The Future of Street Photography

Ever since I was an 11, 12-year-old kid in Bayside Queens New York, getting my first Acer aspire computer, AOL 3.0… With my 38.8 K modem, I’ve always been passionate about technology.

Why? When you’re a kid, with no money resources or power, you could essentially play god.

For example, the great democratizing power of the Internet especially in the early days was being able to pirate video games in programs online for free, something which is very useful to an 11-year-old without any money.

For example, in the early days you would visit these AOL “cerver” or “server” rooms, you would message about, and it would send you an email about 30.roar files, each taking about a day to download, and finally at the end of 30 days you could download all the packages of the original grand theft auto, and you play it on your computer!

Also, the early days of pirating for Adobe Photoshop. No way in hell could 13 year-old kid afford a $500 piece of software. Getting cracks for these apps was a godsend.


Currently speaking, the only good place to share photos on the Internet is — Facebook, Instagram is a wash. We already see Instagram trying to morph and to be coming the next TikTok; and also the flood of advertisements, which I consider metaphorical pollution.

The threat of AI

The way I think about artificial intelligence is that it is just like a really really good bot, robot, chat bot etc. 

Where are things become a little bit concerning is when ChatGPT 4o– the voice ability becomes so good, it literally becomes indistinguishable from a real human voice.

Honestly I think the best way to think about the Internet is that 99.9% of the user accounts, comments, activity might just be bots. For example, when I used to use Reddit back in college, I don’t even think I had a username. And I used it religiously for almost about four years, I quit using Reddit in about 2011.

As a thought experiment, imagine if all of these credits, sub credits, etc. we’re just all ChatGPT powered bots. The same goes with Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts etc.

For example, open AI sora, the new video generation tool is insanely good. Certainly within 30 years it will be so good that it will probably be more creative than a real life videographer. Even now the beta versions, blow my mind.

The future for creativity

On one way, we could think about AI, ChatGPT as just a simple implementary tool, a kin to using Microsoft Excel, Google search, etc. However, I think the big issue here is that especially at the university level, apparently a lot of kids even UCLA undergraduate students, who are supposed to be creme de la crop of the public system, our lazily using ChatGPT to read documents and come up with lame responses. 

I think what nobody is really thinking about right now is that ChatGPT might be the university killer. Why go to university, and try to “hack “the university experience by having ChatGPT write your essays?

And this is the thing, professors can tell when you are using ChatGPT or not, but certainly within a decade or two, by the time Seneca is about to go to college, and Chachi tea is on version 15 or 16, ChatGPT will probably write a better essay then even the most accomplished Academic researcher.


Cindy had an interesting idea that perhaps the future will just be embodied reality. For example, after all of this digital malaise, we will just want to do things in person more.

For example, Cindy Seneca and I just got a library card for Los Angeles, and we have been visiting libraries for fun. The good thing is a lot of libraries have a playground right next-door, which means you could kill two birds with one stone.

If you think about productivity and efficiency, there is really no good reason to go to a public library. Yet I think it is almost like the noveau privilege;  if you have enough free time to take your kids to the public library in the middle of the day, it is assigned that you’re either really rich and successful or self owned and free.

Also librarian; I recently talked to Jennifer one of the local children’s librarians, and she has selected a bunch of great children’s books for Seneca, age appropriate. 1 billion times faster and more efficient than having to rummage through probably fake Amazon reviews.

And also this is the biggest issue with Internet; how do you know whether Amazon is real or fake?

Photo as art

My personal vision for the future of Street photography is it will be less about iPhone, more about just experiencing embodied reality. 

For example, if I were Tim Cook or the CEO of Apple, I would immediately chop down apple Vision Pro. It is big heavy, hurts your head, hurts your eyeballs, and I personally wouldn’t even use it if you gave it to me for free.

The simple strategy is that Apple should just focus on the iPhone insanely great again.

If anything, better corporate strategy would just be introduced a $2000 iPhone, at $1999, and just get rid of the Apple Vision Pro.

Question– can you throw an M series chip into an iPhone Titan?


Currently even the newest model of DALL-E or ChatGPT,  image generation for photos are too goofy. Not realistic or creative enough.

However, within 10 or 20 years, I’m sure that ChatGPT will be able to perfect the ability to make street photos, with greeny black-and-white film, better than Henri Cartier-Bresson. Which then leaves us the question;

What’s the point of you shooting photos?

First, it is fun. I don’t think we should overthink this. If you’re out shooting street photography and you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. Just observe a child at the playground, a new playground; see how much joy they have in discovery, They’re not waiting for random people to like their performance at the park, they simply do it for fun.

Second, physiological and mental benefits. Post Covid, when it looks like 90% of the workforce in the tech world has migrated indoors and from home, it looks like most people don’t really leave their apartments much. What is the new privilege? Just leaving your apartment or house!

I think this is why the explosion of dog adoptions was so beneficial during Covid, it forced people to go outside and go on a walk with their dogs!

I suppose the benefit of having children; to me the most cruel technique of raising children is forcing them to be indoors at home all day, never letting them go outside. In fact, the new sign of privilege for a child is how tan they are, how muscular and tall and buff they are. Because it is a sign that they actually go out and play on the playground!


Travel, traveling could be as abstract or practical as you would like to think. For example, you could just go on a road trip, drive 30 minutes somewhere or an hour somewhere, you could jump on the metro and go somewhere, essentially just go somewhere that is not your workplace or your house.

I also think it is wise to be economical about; display economy, find cheap tickets on or Google flights.

For example, I just took my mom some airline tickets, and she is able to fly round-trip from Seoul international ICN Incheon airport to LAX for only $500! And this is round-trip! About the same price as a trip to Costco.

Money for movement

Another thing I see — people blowing money on cars SUVs trucks, overland vehicles, Teslas new electric cars etc., better to just stick with your 2010 Prius or the beater you got, fix it up a bit, get a car wash, and just go on adventures instead!

Any sort of movement is good. When money could be your helper in getting you to move around, it is good. 


So I think one of the practical ways to get joy from street photography is the active shooting the photos, the joy of witnessing your photos, the joy of capturing a great moment etc. For example capturing the smile of your child, or capturing a good decisive moment in street photography of strangers, or even a good interaction you had with a stranger.

First, all forms are legitimate. In the world of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence, let us not worry whether photos are good or not, let us worry ourselves with whether the photos are meaningful to us or not.

For example, composition is all subjective; what makes a good composition is often philosophical, and if the photo puts a smile on your face, it is a good photo.