Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

Stream of consciousness idea: to engage your viewer with your photos and art, OBSCURE more of your image.


Primo, obscure text, while harder to read, encourages the viewer to read it.

THINKING FAST AND SLOW book: Text that is to read, stops people. People will stop, squint, get closer, and actually read it.

For example, if I saw an advertisement with text which is upside-down, I will stop, and read it.

NIKE does this well, making their logo vertical or sideways sometimes to confuse the viewer.


JAY-Z MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL album, he obscure his name “JAY-Z” with a big black censorship bar.

Often, we are more interested and interested by what is obscured or censored.

For example, all the books on the banned Vatican Church list have become best sellers.

Saigon, 2017. The kid covering his face makes his expression more curious and interesting to look at.

What is censored makes us more curious.

Hiding things will cause more people to be curious and want to open it.

The best way to prevent a thief from breaking into your house and stealing stuff: don’t lock your front door. Same with your car doors: don’t lock them. A real thief will think, “Because the doors are unlocked, nothing valuable might be inside.” Whereas a tinted car with blacked out windows will excite the curiosity of a thief.

Another lesson: To be more famous, be more introverted and obscure. Kanye West made headlines after deleting his Twitter and Instagram, and has gone into hiding. The press wants to know, “What is he up to?” I also made similar headlines by deleting my Instagram. By being obscure, you become more famous.

Why obscurity is good in photography

Saigon selfie, 2017. By NOT showing my face, the portrait is more interesting.

Other ways to obscure in photography:

  1. Blurry photos are more engaging and edgy, and dynamic.
  2. Gritty photos are not clean like real life. It feels more dangerous, and ironically enough– more real. Photos should be gritty, just like real life. Real life isn’t photoshopped perfection.
  3. Out of focus photos: Cause the viewer to be confused. Encourages them to take a closer look.


More ideas: entice the viewer, by making your photos difficult to look at, or make them look at your photo and go,

What the fuck am I looking at?

Avoid making boring photos, that you can quickly glance through.

Your goal: make a photo that STOPS the viewer in their tracks. And encourages them to PAUSE, and LOOK & LINGER on your photos.

How to get people to look at your artwork


Jean Michel Basquiat made his paintings look “What the fuck” to entice the viewer. His text and writing is obscured (on purpose), because it forces the viewer to take a closer look. Basquiat said it himself,

I make my writing hard to read, in order for the viewer to take a closer look and actually read it.

Another funny quote:

Believe it or not, I actually know how to draw.

LESSON: If you want people to read your text, or look at your photos, make it more difficult to read or look at.

Practical Photography tips

  1. Blur your photos on purpose. Shoot at low light with slow shutter speed, by shooting ISO 400 when it is very dark.
  2. Use manual focus, and focus on what is furthest away from you, rather than what is closest to you.
  3. Tilt your camera like a “Dutch angle” (Garry Winogrand did this well). A non-symmetrical and non-straight Photo is more fun and less boring. Fuck symmetry. Real beauty isn’t symmetrical either.


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