Being right

hello friend

I was never the cool kid at school. I knew of Oasis and Blur but honestly I had no idea why they were at war. Sonic vs Mario, that I understood. I was the kid who gave a presentation on the USS Enterprise D. When another guy did a presentation on the resurgance of Brit Pop I had no idea what the fluff he was talking about. When the rest of the school was out getting drunk in a field somewhere on a Friday night I was at home typing AT commands into my 2400 bps modem in an attempt to download TCP/IP programs from a BBS. I loved it.

Fast forward, ye gads, 20 years. I’m now a photographer. I don’t use a command line. I don’t use PHP or edit Javascript much, maybe once a year when I tweak my site. I’m older. I’m a different guy. There’s still a geek in me. I listen to Apple tech podcasts over photography ones. I wear an Apple Watch and love playing with new apps. But when I’m a photographer I feel like I have to push all that aside and find the photographer in me.

Ugh. Ok that last sentence is too whishy washy. What I mean is that I spent 27 years being a geek. I was coding a C64 at the age of 6. It’s a lot to push past to be a photographer. At least I feel like I have to push past it all. When I first got into photography I was a geeky photographer. HDR. Dynamic range nerdness. L glass and tak sharp images. shudder I don’t like that side of me. It’s a side of me that is too preoccupied with the technology and not the moment. It’s a side of me that would dump a potentially emotionally charged image because it was blury. Blury can add to the story. Great photographs don’t have to be about the measurable dynamic range and precision edge level sharpness. They just have to be… well I don’t know. I’m still figuring that out. I just know that getting hung up on the nerdy side of things isn’t something I should do.

I was in Amsterdam a few years ago in the FOAM photography gallery looking at the fashion work of the 1960s. Brian Duffy and the like. High contrast naturally lit photos with grain the size of hail stones. Wonderful stuff. It’s so far removed from what I do. I’m always trying to achieve technically perfect images. I guess its because the geeky side of me thinks that you can quanitfy these things so you can achieve measurable success. I dislike that side of me. Oh sure its great for commercial work but for my personal work I suck badly.

So I need to push past it. While in Amsterdam I purposefully tried to shoot blury images. I always shoot with my X100s set to ISO1600 and I try to not care about getting everything perfect. But you know its hard to undo 27 years of geekyness, and part of me does wonder whether I should be or whether I should be trying to find a way to integrate it better into my photography life?

For example. This week I was doing architectural work for a client. I really enjoy that sort of work. I can find what looks “right” and justify it. Balanced exposure. Correct colour. Perspective correction. They’re all technical aspects of a photo that go towards making it “right”. So the image is technically correct and my brain appreciates that. I can logically explain why this works and not the other way. I would like to push past that though and produce work that is less perfect but somehow better. Work that says something. I guess thats the trick isn’t it. Anyone can write once they understand the language but not everyone can be a writer.


My Blogvember project ended a few days ago. I want to keep blogging or newslettering or something. I like to write. For now I’m letting my brain process what the month meant. Here’s a few highlights.

•  Looking for purple in Edinburgh

•  Bruges architecture part 1 and part 2

•  Autistic meltdown when you think its just depression

•  The Earth and Moon at Liverpool Cathedral

•  Community

•  An autistic photographer

•  Think different

mental health

If you’re in the UK the next week is going to be stressful. Whatever your politics are just remember to listen, appreciate, try and understand, and most of all take care of friends and family.

I had considered taking December off from social media. It’s a hectic time of year on a normal year and with the election it’s become a very loud noise in my life. There’s no harm in taking time off. Ignore all that FOMO stuff and just take time out for yourself. Some days when I’ve had a real busy day on location I kind of enjoy getting to 11pm and thinking “I’ve not been on Twitter today. It’s been nice.”

What I do is use the iOS Screen Time feature to limit my social media activity, and also access to the news. 15 minutes a day. That’s it. I get a warning when I’m about to hit that limit and when I hit it I can either stay on for another minute, 15 minutes or unblock for the day. Ok so I quite often hit unblock for today but some days I do accept the block and move on with my life. I think it’s good to have the reminder.


Joseph Rodriguez’s Photos of 1970s NYC

I entered this and unfortunately wasn’t selected. It’s interesting seeing the work that was produced. Editorial portraits of families and their love of Star Wars – Star Wars Families by the BJP.

I saw this video, 12HRS in Edinburgh, and it reminded me of something I did back in 2008 call “My day, last week”. There’s something nice about the format. I’d like to get back into doing things like this. What I liked about the Edinburgh one is the way each segment only seems to have 1 sound. They’re like long photographs. It’s cleverly done.

Weekly email features Captains Log, fascinating links and more photos