I fudging hate pretentious photography, and pretentious photographers.

Okay imma rant a little bit. If you don’t like the tone, please close this page.

Cool. You still here? Let’s continue.

Where I’m coming from.

I’m probably lower than average intelligence. I was mostly a straight B+ student in school, although I took all AP (advanced placement) classes.

Math was hard. It never made sense to me.

Grammar and English was hard. All these grammar rules didn’t seem to make sense. I used to actually have a slight speech impediment as a kid, my mother diagnosed me and sent me to a speech therapist at age 11. I would often repeat words, echo the words after saying it (subconsciously), and I often have mild dyslexia (I reverse the order of words).

School was also boring. I was the kid who asked to use the bathroom every 15 minutes. Teachers didn’t really like me much.

Anyways, I worked hard in school to make my momma proud. I also stacked up on community service and extracurricular activities, because this was my college strategy:

I will not get into UCLA with my GPA (grade point average). I’m not that smart. Yet, I can have a shit load of community service and activities, to prop myself up.

I played tennis from my sophomore year to senior year. Coach Greg Lowe taught me for free, along my friends Nima and Charlie. Thank you coach. I played Varsity Doubles my junior and senior year. I was an average player.

I played (American) football my sophomore and junior year, as linebacker.

I interned at KCCEB (Korean community center of the East Bay) my sophomore to senior year with my friends Justin and Isaac. I was a student youth leader, leading social activism events to empower my fellow youth.

I was a Boy Scout with my cousin DJ. I eventually became Eagle Scout.

Anyways, my resume was good. My happiest moment: when I got the email from UCLA with gif images of balloons, saying I got accepted. My mom cried. I thank all my mentors.

I hate name droppers.

Anyways I got into photography at age 18. I did it for fun, and wanted to learn how to make better photos. Google was useless. All the articles I read were too theoretical and pretentious. I then experimented for 3 years, and started this blog to share my findings.

I remember at age 21, all these pretentious photographers I would meet at exhibitions and galleries would “name drop” famous photographers. For example:

You know who William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, surely?

I nodded my head not to look dumb. Then I’d run home, Google these famous photographers, and couldn’t find any practical useful information on them. I wanted to learn practical lessons on how I could improve my photography, not just read some art critic or photo criticism maaturbate to their own pretentious words, designed to confuse the reader.

So I was like:

Fuck all this pretentious photography bullshit. Imma start writing articles, with practical tips and lessons.

I started to write “Learn From the Masters of Photography” as a way of self education, but also to share practical information with others.

Of course I got criticism for writing “listicle” articles just to drive page views and to promote myself.

  1. Why write lists? To me, I prefer reading lists and bullet points. I like Buzzfeed articles.
  2. Of course I want to promote myself.

I’m pretty proud of myself. I distilled all the information into the free and open source book: “100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography“. I think it’s a mini magnum opus. It’s really good.

The lesson was this:

Don’t complain about the world. Either make a change, or just be quiet.



I hate people who whine and criticize others.

Trust me I’m a hater. Or course there are a lot of people I don’t like. But I keep it (mostly) to myself. I won’t waste my energy, time, or key strokes on criticizing someone online.

Rather, I’d prefer to be like Gandhi: being the change which I wish to see in the world.

Pretentious People are Insecure

Sydney, 2016

Let me tell you a secret: pretentious photographers are just very insecure and small people. They try to boost their own self esteem by putting others down. Kind of like bullies.

Pretentious photographers love to name drop, because it shows their “intellectual superiority”. To combat this, read my “cheat sheet on the masters of photography.”

A lot of pretentious photographers are insecure about their own photography. They feel better about their own photos by putting other photographers down.

A rule:

Never compare a photographer to another photographer. Only judge photographers as good or bad in your own eyes.

Nassim Taleb taught me that when people start to compare, they love to use the word “but” to nullify them

For example, someone might look at your photos and say:

Your photos are good, but you’re more Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Rather than saying,

Your photos are good, because of your use of juxtaposition, dynamic composition, and drama. But my critique is that your portfolio is too random and all over the place.

A real useful photographer:

  1. Will tell you what you’re actually good at.
  2. Will give you “constructive critique” to improve your photography.

A pretentious asshole photographer will just put you down.


Achilles, a (flawed) hero of mine

In regard to pretentious photographers, art critics, art school kids, or curators who are snobby and assholes, this is what you can do:

  1. Say, “fuck off”. Nothing more or less.
  2. Ignore them.
  3. Imagine them as crying babies.
  4. Imagine them like barking puppies.
  5. Imagine them like the fat keyboard warrior in the South Park episode of World of Warcraft.

And ultimately look at your own photos and ask yourself:

Do I like my own photos?

Nothing else matters.


For more empowerment, buy PHOTO JOURNAL or other HAPTIC TOOLS and study Stoicism.



Seoul, 2009

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