Small Rebellions


I was walking through my local arboretum’s Christmas lights festival with my family, and a few thousand others, when I noticed a group of photographers standing in front of a tree filled with red blinking lights.

They weren’t taking pictures. Their lenses weren’t even pointed at anything interesting.

Instead, they were talking about their cameras. And as more people passed, more stopped, also to talk about cameras and settings.

This is the pack mentality that gave birth to A Lesser Photographer five years ago. It won’t ever go away, nor should it. That’s what makes rebelling against it so interesting.

For my own little act of rebellion, I took out my phone, propped it up against a tree and shot the opposite of what everyone else was shooting. I shot the fleeting moment of those scampering indoors to warm up, not just the lights, which are sure to reappear in the same location every year for the rest of my life.

OK, so that’s a very small rebellion, but eludes so many, it feels bigger than it is. Which is the whole idea behind A Lesser Photographer I suppose.

This year I’ll be giving thanks for you and for five years of small rebellions.

Thank you!

- CJ


Originally published in the A Lesser Photographer newsletter. Subscribe here.

All You Need Is 1

You don’t need a certain number of followers, a “passive income,” a “monetization strategy” or “1000 true fans” to justify sharing your work.

All you need is 1.

1 person liked my writing enough to hire me at my current company (that’s 15 years of salary and benefits so far).

1 person liked my dating profile (which is most definitely a writing and photography project) enough to eventually marry me and start a family.

1 person read my most recent book more than a year ago and decided to publish it to their customer list of 100,000+ people.

1 fan could be your next business partnership, employer or spouse.

1 fan justifies your next book, blog and podcast.

1 fan can give your work all the meaning it ever needs.

A Lesser Photographer Now Available for Kindle

Craft & Vision rarely releases Kindle versions of their books, but they’re making an exception in my case. I redesigned book specifically for Kindle without the illustrations of the “heavier” PDF version. It’s just a quick, easy read you can take with you wherever.

Please take a moment to post a review, it really makes a difference. Thanks!

The only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one you used to be.
— Anonymous (via Craft&Vision)

Experts say that there’s no better time to be different, so don’t concern yourself too deeply with what will ‘sell,’ or try to adapt your individual style into something that’s more commercial or mainstream.

Demetrius Fordham (via Jorge Quinteros)

This is meant for professionals, but applies to amateur photographers just as well. As I wrote in the book: be remarkable, not marketable.

Oh, and there are no “experts.”

If you feel the need to get paid for it, it probably isn’t your passion.
Hugh MacLeod (@hughcartoons)

Vincent Laforet Finds New Photos in Old Subjects

I didn’t know much about Vincent Laforet until we started following each other on Twitter. Turns out, he’s the perfect example of what really differentiates photographers. CBS Sunday Morning (a program I’ve watched religiously since the 90s for their concentration on the arts) did a profile of Vincent on this week’s show:

“As a photographer, as a visual communicator, you try to find images no one has seen before. That’s your goal,” he said. “And that’s a pretty tall order in 2015 when everybody has a camera on their phone.”

He accomplishes that goal over and over. His new book Air looks wonderful.