Back to School

My wife got a new job at a college. I'm taking advantage of the situation to go back and re-take several photography classes with a discount. It's been 20 years since I've taken a college-level photography course.

I'm excited by the prospect of having a beginner's mind again. Maybe I'll argue a bit with the professor, but I did that the first time around as well. Right, Monte?

The point is, we all could benefit from a beginner's mindset. I may have devoted most of my life to writing and photography, but what could be possible if I walk into a classroom dropping all my assumptions? Could I be the student with the most to learn?

I think it's a worthwhile experiment.

If I walked around life in general with that attitude, I'd bet I get more out of every experience. 

As an aside, the only thing that has lessened my enthusiasm for this experiment is the equipment required for the classes: an SLR and a tripod. I sold all of that stuff around 2009. As my recent writing has shown, I hold no grudges against such gear, just the lack of creativity they tend to foster in me. Everyone has a different constraint-happiness level. Mine is somewhere between the iPhone and rangefinder fixed-lens film cameras.

So, I picked up an entry-level SLR and tripod to meet the minimum requirements. I'm really trying to like the experience. I'm practicing. But everything I've produced so far has only confirmed what's already in the book. Constraints work.

“Mobile” Photography Doesn’t Matter

Neither does DSLR or any other form of modern photography. Photography technology will progress in ways we can’t foresee.

But it will progress.

Today’s top-of-the-line camera is tomorrow’s relic. Today’s most popular camera (the iPhone) is also tomorrow’s relic. All images from today will be seen in the light of advances we can’t imagine and it will happen in 20 years instead of 50.

The future of photography technology can’t matter to you now. What matters is the story. What matters is the subject. That’s all that will survive this era.


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From the A Lesser Photographer Newsletter.

Trying (And Failing)

I don’t usually post links to anything about gear, but this relates to my last article about inventing. Dave Lawrence is testing where constraints lead to the greatest creativity. This is exactly what it’s all about:

I kinda no longer spend money on photo gear. Mostly on studio rental and buying coffee or lunch for people who intrigue me and I wanna meet.
Jorge Quinteros

Film Isn't Dead

Make sure if you take part in the analogue film resurgence, you do it for the right reasons: the slow, mindful approach to photography and the emphasis on material output. Pretty much everything else about it is the same gear trap as digital.

I think that as the cameras become ubiquitous, as everyone gravitates towards the same tools, the playing field will truly become leveled, and ironically we’ll discover that our only true differentiator in time will become the author’s understanding of how they can best put those tools into use.
Vincent Laforet (via A Photo Editor)