I Hate Photography

Actually I don’t. But I’m frustrated. Like anything, the better you get, the more you realize how far you are from being where you want to be. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. It’s the same with guitar. I would think I achieved a new level of wicked guitarist god-ness, and then realize I’m a chump.

This is a healthy process. Photography, like any art, is not the spontaneous result of God-given-middle-of-the-night inspiration. I often image songwriters accidentally penning masterpieces drunk or in some sub-conscious stupor. This has been, no doubt, the process of some geniuses – Dostoyevsky comes to mind – but it certainly is not the norm. Art is the outcome of a long process of self-doubt and courageous reinvention. Tomorrow I may be worse, but in a year I will be better.


Dustin is freelance portrait photographer based in Seoul, South Korea. He also likes to eat, a lot.

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  1. There is a beautiful quote by the amazing Ira Glass (host of This American Life) along these same lines. “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
    I have this hanging in my office. I think it’s beautiful.


    • Hey. I really love this quote. I remember reading or hearing it somewhere but I totally forget. Thanks for posting it here. I’m going to steal it and repost it on my blog. :) Also, New Deep is one of my all time favorite John Mayer songs, who is my all time favorite artist. So, cheers on that as well. That whole album actually rocked my world. Actually, I shouldn’t say rocked, it didn’t change me. I identified with it at that time when I was going through a whirlwind of a spiritual journey.


      • Me too. I really really identified with it, despite our gender differences. I had the same reaction to his “Continuum” album especially the song “Stop This Train” as I was turning 30 the same time as Mayer and I had such similar emotions. It’s a powerful thing when art can touch you deeply.


        • Indeed. I’m a little bit younger but John Mayer still seems to write soundtracks for my life. Every album has been perfectly timed for me. Well I discovered Heavier Things a few years after he wrote it, but the rest after that fit perfectly.


          • And I must say, not trying to be forward or anything, but you are very adorable. You remind me of Robert Pattinson in your photos. (I found your blog through a viral posting of your Zoe Bin Adoption on Facebook)

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