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"I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity."

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity."- Diana Vreeland

 

It is ok to be vain. I think there is a hard distinction between narcissism and vanity. The word, vanity closely associates with one's extreme pride on physical appearance or abilities. Everyone has vanity of some level. Without vanity, there's no need for the style of cloths, nor fashions of any field. The people in vogue magazine would be all unemployed. I would lose 90% of my clients who need portrait or Boudoir photography. And the majority of people in U.S. would stop working out at Gyms. Why? because vanity is the main element that drives one's e desire to "Improve" one's appearance or ability... In that sense, I as a photographer, not only approve of it but also have to appreciate one's vanity through my lens.

Karla fashionCT.jpg

Narcissism, however, associates with self-indulgence. As matter of fact, there's a psycho-therapy, term called, " Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in which people inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others."(1)  For example, whenever, my wife and I attend film-festivals or fashion conventions we always have to prepare ourselves to endure shallow actors, models or pseudo intellectuals who will join in the name-dropping, self-advertisement competition of some sort---we see models, showing off their Instagram account with thousands of followers they bought off in the 10 seconds conversations with photographers and film directors. Actors who like to talk about their exes' weekly salaries or the box office gross amount of their past film they were in. 
Every now and then I have to suffer through portrait-shooting with “High-profile” actors who elaborate how I should do their headshot for free or very cheap price for the career boosts for my photography business. And so and so….

no dumping copyrighted.jpg


I admit, the most vain person I can think of is my wife who is a performing arts director, but I am also lucky to able to claim that there's little narcissism element in her. Whenever she engages in conversations she has no interest in her appearance or her credits in the past shows, but as soon as she detects something new or unconventional ideas, her eyes spark and take the conversations to the strangest but the most interesting place....Vain people are all interesting and hard to catch because they are too busy in pursuing new styles or ideas. I often times fall in love with their vanity during the creative process. Vain people are not only chasing after new styles of clothing design or cosmetics, but also they constantly work hard on their bodies to improve, and often times open-minded to creativity in shootings to evolve their own styles.

Behind the scene of model shooting w/ Kathryn Lynn

Behind the scene of model shooting w/ Kathryn Lynn

On the contrary, Narcissists are oftentimes megalomaniacs who prone to drown in their own delusions of grandeur. It's usually the selfish customer or influencers I work with the series of same old complains, "I don't look like this. I don't look like that." "It's not even properly focused. My selfies look even better than this so use my iPhone now na na na..." "Make me skinny in Photoshop, let me show you the perfect examples of what we are looking for in this IG account... %%#@R^&"
...Makes me want to shoot myself (Photographic pun intended) 


-Ko

Work Cited
1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Web. November. 18, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/definition/con-20025568

The Source of idea.
Diana Vleeland. "I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity", July 29, 1906 - August 22, 1989. Web.  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/diana_vreeland.html
Fahionista Blog. Web.  Friday, April 25, 2008. http://the-fashionista-blog.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-loathe-narcissism-but-i-approve-of.html

"Nobody Cares About Your Photography"

"Nobody cares about your photography. Nobody cares about your art. With the modern technology we have, why even bother hiring a photographer?  We can just take selfies with the iPhone or decent cameras, it'll get me far more 'likes' on Facebook"
 
"Zootopia"

"Zootopia"

"Modern People"

"Modern People"

Yep, sounds about correct, right? Sounds like a bitter truth? I mean it is the same remark: "who wants to go out to the live performance of Shakespeare when you can stay home and watch you tube video on my iPhone for free?'  In fact, the world doesn't need any more Artists. It doesn't need anymore musicians, writers, filmmakers, artists or actors either. We have enough. Its over-saturated on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube." 

"No ho"

"No ho"


BUT....

The world does need the true art. we always need something that does matters....in fact our culture....no, the world's SURVIVAL is DEPENDENT on works that matters.

Take Steve Job for example. He started in his home garage, building computers that leads to the iPhone we have today. Do you think people really care about his work at the time? No. Even when his work is becoming known, he refused to abide what people want him to do. His paraphrased quote says, 

"You can't rely on knowing what people want. You have to be able to show them what they need." - Steve Job

As a result of his years of struggle, we have Apple products THAT MATTER TO THE WORLD TODAY.
What Steve Job has achieved is not something you can make it happen over night or couple days. What he achieved is no Viral Video or winning the popularity likes on Facebook.....To create something THAT MATTERS by pushing one's limit in spite of his/her uncertainty is not an easy thing to do. Only those who have the passion and courage to take their action can eventually create something that maters to the world, and that is no different in the world of photography or in any field of arts. 

"Unless you photograph what you love, you are not going to make good art."   - Sally Mann

I love my family. I love real arts and real artists. I love and hate people on streets in this world. That is why it is crucial for me to keep creating something that matters in the world of photography. As matter of fact photography is an extension of my passion towards all types of true arts. Whether it is Theatre, film, music or martial arts. It is my way of capturing and preserving the important moments of Life and art, considering those true moments DO matter to a person, to people, or to the WHOLE WORLD in the future. 

Granted, "Nobody cares about your work." now, but the world surely needs works that matter. So what am I to do now?


 

"Tout Va Bien"

"Tout Va Bien"

Allure of Black and White

Portrait of Julie Brett

Portrait of Julie Brett

It is hard for me to put into words why the combination of black and white always look "Right", but we know chic when we see it, whether it is in clothing or in the design of things.

"Laura"

"Laura"

Portrait of Steven Petersen

Portrait of Steven Petersen

As a photographer, processing images in high-contrast black and white has become my repeating habit that is hard to resist. As I confess, it's the easiest formula for a put-together look. When post-processing the photos in black and white, you are not distracted by the color, so that the it becomes able to tell stronger stories by images, which fits my "cinematic" photography style.

"Dark" Model: James Gordon Miller

"Dark"
Model: James Gordon Miller

"Waiting for the customer"

"Waiting for the customer"

When it comes to clothing fashion..... if you wear a BW dress, you don't have to spend time worrying about what accessories or shoes/sandals will coordinate since the "style" of black and white goes well with everything. 


"Fashions fade. Style is eternal" -Yves Saint Laurent
"Club Noir" Model: Rachael Casseli

"Club Noir"
Model: Rachael Casseli

My ever-lasting favorite moments....when the man would take pride in shaving or simply fixing his tie. And the woman would follow a routine of slow and sensual movements, seducing a man just by a holding a glass of wine or lighting a cigarette....the allure of those moments no longer come from fashion trends, but it is a lifestyle and it should be captured with timeless style of look: Black and White.

"Kat"

"Kat"