Do You Plan on Shooting Until You Die?

Dear friend,

Your life is both long and short. Imagine like you’re going to live to be 100 years old; do you imagine shooting until the day that you die?

This is my thinking:

  1. One day you’re going to die. What are your personal goals in photography before you die? Do you wish to become famous for your photography, do you wish to travel the world, do you wish to print your work or have a solo exhibition of your work? Do you desire that your photos inspire future generations of photographers? What do you really desire to accomplish before you die?
  2. Assuming you achieve all your goals in photography, how can you stay inspired and motivated in your photography until you die?
  3. How can you continue to evolve, grow and innovate as a photographer/visual artist?

Never lose your initial passion as a beginner

I know for myself when I started photography when I was 18 years old (2006), my future in photography was ripe and exciting. However as time went on, I became too much of an expert. I felt the more experienced I got as a photographer, doors started to close. I felt like I had fewer options as a photographer when I started to become more successful. Why? The more successful I became in my photography, I became more risk averse. I became more afraid of trying new things; because I didn’t want to “disappoint my followers”; because they had a certain expectation from me.

For example, from the start I was known as a “street photographer”. However as my style started to become more distinguished, I felt trapped; like I had to keep repeating myself.

Double hand surrealism Tokyo construction worker

As of now (2018) I feel a new huge wave of inspiration and motivation. Why? I’m excited with all these new opportunities and possibilities in photography, specifically with 360/virtual reality technology (with the GoPro Fusion), with video (I deleted my Instagram, and now I’m focusing on YouTube), and with photography in general. After creating my new “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Photography” on Udemy, I rebooted myself as a photographer. Now I don’t really care for my old photos anymore; I’m more interested in the NEW photos I’m going to make, and it is my ambition to stay inspired like a child/beginner until I die!

Tree omotesando Zen green architecture

This means no boundaries, no limits, no categories, and no restrictions. I’m going to allow myself to experiment however I desire in photography, visual and audio-video art, without asking for the approval of anyone else, or without needing “permission” from others.

Selfie hotel room ricoh gr ii

Life is too short to keep doing the same (boring) stuff. I am going to devote myself to keep innovating for the sake of innovating, and hopefully to continue to inspire and motivate others.

How to keep shooting until you die

Yellow blur Cindy at night. Tokyo, 2018
Yellow blur Cindy at night. Tokyo, 2018

So friend, ask yourself:

“How can I stay motivated and inspired in my photography until I die?”

Ideas and suggestions:

  1. Embrace new technologies in video, film, and photography: Cross-pollinate all of your different skills, talents, and interests in art and life, to make your own unique visual honey-artwork!
  2. Once something starts to bore you in photography, switch things up! Switch up your equipment, focal length, switch your projects, and don’t stand still. Shoot everyday, with no limits, and focus on quantity in your photography (not quality). Why? The more photos you make and produce, the more likely you are to make a few photos that you like.
  3. Don’t trap yourself into any category or genre of photography. Give yourself permission to explore any form of photography which interests you! Shoot your food, friends, selfies, urban landscapes, street photography, fashion, whatever. Become a “full stack photographer”, or become your own vertically-integrated artistic industry. Don’t limit yourself to only photography; experiment with writing, video, poetry, or anything else which interests you.


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