End of the road.

Back in January 26th, 2009 I got side tracked.  I was a book writer and a working photographer.  The economy had just ground to a halt and I had time on my hands so I started writing this blog.  I'm not sure what I intended to say, what the long term goal was or what I thought I would get out of the practice.

To date I've written over 720 entries; some bad and some good.  Some popular (the gear reviews), some contentious (anything about the death of the commercial photo industry), and some largely ignored (the ones about inspiration, art for arts sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels and sustains us).

I've been lifted up by a dedicated core of readers who like my style and what I've written and I've had days when I wanted reach through the web and throttle the hit-and-run, anonymous posters who can be insulting and belittling.  A fair tradeoff given that no one signed a contract, no one has expectations and people can sign on and off at any time.

I know I could "monetize" the blog and make some money from the content but that's not really what I had in mind when I started.

Yesterday I posted a piece about the Olympus EPM1 camera (which I liked) and, mixed in with genuine responses was a post by someone who liked the photos of an attractive woman but felt that the rest of the blog was of little value.  His/her comment really bothered me.  In the age of free content I guess we need thick skins but it made me step back and really think about how I was spending my time.

I should have been on the phone continuing to make calls to prospective clients.  I should have been working on the two book projects I have in front of me.  I should have been swimming or running.  But instead I was writing a piece about a $499 camera that will be obsolete in a few months and lost to nearly everyone's memory in a year.

Sure, there's an ego reward that goes along with putting out a blog.  On a good day we'll have 12,000 pageviews of the material here.   My name recognition among photographers is currently strong. If I liked doing workshops that would be a good thing.  If I had products to sell to other photographers that would be a good thing.  But the time spent here is time stolen from things that are more important for me.

We had a good run.  Now I'm turning my attention back to where it should have been all along:  How to re-invent what I do to make it fun and sustaining for my family.

I'm done spending time creating content for free.  It's a great way to make friends I never get to meet.  Putting something out to the public is a two edged sword.  Some people love it and some people will argue with anything.

I'm keeping the VSL blog site open because people seem to be coming more and more to also read the older articles I've written.  I intend to drop by from time to time to toss in something I think is important but the era of daily posts, equipment reviews and the wide open embrace of anonymous barbs and arrows has come to an end.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks responding.  Now get up off the damn couch and go shoot.


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Andrew Karre said...

Sad to see this. Yours was one of the first blogs I discovered when I began taking photography seriously, and I've enjoyed and learned a good deal. I thank you for this. I'll look forward to the infrequent posts.

almostinfamous said...

IT has been a pleasure, but i know what you mean about getting side-tracked.Good Luck with the business side of things, Kirk.

Mark Olwick said...

I've always enjoyed your commentary regardless of whether I agreed with everything 100%. I understand the need to take a break, I get burned out on my blog as well, but I hope you'll reconsider once you're refreshed and not let one person ruin it for all the rest of us. I love the fact that you keep things in perspective and don't get caught up in all the hype. As a medium format film shooter, I've also enjoyed your rediscovery of your Hassy.

In the meantime, thanks for all that you've shared to this point, and I hope to see more in the future.


PittsburghDog said...

Good for you.
I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and along with other sites visited wondered about the economics of running a site like this. I always guessed it was challenging (barbs) and time consuming and wondered about the return.
Good luck in your endeavors.

Mike said...

Thanks, Kirk, for the writing you've provided. It's always been entertaining and informational.

Mike said...


I'll miss your insights, both artistic and technical. It's been a pleasure getting to watch over your shoulder.

Joel said...

I have always enjoyed your blog, especially the ones on "art for arts sake, personal growth and inspiration".

Good luck to you in the future. How the road is filled with good photography, excellent coffee and the discipline to move forward in all that you do.

Joel said...

I have always enjoyed your blog, especially the ones on "art for arts sake, personal growth and inspiration".

Good luck to you in the future. I hope your road is filled with good photography, excellent coffee and the discipline to move forward in all that you do.

John said...

I'm very sorry to hear this, as I've enjoyed your site and have learned a lot about photography from your writings, both in aesthetic and technical terms. Perhaps, after a time, you might consider coming back with a comment-free version of the site?

Kyle Batson said...

Thanks for the good run Kirk, it'll be sad to see you go. You're one of my favorite photography writers, and I've learned a lot from reading your articles.

Take care.

John said...

Well, crap.

This is about the only blog I take the time to even read completely and daily any more. You even gave me the gumption to start mixing writing and photography myself.

Thank you for the enjoyment and inspiration I've found here over the last couple years. It was nice to see that we don't have to sell our artistic soul to be a commercial photographer, didn't have to pimp ourselves out to the latest trends, and didn't have to try to be cooler than everyone else. While I'll miss the nearly daily dose of VSL, I'm glad you've shared so much of your time and yourself with all of us.

Anonymous said...

Noooooo...this reduces my list of photo blogs that are actually worth reading to just one now! I really enjoyed your articles and will definitely miss your sage advice about the art of photography. One of the few sane photo-related blogs has come to an end.

Many thanks and best of luck with the future.

John said...

At the risk of sounding like a bit of dick, I do hope that this is something of a false epiphany, the impression that your years-long practice of producing "free content" is necessarily robbing you of time spent building relationships with clients. Most followers of the VSL, I imagine, are people like myself - typically quiet and too reserved to post a comment, but deeply moved by articulately sorted words representing equally articulate thoughts. Perhaps the page views record tells another story entirely that is simply beyond me, but I'm of the court of thought that the real consumers of your content are the legions of the unspoken, and that the voices brave enough to speak out are either hopelessly trolling or are the few who feel they have a point to contribute to the post (or maybe they just value their own opinion as well and don't know how else to share it).

Whether or not it's any consolation (probably not the right word), I for one have certainly been most appreciative of your monologues of insight into understanding the underlying driving motivations that lead us to photograph. Content to read on that topic seems very unfortunately scarce, but it is an important thing to me as I am simply one of those personalities who is prone to self-sabotage unless challenged to delve into that far deeper state of awareness of the root "why". For years, now, you've encouraged me to think on my own motivational "why", and if this blog should be doomed to moderate inactivity and decay at best, then I would feel lasting regret if I didn't extend some sort of thanks for your (inadvertent) support of my own photographic soul search.

I will miss your frank rantings and comely images. You've been a staple of my workday mornings that will be hard to replace, but if you sincerely feel that time spent writing for the VSL is time robbed from your more professional pursuits, then I suppose I can't really fault you for doing the very thing you encourage in others - the doing.

Wisawa Freeman said...

I've been your fanclub since you wrote a review of leica m6 at photo.net. Your blog is like the newspaper at my coffee table that i enjoy reading every morning. Thank you very much for your time and useful articles.

A photog from Thailand.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

Sad day. Nice E-PM1 post by the way.
Of course you could just remove comments (or allow them only from certain posters) and continue with your blog posts. feedback you will get from another means. You could turn to Google Plus (I don't work for Google, ok?) It seems that you could control these guys/girls)

If true and if you do not reconsider we, the ones that like what you and the vast majority, will respect. Don't give credit to the other ones. They don't understand what is liberty and a different opinion.

I would like to let you know that I learned a lot with you - and not only about photography. You, together with TOP, were the few blogs that I kept reading. The reasons are that these types of blogs make us think, grow and don't stand still. Yes, sometimes it's not the common speech but that is a good thing.

Good luck and continue your good work.


Bob Singleton said...

I started following your blog in the final year of my degree course. Unlike some other commentators I am not particularly interested in the gear reviews but I have always been impressed by the very levelheaded commonsense approach you espouse.

There are countless websites reviewing gear and there are a lot of arty website reviewing books and posting other photographers works.

There are however very few good sites explaining what it is really like to be a photographer and run it as a business and you will be sorely missed

Marshall said...

The blogosphere (such as it is) will be poorer for it, but as one of your messages to readers is to be disciplined in your pursuits, we must also respect when you come to such a choice.

Bruce K said...

Great sadness. I too only found your blog a few weeks ago but it had become a daily fix. To be honest I glossed over the reviews, though I do like your comments about using your 'Blad as I just started using one myself. I was far more interested in your thoughts about the photographic process, why we take photographs, how to make them better, how to improve. I will miss them greatly.

Should you choose to become a subscription site note that I would sign up in a New York minute...

Good luck, and thanks for what you've given us!

James B said...

While it's totally understandable, it's still sad to see you go. Your blog was one of the few I looked forward to reading each day, and it was those posts about inspiration and personal growth that kept me coming back. There is a vast sea of blogs dedicated to ogling specs sheets and reviewing the new gadget of the week, but precious few that discuss what makes creatives tick and the realities of the industry.

Anyway, I would just like to thank you for the past few years. I wish you all the best.

Simon Hucko said...

You will be missed, Kirk. Thanks for your hard work and insightful writing, and best of luck in the future.

Richard said...


This is sad news for a Monday morning. I have been blessed and inspired by your blog since discovering it. With 99% of all photographic writing focused on new gear and reviews, it was your extended meditation on the philosophy of both photography and life that kept me checking in every morning. It would be a true loss should you decide to let the blog die...

D said...

Very sorry to see you go, Kirk, but your decision is entirely understandable. The end of one of the best photography blogs online.

Wish you the best of luck.

John Taylor said...

Hi Kirk, as others have already said i shall miss your posts as well (down to one blog worth reading regularily). As well i'm part of that demographic that did not always post a comment to the more philosophical posts even though they were often my favorites, a 'thank you' would not have been out of order for many. All the best to you and i look forward to the accasional visit that you may make back here, oh and thanks for keeping the archives up and running.

Scott Johnson said...

I've been pretty quiet. No anonymous barbs have come from me, nor have I added anything positive. I've just lurked and read.

As a photographer, I've enjoyed reading your musings, opinions, and stories. I've enjoyed seeing your work. It's also been nice to hear about some of the Olympus and Canon hardware you've used. I've never strayed far from my Nikon roots (bought my first F2, used, in 1984.)

I'm sorry to see you stop writing, but I understand how precious time is. One thing I've learned about giving away your time for free is that when a commodity costs nothing, people don't feel at all bad about wasting it. Your writing and your wisdom have cost your audience nothing, but they've cost you plenty.

I'm glad you're leaving the site up. There are still those out there who will benefit from your experience and your work. Thanks for what you've done, and best regards from a silent but appreciative reader.

Scott Johnson

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

I hope you will reconsider. Maybe go from daily posts to once or twice a week?

Please don't let negative people drive you away. I especially enjoy your posts on the why's of photography, as well as the equipment hows. Your insight into the commercial world of photography is also valuable. I've bought each of your books and been a fan, like some above, since your first review of a Leica.

I agree with whoever said take a break for a bit.

Maybe just eliminate comments. Or moderate out the negative trollers.

No matter what, though, thank you for several years of very thought-provoking and interesting blogs as well as fascinating images.


Nick said...

Very sad to hear, Kirk. I'm a fan mostly of your "largely ignored" posts. Your writing on those topics is always food for thought, and quite often inspiring too.

Glenn Morimoto said...

Kirk, I'm sorry to hear you're signing out! As many have previously said, your blog is one I've checked and read almost everyday since the start. Even though I may have left only one or two comments in the past, I want to thank you for all the many hard hours you've spend pounding the keys to help motivate and educate fellow photographers of all levels...kudos to you!

Clay O said...

There will always be a need for the voices that remind us to put away the gear catalog, go out and be inspired. When you find a new way to exercise that voice, I'm all ears.

David A. said...

Thank you for the work you've put into this blog and for sharing your insights with your readers.

And, good luck to you in the pursuit of that which you love.

iori said...

Hi Kirk, this is sad news. Your blog is one of the 3 blogs that i read almost daily. Good stuff that is worth the time for reading. Wish you al the best and have fun with shooting and your family. Best regards, iori (a reader from Belgium, Europe)

Anonymous said...

(the ones about inspiration, art for arts sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels and sustains us)

Funny, that's what I kept coming back for - and for that, yours was one of the most rewarding blogs. And if you ever decide to collect those introspective blogs you've already written into a book, I'd most definitely buy it.

I am sad to see it end, but thank you for the food for thought over the past couple of years (or slightly longer) that I've been a dedicated reader of your blog. Good luck in all you do.


Paul Kelly said...

Sorry to hear your decision. Thank you for all the effort you have put in.

As a self-employed person in a different industry, I found your less photography-specific observations equally enlightening and thoughtful. On the core photography material you brought an interestingly different and common sense viewpoint.

I have no right to ask you to donate any more of your time free, but ... if you felt you had something to say just a few times a month, you could be sure there would be a large audience listening.

Ashley Border said...

It's all been said above but I'll add this: Simply one of the most grounded and humble commercial photography blogs on the web. Great writing and great photography which I'll miss.

Thank you.

Harvey Bernstein said...

I'm one of the "legions of the unspoken". I discovered your blog within the past year. I've been thinking about how thoughtful and creatively stimulating a person you must be, and that you would make a fine teacher. I can imagine what a time-wasting grind authoring a daily blog can become, but don't hesitate to jump back in to it if you feel a relapse!

Also, thanks for keeping the blog up. I'm one of the few crazies still occasionally using a Kodak SLR/n, and I appreciate the your comments about it.

All the best in your creative and professional endeavors

ginsbu said...

Sorry to hear this, but I understand that you've got to set your priorities. I have thoroughly enjoyed the blog and, like others, I hope you'll decide to continue posting at a slower pace. VSL was one of the few photography blogs worth reading even for someone, like myself, who has little interest in professional photography. Your posts (even the gear reviews!) are uniquely thoughtful and, consequently, thought provoking; that has made VSL a rare pleasure among photography blogs. Thanks for writing and best wishes for the future!

John Krumm said...

The "post of little value" response is something I've seen over at DPR too. It's like some folks have decided we are in some kind of work cooperative and they are the content commissars, making sure everyone is contributing at maximum social value. Hard to apply this rule to the whole web.

Anonymous said...

Damn. I "discovered" your blog during the past six months and immediately became a daily reader. In fact, I think I've read all of the archived past entries as well. Yours is one I looked forward to reading, regardless of content (product review to introspective analysis). I concur with a suggestion made by others. Reduce the frequency to free up more of your time. Our request is selfish, but we'd LOVE to hear more from you. Thanks for your insights!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see the blog end. Unfortunately, photography attracts a particular kind of negativity from some.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're letting one random person get you down.

Your blog was the only one I follow religiously just for the fact that it wasn't primarily about the technical aspects and gadgetry...

Coming into the game late (as a hobbyist) your thoughts on the art aspect and where photography has been in the past was always quite interesting and informative.

Wishing you continued success in your business.

Nick said...

Hi Kirk,

Sorry to see you stop blogging. Always knew it was too good for this world.


Gregg Mack said...

I can understand your reasons for your decision, but this is very sad news to me personally. Your impact on me personally has truly been profound.

I'll keep reading your books, and checking this blog site. Thanks for helping me.

Ed Z said...

Sorry to hear it. I've enjoyed reading TVSL immensely. All good things I suppose...

sey said...

"the ones about inspiration, art for arts sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels and sustains us"

Wish you well with all the other stuff on your plate. Will miss your down to earth views on our Art.

Please, occasionally, give us more food for thought and bring us back into the real world.

Hugh said...

Very sad to see you go Kirk - your blog has been one of the very few that I have read.

Quite understand the need to prioritise you time.

As I have said previously, I would have blocked posts from anonymous posters long ago. If someone doesn't value their opinion enough to use their name, I don't want to read it.

All the best,

Noel Hillis said...

Hi Kirk,

Going to miss this big time. All your books have been really helpful as has your blog.



Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to see this happen, since you're one of the few photo bloggers out there who aren't focused on using a blog to make money and tend to focus mostly on reviewing equipment.

This blogs relative scarcity of equipment reviews versus insights into the mental process of making photos was why I read it. Though I also enjoyed the EP reviews...

Paul Glover said...

You shouldn't worry about the opinion of some anonymous basement-dweller who's only interested in pictures of pretty girls.

With this blog you've provided much that is worthwhile and that has given even this humble hobbyist pause for thought. It's been refreshing to read about the "why we do it" side of things; to be reminded that there's more to photography than chasing the newest visual trend or gear-of-the-month; that it's about vision, not equipment; that getting out there and making photographs beats sitting in here and posting on forums or reading about technique.

I have to wonder if this is the ultimate lesson we should all learn from you: we don't make good photographs sitting in front of a computer writing a blog, or getting caught up in some pointless internet flame-war with people who would rather talk about photography than do it, or having to deal with snarky comments from people who would never dare to say the same things face to face.

We make good photographs by turning off the computer, putting the cellphone on silent, grabbing a camera and going for a walk somewhere interesting. Beats counting website pageviews, or Flickr views, or number of facebook friends any day of the week!

Thanks and best of luck!

Josh said...

Sad. I came here because of the lack of gear reviews - real content. I love your introspective musings. I enjoyed your writing. I suppose I'll just have to hope you don't quit writing all together.

Dror Baldinger said...

completely understandable.
i love reading and learning from your books and love reading your blog. i will miss your writing style and your down-to-earth approach photography.
all the best to you.

Unknown said...

It seems a shame to let one idiot bring down one of the best photography blogs on the net but I you must do what you feel is right.
I will be keeping my subscription though, just in case :)
All the best for the future.

Bruce Bodine said...


I will as many others have already said miss your daily commentary on life, not just photography. I will check in every day for whatever may be there knowing that it is my gain if you decide to post something. If you ever go subscription I would sign up no question.

As Andy Rooney said last night "What do retired writers do? They write of course!" Keep writing my friend when the urge strikes...a hungry and admiring audience awaits! Best always to you and your family.

Bruce Bodine

louisjkim said...

I echo all that was said above.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kirk for all of the great work and great writing. Yours was a blog I always looked forward to more than others. But I understand the competition against your other needs. Hope to see you now and then.

Swoop57 said...

Thank You for sharing. No matter what.


Mark W. said...


Congratulations on a job very well done. I'll miss the encouragement and insights.


George Ninos said...

I understand your decision and wish you the best Kirk.

I've always looked forward to reading your unique prospective on photography. I will miss your posts. Thanks for having the courage to be true to your principles -- that's what kept me coming back.

I hope you enjoy your time and "get out there and shoot". Maybe even share a few of the great ones with us sometime...

Best Regards,

Greg said...


Taking a break is always a great idea. Dropping reviews of equipment that will be obsolete in six months is an even better one. But for me your blog was always something else. I'd often skip the reviews and business-related stuff (most of which wasn't even relevant for me since I mainly shoot with Leica for my own pleasure). Your medium-format portraits and your great articles on the artistic side of photography -- that's what kept me coming back over and over again. In fact, I read only three photography blogs and yours is one of them.

I really hope you will continue to share your thoughts and your great portraits with us from time to time. I'm keeping my eyes open.

Have a great time off and please do come back with new ideas and great images. And please say hello to Chad Wadsworth for me when you see him at the pool next time. I haven't heard from him in a while. Tell him I am now having a blast in India with my Leica and his favorite Fuji X100.

Greg Shanta (from Moscow, Russia)

Russell Pearson said...

Thank you for the work you have done for us. My photography has improved under your tutelage and I have had great personal pleasure from your writing and insights.
All the best to you and yours.

TM said...

Thanks for your time Kirk, I quietly enjoyed reading your posts and found them both informative and funny.

Anonymous said...

I have always found your commentary interesting - obviously different posts in different ways. I will be saddened if your insights disappear completely. Hopefully you will at least resume on a regular if less frequent basis.

For me, it's also a double loss. As I had to move from Austin a number of years back, your site has also served as a (perhaps tenuous) link back to Austin. Perhaps it's time to get on a plane to Austin and come shoot....

Best wishes...

François said...

Hi Kirk,

I've had an interest in photography since I was a teenager.
I'm a follower of the VSL since the end of 2009.
Last friday I left my job (after 24 years).
I've started today a photography class.
Hope to make a living out of it.

Just sayin'.

Many thanks for what's behind the images.

François(from France)

Nicholas Condon said...

I'm really sorry to read this, since I've enjoyed this site for the last couple of years. I'll leave the bookmark in my daily trawl through the photoblogs in the hope you'll change your mind.

Anonymous said...

Only found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and promptly rated it near the top of my favourites. So sad that you are ending it. I've been upset by comments on my web publications in the past, and have given up on them too, but it it is very sad that in such situations the majority of enthusiasts lose out due to the actions of a tiny minority.

Hope you may reconsider, or pubIish another version in the future, but thanks anyway, and best wishes or the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the job done, I'll miss your blog.
Good luck in your new goals,


wmaru said...

This is definitely sad news as I checked the site everyday. At the very least it motivated me to pick up every book you put out, so as a marketing tool I thought it worked great. You're an excellent writer and I'm sure the regular posts kept your skills at a high level just as your preach constantly shooting to keep those skills high. I hope you reconsider after a short break.

KC Walker said...

As a creative person, I find it difficult to tolerate criticism and negativity. Even if the ratio is 1000:1, that one comment still hurts. Is it fear of rejection? As we all know, fear is the greatest motivator.

I certainly can see this as a wake-up call, though. Is this an effective use of your time?

Maybe it will make 12,001 of us more productive. It's time to get out of the chair and go be creative.

It was a great run. I love the eclectic mix of articles.

Thank you!

KC Walker

steveH said...

Gear reviews you can find everywhere (but I really appreciated the way you approached them).

But it was "the ones about inspiration, art for arts sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels and sustains us" that kept me coming back. They gave me more than you can ever know. You got at least one old(er) guy back up and off the couch.

Best to you, Belinda and Ben as all y'all go on.

And maybe you'll drop by now and then to cast the occasional pearl, or at least a nice, shiny bead.



Neil said...


Although I can understand your reasoning entirely, I still think this is a really, really sad day. I have been reading your blogs for ages and find it hard to imagine life without them.

Still, I wish you all the very best for the future.

Kind regards,

Michael said...

Thank you for the posts and insight Kirk, greatly appreciated.

Good luck.

Bernie said...


You are one of the few genuinely interesting and informative people on the net. And intellectually honest.If you had something to say you said it and made us all a bit wiser.
Thanks and Good luck

John F. Opie said...


Double plus ungood: on the other hand, you do have your priorities right. Making a living and working must take priority over sharing yourself with strangers.

But I hope you'll see that while you think you can get away, you'll be pulled back in...

And to Anonymous, the person who write what they did: meh. You're an idiot.

Oh, and if I am ever in Austin and you have the time, the drinks are on me...

christopheru said...

That is really too bad Kirk. I have very much enjoyed what you have been writing and agree with much of what you have said (ironically, it is the creative art things that appeal to me most - I just had little to add to what you said so did not comment much) vs the gear related articles.

Cheers, and enjoy doing what you do so well,

Herman said...

Dear Kirk,

thank you for running such a great blog for so long.
Yours is one of the few photography blogs that I have consistently followed (though I comment extremely rarely) as I find it insightfull, quirky and just generally interesting in terms of writing.

Without the blog I doubt I would have ever discovered your books, but I will continue to buy them.

Anyway, it was a great run, thanks for all the great content.

Tim said...

I'm also a complete addict when it comes to this blog, so you'll be sorely missed. You're very responsible for pulling me away from being just another 'gearhead' and moving to appreciating what makes a great photo - particularly your wonderful portraits, which sometimes seem to look into the subjects soul. I don't blame you for one second with this decision, and can only marvel at the commitment it must have taken to have kept this thing going for so long. Many, many thanks and the very best of luck from a small island in the middle of the English Channel.

Rob said...

Keep doing what makes you happy! Too bad you're calling it quits, but I can understand and respect that. I've been reading for about a year, and rarely made comments, but your blog was one of the rare few worth reading out there. And one of the two I'd check daily. I'll keep checking in, as well, and I intend to buy a book or two. I wish you much success out there in the new and scary commercial photography world!

Ron said...


This morning I was happy to see a new post, then saddened when I began reading it.

I totally understand your need to re-prioritize.

I have been reading your blog, comments, musings and wit for several years and will miss the regular doses of it. You always say what you think and feel, and it's a breath of fresh air in this superficial world. Your posts about "inspiration, art for art's sake..." continue to resonate with me in an inspirational way.

I'll keep your blog bookmark at the top of my reading list and check in often to see if/when you pop back in once in a while.

So what will I do with my new free time? Why, I'll pick up a camera, one lens and take a walk in my city.

Like always, if you're ever in Northern California, hit me up for a lunch/dinner/coffee/beer.

- Ron

Patrick Dodds said...

Sorry to hear this Kirk; your blog is one of my regular and trusted haunts. I hope our loss as readers is to the benefit of your business. Good luck!

Winwalloe said...


Your blog is maybe the only website that taught about the art in photography. What there is to feel not only when looking at the picture but also when taking one. It's the food for thoughts I had been craving for awhile.

So much about photography online is gear oriented (or rather, specialized on gear). And your post today makes me think that one reason may be that those websites yield more "return on investment" to their owners than blogs such as yours do. It's a shame truly because it's from your blog that a beginner (and a photographer at any other level) can learn what matters in this domain.

Anyway I wish you the best :)

Albert said...

Thanks for all you have given us for free. I (and many others) are grateful for your refreshing insights. Have fun, make great pictures & take care!

Anonymous said...

At times I've wondered about the pace that you set for yourself; you seemed unreasonably prolific. You were averaging 2 posts a day... and they were often lengthy, well written and illustrated. I've appreciated what you've been doing, but I've wondered about its sustainability. Maybe it's just time to give yourself a new set of guidelines? I'll miss your voice and your insights; also the window into Austin, Tx that you provide.

Anonymous said...

I have read your books, and read your blog daily. this is sad news!
Thank you for all of your hard work.
Your Images and words have inspired me. Your return will be welcome.
Gregg from Salt Lake City

Greg Roberts said...

I am sad, but I understand.

Anonymous said...

Kirk - this is tough as you owe me nothing but I will miss your blog and most of all your perspective. Yours is a voice of reason on the web, a rarity. I have learned a great deal from your blog and while the topic, photography, is of great interest to me your blog is written in such a style that it would be great regardless of content. I am from the east cost and we usually don't think of Texas as being as cool as it sounds when you write. Thanks for the great posts and especially the education and insight. You're fabulous.
Joe C from Baltimore

Kurt Klimisch said...

Dang it. I just started reading this blog. You got me on your post about your 1Ds Mark II being your favorite camera. Inspired me to dump my under performing 7D and pick up a used 5D classic and a 1D Mark II for sports. (for about the same price - at least that is what I told my wife... :) Very happy with that decision. Don't let the trolls take you down. Take a break but come back! Maybe assign someone else to read through the comments and only forward those comments worth your time to respond to. Monetize you blog. I would rather read your blog with associated ads than not have your blog around - I think most people would agree.

John said...

Sorry to hear it, but it's certainly understandable.

It's been sort of a bad day for several online sites I visit. SoFoMoBo said good-bye, YehudaMoon is kaput, now you...oh well...

Good luck to you in the future!


Lennart Rasmusson said...

I have been reading your blog for a few months and very much enjoy the photographs and your texts, all of them, even though I am just a family/holiday photographer myself. In particular I like the way you really think about things. You even made me curious about Austin, which you never hear anything about here in the north of Sweden.

Thank you.

Clay O said...

I'm with Ken - what about a 'best of the blog' book? (Maybe an ebook?) It would be on my (virtual) shelf between Robert Henri's "The Art Spirit" and Ian Roberts' "Creative Authenticity"

Anonymous said...

Man, one of the few photo blogs I look forward to. Sorry to see it go. Plus, I like your photo style, particularly the portraits.

Anonymous said...

hi kirk, yours is really a nice and interesting blog, so many good entries, always something interesting to pick up. Looking forward to reading your future posts. 85 positives comments mine included, so much love after one post ! impressive, isn't it


shooter said...


I have enjoyed your posts, they are very well written and you have a style which is eminently readable. I can fully understand why you have decided to step back and focus on your business, especially given the parlous state of the economy.

There are many blogs out there most of which are dross, but every now and then you uncover a little gem, vsl fits that bill. I think the strength of it lies in its format and obviously content. I have loved how the gear junkies have been thrown many a curve ball by your eclectic mix of cameras. Singing the praises of the Olympus and then equally the canikon camp.

I suspect that this ever-changing affiliation is a bitter pill for those of the fixed and rigid camp who worship at the alter of there chosen image collection box. I on the other hand have found it refreshing, I have also agreed with a lot of your views.

They are like the group who constantly search for the magic recipe / word for guaranteed success, these will continue to look, in spite of being told in
clear unambiguous terms how they can succeed.

I will keep dropping by to check on how your doing in the meantime thanks for the ride..keep on shooting.

Nikhil Ramkarran said...

I've enjoyed your blog from the time I discovered it, and I've read everything faithfully since then.

There has never been a post I regretted taking the time to read and I certainly appreciate your often unique perspective.

I certainly can't begrudge you re-assessing your priorities but perhaps you will find it of value to return to the occasional blog post.

In the meantime; so long, and thanks for all the fish :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

The Visual Science Lab has been second only to TOP in my favourite blog reads over the past 6 months or so since I found you, so to read this at lunch time today saddened me. I've read quite a lot of your old posts, and feel I have gotten to know a bit about Austin (a place far from damp and dreary heatwave-free Ireland), and about what inspires you in your life and work.
I fully understand the problem with putting out free content, but I have to say that quality content such as this is what makes the world a smaller place, and it's the aspect of the web that I love the most. I'm still hoping that you will find the time, maybe once or twice per month, to write again. And it's the art and life posts that are the most interesting and inspiring. The gear reviews are interesting when new gear comes out, but really it's only fluff. Photography is about what you see and what inspires you, the gear is and always has been a tool.
So hopefully you will find the time occasionally to continue with the odd post about whatever is rocking the Austin art world and life in general
And if you're ever in Ireland, I'll happily stand you a couple of pints of the black stuff

Andrew said...

You will be missed here. I have gleaned many helpful insights from you and for what it's worth I purchased your book on lighting based on what I saw here on your blog. All the best for you, your family and your business. And I hope you keep shooting film!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I really liked the stories, but of course also the photos that went with it. Lots of inspiraion in them, I think.

Anonymous said...

are you serious? Now that i actually followed a blog and bought the camera(EPL-2)you reviewed? I will surely miss your insights on all things. Good luck and I hope you do change your mind.

David Rees said...

Kirk, I found your blog about 9 months back; I read all the old posts, then followed your writings regularly. I bought your books, and gave portraiture a try for the first time. I've learned a lot, and enjoyed reading your thoughts, ideas and personal stories. Thank you for all the effort and time you have put into communicating your passion for photography over the years. I respect your decision to stop, but will pop back here now and then, to look up something you've said, and hope that you might give us something new now and then. I'll continue trying to put what you've taught us into my photography. Please accept my gratitude. David Rees, Scotland.

Joel Dabrowski said...

Well, I never did become a public follower, as this comment form reminds me. I've probably been reading this blog for a couple of years already. I am purely a hobbyist, and haven't bought your books, nor frankly seen the usefulness of them for me personally, which is not a slight to you, but perhaps reinfocing what you realized in this post. Maybe what I hoped you wouldn't notice. I can't ask for more from you, but thanks for writing what you have. Your blog has been a joy to read for a lot of reasons. I do/did appreciate it, but I can understand the new focus too. Best wishes, and if you ever get more into architectural and landscape photos, feel free to write a book about them. I'll buy a few copies, I promise.

Bill said...

I,too,just discovered your blog a few months ago and echo many of the comments above. Yours was one of the few sites I read regularly and I felt you provided inspiration and humor and kept the focus on the process rather than the equipment. Thank you for leaving the site up as I have found myself rereading many of your articles which contain a great deal of wisdom and common sense.
I certainly understand your decision but,selfishly,hope you will someday start again.

RiverdogsCrossing said...

I know you may already have plans for the next book - but I think your VSL archive is that book. I read the comment from the anonymous reviewer. He wasn't funny. I too will miss your insight into the future, but especially your view of the past. See you on the streets,


Montgomery Advertiser said...

Thank you for sharing your viewpoints.

JimB said...

Hi Kirk,

Wishing you and your family all the very best.

Really enjoyed everything about your blog over the last two years. You are a rarity - great photographer and writer.

I will continue to drop by - glad to see you'll keep the blog up for the archived articles. You'll give us all an opportunity to revisit.

Jim B (from Ottawa)

P.S. A confession - started to read you blog after searching for an Olympus E3 review. Photographic highlights - you're 1 week vacation off the beaten path reconnecting with your creative self (Balmorhea Springs road trip). Great 'couleur".

Salut Kirk...

Anonymous said...

Really sorry to read this, as your writing is excellent and your entries are always entertaining, insightful and thought provoking.

However, I have often wondered how someone who runs his own photography business, swims regularly, has time for his family and still manages to enjoy regular photo walks can find time to write as much blog content as you. As much as I'd - selfishly - like you to continue the blog I think you've probably made the right decision.

Nonetheless, it's a sad day.

Best regards,

A fan, UK

atmtx said...

Kirk, I was filled with dread when I saw the title of your post. I have a bit of optimism since you mentioned that may stop by from time to time.

Your photography, writing and blogging is an inspiration to me. Thank you. I feel lucky that I live in Austin where I may have the opportunity to run into you from time to time.

I know first had how much work blogs can be. I perfectly understand your decision.

Neil said...

Hi Kirk,

I've read more common sense and insightful commentary on your blog than just about anywhere else on the net. I do hope you reconsider and keep giving us the benefit of your wisdom even if it's less often.

For every anonymous idiot that posts a dumb comment there are dozens of grateful readers who really appreciate that you take the time to write intelligently about photography. If you go you will be sorely missed, not least by me.

Good luck and thanks.


Dave Jenkins said...

Good grief! Only ten hours and I'm in withdrawal already. What am I gonna do for my daily fix?

M. Guarini said...

I'm very sorry. I wish you the best.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Kirk, understand your decision, but I have greatly enjoyed your blog and will surely miss it. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.

Alan Fairley

dedi said...

A big Thank you Kirk and wish you all the best with your future projects.


Thomas Hill said...

This is a sad day indeed. You have influenced my growth as a person and as a photographer. You will be sorely missed.

Neal said...

Enjoy your time spent on more important things. don't loose focus of the end goal and keep doing what you are doing.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk, thank you for sharing your hard won insights with me. I have read your words daily and am disappointed to have lost the VSL as it is one of the only websites I bother to visit regularly. If anyone reading this has discovered another site that is in the same ballpark As this one please share it:)
Kirk I will miss seeing pictures of your family, you have a beautiful tenderness with their photos. You have influenced me to see the time spent before taking a portrait as integral to it's success, and I stopped looking only forwards at new technology, and bought a secondhand camera which is perfect for my needs. Thanks for all the time spent writing this blog. I wish it was continuing daily:)
James (Canberra, Auntralia)

Anonymous said...

Kirk, reconsider a weekly word or two of inspiration for your followers. The best to you and your family. I will miss Belinda's smile and watching Ben grow up to be a young man. My thanks for many inspirational hours of reading. I still have your books to fall back on. Good Luck! Nick

Anonymous said...

You will be missed.

Mark Tessier


Brian K said...

Thanks for the memories.

Thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts, and preachy philosophy. Admired your portraits simply.

Appreciated your occasional mention of prints. I think prints are more important to the photo experience than the camera. I could be wrong.

I much appreciate the time and effort you gave to your writing.

I'll miss stopping by to see what you're thinking. Good luck to you, Belinda, and Ben.

Good luck. Live well. Thank you.

PS. I still shoot slides. Nothing against digital. I just like the color positive workflow.

Jeff Damron said...

As one with a much smaller blog (on black and white photography), and a full time job far removed from the world of photography, I understand exactly what you are saying and why you are saying it. I will miss your honest doses of insight though.

Paul Amyes said...

Thank you very much for all you have given. I've always considered reading VSL as part of routine and I will miss it greatly.

Ian said...

OK. I can make do without your blog.

How about you write that book about the 'Why' of photography?


andrew said...

Just wanted to say thank you for all the time you put into your blog; I've enjoyed it immensely. Good luck to you, sir.

John R said...

I appreciate the time and effort you've put into this blog, but can understand the drain it puts on your time. It'd be good to see some updates come through on the RSS from time to time though.

Anonymous said...

The content of your blog is a great mix of real/no crap/hands on, oriented reading. Any diminished level will be missed on my part.
Be well and God's speed in all of your endeavors.

Michael H. said...

Oh no! I've only just discovered your blog last week, and I've been catching up starting from the beginning!

Best of luck to you, and thank you.

Robert van Koesveld said...

Good on you! I have really enjoyed your blog and have opened it on my reader on days when I was too busy to bother reading some of the others I follow. However really support you acting on your priorities. So go well..

The Metzgers said...

I thank you so much for all your blog entires. In reading what you love about photography, I have been able to understand better what it is I love about photography. I thank you for sharing your experiences and insights.

PhotED said...

I'm disappointed that you're stopping your blog, Kirk, but not surprised. You've brought my faith back in the craft of photography and photographers in a day and age where equipment and pixel peeping and HDR seem to matter more than why we shoot and shooting what we love. Yes, you did your share of equipment reviews (which convinced me to make the jump to micro four thirds to use my MF lenses again), but it was your. willingness to ask why we shoot and to push us to shoot more and shoot often that really mattered. Thanks for reminding us about what really is important, in photography, in pursuing our passion, in taking care of those who are valuable to us. All the best.

Anonymous said...

just discovered your website 2 weeks ago...loved it.
but you gotta do what you feel good. best of luck!

Rick Medina said...

I've always enjoyed reading your blog. I look for it daily. Going to miss it. I often shared your blogs about "inspiration, art for art sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels us and sustains us" with my wife. They are/were our favorites.

Thank you for sharing thoughts the way you have.

Rick Medina

Wally Brooks said...

Follow regularly grateful for your insights and, glad you went back to Film! Your words made me a better photographer and I read every comment of the farewell post announcement. Your followers have a lot of love for you.

Mel said...

Bummer, dude. All the best as you move forward.

Now where am I going to see great film images???

Anonymous said...

thanks for the blog. You will be missed

Andrew Cox said...

I'll miss the Blog, but I can see where Kirk is coming from. We are taking about Kirk though, so he might change his mind five times before next week. And be insightful, well considered, and largely correct each time.

I reckon I'm better informed and more thoughtful for having followed the Blog. Thank you and good luck!


Craig Yuill said...

It is too bad that you won't be contributing to this blog on a regular basis. This is one site on the Web that I really enjoy reading on an almost daily basis. The ideas and tips you have posted have helped me improve my photography. You inspired me to get off the damn couch and go shoot.

I bought your Commercial Photography Handbook, and have been reading through it. A very interesting read! Please let us know when your video book is published. I will definitely want to pick that one up.

All the best,
Craig Yuill

Merle said...

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful writing and photos! Both are superb. Come back when you have more to say. We'll be here.

Neil Hanawalt said...

Nuts. My favorite blog is closing up. I have something like 35 blogs on my feed list. Yours has been the first one I read each day. I understand, only so much time in a day... Lifetime. My own meager blog has sat dormant with few (no) readers, I stopped making the time, more constructive things to do. All the best to you.

Rich said...

I discovered your blog some months back. I believe the first review I read was the E-PL1 (a camera I owned). I was hooked by your methods of review when you said that your reviews were not scientific, but rather reflected your thoughts in actually using the camera. Your reviews are exactly what I want to read about equipment - real world experiences, not controlled laboratory testing.
Your blog quickly became my favorite. Perhaps it was partially because I shoot a Canon 1D Mark IV and an Olympus Pen and I enjoyed a pro's insights, but the real reason was that I knew that every one of your posts would be well written, informative, and provide real insight into the craft of photography.
It should be obvious to you by the number of posts here, and the heartfelt feelings, that your musings have had a profound influence on a great number of people.
In the end, you have to do what is best for you and your family, but I am sure that many feel as I do when I say that I look forward to reading more from you in the future, whenever that might be.

Anonymous said...

I really understand your need to back-off from daily posts.

However, I will really miss them. I admit that I came to this blog for a hardware review. I stayed for the wonderful peek inside your heart and mind.

Not every topic was of vital importance to me, but they were all filled with vital energy.

It is like finding an oasis in the desert, a cool drink for the parched soul.

Whenever you feel the urge to write, there will be a large following of quiet support.

I wish you well with all of your endeavors.


Jeff Jaxon said...

I'll miss the inspiration. Thanks for what you've written, and feel free to change your mind!

Daryl Thomas said...

Just a note to say thanks. Came upon your site by accident, the wondrous nature of the web and have enjoyed reading all of your articles including the philosophical ones. Good fortune in your next moves.


Anonymous said...

You have helped me more than I can describe. I'm just an entheusiastic amateur, but your's has been one of my favorite blogs. Not only has my photography improved through your photography advice, your business advice has affected the way that I run my consulting business. Thank you for everything.

Michael B

. José Madeira . said...

Good luck, Kirk.

I've been a lurker (a reader who never comments) for about two years now, and yours is one of my favorite blogs. Whether you're talking about gear, technique, or just pontificating on swimming and life in general, your words are always worth reading.

I wish you well in your next venture. And if you ever do post somewhere again, I hope I have the good fortune to find you again.

Shannon Murray said...

Hello Kirk

Thanks for sharing your life with us, may whatever you do next bring happiness to the three of you.

Warm regards
Sydney, Australia

Unknown said...

Hey Kirk, sorry to see you hanging up the boots mate. I've enjoyed reading your posts (and books) over the past few years and always relish your acerbic, real-world insights into this crazy profession we know and love.
If you and Belinda ever decide to take a holiday down to see the Great Barrier Reef you know where I am!

Paul Dymond

Philip said...

I've followed your blog for over a year, and although I don't always agree with you, I've always felt I could trust you. Sometimes it's nice to read things from the point of view of someone that enjoys the act of photography more than obsessing about the gear. And I've always found your posts about the business of photography to be insightful.

I never post comments, I'm just a lurker, but I wanted you to know that you will be missed. And if I've learned anything from reading your blog all this time, it's that you don't have any hangups about changing your mind. So here's hoping maybe we'll see you again in the future. I'll leave you in my feed reader just in case.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Damn, this is sad news. Just adding my 2 cents to the rest of the comments. I always enjoyed reading your thoughts on old cameras, film, digital, sources of inspiration, the "why" of why we take photos, and the occasional (and oh so honest) rants. Of the dozens of photography blogs in my RSS feed, yours is one of a small handful that I always faithfully read, instead of just skimming the headlines. You've taught a lot of people a lot about photography.

But, you've ultimately got to enjoy what you're doing, how you're spending your time, and whether it makes sense.

Enjoy yourself.

Marino Mannarini said...

Kirk, you shed light on my photography. I know something about getting burned on the web and i also know that often i should shut down my mac ang go out more to shoot.
Thanks. thanks a lot.


Mark Hespenheide said...


Thanks for taking the time for so long. At first, when I started reading a couple years ago, I learned that I'd rather be a dedicated amateur than try to be a professional. As I continued reading, I came to realize that you, at least, were trying to make a living at photography and yet still hold on to the things that drew you into it in the first place.

As a landscape and wilderness guy, there's no one else that I've followed more closely nor drawn more insight from in fields like portraiture, street, and urban architecture. Thank you.

I don't live anywhere near there, but if I ever need a photographer in Austin, I'll know where to find you.

Unknown said...

Sad to see you go Kirk.

But you are right. We all shall focus on what we are doing at best. And I believe your (actually us) first priority it to excel on your profession and have a content in life and family.

Wish you the best!

maxx said...

Over the years, I have deleted many a photography bloggers' website from My Favourites because they would become exhausted and repetitive and, well, boring. Your's, however, is the one I have never wanted to do without. I have learned a lot and have had a good time in the process. Plus, I am happy to know such a great personality like you. Thank you, Kirk Tuck, and God bless you and your family.

efix said...

Dear Kirk,

I am sad to hear that you will not continue your blog - I enjoyed reading it very much, and quite often found your more "philosophical" posts very interesting and educating.

I wish you all the best for your upcoming projects, and hope to be able to read something new from you every now and then.

Anonymous said...

hi kirk, thanks for sharing. i will miss your insights.

all the best

Anonymous said...

I'm also one of the lurkers since I stumbled across your blog a few months ago. I read it almost every day and have derived great pleasure from it and quite a bit of inspiration. A couple of years back, I revived my treasured OM2 and started shooting film again alongside digital. Much of what you say and ponder resonates strongly (as far as it can for an amateur) and I like to think that my people photography has improved through wah I have learned form you.

Respect your priorities - you have to earn your living from photography. Hope that we can continue to hear from you, even if irregularly.

Best wishes,

inside my head said...


just a quick word to thank you for all this wonderfull posts and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Jose Rola

Markus B. said...

Good for you. Lots of respect for your decision.

Nigel said...

Just to add to everyone else has said: many thanks for your efforts, which were much appreciated, and best wishes for the future.

It's been fun.

Might see you over at TOP from time to time ? ?


Gino Eelen said...

Maybe the fact that you were not 'only in it for the money' contributed to the fact that this is/was one of the few really worthwhile blogs on the net.

I've always enjoyed your posts, even the ones about subjects I wasn't particularly interested in, but I also always wondered how you could keep up the effort of producing sometimes multiple posts per day. I know I couldn't.

And it's good to hear that the business is on the up again to the extent that time on the blog is time lost.

Anyway, a very sincere Thank You for all your time and effort, and for generously sharing your view of photography, business, and life in general.

China Jim said...


Thanks for all your help and all you have given back to the photography world. I understand focusing on your work priorities. I hope you will be able to find time for a few posts a week.

Shanghai, China

Kevin Mayo said...

I always enjoyed your writing including your articles on Photo.net. I enjoyed your run and hope we hear from you in the future.

Dave said...

Kirk if you never write another thing then THANK YOU for all that you have done. It changed my photography and even a lot of my non-photographic life for the better.

And in the end isn't that the point of human existence? If we aren't touching lives then why do much of anything!

Rest assured that there was, is and will be that kind of value in your content and the tid bits of your mind which you've shared. But like all natural systems there is a balance of light and dark which in this case took the form of an anonymous idiot.

Trust me I understand, having been burnt by volunteer efforts over the years. The hurts caused when someone casts as useless the things which represent our inner most being, are deep.

It is my fortune to not only have learned something of photography in your blog, but more importantly humanity through photography. Other sites are only about the hard, cold science of photography but yours shows the more important context; people.

All the best and God bless!

scotth said...

Sad to see you go, but do what you have to do.

I have enjoyed a lot of your posts, particularly the art for art's sake posts. I think online, few people try to write about the process and most want to write about the equipment. Of those that do attempt to write about the process, most attempt to hide any insight (or their personal lack of insight) behind a pile of artsy babble. I enjoyed your writing on the subject.

I really like your pictures too, especially the portraits. I think you have a gift there.

Wolfgang Lonien said...


additional to my post on my own blog I wanted to say thanks here as well. I even liked (and can recommend) your business book, although I don't intend to become a pro myself. All of it still helped me a lot, like this blog which I will miss big time as well.

All the best to you and Belinda and Ben. And thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Kirk, it's been a pleasure reading your blog and seeing examples of your work here too.

Many thanks.

christian said...

Add one more tic to the column of recent followers who are supremely disappointed in this news. Kirk, I really enjoy your perspectives, your wit, and your writing style. I've read VSL every day since I found it, and am very happy to see a fellow Austinite who is so accomplished in his field and so excellent at his craft.

As you can plainly see you will be sorely missed.

Thank you for what you have done.

Ezequiel Mesquita said...

Thanks Kirk for your time and inspiration. Though not a frequent commenter, I'm a frequent reader and indentify me with much of your thinking. I like you being opinionated and sincere. Strange that your posts about inspiration/vision/art are the least popular, but that doesn't make them less relevant. I hope you get relieved from the duty of daily posting and find an enjoyable/productive use for that time. And look forward to find from time to time some new nugget of your art and thinking. Warm regards!

Anonymous said...

Kirk, Thanks for your often entertaining and always informative blog. I will hate to see it go. I looked forward to seeing your daily writing and will sorely miss your amusing rants. I plan on a trip to Austin (on my bucket list) and hope to run into you at your local cafe...

Good luck
Bill B

fotoplek@yahoo.ca said...

What a sad moment! I will continue to see what happens here from time to time. The need to prioritize is understandable.
The new equipment reviews were my least favored. I NO longer can buy NEW equipment, nor would I. I use P/S digitals for my pro stuff. My old film cameras soldier on, much like Napoleon's Army towards the end. All are wounded or maimed.
The insights to your art and pushing business forward. Yes, commercial photographers make art!
The idea only art comes from those with a 4 year degree, in horse-apples at an Art School is beyond ludicrous.I hate "modern" art as in abstract.
Yours a voice of reason with one other blog! Rodney Smith, The End, is only once a week.
Rather than say good bye say "Totsiens","Au Revoir","See Ya".
May your light be beautiful and your exposures truthful.
jason gold

David Akesson said...

We are about the same vintage Kirk. Have enjoyed your blog. Always felt that this giving of yourself will come back and bless you - not necessarily through the blog. Rather through the old principle of you will reap what you sow. When you sow blessings into the lives of others you will be blessed.

I'll just have to re-read your books. Wonder how many of your readership have gone onto reading those invaluable resources. Probably more than you realise.

But everything has a time and a place; a time to live and a time to die. I congratulate you for being able to recognise the time to refocus. May you and your family be bountifully blessed as you reorientate your time. Always remember, though, that so many more than you have ever realised were blessed by your giving of yourself.

So thank you.
David Akesson

- thanks for the journey.

Glenn Harris said...

You were definitely prolific and sometimes provocative and I have learned a lot from you so thanks. Only you can decide what is the most appropriate use of your time and I hope that after a while you will find the time and inspiration to share a bit of Kirk's World with us from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kirk, I can't really add to what's been said before, you've been inspirational.

You will be missed.


Gingerbaker said...

More profit, less interaction - is that the idea?

Making more money is the definition of success, but reaching out and connecting with thousands of people every day is failure.

THIS is the worst post and dumbest idea you have had in a LONG time.

Scott said...

Can't let you go without letting you know how much I've enjoyed reading your blog. You have a fine style, both in shooting and writing, and your observations have been thought provoking, usually getting me thinking more about what you said. I'll miss your daily input, look forward to occasional comments from you, and get out and shoot. Thanks.

Martin said...


Everything has already been said - but by everybody...

Very sad to read this. Your blog was one of the few I always liked to read and always came back. In particular the mixture of general thoughts on a photgrapher's business, on art (especially protraits) and also your thoughts on gear - not just the reviews...

Thanks for this blog. Maybe you will reconsider your decision after a while. Hope springs eternal...

Chillibones said...

Kirk, I've really enjoyed your blogs, sorry to see them end. Maybe you'll pick it up again in the future. All the best.

Unknown said...


Thanks for all the blogs; you've converted me to Olympus MFT (but I use the Panny 20mm). Means buying more cameras, so my wife isn't that happy with you, though.

I'm a journalist by trade, and won't write anything longer than my signature without getting paid (I'd like a few bucks for this comment, actually!), so I understand where you're coming from w/VSL. But I've enjoyed reading it and have gotten lots of good info -- if you ever want to switch to some kind of subscription deal, I'll be in line to sign up.

Good luck,
Mike Smith

Matthew said...

Well, I haven't had time to read the 168 comments that precede mine, but I will say this: your "rest of the blog" type of material, the stuff about inspiration, art, and growth mixed in with a healthy bit of gearhead talk, is incredibly helpful to amateurs looking for a way forward aesthetically and emotional-intelligently, who can't find another place to weather the deluge of technical blabber + bad image samples. In other words, people who love photography and who want to do it better, for real.

Sure, you could have spent all this time working, making calls, continuing to develop your discipline. But what you chose to do was to give, and in doing so, to help educate a younger generation dealing with different challenges (some of which involve which $499-$899 camera to buy, as well as how to think outside of the box). Thank you.

So please don't stop. You have a unique voice that is valuable and inspiring to people like me. And we thank you for letting us hear it for free. Dig deep and dismiss the other buggers.

Neil Gaudet said...

Hi Kirk

Just wanted to say thanks for all you've put into your blog. You've touched the good part of this industry more than you have guessed.

All the best to you.


Richard Alan Fox said...

Thank you for the hours of enjoyment and knowledge. I would not have purchased your books if I had not read your blog, but your style and spirit on the web made me interested in reading more.
As an artist with a family I do appreciate the time you took from them to give of yourself to us, thank you again and may our loss of your time be the gift to your wife and son.

Dave said...

Just a thought to those of us who follow this blog. I contacted the folks at Creative Live (creativelive.com) to ask them to have Kirk on as a guest speaker. Perhaps this would help take away to sting of losing this blog as a resource and creative watering hole. Just a thought/suggestion and I encourage anyone who feels similarly to also contact them.

John Robison said...

At 8:27 PDT 10/4/11 this post is at 172 comments with much weeping and throwing of dust in the air.

Nuff said.

Viv said...

Have enjoyed reading your blog. All the best in your future endeavours!

Oriol said...

Sad to read this, as I really enjoyed your blog. Not only your gear reviews, also your comments about general subjects.

Well, I will take your last advice about getting up off the couch and go shooting.

All the best from Barcelona!

Radu said...

Dear Kirk,

I am very sad to hear about your decision, but I will respect it nonetheless.

I discovered your first book on TOP, then bought it, then (if I remember correctly) you started this blog which I followed from day one. Later on I bought your book on commercial photography and continued to read the blog with great interest.

Your blog is special for several reasons: your view of the world, of work and of life, your writing style, and so on.

You taught me a lot on photography and equipment, but more so on how to approach a photo session, a client, a potential client, a difficult situation and so on.

You provided a view into the life of a professional photographer, helping me understand what this life is like, helping me decide if this is something I want to do (or can do).

More than that, you provided a view into your personal life - your family, your city, your thoughts and habits, your likes and dislikes, your friends. This made me (and many others, as I see in the other comments) feel like I have a friend in Austin; I showed my wife several times pictures of Ben for her to see him growing from a little boy to a fine young man.

There are many things I loved about reading your blog and your books, and I am sad that some anonymous fellow managed to hurt you so much.

Like many before me, I say there are many alternatives you could pursue in publishing your writings to a waiting audience (as one commenter before me said - nearly 200 comments from people sad to hear about your decision - not a lot, by internet standards, but definitely more than just a few). It could be a subscription site, closing comments, publishing less often and other with various advantages and disadvantages. A subscription site sounds best, since it has some returns, it filters out the anonymous commenters but allows a dialogue to take place when relevant - it will be your choice. Meanwhile I am thankful you are keeping the site alive, since I will definitely reread some of the older articles.

I wish the best to you and your family and hope you'll continue to write and let us see your view of the world since you clearly influenced and helped so many!


KJ said...

Just want to chime in. Also sad to see you go. While I understand your reasons, here's to hoping you'll change your mind.

Edmond H Lee said...

I have been a silent fan for over a year now and have be encouraged a lot by your site and perspective.
Though I've always been interested in your posts about gear, it's your posts about the creative process and photography in general that have really resonated with me.
I wish you the best as you continue in your career and will take comfort knowing that you're out there taking photos, writing books, and enjoying life.


Irenaeus said...

I certainly respect your decision, especially for the reasons you cite in your last blog, but I've come late to the party (today's the first I've known of you) and I'm disappointed that I'll not be able to read your ongoing commentaries (especially all that stuff about finding one's authentic vision!)

So I do hope your site will be open for back reading for awhile, though I can see how that might not be possible, either. Do let us know when books or the like become available in some way, please.

All the very best to you and, especially, to your family,

Thomas Turnbull

Alan said...

I've been struggling as a photographer for decades, there have been high points with several grants, full time gigs with insurance but the photo world keeps changing. as it should.

Having VSL to read has helped me stay afloat as well as gain valuable insight into your experiences, successes and obstacles as a working photographer. I apologize for mainly being a lurker on VSL, many excellent topics deserved comments and compliments from myself and likely others as well.

I wish you and your family continued success and happiness!

JD said...

Focusing on what is truly important in your life is always a good strategy. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog just about 3 weeks ago and thought it was a wonderful rich fun different photographic and just plain life reading that I can relate , I am saddened to see you sing off of this blog, I never comment much but I feel I had to let you know how much I appreciate your writing, thank you.

Robert Billings said...

Thank you very much for your blog.
I appreciate your frankness about being a working photographer.
I'm glad the site will stay up and my best to you. -Robert

Martin des Feuilles said...

In retrospect I feel guilty for being too much of a 'silent' reader of your fabulous blog for years, not posting appreciative comments when applicable. Sorry for that.

Thank you for your time and inspiration, and good luck with re-inventing.

Kind regards from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Clyde R. said...

I only found your blog this year, and most looked forward to your third category entries, and your reflections on being a photographer.

Who knows, perhaps one less distraction will help me get out and shoot more often. Thanks for all your work here, and good luck with what the future brings!

Frank Nachtman said...

You wrote the content. Why not monetize it? Hire someone to create Amazon and B&H referral links throughout your site. Heck, get a couple of people to create content for your site and write something once per week.

Look at what you've done as an investment. No need to throw it out. You can still have a lot of your time back. The blog can just be a smaller part of your life, but a part of your business as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time Kirk. As Rory said, you've made our photo world a little smaller and more friendly.

Please post advice on lighting gear and coffee as your time permits.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the blogs. Of the internet photography sites I visit this is my favorite.

I can appreciate where you are coming from to a degree as I am a small business owner and know how demanding running any small business is.

You however are lucky that your business is one that has a great interest to many people. If I wrote a blog having anything remotely related to my buisness (engineering related), it would put anything but the most diehard geek to sleep. So please don't underestimate the power of what you do here.

I will continue checking to see if you have added anything new.

As for the rude poster, just ignore him/her. The world has always had its share of idiots. The internet just gave them an easy way to annoy normal people.


chris said...

just wanted to add my expression of appreciation for what you've done with your site over the last couple of years. i know it isn't easy. and it is far too easy for people to make snide judgements they will never be held accountable for.

i hope what you concentrate on is even more rewarding, and finally let me add that i look forward to reading occasional postings over on t.o.p. one small note about that: while we always have to take our audience into account when we write, i think it is often best to imagine the best audience we can hope for rather than anticipate the (possibly more realistic) worst. don't let the terrorists win--write to the best, try to ignore the worst. easier said than done, i know.

but this started out as an expression of thanks, not tedious advice/wisdom. thank you.

Unknown said...

Finally! Someone with a brain in their head! Live what's right in front of you :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry about this. I enjoyed your blog and checked in on what you were doing regularly. I will miss your comments. I am sure there must be a way around this, but engaging with people less thoughtful than you are has to be a problem. Good luck. I hope you don't disappear.


Anonymous said...

Words of wisdom. Don't give it away for free.

Bruce Walker said...

Kirk, I fully understand your position and it makes sense.

Sad though, as I'm one of the ones who greatly enjoy and benefit from your "largely ignored" postings. You are one of the very few writers who tackle those "soft" themes, and those are the ones that expand my horizons and make me think. I already own gear I'm happy with (still improving how I use it after 3 years) and I'm not a gear-head. Rather, I'm trying to release my inner artist.

Anyway, attend to business, and thank you for keeping this stuff online where I will be referring to it for some time to come. It's been great!

William Souligny said...

Thank you for your thoughts, inspiration and honesty. The photos are, of course, just great. I came for the mostly ignored personal growth and art, which will never lose their importance like so much gear and technique. My best to you and your family.

Lewis said...

I followed your blog and I bought your book...you will be missed. Anonynous Grateful Follower : -)

Craig Yuill said...

It is too bad you won't be frequently posting on this blog. As others have stated, I've found your postings to be very informative and helpful at improving my photography. Your posts about family, friends, colleagues, and others have been wonderful. I have been enjoying your Commercial Photography Handbook. I am looking forward to getting your book on video. Please make a posting when it is available.

Thank you for all of the effort you have put into this blog. You have inspired me to get off the damn couch and go shooting.

Thanks, and best wishes,
Craig Yuill
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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