here’s a year in review video I did for my business …


In case you’re interested in the work I do in the professional world …


Mike Maples Jr. sings the hits

From Timothy Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors, this is a quote from investor Mike Maples Jr:

Don’t let yourself define what matters by the dogma of other people’s thoughts. And even more important, don’t let the thoughts of self-doubt and chattering self-criticism in your own mind slow you down. You will likely be your own worst critic. Be kind to yourself in your own mind. Let your mind show you the same kindness that you aspire to show others.

This is advice that I give myself once a day at least. Be kind to yourself. To myself.

Don’t listen to the critics, especially the ones in your head.

Do more. Make/Share.


Yesterday I had lunch with a photographer friend Ben. He’s 10 years younger than I. His work is amazing. I learn so much from him and his unfettered, creative approach to his work.

He’s also working his ass off to be the best photographer he can be, the best husband and the best friend and human. We talked for hours yesterday about our processes. About our routines. He has a really difficult time getting out of bed. I don’t.

He is really good at working with in limitations. I feel like I am, too.

I haven’t created inspiration boards in a long time. He seems to do it all the time.

Sometimes I hate looking at other people’s work, because it either makes me feel inferior or I have this idea that I can generate all my own ideas on my own without anyone else’s assistance.

I’ve had two experiences this past week that were pointing me back toward Pinterest as a method of idea creation.

But back to the quote above. Being kind to yourself, to myself, in my mind. In your mind. Let this be the philosophy of your day. And then everything else that follows will come from a state of goodness and positivity.

Although what good art comes from complete positivity … the angst and the agony often generates so much good as well.

Oh the conundrum.


I got distracted by the idea that successful people prioritize “focus”

On Medium, Daniel Bourke shared some things he learned from watching Becoming Warren Buffett.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are two of the richest men in the world.

One time Warren was at Bill’s house for dinner and Bills dad asked them to write down on a piece of paper what was one word to describe their success.


They both wrote down the exact same word.

I ripped this off from a post at Kottke.

“Beauty has become a modern-day super drug”

From Timothy Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors, this is a quote from writer/filmmaker Soman Chainani:

There’s this dazzling short story by Ted Chiang called “Liking What You See” that did a number on me. The story asserts that beauty has become a modern-day superdrug, that with filtered and face-tuned social media, retouched models on advertisements, and rampant pornography, we’ve overloaded the senses so that our natural instincts can no longer recognize or react to real beauty anymore. And it’s making us confused and miserable, both in how we judge ourselves and how we judge others. That crystal clear warning—beauty is literally ruining our lives—has improved my life tenfold just by making me consciously aware of it (and by making me ignore 90 percent of what’s on Instagram).

This quote resonates with me on an equally inspirational and hypocritical level.

As a photographer, I have been retouching images for the duration of my career. I believe that lots of people like to view a better version of themselves … And yet the truth is that in split second form, you look almost exactly like you do in any given photo.

Yes, there’s some distortion involved with certain lenses. Hopefully you’re not on the edge of a group shot taken with a wide angle lens. You may incorrectly believe you need to lose some weight. Or you might think your forehead goes on for miles if it’s at the top of a wide angle lens frame.


There are some things, like blemishes, that we all would like to remove from our faces. I have this little white cholesterol deposit thing on my face (in the wrinkle of my right eyelid) that I absolutely hate. So sometimes I remove it in photoshop, other times, I don’t. It’s like a little piece of me. It’s been there for over 15 years.

But pushing in fat. Removing moles that make up someone’s look, I can’t always agree that needs to go.

As riders of this globe around the sun, too many of us have a false sense of beauty. And I’m partly to blame, because while I hate doing it, I also Photoshop, at times, too much. I’m perpetuating an un-genuine perception of beauty. Shame, shame, shame on me.

I would LOVE not to. Maybe I’m addicted. Maybe I have a problem.

“Hello. My name is Jeremy Witteveen. And I’m addicted to perpetuating a false image of beauty via Photoshop.”

It’s food for thought.

Let’s check out some advice from Ben Stiller

I think people are too aware of trying to figure out what’s “hot” and trying to emulate that. Ultimately, you need to develop your own voice as a filmmaker or even as an actor. It takes time. In terms of bad recommendations, don’t believe anyone who tells you they know what they are doing. William Goldman, the screenwriter, once wrote, “nobody knows anything” in the movie business, and it is true. I know I don’t, and I have been doing it a long time … So don’t listen to anyone who tells you what kind of movie to write, or how you should look, or what kind of work to do.
Ben Stiller from Tim Ferriss’s book Tribe of Mentors

This is a quote I could return to again and again. I don’t have much time, but I wanted to jot down a couple things:

I certainly believe in trying to develop your own creative voice. I feel like that’s an ever-evolving concept and I am enjoying the ride of my own creative voice’s development.

Then there’s the part about “Nobody knows anything in the movie business.”

I believe you can easily change out the words movie business with a lot of different industries.

I was once photographing a model who had worked at Playboy. It was early in my studio photography development, and I remember her saying at one point, “You’re not doing it any differently then the most seasoned expert. Everyone looks like they’re not exactly sure once in a while.”

I’ve heard that elsewhere. And that makes me both sad and happy. Ha.

Also, from experience, I’ve seen way too many people who graduate in fine art, or photography or in graphic design, who knew shit about the industry except for maybe a little bit about how to design. So much of art is the technical, and they knew zilch. I never got a degree in those things, but I was able to train myself. Said and done, a lot of what industries know as pro is often a self-involved process to reach and not necessarily some kind of exact education.

These are only suppositions. Not entire truths. Just observations.


Oprah Winfrey receives Cecil B. de Mille award at 2018 Golden Globes

This speech from Oprah is awe-inspiring. I wish we had more of her voice, and voices like hers, on a daily or even weekly basis.

While I would certain vote for Oprah Winfrey in a contest between Donald Trump and her, I do not agree with the growing chorus of voices hoping she’ll run for president. I agree with those who are saying, “Rise through the ranks and run for president after learning politics first.”

The current president has made enough audacious mockery of the most prestigious and powerful seat in the US and possible the globe. The seat of the president isn’t a popularity contest for wealthy celebrities. You want experts in positions of power.

Just this morning, I read that Trump’s work day is currently 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. He probably takes two hours for lunch, and more breaks than a lazy kid at his first job bussing tables.

Oh wait, I was kidding, according to the article:

  • On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pmmeeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm.

  • Other days are fairly similar, unless the president is traveling, in which case the days run longer. On Wednesday this week, for example, the president meets at 11am for his intelligence briefing, then has “Executive Time” until a 2pm meeting with the Norwegian Prime Minister. His last official duty: a video recording with Hope Hicks at4pm.

  • On Thursday, the president has an especially light schedule: “Policy Time” at 11am, then “Executive Time” at12pm, then lunch for an hour, then more “Executive Time” from 1:30pm.

Of course it’s all fake news.

Fake fake fakity Fake.

But there’s this breakdown of his schedule of what’s public, so I’m thinking the Axios article is legitity git.


In the world of — fill in the blank — everyone wants to succeed immediately …

In the book Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss, there’s a quote from Steven Pressfield that reads:

In the world of writing, everyone wants to succeed immediately and without pain or effort. Really? Or they love to write books about how to write books, rather than actually writing . . . a book that might actually be about something.

In reality, you could probably replace “writing” with almost any profession.

“In the world of photography, everyone wants to succeed immediately.”

“In the world of cooking, painting, accounting, lawyering, everyone wants to succeed immediately.”

Hell, you could replace it with nonprofessional things like, “Marriage,” “Friendship,” “Parenthood” … “being human”.

Nothing worth a good goddamn is immediate. Life is ongoing and recognizing success is not immediate and maybe even a constant effort … it reboots the brain into a sympathetic state.

In the world of empathy, I hope to be a better success story. I hope you do, too.