How to Become a More Powerful Photographer

At the end of the day, perhaps it is photography which is my Archimedes lever. I am just so insanely good at it, it is intuitive to me, and also, I am endlessly fascinated by it.

A random musing on my mind when I was just randomly driving, what is this:

It isn’t more money, more wealth that we desire, but more power.

For example, whenever you see somebody in some sort of really big SUV, the sports edition, let’s say a BMW X6M, what they are trying to really do is assert their power and dominance. However, does driving a powerful car make you more powerful? It might make you feel more powerful, but does it make you more powerful? No.

I think I got it figured out; the reason why Americans love cars so much is because they are democratic. A car is like your external avatar, and you could assume any sort of avatar you desire, as long as you’re willing to spend the money on it, whether it be purchasing it in all cash, financing it, leasing it, renting it, etc.

For example, when you see people in some sort of high end muscle car, what is it that they desire to assert? Their manliness, their dominance, etc. However, a fun activity I like to do is whenever I see some people driving a high end sports car, I’m always curious to see who the driver is. Typically, I see them trending to be kind of younger men, trying to look hard. Or sometimes old fat dudes.

The reason why I think cars are so cowardly is because typically, even if you drive a really really loud sports car, a hyper car, a Lamborghini, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, some sort of high-end muscle car, it looks like the trend is that everyone tints their front windows so dark, almost to limo. Therefore you cannot even see who the driver is. And they also tend to drive with sunglasses on, and often a hat. So you really cannot determine their identity.

I asked my friend Don Dillon, whether we are more interested in the car or the driver, and he laughed and told me, “of course the car!”

Be hidden or be seen?

Thus the strange paradox:

We want to show off, be loud, assert ourselves and our ego and our dominance, yet, we want our identity to be anonymous? And we don’t want other people to look us directly into the eyes?

Murdered out Teslas?

Another trend I’ve seen a lot in Southern California is people buying black on black on black Teslas. It could be a “murdered out“ Tesla Model Y, 3, X, S, etc. also a new trend with the black license plate with a yellow lettering, and also the trend for people to apply a matte black wrap to their cars, making it look like some sort of stealth bomber.

The hilarity is whenever I see people step out of their Teslas. I’ve actually seen a lot of men with murdered our Tesla model Y’s, complete with the black license plate and yellow lettering, typically they tend to be skinny fat Asian American men, often with a baby or some kids. And also I think it was my friend Elsa Morgan who told me that in the bay area and in Silicon Valley, a Tesla model X is essentially a glorified minivan for men, who still want to feel masculine, without the stigma of driving a minivan.

My funny thought is better to just fully lean into it; if I buy a new car, it will just be a white Honda Odyssey.

Back to photo

Let’s take it back to photography. What is it that we desire in photography, and out of our photos?

The first I think is we want more power and potency in our photos. The photos we make is our artwork. And what is our artwork? Or artwork or almost like our children; they are some sort of external manifestation of ourselves.

Show me your photos, and I can see who you are.

The aesthetic of the photographer is often a reflection of themselves

For example, my aesthetic. I much love extremely high contrast, black-and-white photos, complete with a lot of grit and grit. Perhaps this is some sort of reflection of my own personal mentality of things.