4.30.2012

Monday morning observations from a (still) working photographer.

this is the 996th post.

If you've been here since the very beginning of the VSL blog you have at least as much stamina as me.  You've lived, vicariously, through my dabblings in the Olympus 4:3rds system (loved the 14-35mm and the 35-100mm;  not so much the e3), the Nikon digital camera family (nice and steady, just like a Buick---and just as sexy), the Canon EOS digital family ("can I please be like everyone else in the entire world?"), the ongoing affair with two flavors of micro four thirds (Panasonic and Olympus) and now the Sony Alpha series.  We spice it up with guest appearances by the Kodak venerable Digital Collection (SLR/n and DCS 760C), several medium format digital cameras, and I provide occasional gravitas by shooting, as God intended: With black and white film in a Hasselblad Medium Format Camera. Adventurous or compulsive?  Does it matter?

We've talked about the differences between film and digital, between phones and cameras, posturing and commitment and mostly we keep swerving back around to the idea of discipline.  The discipline to stay true to your own vision in a swirl of ever changing styles.  The discipline to master the tools that you need to use to express yourself, and the discipline you need in order to stay in shape for the ride.  Not to mention the mental discipline to stay on track and keep producing.

I bring this all up because the Visual Science Lab Blog is about to hit two milestones that seem like important markers to me.  Within the next few days we'll hit the 1,000th blog post.  More pages than a chunky novel.  One thousand forays to the keyboard in hopes of clarity.  1K thinking and writing about photography (mostly).  I've learned some stuff about writing:  the more you do it the more fluid it becomes.  The more you do it the more addictive it becomes.  The more you do it the easier it is to get started and stay focused on writing books and articles as well.  Writing a blog is also like playing scales for a pianist; it keeps the fingers warmed up...

I learned that thinking and expressing stuff is the harder part. I don't always agree with main stream thought and it creates some written work from me that gets lots and lots of push back.  I get frustrated when people don't see what I think of as the "obvious" big picture.  I don't write much about things that I know will enrage my readers and random visitors. I've learned that people are sensitive about their weight, their rationalizations about the happy mindless wonders of the cellphone camera in all of its glory.  Their ability to rationalize laziness when it comes to learning.  The puzzling and disturbing admissions of otherwise smart people that they don't enjoy, or read, fiction.  

Another hard part about thinking is warming up to empathy.  Seems that a good portion of my readers are extremely comfortable with logic and math but totally disengaged from emotion and irrational intuition.  I'll make a statement about how a camera coerces a behavior and the swell of self-righteous proclamations of mindful self-restraint and total mental isolation from any outside influence start to bubble up. "I am the uncontested master of my photographic domain!!!" (apologies to the Jerry Seinfeld show).  And I can't believe that  these people don't care about the opinions of the people around them and are so totally self-contained that their art is protected from any external dialog.  But aren't people who spend their days talking only to themselves........crazy?

But I'm learning which subjects to approach and which landmines to let alone.  Why "frag" oneself in the pursuit of a dialog?

The second, big milestone is the upcoming VAST NUMBERS event.  We will have reached 5,000,000 pageviews in the next ten days (if I haven't already pissed off the majority of my readers with a couple paragraphs above...).  I come from an age, in academia, where the publication of 2,500 books was thought to be explosive bestseller territory.  The idea that either one person clicked on my blog five million times or that a number of readers clicked a number of times makes me feel.....connected.  That so many of you come back to read again and again makes me feel like I'm connecting with like minded people and that my blog posts are NOT the random screaming of a mad man cursing the wind.

I'm not sure what kind of surprise party you all are planning for the 1,000th blog but I'm thinking it going to happen on Weds. and, as it happens I'm not booked with an assignment that day.  I'll be sitting here doing post production on this afternoon's project and tomorrow's full day of shooting and I'll just be waiting to see what you all come up with.  My favorite color is blue,  I like German Chocolate Cake and I'll probably feel like eating Mexican food.  Wednesday is a good day to visit Austin but if you are flying in from Europe, Asia or Oz you might want to get on the road  right now so you have a fighting chance of getting over your jet lag.  

At any rate, I'm happy I've done the work.  I'm happy to have posted over 3,000 photographs (mostly of coffee cups) and I think I'll keep at it for a while.  There's lots of work to be done keeping those cellphones out of your camera bags, pushing some more fiction and hawking my little collection of photo books.  Welcome to the next 1,000.


Buy yourself something nice to read:

http://www.amazon.com/Kirk-Tuck/e/B002ECIS24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

21 comments:

lsumners said...

Chalk me up for 1,000,000 clicks. My present is in the mail.

BruceK said...

Happy 1000th entry! Many more to follow I hope!

How about an e-book collection of your entries?

kirk tuck said...

Bruce, Belinda and I are working on the e-book right now. The top 50 blog posts of the past four years. Should be fun. Think we'll be able to sell any?

Unknown said...

Thanks for your endurance and your stimulating musings. I came to your blog relatively late (via TOP), so I probably didn't contribute too many clicks. May you post many more thoughts. May you tick off many more readers. May you continue to stimulate my thinking.

Sandy Rothberg said...

Reading you is often the high point of my day. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I wonder but I most often I just feel connected. Somebody else thinks like I do, that I am not alone and you write about it, so well. Congratulations on 5 million clicks, here's to 5 million more!

GordonMcGregor said...

So where is the party/ long lunch going to be?

Gregg Mack said...

Kirk, the "surprise party" will be that we will all show up again, and expect you to entertain us.... or as usual, just "cause us to think and ponder" over your unique, and insiteful observations about photography and life in general. I can't wait to see what you've been saving up for your 1000th post. Congrats!

Ian said...

Thanks for writing!
Your record of life, public and private is valuable,similar to what many non-blogging photographers do.

I send my apologies for the celebrations this week, though I will raise my morning coffee as a toast to the VSL as part of 1000 / 5,000,000. Are you producing any memorabilia? Coffee cups, camera strap, rolling gear bag?

Your writings often cause me to think and investigate a range of ideas related to photography and art. So I hope that you continue to find value in the process.

Ian.

Message sent from my 8x6 view camera.

s.j. luke said...

What they said, mostly. I look forward greatly to the next 1,000+ posts.
Signed: a fan.

Bold Photography said...

Congratulations on these milestones! They're impressive by any metric.

I still convince myself that 3 people would ever read my own blogs.. myself, my mother and maybe my dog, if I make him read it...

8473f0a6-72b1-11e1-96e8-000bcdca4d7a said...

Wish I was closer to Austin, I'd buy lunch and drinks ! Thanks from one old pro to another !
Brian, Naples, FL

atmtx said...

Congratulations, Kirk! We should go out for some Mexican food.

Unknown said...

Really enjoy your blog and usually never miss a day. When I do I
catch up on those I missed.

To celebrate this milestone of yours I will take a picture of my
cup of joe this Wednesday morning with my trusty friend, a Nikon
D2H and AI'ed 35mm F2.

cheers and beers!

Ed Lara said...

Congratulations, Kirk, what a great milestone. Thanks for all the musing, philosophizing, sharing and admonishing, Will lift up a brewskie for you on Wednesday night.

FotoEdge said...

Life really is way too short! So much to digest and explore!Your Writing ain't half bad!

Dave Jenkins said...

Not to me (sorry!). I've been printing out my favorites and putting them in a binder all along.

John Bour said...

I wanted to thank you, was looking for words, but Sandy already used them...
Thank you. I have been a 'follower' since the beginning, I missed you during your short break, I feel I have a friend in Austin, I almost always recognise and agree with your views, and I bought all your books. Keep up the good work Kirk, and do not shy away from the more controversial stuff..your writings are often thought-provoking, your words are often wise..most of the time you are just right. If/when I get to Austin I will definitely buy you your favorite coffee..for now a virtual one has to suffice. Thank you my friend (and Belinda and Ben..VSL wouldn't be the same without them..)

Low Budget Dave said...

Can't make it to Austin, but if you are ever in Orlando, let me know and I will buy you a cup of coffee to photograph.

Charles Haskell said...

In the May issue of Outdoor Photographer, Dewitt Jones writes that for him "photography is a spiritual practice." My primary interest is portraiture and I, too, consider it a spiritual practice. Your blog comes the closest of any I've seen that appears to have a similar philosophy. Would you go so far as to say that photography is a spiritual practice for you?

kirk tuck said...

I don't know what that means. The word "spiritual' is not something I'm comfortable applying to much in everyday life. My photography is more like breathing and eating and drinking and making love and all the other things that make life life. I think it's a bit pretentious to elevate the practice of one's art to a near religious practice. Labeling it in such a lofty manner seems to deprive the artist of his self determination. Or it's a crutch for not wanting to examine one's life and find meaning.

I'm not a joiner, a chanter, a prayer or a follower. And I don't believe in leaps of faith. Faith, yes. But leaps of faith? No.

Charles Haskell said...

Thank you. Your reply is helpful to me.