Big Mac in the Spotlight

It’s just a Big Mac with curly fries. Just a regular burger from McDonalds.

Shot in my “kitchen” area in my small studio apartment in Seoul, with one flash from the top left.

It was dinner time and I paused, staring for a brief moment at the meal. This photo makes me rethink what is worth photographing. With the right lighting, just about anything can be made to look dramatic. Food photography for the mundane.

Then again, maybe anything is interesting in its own way.

This shot also brings home the point that simple technique can be used with great effect, a reminder I need more often. I went down a rabbit hole of buying more gear, the infamous GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) common to photographers with too much money and not enough imagination.

Simple. Keep it simple. And beauty is everywhere.

 

Posted in Blog, Food, Portraits, Thoughts

Strangers at Seoul Station

I was waiting for the train at Seoul Station in South Korea. Waiting for my then-girlfriend to exchange Korean won into Japanese Yen, I stared out at the strangers walking by.

Something about the scene spoke to me. Everyone looked so miserable. Or focused. They can often be confused for each other.

They also looked anonymous. A sea of Asians (I’m Asian, mind you) in dark clothing made me feel like I was in the Matrix.

And there stood two ahjussi’s (old guys). They were complete strangers to each other, connected only by an abstract relationship I had formed based on my perspective.

Each stranger with their own story, on their own journey, never to be in the same room again, for the rest of eternity.

Strangers at Seoul Station

Posted in Blog, Experience, People

“I Know Nothing” and Other Mantras of Self-Doubt

I’ve been serious about photography for about 5 years now. I’ve learned a lot, met interesting people, and had unique experiences due to this passion. From the very beginning, people were telling me I should start a blog. At first, people said it should be about food because I’m such a foodie. Then, people suggested I write about my photographic adventures.

Through all this, I hesitated. Why? Because each time people would make the suggestion that I put myself out there, I would hear a voice in my head. “But Peter, I know nothing.”

Meaning that I have nothing of value to offer. Who do you think you are, Peter, that you would share your thoughts with the world? That you would presume to teach others? That you think you have something of value to give?

The close cousin to this line is, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” After all, when I pop onto forums, Reddit, and product reviews I see a host of photographers  with well-informed opinions. Compared to the faceless mass of people, what do I know that they don’t?

Here’s another stomach puncher: “Wait until you’re ready.” Wait until you’ve gotten more experience. Wait until you’ve got a portfolio you can really be proud of. Wait until you’ve booked some high-profile clients. You’re simply not there yet. You don’t have the knowledge and perspective you need to go public.

Like so many powerful lies, these have a morsel of truth buried in them. . . under different circumstances.

  • “I know nothing.” Great attitude when I’m trying to learn. But at some point you have to recognize you have some measure of skill and expertise that others don’t.

 

  • “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Yeah at some point everyone doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And then you learn, you self-educate yourself. You read books, watch videos, and practice the craft. I don’t know everything, but I at lest know the reasons for my opinions. And if others disagree, that’s fine, too.

 

  • “Wait until you’re ready.” Yeah, wait until you know how to use a camera before you charge for your services. But waiting until you’re perfect will lead to nowhere. You’re never ready until you do it. Also, “F-ck you, self-doubt.”

So, let’s try to do this. Let’s try to do a weekly blog on my photographic adventures, thoughts about photography in general, and of course the fun toys that come with the journey.

 

 

Posted in Blog, Experience, Thoughts

Doors

Portfolio_2016_06-348

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doors. I love doors.

The symmetry. Straight, ordered, and functional.

And symbolic of so much more. The entry into another space, another world.

You leave one section of space into an entirely different area.

What is there? You have to go through in order to find out.

 

About the shot:

I couldn’t have faked a more perfect shot of two doors in the Seoul subway system. In Korea, the subway system is ridiculously clean and easy to use (compared to my limited experience in Chicago, New York, and Tokyo).

Usually you don’t have access to rooms but this was a sectioned-off area leading who knows where.

I often find myself thinking about past decisions, “doors” I’ve gone through or doors I’ve passed by. Each decision leads to its own adventure. Go through enough rooms and you realize you’re an entirely different person from when you started. All because you went through a few doors.

Posted in Blog