Japanese aesthetics so unique and interesting is that because they are an island and were sequestered from the rest of the world for so long, they were actually able to build their own unique system of aesthetics. For example even though I really love Korea, I think the downside of Korea and Korean aesthetics is that they did not have enough time to develop it; too much time being invaded by Japan, China, and now America etc.
How do we make sublime photos?
First and foremost, I think you must develop your taste and aesthetic preferences for your photos. The difficulty that a lot of photographers have, especially young photographers (it doesn’t matter your age, just assuming that you’re starting off) is that they don’t really know what they like.
Also the difficulty is that in terms of aesthetic taste, so much of aesthetics is tyranny; those in power and those on top try to superimpose their aesthetic taste and preferences to you in a tyrannatical matter.
For example, it seems that the current art world in photography had this preference for what I call “emo” medium format or large format film photography. Essentially photos with high definition and resolution in medium format or large format film photos, and whatever you photograph needs to be boring, plain, and emo.
There also seems to be a trend towards both the photographer and the subject of being disinterested, “objective“, and unattached.
I personally find this approach to not only be boring, but also weak and anemic. It’s like eating nothing but kale and lentils for the rest of your life, not even salt or garlic or pepper allowed.
More robust, stronger and more powerful approaches
I also have a personal theory that the physiology of the photographer also affects and influences the photos that they make.
For example, if you are sad, depressed, weak, pale and anemic, lacking exposure to natural light, certainly the photos you produce will also be the same.
Let us just take a good hard look at the modern day photographer. Who are they and what do they look like? First and foremost they don’t seem to exercise, hit the gym, and also they do not eat enough red meat. Their aesthetic preferences generally tends towards the past; they prefer vinyl records, flannel, the old and musty. The hilarious irony is that they believe film photography to be supreme, yet they always seem to have the newest iPhone Pro and spend waaay too much time on Instagram and social media. The simple heuristic:
Trust no photographer on Instagram.
First, ascertain your aesthetic preferences, and pursue your own aesthetic ideals of beauty.
Second, do it digitally. Why? Fewer obstacles, and things to get in your way. I still have around 50 rules of Kodak portra 400 undeveloped and 20 rolls of Kodak Triax 400 I have yet developed, I doubt that I’ll actually ever have time to develop it.
It isn’t necessarily “excuses“ which get in our way; simply, most of us lack time. Even me, as a full-time self-employed individual, even I barely have enough time to keep up with my photography in terms of reviewing my photos uploading them selecting them etc.
Actually one entrepreneurial idea I got is creating some sort of app or program which can look through your whole photo library, and automatically select your best ones. This would be such a great idea because once again, if you have a backlog of 5000 photos, how will you ever have the chance an opportunity to review it all?
Studying the masters then killing them
My personal aesthetic is a combination of Henri Cartier Bresson, Richard Avedon, Joseph Koudelka, and Daido Moriyama.
I love black and white, high grain high contrast etc.
The reason why I love the static is that it is hard, strong, enforced. Also a pragmatic thing as well is that it simplifies scenes and things and people, makes them more dark and mysterious etc. In fact like a good movie, there must always be some sort of element of uncertainty and mystery.
Seek sublime at an EK EXPERIENCE:
- October 14, 2024: CONQUER THR STREETS OF PHILLY
- SEATTLE SUBLIME CREATIVITY WORKSHOP 2024 (New!), Feb 10th
Never stop learning:
- Dropbox link to all free PDF EBOOKS >
- Contact Sheets by ERIC KIM
- Black and white photos by ERIC KIM
Also when in doubt,
Photography is Beautiful
A very optimistic thought; photography is beautiful.
Then, a very simple path we have as visual artists and creators a simple; just make more photos!
Why do photographers have such low self-esteem?
This is a legitimate question. Why is it that photographers have such a low self-esteem? Especially digital photographers?
First, all of these skinny fat losers, with trucker hats and beards, tattoos and not enough time in the sun try to distinguish themselves by shooting film, as a means to obfuscate their own personal insecurities.
Also, the art world is a weird place. I remember reading Howard Becker, his book “Art worlds“, and essentially at the end of the day, art and the art world is just a sociological phenomenon. Therefore to my great appreciation, studying sociology might have been the number one most critical thing for me to succeed as a modern photographer.
The international association of name droppers
A funny phrase from Nassim Taleb. Essentially people try to build their own personal legitimacy as either curators, artists, by trying to name drop all of these obscure artists and painters and photographers.
However, what I have discovered is that anyone who name drops anyone ad nauseam (until you want to throw up) is simply an individual with too much brains, not enough balls.
Maybe it is also a means to have individuals feel not as bad for wasting all this money on art school. It seems that the typical individual who goes to art school or any private school, can easily accrue $200,000 of debt. Certainly when they see somebody like ERIC KIM become so massively successful without all of that training, it makes sense that they are unhappy about it.
How is photography beautiful?
It is simple; when you see a photo that you have shot, and it is beautiful in your eyes, it is beautiful period.
I have experimented a lot myself, and in the quest of making beautiful photos, I have done and tried everything. Simple conclusions:
- The Ricoh GRII, Ricoh GR 3, Ricoh GR 3X; all of these cameras you can produce very very beautiful photos, especially high contrast black and white JPEG photos for the GR III/x. For the OG Ricoh GR II, shoot raw and use the free ERIC KIM PRESETS.
- Another camera that I have discovered which can produce insanely beautiful photos is the Panasonic Lumix G9, in high contrast black-and-white dynamic monochrome mode, with the grain and contrast set to max in JPEG.
Of course film produces magnificently beautiful photos. Yet, if you could produce the same thing in digital, maybe even more beautiful, doesn’t digital make more sense?
For example, the reason why digital cameras are superior to film cameras; the insanely close minimum focusing distance for macro mode! Film cameras cannot do this. Digital cameras can.
For example, the Lumix G9, because it is a micro 4/3 camera, the minimum focusing distance in macro mode is very very close. Being able to shoot these beautiful up close photos of the eyes of Seneca is magnificent.
Or, consider the Ricoh GR 3 or 3X, the macro mode of it is incredible!
So what is the point?
It seems that the bias in photography is this; become a very very famous and successful photographer, get a bunch of social media followers and likes, repeat etc.
Yet, this crusty old antiquated notion must be killed. We must go beyond the basic Parisian notions of success with galleries, solo publications, printed books, fine art print etc. We got to go Musk and Tesla and SpaceX; think carte blanche, think from scratch.
The first insanely simple thought is just make your own photography blog. My new approach is using Amazon Web services, Amazon lightsail and producing a WordPress instance, you can start off free! And after that it only costs $3.50 a month. That is the price of a single shot of espresso. Imagine only drinking one espresso a month! If you cannot afford $3.50 a month, this is weird.
And also consider the great idea that essentially you can upload and post 1000 photos at once, as a single blog post, essentially free! It is 1 trillion times cheaper and faster then printing photos in person.
How did ERIC KIM become such an innovative thinker in photography?
Ultimately at the end of the day, photography is my Archimedes lever. It is the thing I love the most, I am the most passionate about, and thing which is indefinitely fascinating to me.
Ultimately for myself, it is simply personal curiosity which has led me this far. As I write these words I am currently 35 years old, and I started my blog and my website at the age of 18 years old! Just give me three more years and I’ve been in the game for two decades!
Perhaps the biggest way you can reinspire yourself in photography is have a kid, and just hand them your camera at a young age, and see what they could do with it. As early as I could remember, maybe even nine months old, I would let Seneca play with my Ricoh GR three, and then later my Ricoh GR 3X. Now at the age of two years and four months old, I am so surprised that he could pick up my Lumix G9 and shoot photos with ease.
Also, some thing that I have let him do it ever since he was insanely young was take the SD cards out of my cameras, take the batteries out of my cameras, and teach them how to import photos into my iPad using the USB-C to SD card reader for my iPad.
Kids are highly underrated. I think people would be 1 trillion times happier if they had kids instead of dogs.
Why so uninspired?
Truth be told, a lot of modern day life sucks. If you’re stuck in the office all day, or in zoom meetings all day, not only is this bad for your health and soul, it is also bad for your photography.
A simple solution is just travel every once in a while. Even as I voice dictate these words into my iPad Pro, walking around in the mountains of a Hadong South Korea, I love being here.
People waste too much money on their homes, their cars, other silly things. My personal thought is just devote 90% of your money to travel, live nomadically, live abroad, or just shake up things every once in a while. The simplest solution to re-inspire yourself as a photographer is just get your ass into a plane.
Even the airport, an insanely dynamic place which breathed new life into me.
Life goals are important. Why? To dream big and audaciously is not only fun and interesting, but also very creative and imaginative!
For example my new life goal is to inspire the creativity of every single human being on planet earth, all 7+ billion of us. Photography may be the path, as it is the easiest most accessible form of art creation in today’s world. All you need is an iPhone SE and you’re good.
So where should I go?
So many opportunities.
Some places that I have been to which have been insanely inspiring to me include Saigon and Hanoi in Vietnam, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Dubai, Stockholm, and also Seoul South Korea. Japan is also great, Osaka Tokyo in Kyoto, just watch the new John Wick 4 movie and see the sequences in the Osaka intercontinental hotel. Stunning.
Honestly any place that you go to, any place you travel to which is not your home is good.
Also it doesn’t need to even be a big city. Even retreating to the countryside or the mountain side is good!
All you need is a Wi-Fi connection
As long as you have a website and Wi-Fi connection, what else do you need!
Where will you go next?
Travel with me:
Other creative ideas
One of the richest places to gain inspiration as a photographer is film and cinema. Why? I find the compositions in great films and movie to be much more inspiring than even looking at photos or photo books. Why? The cinematographer and the director has all the time in the world to set up their shots, which means that the compositions they produce are so so so so beautiful and fascinating.
Even John Wick 4– just buy it on Apple TV, and watch the extras. It is so inspiring.
Some sequences that I personally love in John Wick 4 include the Osaka scene, the cinematography of the high-rise office building in New York City, and the sequences in Paris.
Other places to get inspiration
I have a simple thought; if you walk 30,000 steps a day, it doesn’t even matter where you go, and assuming that you have a camera in your front right pocket, or even an iPhone, how can you not be inspired?
A simple solution is get the lululemon license to train shorts, the one with the big front zipper pockets, and just put your camera whatever it is in your front right pocket. If it cannot fit, it is no good.
I think philosophically, a lot of us seek deeper meaning with our art and creativity. In today’s modern day capitalistic world, it seems that the only measures of success include notions of “progress“, growth, increased numbers, money, human heads etc.
For example, a lot of people think that they are progressing in their photography if they’re getting more followers on social media or more likes. Or, monetary gains.
However all of this is in accurate, as the algorithms which govern social media are slanted towards arbitrary measures.
I say, as long as if every single day you’re shooting your photos, reviewing the photos that you shoot, and having fun, you’re perfect!
Share the motivation
If you have a fellow photographer friend or family member that needs a shot of inspiration, feel free to forward this to them!
What do people really think of your photos?
Upload it to arsbeta.com and find out!
Photography fitness ideas?
If you could lift over 960 pounds with your legs, certainly is this will help your photography.
Also, a lot of photographers as well will benefit from just doing basic yoga stretches, like downward up dog, three legged dog, pigeon pose, scorpion pose, mermaid pose. Why? The more agile you become and easier you can squat down all the way to the floor, the more creative and innovative compositions you can make.
The genius is in your legs!
Every day is leg day
Other exercises which can benefit you include very very heavy Farmer’s walks, with the heaviest dumbbells you can muster, whether it be 100 pounds or 150 pounds, lift it up with chalk and see how far you could walk it out.
Or just do very very heavy rack pulls, sumo deadlift form with the mixed grip. Just YouTube or Google “ERIC KIM rack pull” and find out.
The general idea is that any exercise that you do while standing is good for you. Any exercise in which you are lying on your back or sitting is bad.
Just shoot it!
And let us never forget our motto:
When in doubt, just shoot it!
- The best lifestyle is a zen lifestyle?
- New life goals
- The plan for the creative thriving of every single human being on planet earth
Never run out of inspiration
Fortuna adiuvat Fortis.
Fortune favors the brave!
Lady fortune favors the insanely bold, strong, and foolishly brave!
Some thoughts on creative thriving:
First and foremost, it is my insanely ambitious and audacious goal in life to enable the creative thriving of every single human being on planet earth. All 7+ billion of us.
The super super basic thought is just put an iPad in the hands of every single human being. Certainly there will be lots of people who squander its potential, yet, if used intelligently, you can unlock wonders.
For example, the Procreate app, Zen Brush for calligraphy, and also all of these abilities to create using voice dictation, writing without this nonsensical keyboard, which I feel like was a very disingenuous move from Apple. It was the ambition of Steve Jobs for the iPad to never have either a stylus or a keyboard; it was only after the death of Steve Jobs when these sneaky executives like Tim Cook approved it.
It is all good
Photo, video, audio, music, podcast, video podcasts— there are a trillion opportunities for you. There is really no good or bad way to do it; to simply create it is the goal.
Also the simple solution is to just create a public forward facing website using Amazon web services and Lightsail to host your WordPress instance. Also the great thing, starting off it is totally free!
I think the great thing about free is that it unlocks opportunity. Even a 99 cent entry will close off a lot of people.
Travel, being somewhere else?
I think also another big thing is traveling, and being somewhere else which is not “home“.
Even a simple super simple thing of transitioning to an airport, seeing the airport, and all the dynamic activity around it is insanely creatively stimulating for us.
Another thought is great cinema and film; I personally rate John Wick 4 as a perfect 10 or 10, maybe even a 12 out of 10.
Why? To me a great film inspires you, motivates you to keep traveling, seeing the world, and creating art. Even seeing the scene of the Osaka intercontinental hotel was so inspiring to me, it makes me want to go back to Japan. Also the pride of knowing that me and Cindy actually did spend some time living abroad in Osaka as well. Osaka photos >
Digital is the way
I am the first photographer who said that digital is actually superior than film, and actually means it.
Also, I don’t know a single photographer who could lift over 960 pounds.
Creating new approaches for yourself
For example for myself, my new definition of success as a photographer is to simply stay motivated to keep making photos. The second you lose motivation to make photos, consider yourself dead.
What is “creativity”?
Creativity — the propensity to create.
If you derive your primary joy in life from creating, you are a “creative“ person.
Becoming more “creative”?
Then it seems that our goal is to become more creative. How does one become more creative? Some thoughts:
1. First and foremost, think and create like a child.
For example, child’s mind is the most pure. Even Seneca at two years and four months old, she creates without hesitation, no self doubt etc.
Also what is very fascinating about Seneca as a photographer is that he loves to shoot photos, but he doesn’t really care to see them. Perhaps it is the joy of the shooting which he loves the most.
2. Second, steal inspiration from anywhere.
It doesn’t matter where you steal from, as long as it inspires you it is good.
Third, know that even the most “low brow“ places can be the sources of the richest inspiration. For example, I am 1 trillion times more inspired by John Wick than any other film at there combined. Even a fun fact, apparently in the whole film, John Wick only says 200 words. That is gangsta.
Unlock your hidden creative genius
- Make your own photography portfolio website, and share all of your works in progress. Build it with wordpress.org, and just blog it.
- If you want critical and honest feedback on your photos, upload it to arsbeta.com
- Don’t put yourself in any narrow category as a photographer or creative person. Just think of yourself like a big kid with crayons.
Share the thoughts!
Feeling a little more creative? Feel free to forward this to a friend!
iPad and Procreate — ERIC KIM x SENECA THIEN ANH KIM:
THE LIFE OF SENECA
After a lot of thinking and philosophizing, this is what I have gathered:
I think the ultimate privilege is simply to strive to make great photos, become a great photographer, and become an ever greater photographer.
The first thought to think and consider is this:
What does it mean to become a great photographer, and is it even a possible thing to become the “greatest“ photographer?
Being inspired to make photos until you die at the age of 120
OK so let us assume that I could predict with you with 100% certainty that you will live to be 120 years old, in phenomenal health. If that were the case, how can you structure your life in such a way which allows you to stay inspired and motivated to make photos until you die at 122?
First things first, don’t own a home. At worst, just own a condo. A lot of my successful friends, like my friends Don Dillon and Tim Flangan have done this; the upside of owning a condo is that you can just travel, and travel the world, and ultimately you will still have somewhere to keep your stuff, and go back home to. And at least when you’re on the road, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your home or the outside of your house.
Second, structuring your life which allows maximum movement and independence. This means a life in which you spend a good amount of time on the road, traveling, in other foreign places. It could be as simple as wing road trips in America, or more complex like traveling internationally. The world is a big ass place. And this is what gives me great hope.
For example, there are still 1 trillion places that have not yet been to, which I am interested in. I’m interested in going to Lagos Nigeria, Morocco, South America, Eastern Europe, Hungary, etc. And before all of this Ukraine Putin stuff, I was very interested in going to Russia Moscow.
Making great photos
I hate to say it, but certainly there is a hierarchy in terms of great photos compared to not as great photos. What is the differentiating factor?
For myself, when I study the work of Henri Cartier Bresson, and look at his more advanced works, he is really good at the arabesque composition. The squiggly line composition, which adds elegance to his photos.
Also, a Dionysian aesthetic. This means a dark, hard aesthetic. Extremely high contrast black and white, extremely high grain. For example, lately I’ve been shooting on my Lumix G9 camera, after my Ricoh GR 3X broke. I was able to use the in camera JPEG setting of dynamic monochrome, adjusting the contrast to the max, the grain to the max, and I think I have discovered a new aesthetic which I might even prefer over the Ricoh GR 3X in camera high contrast black and white.
In terms of longevity, I believe black and white is more durable than color. Why is this?
First and foremost, we don’t see the world in black-and-white. This alone is the massive differentiating factor between black-and-white photography and color photography.
Secondly, color, color science, digital cameras, sensors, sensor technology is always changing in terms of color. Also JPEG, RAW settings. CMOS vs CCD sensors for color, etc. this alone is a massive headache; and there is also a quadrillion different types of ways to print color, display color, and also view monitors with different color profiles etc. Black and white makes your life 1 trillion times easier.
The path to become a great photographer
How does one become a great photographer?
I think first of all, I think having an over stated ego, over inflated ego, over inflated self-confidence is a virtue and a good thing. First, I think you must have the desire, the audacity, and also the chutzpah to desire to become a great photographer.
I believe the 99.99% issue with modern day life is that it is considered immoral to desire to become great. That somehow, greatness, and striving to become great, is actually considered a vice.
Modern day life says one must be quiet, low-key, and ashamed of oneself. It is considered a vice to self promote, have self confidence in oneself etc.
I say, perhaps the best thing you could teach yourself, and also teach our kids is in fact to gain more self-confidence, to gain more audacity.
In terms of making great photos, my simple thought is that making great photos is all about making photos which are strong, simple, and hard.
For example, some aesthetic thoughts:
- Extremely high contrast black-and-white
- Simple backgrounds
- Some sort of strong character, subject, or happening or mood behind the photo
Making “objectively” great photos?
Something which I believe which is very unorthodox:
Personally speaking, I do believe that it is actually possible to make an objectively great photo.
But the question is, who decides?
First of all, you decide. Then maybe EK or arsbeta.com can decide.
Whose opinion matters?
In terms of photography, and your photos, whose opinion truly matters?
For example, do you want everyone to universally call you a great photographer, and bow down before you?
This is what I have discovered after having attended a magnum workshop, meeting Magnum Photographers, etc:
Nobody is happy.
Becoming a happy photographer?
I had a funny idea, if I want to start a gym, I want to call it “happy gym”.
Why? Isn’t the point of going to the gym just be happy, become happier?
Even Joe Gold, the guy who started golds gym said “the point of going to the gym is to have fun!”
I think the same as in photography. Isn’t and shouldn’t the purpose of photography to be happy?
Resources to become a great photographer
- CONQUER PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIFE IN DOWNTOWN LA June 17th
- July 15-16th: SAIGON WORKSHOP (details to be announced)
- OCT 14th— PHILLY WORKSHOP DETAILS TBA
- iPad is a brick? I insanely love the iPad Pro, but I’m starting to realize it is a brick. Why? I keep hitting the 2 TB family limit, and irregardless of how many times I go back and delete all of my old photos and videos etc., I still keep hitting the max. Perhaps it is a good time to just transition back into Adobe Lightroom or Lightroom classic, and just do it on my laptop, off the cloud.
- Testosterone in photography? It is my personal theory that there is a connection between testosterone and photography. Perhaps when we see a beautiful woman, or we want to shoot a street photo, or we want to shoot a street portrait, this boosts and affects and influences our testosterone? As a consequence, perhaps the best thing you could do for your street photography and your photography and life in general is striving to naturally boost your testosterone, consuming more beef, organ meats, and hitting one rep maxes at the gym. 885 pounds atlas lift.
- I’m over Tesla? Me and Seneca just checked out the new Tesla model S in ultra red, and it looks great. I think Tesla and Elon really nailed it here; the previous red colors were not vibrant nor bold enough. Now, I think the Tesla model S plaid in ultra red is probably a perfect car. Especially with the all black interior and the new yoke steering wheel; there is literally no flaws I see. Yet once I have discovered perfect, I no longer feel a strong desire or need to own it anymore? Therefore, maybe the most intelligent strategy then is to just buy Tesla stock, or invest in anything Elon Musk does. Maybe I’ll be the first person to own $1 million worth of Tesla stock, yet not actually own a Tesla car myself.
- How can you gain critical feedback and constructive feedback to improve your photography? Upload your photos to arsbeta.com
- I still think there is a very good opportunity to be had when it comes to websites and blogs for your photography. What I am personally curious about is how to design a website which is very conducive to this.
ZIP of JPEG images
- Longevity (monochrome photos will last longer than color)
- Simpler (focus on shapes, forms, and tones)
- RICOH GR III already makes the best high-contrast JPEG photos (high contrast monochrome). iPhone Pro in Noir also looks fantastic
- Simpler is better.
All black everything:
- How to Make Better Black and White Photos
- Why I Don’t Like Grey
- Crush the Blacks
- MONOCHROM: The Streets Are Your Rome
- Black is Good; White is Bad
- Black Canvas
- Monochrome Manual
- How to Shoot Black and White Street Photography
- Why Shoot Black and White?
- Video: How to Master Monochrome
- Eric Kim Lightroom Presets (use Monochrome 1600)
I am not the best photographer, but I am a great photographer. How did I do it?
We can all become great photographers
I became a great photographer because I’m hungry, I’m curious, and I am always learning:
I share my learnings
This is important. You must share what you learn!
I mastered the masters
I studied all the masters of photography and learned from them. A world-class education.
Even to master Henri Cartier-Bresson.
I have spoken. RICOH IS KING. The best camera on the market, at any price-point.
Which RICOH is best?
The newest one.
I have made great photos on RICOH GR II, and I consider it a perfect camera. Some of my best RICOH GR II photos:
RICOH GR III
Newest Ricoh is currently the GR III. Also a great camera.
IN PRAISE OF RICOH GR II
I think the best camera for photography is the Ricoh GR II.
First of all; this is just my opinion. Now that we have that out of the way, let us continue:
1. Why I love the Ricoh GR II
I’ve been afflicted with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) for most of my life. I started with a simple canon point and shoot camera (SD 600), and thought I needed to upgrade my camera to make better photos. I bought a Canon Rebel XT (350D), then the internet told me that I ‘had’ to get a full-frame camera to make better photos. After pulling out student loans, I bought a Canon 5D, 35mm f/2, 24mm f/2.8, a Canon 70-200 f/4 L, a Sigma 100mmm macro, and other accessories I thought I ‘needed.’
My passion was street photography, and when I started to study the masters of photography (Henri Cartier-Bresson), I found that he shot with a Leica. I soon became convinced that I needed to buy a Leica if I wanted to conquer my fears in street photography, to feel more ‘inspired’ to go out and make photos, and to better capture the ‘decisive moment.’
One day, I finally got the Leica M9. I thought it would fix all my life’s problems. It didn’t. Rather, it (eventually) started to collect dust on my shelf like any other camera. I then discovered the lie we are all spoon-fed by the internet and camera companies:
“If your photos aren’t good enough; your camera isn’t expensive enough.”
2. The best camera fits in your pocket
I am convinced the best camera is the one that fits in your front pocket. That can be your smartphone, or a simple point and shoot camera. I prefer the Ricoh GR II because it fits in my front pocket, has a large sensor with great image quality (APS-C sized), and is affordable.
I’ve owned Leica cameras in the past, and the problem with it is that you can’t fit a Leica in your front pocket. And if you have a Leica and a lens, it is actually heavier than it seems. Of course, a DSLR is much heavier.
So the thing I realized for myself: the smaller my camera, the more compact, and the lighter it is– the more likely I am to carry it with me wherever I go, and the more likely I am to make photographs, and the more likely I am to find joy, happiness, and creativity in my life.
3. Set it and forget it
Another thing I learned:
Set it and forget it.
I keep my camera in P (program) mode, ISO 1600, center-point autofocus, and shoot in RAW with high-contrast black and white preview. I just point and shoot.
I follow my intuition when I make photographs. I don’t think. I just photograph what looks interesting to me. Afterwards when I go home, and look at my photos in Lightroom, I choose my favorite photos– and decide which to keep and ditch.
4. Bigger and heavier is worse
The bigger your camera; the less likely you are to always have it with you, and therefore, the fewer photos you will shoot.
When I had the Canon 5D, Canon L zoom lens, I felt like a ‘pro.’ Yet it was so heavy, and I hated carrying it with me. Even when I backpacked through Europe in college (with the Canon 5D, 35mm f/2, and 24mm f/2.8) I wish I left the camera at home. The heavy camera made my trip less pleasant. It made me less mobile. I became a slave to the camera, because my focus was to make good photos — rather than to have a good experience.
A big thing I love about the Ricoh GR II: the built-in flash. I use a flash in a lot of my photos, and it is easier to have it integrated into the camera, rather than having to have an external flash.
The flash adds better contrast to my photos, and a nice ‘pop.’ I make a stronger ‘figure to ground’ composition in my photographs. Also, it helps me control the light, when the light isn’t always in my favor.
I am no longer a slave to light. Now with the flash; the light is my slave.
No matter how advanced technology becomes, the human hand will not change. We need cameras that fit comfortably in our hand.
The Ricoh GR II fits perfectly in my hand. It is a small compact camera, yet has a sturdy grip. It is built solid, and doesn’t feel cheap.
The design of the Ricoh GR II is pretty much perfect. There is nothing left to add or subtract. The design has been a classic– since the film Ricoh GR cameras. It is like a Leica camera– the design is perfected.
The GR II looks good from any angle, and fits in your front pocket. I like how the lens comes out when you turn it on, which allows the camera to be smaller.
Also, menus and the user interface is important. I think the Ricoh GR II camera was actually engineered and designed by photographers. Why? The menus are simple, make sense, and not superfluous. You can almost customize everything, but still find all the options.
I am a big fan of the ‘adjustment lever’ on the back of the Ricoh GR II — which makes it easy for me to change the ISO, focusing, and other options (you can program this).
Furthermore, I like how not everything is programable in the dials. I think it is the responsibility of the camera designers to know what is best for the photographer. I believe in the Steve Jobs model — people don’t know what they want until you give it to them.
I love how easy it is to change the exposure-compensation on the back of the camera as well.
10. Image quality
- For monochrome, the Ricoh GR II looks amazing from ISO 1600-3200.
- For color, the Ricoh GR II looks great from ISO 800-1600.
Because it has a larger sensor, the images are a lot sharper, and have more detail and resolution than a smartphone. I am still a big fan of smartphone photography, but I still prefer the look of the photos I get on the Ricoh GR II.
The Ricoh GR II is by default a 28mm lens (full-frame equivalent). You can also turn on a 35mm/50mm crop mode. I used to shoot the 35mm crop mode quite a bit, but since then, I have transitioned into shooting 28mm for everything; as I find it more of a fun challenge.
The lens is very sharp, and the aperture of 2.8 is more than I need.
12. No camera is perfect
The Ricoh GR II isn’t perfect. The autofocus is relatively slow, inaccurate, and the buffer for RAW files is a bit slow.
Yet, despite those flaws, I still think it is perfect to me. I have made some of the most meaningful personal photos with it the last 2 years, and great street photos as well.
I also love it for travel. Small and light, and I can charge it via a USB cable. So no need for superfluous chargers.
I genuinely believe that any photographer that buys a Ricoh GR II will love it, and it will allow them to always have their camera with them (no excuses), end up making more photos, and finding more personal meaning in their photography and life.
13. Don’t buy it if you cannot afford it
If you’re tight on a budget; please don’t buy the Ricoh GR II. Just use the camera you already own, and make photos that make your heart sing.
14. Make more art
The smaller and less obtrusive the camera; the better. The more art you can make. So regardless if you use your smartphone or whatever– just make more art:
- How to Make Better Photos
- The Art of Street Photography
- The Art of Photography
- How to Conquer Your Fears in Art
- How to Be a More Productive Artist
- How to Have More Confidence as an Artist
- Make Photos for the Sake of Making Photos
- Make, Don’t Take Photos
- Perfect Pearl
- Make Photos to Delight Your Soul
- Revel in Your Defective Artistry
- Photography is Poetry Without Words
- Labor to Make Your Photos Concise