“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” – Steve Jobs
One of the biggest issues some of us face today is that we do things to impress others. To make our parents proud. To impress our friends with the latest gadgets we have or gigs we were lucky enough to work on. To get as many Facebook Likes, to get as many Youtube subscribers, and only actually believing that the only true result of success is the amount of money we make. Life’s a rat race, everyone’s hustling, scratching, clawing their way to the top…the top of what though?
In 2010, I was first introduced to street photography. A fellow internee was talking to me about how his friend bought all these film negatives from an auction house for only $100. The friend happened to be John Maloof, Director and discoverer of Vivian Maier. My colleague showed me Ms. Maier’s blog and I was instantly mesmerized. I remember saying to myself, “I’m currently living here in the heart of Chicago, IL, where Vivian Maier started, I want to create photos just like that.”
I wanted to create photos that had the same raw emotion, humor, and eye catching moment that Vivian photographed. Funny enough, I got off my butt and went out to take pictures along Michigan Ave and along other places in Chicago. I really was enjoying myself taking photos randomly without much insight or direction, it felt liberating to say the least. As soon as I got home, I would upload the selected few onto Facebook without much post processing. At first there wasn’t much of a reaction with likes or comments from friends and I wasn’t bothered by it. As time went on, I continued to share photos on social media and the results were the same, negative to no reaction.
I allowed other people’s opinions and the trapped world of social media to break through my armor of what gave me joy and sanity and turn it into discouragement. As I’m writing this to you, I reflect back tell myself that I’ll never let the opinions of others effect what I do that brings joy to me.
Midway through of 2015 I decided to pick my camera back up after years of not shooting the streets. In between those years, I’ve always wanted to shoot but somehow my inner voice told me not too, my inner voice planted fear in my head and explained all the what if’s, what if someone was to confront you on the street, what if you make someone mad, and the other part was just me being lazy to just get off my butt and walk the streets.
Sometime last year, I was scrolling through someone’s Instagram account and was amazed by their works (Again letting social media effect my mood). I felt inspired to give it a go one more time…I’ve been shooting ever since. I’ve realized that not everyone is going to understand your photos or appreciate them because it’s from your perspective and how you view the world. It’s sort of like expecting everyone to like you and understand who you are when really the only person that needs to know you is…you, your love ones, and your higher power.
So photograph for your self. If it makes you happy and you’re not hurting anyone or breaking the law then there’s nothing wrong with street photography. Don’t let anyone’s opinion determine what you want to do. Nothing wrong with feedback or hearing out others but sometimes you just have to follow your heart, your gut, and do what brings joy to you. Find your inner voice and share that with the world. Share the photos you take because no one else see’s it the way you do. Remember you are unique. You are one of a kind and you are special.
Currently, I am campaigning a gofundme account to help further my knowledge in street photography with Jack Simon and his two-day workshop in San Francisco June 11-12. This is an intensive in class and in the field workshop that is limited to only 12 students and is expected to sell out. I want to further my learning as a street photographer with this added perspective of a different city and bring back my knowledge to grow street photography in Hawaii.
Mahalo in advance for your support. Hope to share all my learnings and photos with you when I get back!
Total gofundme request: $1170
$495 for the two day workshop
$675 RT airfare from Hawaii to SF
Please come check my photos on instagram @timhuynh_photography
Thanks and Mahalo!