Photo Thoughts

Some random thoughts I’m having about photography:

1. Unconscious Photography

The ultimate state to arrive as a photographer:

When you’re out shooting, don’t think. Just react, and shoot whatever interests you.

Why is consciousness seen as the supreme state?


I was reading ‘The Will to Power’ by Nietzsche, and in his book, “Critique of Philosophy”, Nietzsche uncovers the idea that the bias of philosophy is that all philosophers (after Plato) saw consciousness as the supreme state. Almost all modern philosophy states:

Consciousness, rationality, and using your brain is the supreme state.

Which means:

Anything irrational, unconscious, sub-conscious, or done from passion or instincts is bad.

Why do we value consciousness so much?

leica viewfinder

This is my theory:

As humans, we desire control and power. And the thought that we cannot control our own mind and body is scary to us. Thus, we desire to control ourselves, in order to have control over everything and everyone else.

In other words,

Before controlling others, we must seek to control ourselves.

But what if there were limits to our consciousness and rationality? What if there was much deeper and profound wisdom in the instincts, and our sub-conscious or unconscious mind?

Gut Wisdom

“Shoot from the gut, edit [select your photos] with your brain.” – Anders Petersen

In ancient times, our intellect was thought of being inside our stomach. In-fact, ancient physicians thought that all intelligence came from our stomach (they thought the stomach served the same purpose as the brain). Now in modern times we understand that much intellectual activity comes from our brain. But what if 1,000 years from now, we discover that there is a lot more wisdom in our stomach, legs, and muscles — than just our mere brain?

I agree with Nassim Taleb that no matter how smart, wise, or knowledgeable we become as humans– there will always be limits to knowledge! And this is good, because that is what makes the hunt for knowledge so fun:

For the next thousands of years, we will constantly uncover new truths, while destroying the old truths.

2. New knowledge

In modern times, with Google and the internet and modern technology, we have the wrong notion that “all the world’s knowledge has already been discovered.” No– this is false. Google doesn’t have all the answers! There is still so much false information and false knowledge on the internet; it is up to you to create new knowledge, and to uncover new truths.

This is why I am so optimistic about photography and art in general.

Photography is still such a new art-form! It has only been around for the last ~200 years. Consider painting, which has been around for thousands of years. And there are still new innovations happening in the field of painting.

New innovations in photography

Paris baguette street photography

It is of my opinion that in photography, it is like the new visual gold rush. We are like the original 49’ers — except, instead of panning for gold, we are panning for new wisdom with visual science, and photographs.

Consider how exciting things are: everyday there is a new digital camera being invented. Consider all this interesting technological advancements with artificial intelligence and photography, computational photography, and new breakthroughs in digital medium format photography.

Fibonacci Spiral on Huawei P20 Pro
Fibonacci Spiral on Huawei P20 Pro

Furthermore, there are still so many compositions in photography which haven’t yet been discovered yet. It is up to you to discover these new compositions in photography!

I love evolution

light shik do rak

“If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.” – Bob Dylan

I’m currently listening to Meek Mill’s “Championships” album, and to me, it is a master-piece. Yet, it is so different from old-school hip hop. Yet, I still love it!

Everything is evolving quickly, and I love it. I delight in all change. To me, all change is good.

Innovation is difficult

“Sometimes you must milk the cow, just to get a little bit of cheese.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

To discover new ideas, wisdom and knowledge is very difficult. You might need to dig up tons of dirt just to find a few ounces of gold. You might need to drill millions of holes just to find one oil well. You have to milk a lot of cows, to produce a little bit of kefir cheese.

We photographers are an interesting type of artist; we are the ultimate cyborg-visual artists. Why? Because technology is very important to the art of photography!

In painting, it is pretty traditional– you got acrylics, oil paints, etc. Of course there are always new innovations with painting materials (as well as digital painting), yet for the most part– the evolution of painting isn’t nearly as rapid as photography.

With photography, nothing is stable. Everything is in flux in photography, and is constantly changing.

Technology matters in photography

The camera we use does matter. The tools we use to post-process and select/cull our photos does matter. The platforms in which we share and publish our photos does matter!


Let me end this essay by putting forth these takeaway points:

  1. Shoot unconsciously: don’t think when you’re shooting photos. Do the thinking afterwards when you’re at home reviewing your photos.
  2. Love change and evolution in photography: Embrace new technologies, and figure out how they can improve your life.
  3. Don’t think we have hit the end of history; there are still tens of thousands of years ahead of us in terms of human evolution. Create new ideas and knowledge which helps the human race thrive and prosper!