Shoot Yourself

The photos you shoot aren’t of others; they’re of you.

Selfie phone black and white

Whenever you photograph anything, you embed your soul into the pictures. You embed your life experiences, your personal perspectives, your biases and ideals and thoughts.

To me, the purpose of photography is to discover more joy in your everyday life.

Create beauty

RICOH GR II, shot with Flash in macro mode

As a photographer, you create beautiful pictures.

You don’t take photos, you make photos (Ansel Adams).

This means:

You craft and create beautiful photos, through shooting photos, selecting them, and processing them.

Photography isn’t just shooting photos, it is a three-pronged approach:

  1. Identify interesting things
  2. Photographing it
  3. Selecting the photos that fulfill your artistic vision, and processing it to look the way you want it to look like.

Ricoh GR II in macro

My happiest recent discovery is the work of Franz Kline. To me, he is Jackson-Pollock level.

To me, Franz Kline’s photos are dripping with soul:

This is what I love about his work, or modern abstract-art:

You are looking at a mirror.

When I look at the abstract work of Kline, I see myself. I interpret the paintings the way I see fit.

I see random shapes, forms, and somehow — the abstract compositions move my soul! The elegant brush strokes with movement, the power of the strokes — it is all so epic to me.

Academic study of Franz Kline

Also with Kline, it is almost the ultimate cross-over between Japanese zen calligraphy painting, and modern American visions.

And I had this epiphany:

I can create my own abstract paintings, by using my camera as my paint brush!

Skill of photographers

Photographers require raw material; physical matter to photograph.

But we also need a vision. A vision of what kind of images we desire to make.

And when we make photos, we are embedding our own soul into our pictures:

This is why aesthetics and how you process your photos is essential. The way your photos look are like your signature “look”. In-fact, the word “style” comes from the Latin word, “stylus”.

Can you see the stylus of the artist in the picture?


I love monochrome because I like the way it looks, and the way it makes me feel.

I like high contrast monochrome; the crushed blacks look.

Now, this look ain’t for everyone. But — I like it!

And that’s the thing with your own personal aesthetic:

Make photos you like looking at!

If you make photos, and you like looking at them, they’re good photos!

What pisses you off?

Good photographers are critics. You judge what is good or bad.

I don’t like sugar, and corporations that control our taste. Thus, I like to photograph what upsets me.

The camera is stronger than the sword. Use your camera as a scalpel to analyze and dissect whatever issues make you angry, or things you have compassion for.

This is what motivates my SUITS project: my compassion for people working jobs they hate, to pursue “happiness”:

Don’t censor yourself

Shoot what you care about. When you curate your photos, you’re showing others what you personally care about:

Every photo you shoot is a self-portrait

The ultimate judge of how good your photos are:

When you gaze into your pictures, do your pictures gaze back at you?


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