What You Can’t Let Go Of (PART 1)

People with artistic ambitions are often dispensed some frustratingly generic advice that typically straddles a weird grey area between making enough sense to take seriously, and seeming too broad to apply consistently.

Case in point, the deliciously macabre aphorism: “Killing your babies” – a reference to letting go of work to which you have an unhealthy attachment.

Essentially, you took a shit photo but there’s something about the subject, the location, or your emotional state that makes pressing the delete button impossible.

As you can imagine, I have my fair share of these shots in my catalog. And right now, here, today, in this post, I’m going to kill them publicly. Maybe in a serialized format.


Yes, a case can be made that nothing dies in the cloud, but let’s focus on my intentions rather than the technicalities.

Unnamed | December 2017
1/800 | f5.0 | ISO 100

I saw both these awesome guys almost every day on my way from my apartment in Hem 212 – Nguyen Trai to Cong Quynh. I wouldn’t say we were friends. They hardly ever acknowledged me. But they were there, every day. And I like being reminded of this space. The time I spent in this part of Saigon was special to me for many reasons.

Also there was a fucking KILLER Hu Tieu vendor right to my back here which I frequented almost every day despite the owner openly expressing her hostility to me because I always asked for extra noodles but no extra soup. And a different kind of noodles that she usually makes it with.

I was being difficult.

Also… on reflection… I now realise that I didn’t actually ASK for these things as much as I gestured ambiguously and made sounds that I felt at the time were a reasonable hybrid between English and Vietnamese.

I’m surprised she didn’t kill me.

Be that as it may, this cute little area has a piece of my heart and somehow deleting this photo (which is, admittedly, not very good) or NOT publishing it somewhere will compromise this memory.

Unnamed | May 2017
1/20 | f1.4 | ISO 500

My attachment to this shot is an interesting one.

It was taken before I learned that shooting at night with an ISO of 500 is kinda stupid and if you’re on aperture priority, shutter speed will slow down to a point where you’re gonna get some strange results in a crowded, chaotic space.

This is evidenced by the blur of what is either a helmet or a chicken obscuring the scene.

It could also be a malevolent spectral attachment that is bound to my heart, sluggishly consuming my life-force until I rectify the injustice I unknowingly inflicted on the kind of person who has the ability to bind spectral attachments to people’s hearts.

I’ve not thought about it much.

Be that as it may. It would have been a great shot if I’d managed to avoid the blur.

More to come in PART 2 of this fascinating series of lovable photographic failures.

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