Back to basics.

As we get closer to the end of the year work slows down and I start spending more time reading, hanging out with the family and cleaning up the studio/office. It's also a time for reflection and soul searching. And pretty much by Dec. 31st of most years I've come to the conclusion that: 1. I'm still too judgemental. 2. I'm still trying to be an "expert" in too many things. And, 3. I still spend too much time arguing my points on stuff that really doesn't matter.

The truth is that there's really no way to do photography incorrectly if you are doing it for your own pleasure. What camera I think is really cool (in the present) should have very little influence on that with which you photograph. The kinds of subjects I like to look at and photograph are as much personal taste as whether one likes broccoli or brussel sprouts, red wine or beer.

I might decry commercial changes in the business of photography but you'll probably hear the same kind of resistance to change in any professional field. The beauty of being a photographer (as a separate thing from being a paid photographer) is that you can always return to your core and revitalize your artistic self by embracing and exploring those things that you love to  photograph.

When you explore on your own you short circuit the interference you get otherwise.

Sometimes I feel that I write too much and think too little. But I know that when I make portraits I'm in the right place. 


  1. "Revitalize your artistic self by embracing and exploring those things that you love to photograph." My mantra for the coming year rather than obsessing about what to photograph with.

  2. Man, cut yourself some slack. 1. When you have a large body of experience and knowledge (and when you're an old guy) you have some foundation for occasionally passing judgement. 2. Curiosity often leads to expert status. 3. OK, I'm with you on this one. I'm guilty as charged.
    Exploring on my own cuts through the crap and reminds me why I still love photography. Once a month I hang out with a diverse group of photographers who really love film and film camera. I tell you, it's better than therapy.

    ' status

    1. Bill, I'd like to argue with you but.......see point #3. I think knowledge is a moving target and just because I know how we "used to do it" doesn't necessarily mean that all of the knowledge is relevant or important. And holding on to the idea that it is makes it harder to absorb new knowledge. But that may just be me.

    2. I've been reading you for about a year and a half. What I have noticed the most is your abilityand eagerness to embrace what's next. You also don't seem to fear admitting when something did not turn out as well as you originally thought.
      Re: How we used to do it, dagnabbit! All of my knowledge about pushing Tri-X in Acufine doesn't count for much, but it's still there. That background helps me understand where we are now in digital imaging. It also makes me want to smack photographers complaining about digital noise, but that's another issue.

  3. For what it's worth, I enjoy your perspective and insight. You've taught me a few things about my own photography. I don't follow very many blogs and I no longer frequent cesspools like dpreview, but I always check in here very regularly. I don't always agree with everything I read here (more often than not I do though)but it is always well-written and interesting.

    Two things I've learned in 2012: I love photographing people and I love film; this time last year I didn't know those two things about myself, so it's been a good year for me.

    Looking forward to the VSL in 2013. Thanks.

  4. Kirk, I'm still enjoying reading you every bit as much as I started when I discovered the blog, maybe a year ago. I see a recurring pattern of lusting for gear, stating gear doesn't matter, giving in to gear lust, producing more great photos and writing more great posts, then the cycle starts again ;-) Keep doing just that and I plan on following that blog for a long time to come. I owe you the revelation square portraits are what I love making, and the guts to go ahead and try NEX and manual focus. Both things improved my photography a great deal during this past year. Thanks for that. And I'm still looking forward to reading that novel !!

  5. Regardless of if you "write too much and think too little", and I may not agree with everything you say, it's still pretty entertaining reading. Keeps me coming back regularly, so thanks for doing this.

  6. Kirk I appreciate your opinionated self ;) Keep it up. (there really aren't many good photo blogs out there that update on a regular basis.)For me being a local makes this one that much more interesting.

  7. Hi Kirk, this is really a nice post: it resonates with me and from the comments I am not alone. And it doesn't apply only to photography: but, at least in my case, to many other venues of my life.

  8. Why complain about anything when you can do work like this?


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