Really Popular Arrows, Eric Kim, And What That Beautiful Girl Told You In High School


If you see this picture, it’s mine.  It’s mine in the sense that I took it.  I took this picture.

I took it at the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe’s Snow Mountain Pow Wow, March 29, 2010. It was a weird day.

Basically, my Canon Powershot A1000 ran out of batteries. I took two sets of batteries and both were short. It was a drag.  Here’s a teachable moment: You can never have too many batteries on hand for a shoot.

I had been really looking forward to this too because I had taken a lot of really good stuff a the Pow Wow the previous year.  Unfortunately, I had only gotten a handful of pics before my camera died.  Twice.  Most were throwaway shots.  Like this one.  Honestly, I thought these arrows were cool, so I squared up, composed the shot, clicked the shutter and really didn’t think much of it afterward.

Until this picture started making the rounds on tumblr.  And I mean, make the rounds.  Just look how much this picture has been shared.  I didn’t think too much of it because, with tumblr, it links back to my flickr page.  Which is fine, I just want the credit.

Which is exactly what has been happening.  As of this writing, that picture has garnered more than twice the amount of views than my next highest viewed picture. It’s skyrocketing.

In fact, I have been worrying about how much this is making the rounds.  I don’t know what, specifically, I have been worried about, I’ve just had a worried mind.  It’s like I’m losing control over it.

I bring this up because of Street Photographer Eric Kim.  He’s famous, see, and he’s giving away his photographs.  Just giving them away.

He has a vision of Open Source Photography, and has just announced that all of his photos on Flickr are now available for free as full-resolution downloads. See, Eric Kim doesn’t want to, in his words, “become a blood-thirsty capitalist/vampire trying to suck profits out of the street photography community.”  Eric Kim doesn’t have a worried mind.  At least not about losing control of his photographs.

I bring Eric Kim up because I am not interested in giving away my photographs.  Well, that’s not necessarily true.  But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, I need to start acting like my photography is worth something.  I just haven’t worked through exactly what that means.  Or what it should look like.  It’s like what that beautiful girl told you in high school, “I’m in a weird place right now.”

In a perfect world people would give me money for my art.  I make art.  People buy my art.  I use money to pay rent, buy food, and more camera gear, more prints, and make more art.  Which, then, people buy more of.  And so on.  I’ve always kind of thought that how it should work.  But, I’m learning it doesn’t work like that, does it.

You know that guy who said, “Do what you love and the money will follow?”  I’m gonna kick that guy in the groin so hard.

So, maybe Eric Kim has the right idea?  And maybe that’s not so bad.  I would rather live in a world where my photographs are out there being shared, instead of living in a world of just crappy snapshots.  Or no photographs at all.

See that photograph of the arrows?  It’s mine. It’s mine in the sense that I took it. I took that picture.  But, maybe, since I posted it on the web, it stopped being “mine”.  And maybe that’s not so bad.

I’d still like the credit, though.


One thought on “Really Popular Arrows, Eric Kim, And What That Beautiful Girl Told You In High School

  1. If there is one thing I have learned as a creative type is that there’s a never-ending struggle between wanting money for our craft and simply wanting to share it without any financial gain. As artists, we tend to worry if financial gain means selling out or greed. We want our work to be viewed as meaningful and filled with real substance, not yet another tool giving into “The Man” so to speak. It’s a hard thing to deal with. But, like you, at the very least I want credit for my work.

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