World of One: Fearful Courage

Fearful Courage - white suits running away from foliage woods, a single black suit running towards foliage woods.

Fearful Courage

Archival Pigment Print
24″ x 41″ inches | edition of 5

General Comments

I shot Fearful Courage in November of 2014, but due to a lack of funding I was unable to develop this piece until recently. That said, I’m relieved to see that it actually came out ok! In the words of an old photographer I once worked for “It feels like taking a shit you’ve been holding in for months!”

Procrastination aside, I’m also pleased to finish this image in time for an autumn release! It’s a dream of mine to make a World of One calendar someday, complete with seasonal images to match! So far, I pretty much only have winter down (with my snowball trio), while spring is not far behind on two images (Commodum and the Stranger). But fall and summer are where I’m lacking the most. Every autumn I try to shoot a World of One with some dreamlike fall foliage in the background, but so far I’ve mostly been unhappy with the results.

At least I’ve got one now!!!

Tang Says! (aka Artist’s Interpretation)

Fearful Courage, like some of the other pictures in the World of One series such as Diligentia I and II, is an image I interpret as being about fighting self-doubt. This is a theme I keep returning to, as I’ve been struggling to find ways to support my photo practice. I must admit I’ve felt lost in recent months, because I feel like I’ve done the types of things I am suppose to (showing work, making work, working for others etc.). But I have not been satisfied with the results (yup! Still starving!!).

Perhaps where I went wrong was in thinking that there is only one path to creative and financial success. Over the years, I’ve taken so many jobs just to get by. I’ve been, at various times (in no particular order) a:

  • Parking Valet (possibly the worst)
  • Restaurant Cashier (most exhausting, by far!)
  • ESL Teacher (not bad, would’ve kept it if it was art related)
  • Art Installer (not enough work hours to make a living)
  • Photo Assistant (so, so inconsistent)

I’ve also interned, working for free, with no less than five different photo studios. Each time hoping to get my foot in the door of a job that can feed me. But the story always ended the same, either I liked the work but there was no job. Or there was a job, but I chose to chase the fine art ghost instead (decisions I sometimes hate myself for).

These days, I’ve been feeling like it’s time to take the plunge and cut my own path. This gives me a general feeling of anxiety and excitement, not too different from approaching that really attractive person at the bar (ok, it’s mostly anxiety). This is probably why I keep making images like Fearful Courage. Because it makes me feel a bit better about being afraid, and needing a moment to gather my courage (liquid or otherwise) and rush into that uncertain future.

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A gif of the steps in the collaging process.


Fearful Courage bts - Yen posing in the street
My beautiful assistant for this shoot. Yen the Lo, standing in the street. Assisting!


Johnny holding a bag
Me holding the equipment bag on the way to the shoot!


BTS - Yen walking test shot
Yen walking test shot


BTS - Yen, standing test shot
Yen, standing test shot


BTS - Artist posing with camera
My artist pose – trying to look like I know how this light meter works!


BTS - Yen running test shot.
Yen running test shot.


Fearful Courage bts - Yen running test shot
Yen running test shot. “I look cute!” She says.


BTS - Artist winding camera film!
That’s a wrap!

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