How to Channel Your Dissatisfaction in Photography in a Positive Way


Two turbo thoughts this morning:

Perhaps dissatisfaction is good


The lust for more

This is my big thought:

Perhaps dissatisfaction and the lust for more is actually good.

Now the tricky thing — how can we channel this lust for more in a positive way?

1. Gratitude, but the lust for more

Contrary to what people think, I believe it is possible to have gratitude for your photos (past photos) yet still having the hunger for more, the lust for more. Remember the Steve Jobs quote:

Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Actually it was the last quote of the Whole Earth Catalogue, but the general gist is this:

Once you think you got things figured out or perfected … there is no more need to continue.

Consider, if we considered reality to be perfect and flawless … what kind of motivation would we have to do more? Even thinking about the Matrix, the robots made a paradise world, yet the humans rejected it because there was something in their psyche which knew things weren’t ‘quite just right’.

Then perhaps the simple goal:

Have zen gratitude for the past, your past experiences and your past photos … but have the American capitalistic lust for more.

2. Your best experiences and photos have yet to come

It is a cliche when photographers say: “My favorite photo is the one I haven’t shot yet”, but there still rings some truth to it. If you think the past contains all of the best things that could ever happen to you… what motivation do you have to keep going?

Apparently the notion of ‘romanticism’ is thinking:

The supreme best things have happened in the past, and it is impossible for the future to bring better things.

Thus the notions that film is superior to digital, the tendency to romanticize our personal past, and the lust for ‘retro’ things. But … do you want to retrograde yourself, or do you want to advance yourself?

3. How do you advance your photography?

To consume the best (masters) but to have the chutzpah and the audacity to seek to become GREATER than the masters who came before us. For example it is my personal ambition to become even greater than Henri Cartier-Bresson. It is good to have a photographic hero, but … we must seek to become THEIR master.

4. Don’t let basic photographers judge you

Probably the most boring experience of my life was going to a ‘general’ photography meet-up (most of the photographer who are into random photography, landscape, HDR, etc). Why? The insanely boring talk about Canon L lenses, pointless talks on sharpness tests, etc. I only enjoy hanging out with street photographers and fashion photographers (the only photographers with interesting personalities, and interesting photos). Because to me, ultimately human photos and society photos fascinate me the most.

JAY Z once said, ‘Numbers don’t lie, check the scoreboards’. Here JAY is wrong. If numbers were the ultimate arbiter of things, then the best restaurant in the world would be McDonalds (it actually is IN and Out Burger), and the best coffee would be Starbucks (the best coffee is either Victrola/Cafe Vita or Vivace as my friend Marcus says in Seattle). If numbers don’t lie, the best car would probably be a Toyota Camry (it isn’t, the best car is probably a Tesla Model S plaid or a Lamborghini Aventador with the scissor doors).

Thus striving to please yourself, to elevate yourself BEYOND basic photographers, this is the goal. Ignore what others say, and stay strong-sighted and stubborn in your creative vision.

5. Education

Workshops. ARS BETA to get honest feedback on your photos. Books to learn. Educational tools motivate us, educate us, inspire us, and elevate us.

HAPTIC was born out of the hunger to create the most insanely great tools for photographers (whether camera straps) or educational materials (both free and luxury).

6. Never stop

How can you be inspired to shoot photos until you’re 120 years old? This is the goal. To endure.



Elevate your photography >



  2. MUSE by KIM
  3. Street Photography Starter Kit