Why the reset? Here's my quandary: My market and my interests are shifting...

We live in a world of insanely fast changes and I work in an industry that changes even quicker. The things I've written about for the past five years have all referenced a continuum of photography that more or less reflected the viewpoint that digital didn't really change any of the underlying structures that made photography what it is, digital was just a new media to write the images to. A new kind of film that's infinitely cheaper to buy and process, and equally easy to share. And that was a comforting construct for me but it's just not true anymore.

A large number of the skills a lot of us spent decades honing are no longer relevant or even desirable. Who, in this day and age, needs to know the fine points of selenium toning Seagull Portrait fiber printing paper? Who will make use of your dissertation about the Scheimpflug formulas for calculating rear film and front lens standard movements for a view camera? And really, who gives a shit about which version of a 50mm Leica Summicron lens is really the hidden gem in the cosmology of lenses?

Much of the blog space on the web that has to do with photography has devolved into an endless review of cameras and lenses. The bloggers have discovered that talking about the latest equipment introductions is fun for the majority of readers to read. They've also discovered that most readers will click through the product links and return some income to the bloggers. It sets up an UN-virtuous circle wherein we start to customize our content to encourage equipment purchases instead of encouraging an exploration of the art. And that started to bother me. The websites I used to go to in order to read about technique or new works by ascending thought leaders have changed their mixes to be almost all commerce all the time. And while I know that's the basis of the American system (Oh...yay capitalism!!) it's also a subject line that decays quickly and irreversibly. That wonderful review about the Olympus EPL2 already seems antiquated. Like listening to Abba.

When I first envisioned writing this blog I thought I'd be writing about a handful of subjects. I wanted to show work I'd done and talk about the commercial photography world. How we make work. The challenges of keeping our personal visions alive while making a living doing images that weren't necessarily germaine to the visions that drove us into this commercial niche. I wanted to talk about the personal journey of creating art. Of shooting on the street. Of making portraits of wonderful people who made our hearts pump faster and our eyes perk up.

Here's the wonderful thing about writing a book: You only get to see the sales numbers twice a year and once you've written it and put it out there there isn't a hell of a lot you can do to change it if you get lots of good or bad feedback. Here's the really crappy thing about writing a column for a blog: You get hour by hour feedback in the form of comments, pageview metrics and even click through numbers which you can't really help wanting to see. If they are good on an article you wrote yesterday your ego is massaged and you feel vindicated and smart and dialed in. If your numbers fall over the edge of a cliff the next day you become frustrated and you subconsciously start edging in the a different direction. Which direction? Obviously, the one that protects your fragile ego.

A number of years ago I wrote two blogs that I really love. One is called "Lonely Hunter, Better Hunt" and the other is, "Coffee Time is Over, Shut up and Shoot." Both have been moderately popular in terms of pageviews and comments. But, of course, the numbers are dwarfed by anything I write that covers, reviews or even just mentions the gear. Write a long Olympus review and the numbers are amazing. Write something that discusses our motivations and watch the numbers fall through the couch cushions with all the spare change.

But here's the disconnect, a vocal faction of readers tells me how much they love the non-gear columns while the vast majority of visitors turn off and head for more gear-like pastures.  

The next problem for the blog is that after nearly 30 years in the business I feel that I can clearly see, both in art and commerce, how much bigger video is becoming. And how important it is to the whole sphere of visual communication as we plunge into the future. I like cinema and video and the art of the moving image. I like scripts and writing and acting and everything that goes with it but my audience sometimes makes me feel locked into being that guy who wrote a book about using small flashes or the guy who wrote a book about LEDs and they give me (metaphoric) disapproving looks when I mention video/motion.

Wanna see readership drop off your photography blog? Shift from writing about which camera and lens combination currently has the most magnificent bokeh in the world to writing about how to light faces in video and watch the current readership shrug and trundle off for another cup of Sanka.

The future is coming at us fast. Four of my work days this week will be consumed shooting video for clients. I haven't changed my branding or advertising; my clients just assume I will be able to bring the same lighting effects and personal rapport to the video table. And I feel that the wave is just beginning to swell. 

Sony announced a 4K television set at NAB this year that should be priced under $5,000 so it's only a matter of a year or two until the high end of the market (where the juiciest clients reside) are totally saturated with screens that deliver a much higher level of detail and tonal integrity than even the best units we're using today. And that will change so much. Levels of production will have to rise and the next generation of DSLRs (or, if you shoot with Sony, DSLTs) will have to incorporate the new 4K level of HD video. And the potential to show work on a high quality medium will become ubiquitous. But if we sit around and argue about the death of the traditional photo industry or how we need to go back to printing our own black and white photos with chemicals, or which camera is the best one right now! Then we won't share in the fun.

I don't want to create a site like Phillip Bloom's where everything is a commercial for every video gadget that's offered for wannabe movie makers. And I don't want to be a blog where we worship our past at the expense of the present. I also don't want to turn my back at timeless good work either. 

But in my mind the first step in rehabbing the VSL blog was to take down as much product specific stuff as possible. I'm no longer in the business of reviewing the tools. I'm not any smarter than many of my readers and I think they can figure out which camera works best for them. I'm no longer flogging my previous books. I've worked and worked on that and there's no rhyme or reason to their selling pattern. If I flog a book it will be the upcoming novel or a new e-book after that. I don't want to sell people workshops. I don't want to sell my audience prints.

In fact, I don't want to seek out an audience, I want my audience to seek me out. 

So what do I intend to substitute for all the decaying and moribund content that used to live here? It's easy. I want to write about my experiences making portraits and shooting motion picture projects. I want to write about how this one freelance content creator lives his life and makes his work. I'd like to showcase and interview more and more interesting people in the way I did with Michael O'Brien's video.  And I'd like to talk about this whole life and undertaking as a process that's done with thought tools and not just the cameras and lenses we buy for sport. I want to make portraits that are exciting or seductive enough to make me forget the gear.

You can come along for the ride or you can find somewhere else to live. You can join my imperfect search to bring meaning to my photographs and the work of people that I think are doing good stuff. Going forward I will be much more direct in my opinions (I've felt myself toning things down to keep the virtual peace around here) and if enough people don't like it vocally enough I'll just turn off the comments.

I'm old enough to know that all the stuff we buy is irrelevant if we don't have anything to say. And we'll never know what it is we want to say with our work if we have our collective heads up our butts chasing the latest light, lens and camera stuff. Mea Culpa. I got sucked in by the magnetic attraction of pageviews and the lure of the cash. Not anymore. 

It's hard to write for an audience you don't know. I would sincerely like to use the comment section on this particular post to hear from you, my readers. Who are you? What do you do to make money? What do you do to make art? Why are you here? What do you think the future will bring for you and for the rest of us....in a photographic sense? I'd like to hear from as many people as possible. I'll open up the comments even to the anonymous commenters. Share with me who I've been writing to for the past five years.

Thanks, Kirk

Please use our Amazon links to buy your camera gear (and anything else you like at Amazon). We'll get a small commission which helps defray my time and cost while costing you zero extra.
Thank you very much.


John Hall said...

I am a former professional ballet dancer (13 years), stage photographer, and part-time sound technician. I'm currently going through engineering school to start a new career having retired from dance in my early thirties.
I read your site and TOP daily. I look at Imaging Resource for gear and I look to dpreview for encyclopedic knowledge. I visit Luminous Landscape occasionally.
All of which is to say: I come here because I like your voice both as a writer and a photographer. We don't always agree, but you often make me think hard about a subject (I like that) and I do always learn something.
I like your gear comments for the same reason I like Mike's on TOP: they come in the context of a much larger body of essays and photographs on a wide range of subjects. As such I have an idea of where you are coming from.
This means that its the context, posts about swimming and cappuccino and food, that matters.
I'll stick with you as you change. I'm no more a videographer than I am a portraitist but I've no doubt I'll learn a lot along the way and gain a few personal insights too.
hope that helps,

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your ideas on photography. I can't find anything but gear reviews, and I have had all I can take with them.I think you will have a good response to this type of blog.

John Chulick said...

Your best blog entries are those describing how and why you take photos. I enjoy your insights regarding your choices of lens and camera, why you light a certain way, or your insights on how best to photograph your subject. The world has way too many blogs that compare, rate, and critique equipment. I dont think I could stand another comparison of some micro 4/3 lens or the latest camera release. I have learned a bit about my A77 from your blog. Please keep posting topics that are dear to your heart, it will be easier and the writing will probably be better. Explorations into doing video will intriguing. Sounds like your blog is about to take an interesting turn. I'll stay tuned.

Andre said...

Hi Kirk, I found your site through Petapixel's posting of your "Photography can be like fashion, or it can be a lifelong linear process." That article really resonated with me for 3 reasons:

1. It talks about photography as art.
2. It is introspective about photography.
3. The introspection is intelligent.

Those 3 things are important to me because they show me what is possible with photography, and inspire me to push on to find my own photographic voice. It's unfortunate that I can count on one hand the number of sites (I can only think of 4 right now) that do this, and as you have discovered, the market really doesn't like this kind of subject. So good luck with the new site, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

To answer some of your questions: amateur photographer, engineer by trade. I am involved with the performing arts locally (mostly dance, classical and contemporary) as an audience member, patron, and sometime producer. Video will be big, but I don't think it's quite found its footing outside traditional venues like movies, TV, etc. and their traditional subjects (structured narrative).

Jim said...

I read you blog to see the perspective of a pro, one who makes his living making images. I've been a photographer for 55 years now, been processing my own film/files for 53 of those years. But I was never more than a PT pro working as a photojournalist for a local newspaper chain while in college. I did work FT as a photographer in the military but that was a long time ago. I like to see your take on photography, to see what yo are passionate about. It expands my perspective as a retired guy shooting mostly landscapes and flowers because I like to and then beating my head against the wall trying (not very successfully)to sell them. I like seeing your photos and hearing about your projects. I confess to tuning out a lot of the video stuff. I know that's where a lot of the commercial jobs are headed but I'm not planning to build that kind of business. Go ahead and talk about it though. You may convert me yet.

Kirk Tuck said...

Good to meet you! And yes, it does help put a very interesting face on the blog for me. Thanks. P.S. one of my ad agency clients was a professional ballet dancer before he started his career in marketing and advertising.

DrMickey said...

OK; I'm in. I am a psychotherapist who now works for an insurance company, but I was in broadcasting for over two decades. My hobbies are photography and audio (same as in 1976) and I am still trying to get better at the vision thing; i.e., seeing and conceptualizing before I push the shutter button. I am struggling with my new challenge: DSLR video. Boy, do I need help with that!
I enjoy your blog the most when you get moody or philosophic or downright cranky, but I also like the lighter moments, too (photos of sticky buns in an Austin coffee shop come to mind). I am willing to help support your blog, but what I don't need is another hot link to the latest iteration of yet another camera.
I kept up with you when you "quit" a while back, and when you showed up on TOP, and now when you have trashed the past posts, and I will keep coming back, because I want to read about what you think and what you know in your heart as well as your head.
Pet peeve: bloggers who start each post with "Hey, gang!"...

Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks Jim, and thanks for being a loyal reader for a long time. I really have appreciated your input over the last few years. Thank you.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks for sharing.

Kirk Tuck said...

We share a pet peeve. Thanks for the feedback.

Willie said...

Hi Kirk,
Greetings from Australia.
Thank you for the post - seriously, thanks. My personal favourites have always been your posts on the art of photography, not the gear-centric posts.
In fact, all the recent posts on the Sony gear has generally left me cold. If you had made one post saying 'I'm now shooting Sony, because their gear suits my purposes' it would have been totally acceptable. We get the point. Now get back to the craft, the art, the awesome ability you have to make great portraits.
They are the posts that I have loved.

All strength to you in the new direction. If someone wants gear reviews let 'em go where their ears will be tickled and their prejudices catered to (or not). Let them argue on some forum somewhere.

I'm just getting back into photography after being out (or dithering at the edges) for a while.

I too love shooting people and portraits as well as some personal projects.
Sure it may be a hard road to travel, but what an exiting time to be in this game.

I often ponder on what it is to be a successful photographer - is it money, is it acceptance by peers, acceptance by friends, making the odd good ( and rare great) shot?

I think perhaps it is being happy with what you do. Being full of joy in whatever comes your way and the satisfaction that occurs when you complete a project or make an image that speaks to you in ways that onther may not.

The gear is merely a tool. Sure, they can be wonderful tools, but mere tools is what they are. The craftsman, the artist - now that resides in the eyes, the brain, the heart, the hand and the soul.

All the very best


Carlo Santin said...

Been reading you for a year and a bit now. About to turn 45 soon. I'm a high school English teacher, married to an awesome woman and have 2 boys, but they are grown now. I'm a frustrated artist. My biggest obstacle in life is fear...always has been and always will be. My breakthrough moments in life occurred when I was able to overcome my fear. When I was younger I played guitar, still do, but I was absolutely paralyzed by stage fright and performing in front of a crowd so I gave up that pursuit. I've written a lot, self-published a book of poetry, took writing in college but had an awful time reading my work in front of others...fear again. Been photographing seriously for about seven years now but always had a great interest in it since I was a kid. Still dealing with fear when I photograph. I like photographing people, portraits or people at work, people doing things, people in the midst of doing etc. But I'm not so good at interacting with strangers, so it's a very difficult endeavour for me.

I'm a good teacher though because oddly, I have no fear with kids, none at all. I teach teens and I'm always amazed at their endless energy and creativity, and their amazing ability to just accept people for who they are ( I speak in general of coure, there are always those who like to bully and judge, but they are very few in actual numbers). They also have an uncanny ability to sniff out bullshit, so anything or anyone who isn't genuine they have no interest in. Don't believe the popular perceptions of teenagers, they aren't all drug users and internet addicts, lazy good for nothings who whine and complain. They live in an incredibly complex world. Let's put it this way, if I had to grow up in today's reality, I would have had a hard time coping. My world was such a simple one in comparison. Most teens are actually pretty great.

In may ways I feel as though I actually haven't started living yet.

My wife and I have a wonderful relationship because we accept each other, as is. It's always been that way from day one, and we are great friends. So no fear there, and that keeps me sane, and smiling.

Confession over.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,
I like your writing. I like how you think. You give me food for thought. I can get hardware info elsewhere.

PS - My first comment here - I don't know how to show a nickname, thus "Anonymous"

Neal said...

Hi Kirk

Neal here, Long time reader, (several years now I think.) I am married to an awesome supportive wife and we have 3 wonderful kids, 10 and under.
I work with technology in Libraries, principally I look after public computer networks and equipment. I also provide digital content creation for 3 library branches in my city of Townsville. (Australia) That work includes capturing still and moving images for use in media and social media. I love my job but ultimately it pays for my passions in life.

I live and breathe photography, outside of work I mostly use film and darkroom. My brother and I own over 50 cameras between us. I love to collect, repair and use old and newer cameras alike. I have a love of good coffee and roast my own green beans at home. I also home brew spirits making oak aged whisky and bourbon. I guess I think of my self as a "do it yourself" kind of guy. I find that there is an inherent quality in using your hands and accomplishing something yourself. Even if it's a challenge, I find that most things that come easily in life aren't worth it and the things that are worth it don't come easy. Or in short, "hard work pays off"

I love reading about photography and the thought processes that pair with it. I am not into video as much (even though I work with it) but I'm here for the ride, It's humbling to hear about the fantastic jobs you get to work on and ultimately I don't care if you wish to write about gear, technique or video. You provide a nice slice of life from afar that at times can be truly inspiring. so for that I Thank You. Keep up the good work.

Neal Thorley.

Eric said...

Hi Kirk,
I think you're being rather tough on yourself. Compared to other blogs, I think you've made a valiant attempt (better than most) to write about the "art" of photography and the creative process, rather than to simply write about "gear lust". I do think there is a place to talk about gear and technique; however, it should be secondary and only in furtherance of the art. Reboot or not, I think you are and will continue to cover a sorely missing area of the blogo-sphere.
In the future, I'd love to hear how photographers like Annie Lebowitz come up with their inspirations for portraits. I'd love to learn more about the creative process for video, as it is a multimedia world. As another example, the 365 day project (a picture a day) provided much inspiration. If your blog can continue to provide a similar spirit and creativity, I think you'll have plenty of audience.
If I must make a suggestion for the reboot, you may want to consider a mission statement, ala "Jerry McGuire". This may help provide some focus and identity to the new improved VSL. Keep up the good work!

Robert Hudyma said...


I must be different, I enjoy all your posts about how you make an image from start to finish. I really don't care too much about equipment since it is all about the image making. If you think about it there is a lot of really great equipment that is inexpensive so does it really matter which button you are pressing.

I had a blind wine tasting party a long time ago. I put 6 bottles of wine ranging in price from $6 to $120 into a brown paper bags and we tasted and ranked them all. The expensive stuff was at the bottom of our blind ratings. I think that photography equipment is pretty much the same in this regard.

I really enjoyed articles that explain how all the lights were set up (and why you did what you did). Photo District News would often have an article explaining how a particular image was made. These were my favorites. You have some of of these as well, and I enjoy them the most.

I realize that the industry demand is for more video, but I am still trying to make great still images and have not made a transition to moving pictures.

I support your move.

Crack open a bottle of wine, the best ones were about $12.

alexander solla said...

Hell Kirk, I would read your blog if all you wrote about was swimming. You're a damn fine writer. You cut to the chase and you bring us all along for the fun. I cant say as I have ever made a gear purchase because of anyone's blog post. I just dont see gear as being something I need someone else's opinion about. I dont ask anyone what underwear to buy either. I AM however very excited to hear you write about video production. I think that there is so much to discuss, both in terms of shooting, design, lighting, writing, post, and then the sales aspect. What do folks expect?

As for me, I was a potter for 20 years before a surgical screw up left me in a coma. I woke up a month later with my life changed. I picked up a camera (again) as a way of dealing with the emotional aspect of my experience. I've read your work for well over three years now... bought all your books (except the LED book). You have been an inspiration all along. No question!


ODL Designs said...

Hey Kirk,
I am a ready of at least a few years, I found your blog when you popped into the Olympus forum on DPR. I am three things, a designer, a photographer and a business owners (design firm). The design world is changing very fast as well (as I am sure your wife well knows), moving digital and onto smaller and smaller devices, which is creating it's own challenges in my markets. When I read your blog I enjoy the variety you bring to your subjects, from talking about the art to talking about the business and your thoughts on its direction. I am currently moving to a slightly bigger location for my business to give me a bit more room for my image making (and possibly video). I am terrified.

My art is traditionally one that involves pencils, paints and paper, and it is still what in my heart of hearts I consider "true" art. However the ability for my personal photography to capture the fleeting moments in my life, and the lives of those that surround me and our surroundings is a very personal art. Your honestly about your work, family and inner process (and turmoil) is refreshing and actually very therapeutic for me (and many others I am sure).

For my image making, much of the work is product based, and for my smaller clients I don't see them going to 3D modelling any time soon. I do advertising shoots from time to time, but at my most recent shoot I had a rude awakening as I was dwarfed by the film crew that was using my models, my make-up artist and my scouted locations to produce a video at the same time I was shooting the stills. Shortly after that I reread a lot of your more recent blogs on video lighting, and your experimentation with LEDs etc. I have been polishing up on the academics of video production and have started practicing lighting, filming and processing as clients are asking more and more "do you know any good video production teams?"

I wont waffle on, but I will thank you for your writing, a heartfelt thank you. YOu have inspired me with your images, educated me with your experience and entertained me with your wit and honesty. I hope this change brings you what you want!


Nick said...

Great stuff Kirk. I for one, will not miss the gear posts.

Tofuphotography said...

Kirk, I have been avidly reading you for years, from Australia. An avid amateur photogrpaher I particluary like your takes on how the industry is changing, so I'll be sticking arund :-)


RvK said...

Hi Kirk
I really enjoy your writing and would much prefer you write about what interests you. All the gear changing had done me little good so one less source of infection and more pure thinking/inspiring is perfect. I find video a different skill to still but.....
I think I smile with delight more reading your blog than anyone elses.
Yes will definitely stick around

Richard Alan Fox said...

Kirk, whatever you write about I will read.

Nancy said...

Since I am a total amateur, I've been reading your blog for a couple of years because of what it says about the creative process, and because it gives me a window into the world of professional photography. I take pictures around here with a point and shoot, and my objective is to blend them with words in self-published books, as I can do this from home while keeping an eye on my husband and his needs, 3 back surgeries later. (We're both 81.) I'm working on my 4th book, and thinking a lot about graphic design, of which my photography is a part. I enjoy and appreciate your take on your life and work. Your new emphasis suits me perfectly.

Dave said...

You are way out in front on almost every count. I originally found you because of your Olympus articles, but what ever direction you want to go will be interesting. I've never thought you were a shill and heaven knows there are a ton of them. So count me in. I could care less about camera stuff these days, but your lighting insights are gold. LED's, flourescents and showing that we don't all need impossible arrays of speedlights to be cool kids. Hell I don't care if this just becomes endless shots of great coffee :)

Joe Gilbert said...

Kirk, I discovered you a few years ago, and other than Lula, you are the only blog that continues to hold my interest. I really don't mind your gear reviews, as they are more of an application guide, than a technical or "real world" review as others often claim to write. I have done a lot of things in my career, 12 years in the navy, a three year tour as a member of the Blue Angels, worked for Apple as a process engineer, and even played in the office product industry. For the past 10 years I've worked as a private investigator. I routinely meet smart people, stupid people, liars, and about every type of person you could imagine. Being trusted by insurance companies and legal counsel, in million dollar cases, to offer my opinion as to the credibility and quality of a witnesses is something that I find very rewarding. You are a damn credible witness!

I think no matter your decision/direction, it will be a worthy follow. Wasn't too long ago you quit.. thankfully you came back.. I've always been impressed with your wit and ability to toss a dagger or two while maintaining restraint where others would have gone bat-@#$#% crazy..

I might even try swimming the proper way now..

David Lobato said...

I'll be looking forward to your new directions, gear talk frankly gets boring. Lately I was thinking of portrait and publicity photo ideas for my musician wife. Nothing about cameras or lenses but what unique lighting schemes to try and fulfill the ideas in my imagination. I want to convey strong emotions and evoke feelings of, for instance, gritty late night urban venues where the limits of music are pushed. I wish I could consult Orson Wells for lighting methods (Touch of Evil is superbly done). Also video is in the picture (sorry for the pun), necessary these days for getting the message out. Keep on writing and sharing your wisdom.

shambrick said...

Some very common themes here Kirk, to which I will add my contribution.

I've been shooting DSLR since 2007 and traveled the usual trajectory - Start out, get interested, add gear, explore new concepts (known as cliches to those who have traveled this road before me), buy more gear, rinse and repeat. Shoot kids, flowers, macro things, black and whites, landscapes, architecture, street. Try levitation shots and spend up big with Adobe. Dream of pursuing photography as a career then realize it won't generate the right level of income for a number of years and I'm too old to make the switch, with too many financial commitments.

I have been reading your blog for probably four years now. Like the others here appreciate the rambling monologues and opinion pieces. They keep me grounded and focused when I get tempted by gear.

I stopped buying more gear around 2 years ago, having acquired both a well rounded toolbox and a serious case of 'gear obsession fatigue'. Having said that, when I choose to stray, it's the Fuji X series I think about, not expanding my Nikon equipment. I'm tired of lugging it everywhere. My D80 is now well past its prime but I don't have the heart to empty my wallet on the counter of a camera shop again.

Right now I am in hiatus, not shooting much, because I'm tired of shooting the same old things. I'm cooling my heels while passion for a new project comes along. But I still read your blog - every article, every day.

Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for 3-4 years now. I got into m4/3 gear about 3 years ago as a back-up, travel friendly system. Then I found that I rarely used my Canon 7D or 40D any more. I sold all of my DSLR gear and continued to build my m4/3 system. I wish I could say I have no regrets - but I do miss the macro shots that I was able to consistently capture with my Canon gear. It wasn't doing me much good sitting on the shelf though.

You've inspired me many times in the past, and I'm sure you will continue to do that. Thank you!

Michael Ferron said...

I enjoy your writings not only for your insight Kirk but also because you are a local and wander the same streets in Austin as I do. I seldom shoot for money but do shoot and do restoration work for friends and co-workers now and then. I earn my bread in retail management and my recreational shooting is what gets my my away from that scene.

I've gone very retro shooting with B&W film and vintage cameras. Though I'm well versed in the digital realm the finer points and esoteric world of chemical photography still float my boat. Write what you want and I'll still read. There really are not that many active photography blogs worth reading so don't go away.

John Ricard said...

I visit your blog because I don't know what to expect. Your opinions change regularly and that keeps things interesting. This post was no exception ;)

Neal said...

So many of us Aussies on here. weird.
either that or it's just that we all comment together because of time zones etc.

Spencer H said...

I work for my state government as a photographer/videographer/graphic & web designer/archivist etc. I shoot stills and video and create graphics all the time during the week. I used to be very passionate about making my own art on the side, but its fallen to the wayside the past three years. Main reason? Lack of interest & motivation, and blogs that talk about gear. Gear & shopping quickly became the fun part of photography for me.

I read your blog, Online Photographer, and several other photography blogs, and gradually what happened is that all that was EVER talked about was the latest/greatest gear. Review of Product x. But never what the heck to do with product x once you have it.

So I skipped around with some cameras and a bunch of lenses (which ones really dont matter) for the past two years. Returned or sold all but one. Two months ago, I went through everything Ive shot in the past two years, looked up by camera, which lens, etc. And thats when I realized I made some nice photos, but I really didnt make any of MY new work. Just basically tests, taking the camera out hiking, walking, etc. Nothing real.

So Ive purged. Ive refocused. Ive blocked a lot of photography sites. Ive set up rules of buying any new gear for the next year, and spending the money I would put into gear into the logistics and travel expenses for a new project.

Ive tried desperately to find blogs that talk about craft, vision, creativity, not gear, not shilling books, or prints, just the craft of creativity.

I have to be honest, your blog lost me for a while once you got on the Sony gear train. I tuned out, and turned off.

The past week I checked back in, and then this post came up. Im very excited to see whats in store, and Ill be checking in every day. Just please keep your promise to keep the gear chatter to a minimum.

Rusty said...

Photography is my balance in life. I'm a semi retired procurement consultant from the Westcoast of Canada that loves to photograph. I'm a regular visitor and enjoy much of what you write and have purchased your books, all good stuff. I think you have made a wise decision to write about what you enjoy and to do so the enjoyment is shared by this reader, so write on!

Mike Winn said...

Hi Kirk..I have been reading your blog for a long time.. I find it very interesting..I like the way you express yourself and your feelings about photography as an art..I'll stick around and continue to enjoy the way you express yourself.. Mike

Ron Nabity said...

Hi Kirk,

I've been following you for many years. I first noticed your posts on strobist and when you left there I kept up with your various postings up thru today with VSL. Yours is one of the very few blogsites I stick with; there is not enough time for all the redundant chatter and the annoying troller comments out in the ether these days.

Someone pointed out above that even your gear reviews are in the context of real, practical usage, so that makes them more valuable than the average ones.

I think we are close in age; I turned 57 on Tax Day, which, apparently, is now also Boston Day :-/ Many of your observations about art, life, photography, son-raising, professionalism all resonate with me, so I'm happy to hear you will continue to write about your own experiences.

One of your blog posts from 2009, "Combating the Oppressive Sense of Isolation Many Freelance Photographers Feel" still hangs on the wall next to my workspace. That column appeared at the perfect time for me and it still keeps me going. I hope it survives The Great Reset.

I've been doing photography since I was 17, for many years it was my side business so I could make a steady income in a day job and raise my kids. They are raised and moved out over 10 years ago and I am free to work and/or play as much as I want. Most of my work these days is commercial and editorial material. Most of my play is more experimental/technical stuff.

Personally, I think this is a great time to be a photographer. Yeah, it's a crazy mess out there with all the GWCs, but most of them move onto some other fad in a short time. One attribute of "professional" is longevity. And as you've noted, the clients are perking up again.

I look forward to the next iteration of VSL - I'm sure it will be very Kirkesque!

- Ron

Craig said...


I've been following your blog daily for three years. I've worked in the software industry for 25 years, and after getting downsized in 2007 I tried to find a way using my camera to bring in some income for almost two years - not an easy thing to do when one is struggling with unemployment in the great recession as a middle-50's tech guy (and depressed about the sudden loss of a job I loved). I did learn that I'd rather do just about anything than go out and shoot weddings.

I'm back in the software industry as a worker instead of a senior manager for the past three years, but I'm still drawn to having my own business vs. the B.S. I end up putting up with to get a mediocre salary. Even if self-employment pays less, I've come to believe that since it's unlikely I'll ever be able to retire anyhow, I'd be better off doing something I love instead of chasing the buck doing something that just doesn't do it for me anymore.

I'm a gear head, but so much less so than I was in the first six years of the 2000's. Little disposable income for what really had amounted to "toys" brought the reality to the forefront that it was never the equipment holding back my photography, it was the guy using the equipment. Funny how when I was shooting film the only equipment I lusted after was a new lens here and there.

I enjoyed your equipment reviews because of the lack of pixel-peeping and comparing MTF charts and instead, your wonderful way of sharing how the equipment does or doesn't fit for you as tools to your craft/artistry. At the same time, I certainly understand why you want to move away from chasing page hits, and unless you move to an e-book model for publishing, I can't believe it's worth all the effort in authoring and then promoting books like the three of yours I've already bought.

I will miss your posts about the jobs you're doing.

I never thought twice about food photography until I started reading your blog, and I've becoming totally enamored with the work you've done for the variety of Austin eating establishments.

I bought your LED Lighting book solely on the seeing what you had posted about using LED lights for portrait lighting -- the book is wonderful, and the blog posts were every bit as good. I also purchased two of your other books to support your efforts after reading blog posts I found particularly poignant. Might not make sense to other folks, but there's a lot of value in what I gain reading your blog, so it goes without saying I want to support your writing efforts/products.

BTW, I would have happily paid the same price for the same content as an e-book in .pdf format (like Gary L. Friedman writes - I own a couple of his for my A77 and A700 DSLSRs). Although your Amherst published books are nice, I'd rather see the entire purchase price go to you for your efforts in providing great content.

I read all of your thought provoking blog posts about what you think of where photography, video and media are heading, along with what makes you do what you do.

As far as commenting on those posts, I'm less inclined to do so because I don't have your decades of experience as a working professional photographer, and very likely, much less insight into how commercial photography is evolving.

Doesn't mean I'm not reading your posts, I'm just not one who jumps up just to say -- I agree.

You get to post what you want and remove what you want. I'm sad to see some of the posts regarding how you shoot the food for the restaurants and how you've used LED lights for shooting for the medical/healthcare industry and for your portraits, but I'll continue to tag along to see where you're headed.



Andrew Cates said...


I'm a professional photographer in Seattle, and presently 95% of my business is portraits and headshots, but 5% now, probably 40% soon, will be video - because of exactly what you said - clients want it, and to them, media is media. I'm behind your change 100%, and would love to buy you a beer sometime! (I'm Austin born and raised, and come visit every year or so, with a lot of family and friends all around downtown and Round Rock.)

Love the blog - and looking forward to more!


MGO said...

Hi :)

You 2 latest post, sum up why my living is not made from art:) But i am one of the people who like your posts with refections! regardless of views. In these you your writing appeal to me.

I took i break form your blog, when the gear stuff became the majority of posts. Even though i startet reading i when i startet taking pictures. But i also write more than i fotograf and have been writing since my teens. Even though i have an income from taking pictures, and not from writing.

I write in Danish. My english spelling and grammar is bad!

Thanks for blogging

Mads from Denmark

Ian said...

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for continuing with your blog. I read it regularly and have enjoyed the variety of your writing. Your insights into the photographic industry are valuable to me, they help me to think about what I want to do, or not.

Currently, at middle age if I live past 100, I am full time at university studying art with photography practice. I am interested in what people want to say and how photography is the medium for that communication. So, I want to use photography to say something.

Often your posts have given me clues about how to see things. Put together with other experiences and knowledge, I am slowly learning.


sey said...


I belong to the "what's in your heart and head" group here - which seems to be the main group - although I do skim through your 'tech' articles solely for the purpose of hearing why/how the specific equipment works/doesn't work for you and not for any 'real' technical info, which bores me to tears. Thus it will be a joy accompanying you as you grow and your creative talent extends it's wings and embraces your 'new Art'. It's not that you're making a drastic change, you're simply extending your palette and thus your Art will remain the same in spirit, The thing is that your clients are now asking you for video because they want the Kirk Tuck style that they have embraced as part of their image over the years.

Your frank, open, honest, humorous, humble way of "saying it as you see it" is why I am here - though the fact that YOU, in the main, agree with ME certainly helps! ;-)

I'm a South African born and trained Product & Interior Designer who has been doing his private photographic candid/street/people/dance thing for over 45 yrs. I lived/worked in Paris for 3 yrs and have been living/working/raising a family in Israel since 1974. Occasionally, in my younger years, I moonlighted as a 'pro' photographer with the occasional wedding/bar mitzva, but gave that up rather quickly when Grandma Anne and/or Aunt Mary didn't/couldn't/wouldn't accept that they really looked like that. I've also done some photo-journalist work to help out a freelance photo-friend when he was over-loaded.

I don't even remember when or how I found you, but what I do know is that my first morning coffee oft turns into a another mugfull because I'm busy listening to you say 'it'. I don't believe that that's going to change, good/bad habits are so hard to break.


Paul said...

I started my photography career in the mid 80's shooting concerts, events and pr work. I always considered myself as a story teller using photos as the medium. Back then I wanted to do film and incorporate it into my work but it just seemed too difficult as a one man band. I made the transition to editorial photography and quickly discovered that if you wrote the article as well as did the pictures you had more chance of being published. Digital came along and it was a liberation and now video and audio is being added to the skill set. I have just sold my medium format kit, the full frame stuff will go in a few weeks, why well I have discovered that m4/3 provides a very capable platform for producing good stills and video, it also has the benefit of being small. Now when I travel my camera kit and my clothes all go as carry on luggage which means I can cover more ground. It is opening up whole new possibilities.

I'm not really interested in equipment, the exception is when it provides a solution to a problem, or a more efficient way of working. What I am really interested in is hearing about how people like your self are making the transition from photographer to media content provider. I don't want to know about Rodinal and stand developing, nor how to contrast mask ilfochrome. The number of megapixels and the amount of dynamic range camera x has compared to camera y is as boring as bat shit. Lets talk about what this amazing technology allows us to do. Much more fun.

christer3805 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pcurious said...

One more vote for "the new blog". Tired of shallow how-tos and gear discussions, looking for talk on creating images with emotional impact.

I myself am a software engineer, but not a techie. I love to travel and seek to capture the soul of a place and its people. Still hanging on to a midsize Nikon, but exploring mirrorless since I want my gear to be less bulky and less intimidating to my subjects. Trying to form a group a small group of like-minded photographers, but most of them seem to care only about gear.

I value your attitude, thoughts and perspective a lot, and am looking forward to the next blogs.

Thanks a lot for the content till now!

RubyT said...

Not a pro, just a hobbyist, but I love portraits, and I love the same focal lengths you do. I generally skip the gear articles and read the stuff like this. I'm much more interested in how you think, and in how you make portraits, than in what you shoot with.

Dan Rosenthal said...

Hey Kirk. I started doing photography as my main income source about 5 years ago and found your blog soon after that. Finally, after those 5 years I'm gaining a bit of traction in editorial and finding my grove in the art world (whether the art world finds me back is a whole other kettle of fish though....) I really like the posts about art and mindset that you've written. Some of them are old. I hope they don't get thrown out with the bath water... Gear posts will age fast. Obviously. They'll archive themselves. I personally love to stumble back across you posts on Mamiya 7's or Leica M's. But I'm a film junkie. But here's my point: totally understand your desire to take the blog in a new direction, but just because there's a bunch of new books on a new subject one doesn't go and burn down the rest of the library. You've created an outstanding body of work. Make it an archive, trim the fluff, but don't hit the big delete button. Or do, I mean it's your blog. But I know I would find myself scrounging around one day looking for a post I know I read once about an old film camera and the vision you had on a trip through some European city.

In any case, thanks for all the writing and the honest content. I'll keep reading whatever you put out. Just give some fair warning before you blitz all the old stuff so I can quickly go through them and save my faves.

Dan, from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Noel Hillis Photography said...

Hi Kirk,

As a corporate portrait photographer in Ireland, these days yours is about the only photographic blog that I read regularly. You tell it like it is and what you say really resonates. Thank you for your insights and for the help and reassurance that what you write, often brings.

I've always believed that the best camera/lens/light etc. is the one that doesn't get in the way when you shoot! Equipment is what it is. It doesn't make you a better photographer, it only gives you different options.

Please keep bringing us the voice of a working commercial photographer in our ever changing world. (And perhaps send us some of your patented blue skies to chase away our Irish gloom!)



Anonymous said...

Well, you did ask Kirk!

I read a post of yours a long while back about vision, could have been one of the ones you reference in your post above, can't remember the title to be honest. It was probably years ago. It was excellent, inspiring, non gear related. I loved it. I've been coming back ever since and have oh so often penned this very comment and then deleted it with a "nah, what the hell doe she care?"

You're an artist Kirk. I stopped coming here for the vision insight (for want of a bette phrase) months after that great post. I started only coming here for the times when you post one of your 500CM B&W portraits. Which I adore, truly. But man did I have to put up with a load of angsty Eeyore bull in the meantime. This conflicted vision where "it's not about the gear", yet "you must believe me about mirrorless, LED's and Sony" drove me nuts. The swipes at other sites which only served to lower you to their level. The digs at the forums which did the same. Once you're wrestling, it doesn't matter how thick or what colour the mud is!

I thoroughly applaud your move. I'd rather you wrote about your art and only me and one other person followed.

Who am I? Someone whom you argued with often and generally disliked on another forum. Someone who refuses to let the requirement to put food on the table influence his photography. Someone you hate on the web, but would talk for hours with at a coffee shop. Someone who's grateful for your 500CM portraits which I hope one day to come close to in terms of 'connection with the sitter - through the viewer'. And become transparent in the process, as you often do, so supremely.

Kirk Tuck said...

Ouch, thanks.

AdamR said...

I'm a young engineer (consultant) in Kansas City. I only got interested in photography after hiking in Colorado my junior year at college and being disappointed that the pictures didn't live up to what I saw. I bought a DSLR and enrolled in the only photography course my university offered and was hooked. I'm mostly a hobbyist and would describe most of my photos as documentation of the places I go and people I meet. I occasionally help as a second shooter for weddings on the weekends but don't have any aspirations to be a photographer full time. I think I came across your blog from some reference on TOP (the only other photo blog I follow). What I like(d) about your blog and TOP is the additional coverage beyond gear. I like to talk gear too but idle chat about high-ISO performance isn't going to make me a better photographer. I feel like your posts on technique, your jobs, and motivations have helped a lot in the search for my own vision. I'm still in the process of figuring out what I want my photography to be but I feel like stumbling across your blog has helped focus me and think a little bit longer before I press the shutter. Another thing that appeals to me is your willingness to dive into things outside the mainstream. LEDs and EVFs for instance. It's a refreshing change from most blogs that just seem to hype the newest gear from Canon, Nikon, or Leica. Seeing you delete everything and go a new direction doesn't really surprise me, it seems like its in your nature to do what appeals to you not what will get you the most page hits. I'm not sure where the blog is going to go from here but I'll be along for the ride. I only have a passing interest in video right now but I also only had a passing interest in portraits before I started following your blog.


Anonymous said...

I always enjoy when intelligent people have something to say. You seem to fill the bill. Personally, I enjoy(prefer)your non gear posts and opinions on the industry. I'm a working pro in NYC and would like to see more about your transition into video(video gear stuff is okay) I'm on a learning curve on video and the more sources the better.



BobT said...

Hey Kirk,

I've been a photographer for going on 40 years now- got my start on a daily newspaper, and ended up as photo editor for a year. My day job is computers and networks but I'm still in love with photography.

I enjoy reading your blog because of the personal 'story' you relate, whether it's a morning walk, an interaction with a barrista at your favorite coffee joint, or photographing your favorite model.

If I had to characterize it I would say that reading your blog is like having a comfortable conversation about photography that wanders into a variety of areas- gear, philosophy, technique, angst, with occasional flashes from the past.

I'm amazed that you have the time to write this and manage a successful business as well! But keep it up- I'll follow along and enjoy the conversation wherever it leads...


John Flores said...

I come back here time and time again Kirk because you feel real. You're willing to put yourself out there, not just as a guy chasing the next camera, but as a professional struggling (at times) to navigate the tremendous changes affecting your business and thus your relationship to the medium that we all love. That you do it with candor and eloquence is just icing on the cake.

So at your request, a little bit about me. Structural Engineer by schooling. Wanted to design cars or buildings in my youth but got sucked into the advertising world right out of college. Got involved early on in the digital marketing side of it in the early 90s, and after several years in agency life, I'm on my own again as a digital marketing consultant (so I know intimately the click-journalism dynamics that you speak of). I've always enjoyed taking photos, so a couple of years ago I jumped into motorcycle photography/journalism and am now a contributing editor to RoadRUNNER Magazine, the country's largest motorcycle touring publication. It's a good gig - they basically pay me to go on vacation, take photos, and write, three of my favorite things.

Additionally, I've been intrigued by video for a number of years, and like you am trying to wrap my head around a medium that is similar but yet so different. It feels like new ground (to me at least) and in some ways it has rekindled that sense of awe and "how'd they do that?" wonder that I used to get from photography.

So keep on keeping on, good sir. I'll continue to follow. I think a lot of creative folks are trying to figure out the business model of this brave new world. Best of luck!

John Flores said...

BTW, love the self-portrait for this post. So revealing...

Max said...

I started reading from a link about you and some friends sitting around a coffee shop remembering how great life was in the days of film. I still live in that world (perhaps because I don't make my living at it). I shoot 90% film as a hobby and do very little if any retouching on the computer (cropping and maybe red eye fixes). Film is real and takes skill. Digital takes skill as well but mostly in post. Spray and pray is not much of an art in my opinion. Not that everyone does that but I see it all too often. I take your blog like any other- with a grain of salt. If an article interest me, I read it. If not I move on. My one comment about you is that I wish you had more self confidence and didn't question who you are or where you're heading. I don't care and I bet most of the readers don't either. You're an incredible and successful portraitist. I do enjoy reading about the back story of a picture and perhaps how you were able to capture it. But for God's sake man- fish or cut bait and move on!

That's who I am. I hope you find the peace that you seek without having to share it with us.

Peter E. said...

Have enjoyed your site for several years. I have been paid for my photos since 1963, mostly editorial for newspapers and a magazine I edited. I have written 13 books, several of them being books of my images. As a book publisher I produced more than 450 books in all genres. Now retired I have begun making documentary movies and wish I had done so years earlier, although digital photography makes the process much easier. I'll keep looking to see what yiu have to say and have always found your comments interesting and insightful. Keep it up.

Paul Glover said...

Well, count me in! The posts about vision and why you do what you do have always been the ones I read start to end. Gear talk might be popular with the masses and might drive page views, but the Internet is crammed full of people who blather on endlessly about their camera gear yet wouldn't know art if it fell on them. If I want gear talk I can find it easily elsewhere. Your posts about art and passion and vision? That stuff is *hard* to find online, or anywhere much.

Who am I? I'm a software guy in southwest Virginia who likes to get out and shoot his old film cameras once in a while (for a short time, I can do something which doesn't have a computer tangled up in the decision making process). I do this strictly as a hobby to please myself, though I'll certainly sell a print or usage rights if someone wants to buy them. Aside from closest family and dearest friends I won't do "free stuff" because I figure if someone actually wants something I've done that implies it has value.

I'm not much good with portraiture or street shooting really, but I enjoy seeing good work in these categories; I cope well with shooting landscapes and suchlike. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I am photographically, hunting for my "vision" and trying to avoid getting sucked into the mistaken belief that "the right camera" will somehow help me with that problem.

I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of disillusionment over the whole online sharing social networking way of doing things. I'm beginning to feel like these ways of sharing photography are little more than a race to see who can shoot and process and post enough to maintain interest in their work; altars upon which one must daily sacrifice an image or two to appease the popularity gods. I'm tired of working to that timescale and would be entirely happy if I could spend a month getting one really good end result which makes me dizzy with happiness every time I look at it. That would be much more fulfilling than an endless stream of meaningless platitudes along the lines of "nice capture".

I enjoy going to group photo walks for the socializing aspect, but once I'm done talking I prefer to be alone with my thoughts and my camera, as far from the group as possible. This may be why I find your writing so appealing, because it reminds me that I'm not actually insane for feeling that way.

So, thank you, and know that I'm among those who appreciate such topics of conversation.

Anonymous said...

I am a paleontologist and professor at a state university. I am not a photographer, but need to use a camera out in the field. The digital age of photography has allowed me to capture fairly decent photos of fossils in situ.

However, I love your blog for the philosophical ramblings, and especially liked your particular entries about swimming. They struck a cord with me about many of life's pursuits.

Nancy - I have no idea how to get my name to appear other than anonymous.

raingeek said...

"I want to write about my experiences making portraits and shooting motion picture projects. I want to write about how this one freelance content creator lives his life and makes his work. I'd like to showcase and interview more and more interesting people in the way I did with Michael O'Brien's video. And I'd like to talk about this whole life and undertaking as a process that's done with thought tools and not just the cameras and lenses we buy for sport. I want to make portraits that are exciting or seductive enough to make me forget the gear."

Kirk, I will read the hell out of the blog you describe here. Your writing on the creative process has been part of a creative rebirth in my amateur photography over the last few years. I can easily live without the gear posts, but the Lonely Hunter, Better Hunt sort of posts have helped me to make sense of some of my own experiences.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.


Christopher said...


I've been a blog regular for a few months now. I've jut gotten into taking photos for my hobby. I chose not to follow the standard advice to beginners (buy a DSLR) and bought a V1 instead(actually, because of the posts you wrote about it). I'm happy with the decision because it was the start of caring about other things in photography besides maximum image quality/setting control. So at least in that sense, your "gear review" was also a philosophical guideline for photography in general. Much appreciated.

I live in D.C., I have a Ph.D in literature, and I work for a nonprofit. I like photography because I like artistic expression, and I like your blog because it is thoughtful, uses language creatively, and offers the perspective of a photographer and technician rather than just a technician. The post you wrote a few weeks ago about your good friend who suddenly passed was beautifully written.

I'd like to read more of your thoughts on photography, but I'd also like to see more about technique, creative process, and aesthetics in photography. I'm personally fascinated by the styles and preferences that have emerged on photo sharing sites. Maybe you don't care too much about those sites, but I am curious about how you developed your own tastes and styles.

Keep writing. This is one of my favorite spots on the internet.


Christopher said...

and of course I made a spelling error..."jut" should be "just." the irony...

christian davis said...

Howdy, Kirk. I'm a native Austinite, and I work at Dell (specifically in the support group supporting private cloud enablement software solutions; try saying that ten times real fast). I'm a photography hobbyist who favors nature for subjects with a decent dose of urban geometry and abstractions. My favorite photos to make and to view are all "picturesque," which tells me that I like visual beauty more than intellectual-based and concept-based photography.

I read your blog daily (along with Mike's TOP, Gordon Lewis's Shutterfinger, and Blake Andrews' B). My favorite topics in photography blogs are the same topics you sound like you were drawn to when you started: what is art? how do I art better? ... stuff like that. I'm frugal in my hobby since I don't sell my work or take any photography jobs, like portrait sessions or whatever. I don't mind gear discussions, as I feel like it's my only finger on the pulse of photography technology, but I don't get a tremendous value from gear discussions beyond staying in touch with product development trends.

I think you have a fabulous 'voice,' and quite enjoy your thoughts. I also like your honesty, one example of such is your unapologetic oscillation between your fascination with new cameras versus your insistence that gear is the least important element. I think it's fundamental to human nature to be sometimes pulled in different (and even conflicting) directions, and I love that you describe daily what your strongest motivators are, even if they are different than yesterdays. ESPECIALLY if they are. And I think you're right in both directions: different cameras have different characteristics, moreso even in lenses; vision trumps gear (but can sometimes be ruined if gear or gear-skill is just wrong for that vision).

I love your visual voice, too. You create images that I enjoy looking at. I especially love your portraits. As a person who never shoots formal portraits I often am bored by viewing them ... it's just not a topic per se that I am drawn to, but your visual style/voice often lead to images that are compelling to me despite subject. That's very cool for me. I also really like your urban work. A lot.

So: big fan over here; looking forward to each new post and intrigued by your new directions.

Wataru Maruyama said...

Hi Kirk, I googled you after purchasing your minimal lighting book and found this site and have been reading every since. People are complex and change their minds all the time. I'll follow a blog as long as their is passion behind it and the writing is interesting so whatever direction you go in I'll be there.

That said, I am definitely going to miss your thoughts on gear for two reasons - 1) Your camera choices have matched mine so closely it's scary. I was a heavy Olympus user, but migrated over to Sony (before you I should mention) for mostly the same reasons as you.

2) Unlike 90% of review sites out there, you are making a living from your equipment and are looking for the tools that do the job, but DON"T BREAK THE BANK. How many other places would have tried shooting an assignment with an a57 (I believe it was the candids of school kids) and a "cheap" 85mm f2.8 lens? You shots hundreds/thousands of frames in just that one day so your opinion of its performance is probably the most valid on the entire internet. Many sites claim to do "real world" reviews, but yours is the most "real".

If mentioning gear makes you uncomfortable, then you have to go with what feels right to you.

I'm a former journalist and now work in corporate communications. I shoot as a hobby with a strong focus on studio portraits. Everything else is family stuff which is very video heavy. So any talk of portraits and more video is very welcome.

I don't know what you sound like, but you have a passing resemblance to Anthony Bourdain so I hear his voice when reading your blog so it seems pretty natural whenever you get cranky or go on a rant;) Hope that's okay with you.

milldave said...


I'm a 56 year old Brit, working in the oil industry (now in Canada).
I use photography as my relaxation; I also collect and use vintage cameras (have around 200 at present).
What attracted me to your blog (and to Mike Johnston at TOP) is not the gear reviews (I already have far too much), but the style and diversity of your writing.
I'm on my second marriage, having found a sculptress/potter/water-colourist and photographer who constantly leaves me in her wake.
Our hobbies are FUN, things we do together and are crafted for us.
Whether you write about photography, swimming, food or just the sheer joy of perambulations around Austin, for me, it matters not.
I love your quirky spelling, grammar and most of all, your heart and soul that you put into this blog.
I read it daily; it makes my day.
For the future, whatever direction you take will not change my affection for this site.
It's about YOU and what you bring to an otherwise mediocre, grey and mean world.

Ian Kirk said...

Hi Kirk!

I enjoy your blog enormously because of the variety. I love the fact you do reviews of stuff you use, I love the fact you talk lighting and video ( things I'm currently not doing but may do soon) I love the way you analyse the what why and how of photography.

I first found your blog when I decided to sell my Canon gear and switch to Sony. It was good to read about someone else changing the way they shot and the gear they used.

I don't earn my living from photography. I am a plumber in the UK. Wildlife photography is my passion and so I find it refreshing to read about someone who shoots people, places, food etc - its different to what I do and yet somehow its still the same.

Keep on writing!

Paul Foster said...

Hi Kirk, I'm Paul in the UK. I'm a transport planner and a dreamer. I dream I might do something more interesting with my life; live in my woodland and make things with my hands; travel the world; go on fantastic expeditions in spectacular location; be a brilliant photographer etc. Your blog helps with the dreaming. Your portraits are amazing and you descibe the process with charm and modesty. Keep it up,

Olivier Anthony said...

Dear Kirk
First I wish to thank you for sharing your passion and knowledge. This blog is different from most others, mostly when you focus on the process of making portraits, about the desire and the necessity of bonding with the subject of the portrait, and not so much about gear (although you almost convinced me that the Nex-6 was the right camera for me...). This is the reason I visit regularly and will keep doing so.

About me, since you asked: I am a French physicist currently working for a fragrance house, so right at the interface between science and creation. I experience a similar constant oscillation between technology and art as you do, although my job is really to make technologies work...
About photography: colorblindness opend the doors to false-colors infrared photography, a fascinating world liberated from convention. I am also right in the middle of a personal project; I decided to shoot one meaningful portrait, in b&w, every week for 52 weeks. This is week 30 and I am still looking for a victim.

Anonymous said...

Who are you? A gal with a sense of humor

What do you do to make money? Create & analyze reports...a far cry from picking up a camera!

What do you do to make art? I photograph and I write.

Why are you here? -- What do you mean "here"? in this world? reading this blog?
I'm reading this blog because it's interesting to me to see someone close by (same state, TX) share their thoughts on food, places to visit and try to see your perspective.

What do you think the future will bring for you and for the rest of us....in a photographic sense?
Hoping it will put a face to some "causes" or charities -- it's amazing how putting a face to a story will open up people's minds/hearts to make them want to help.
The tools that are used to capture that will always change or improve (cameras, sensors, etc) but all in all, it doesn't really matter what gear was used to take that photo - it's how it's shared and how the story is told.

I don't make money off my photography and I kinda stopped sharing on my blog a few years ago (computer issues, motivation, baby, etc) but I still enjoy reading about photography and SEEING the photos created.

Good luck on finding the balance of why you post what you post.

Toasted Tom said...

Kirk, I have been a daily reader for some time now. I start my day early each morning with a strong cup of coffee and your blog. Then I head over to Mike and TOP. I enjoy most of the content on both. I never really take the time to comment, just a couple of thank you lines.
I am an old power lineman who runs the electric utility for a small town in southern Illinois. I enjoy taking photos of people and things at micro-breweries and wineries an such. I play acoustic music in a duo at these haunts a couple of times a month, and really enjoy taking shots of fellow musicians. While in jr. High, a friend and I used to shoot video when it was 8mm silent film. We used to have a ball with it. Roll with the video, Kirk! Follow your gut, andwe loyal readers will follow you!

Max said...

Hey Kirk,

Sorry you didn't want to post my comment, but you asked...

Vasco said...

Hi Kirk,

Longtime listener, first time caller here :) It is pretty clear that the web is now (and probably has been for a while) saturated with gear-oriented sites and, although your equipment-related posts may be your most popular right now, I have a feeling that would eventually change. I also think that those writers/sites that can offer true insight into the art or business of photography/videography, such as you can, will still be far and few between and will be sought after. All this is to make you feel better about your decision, not that you seemed like you needed it :)

Good luck!

Roland Tanglao said...


i love your insights into the creative process (and the gear stuff but i could live without gear articles, seriously!)! more of that please but hey it doesn't have to be on any sort of schedule; i'd be happy with 1 post per month, really!

i fully support your right to reboot and delete stuff at any time!

go re-invented kirk go!

...Roland from Vancouver who'd like to support you monthly ("kirk tuck as an infrequent but awesome content service" perhaps :-) !)

Gene Trent said...

I've been a reader for a while now. Not because of the equipment reviews but because of the interesting things you muse about. We are about the same age wise and I completely understand the drive or need to re-invent. Personally, I find time is getting more precious as I age up and that realization drives me to focus on the few, simple things that are most important. This especially reflects in my photography. I look forward to the new direction and focus. New adventures can be quite exciting and instructional. Let's go!

Michael Matthews said...

I greatly appreciate the mix of aesthetics and tech you've presented.

While there's little to be gained by reading the overly hyped, gear-centric blogs cranked out by some, you've always managed to combine an interest in technology with an explanation of why and how it can be used. The tech has almost always been placed in the context of a real world purpose. That, to me, has been helpful.

It has been particularly useful in this period of rapid change in the capabilities of equipment.

I seem to be trying to find my way back to the Pentax Spotmatic that was stolen from me at the site of a volunteer ship restoration project in the 1970s. Wooden boats and manual focus -- those were the days.

The peculiar thing about the Pentax was the way it worked: its large, bright frame seemed to become an extension of my own vision. While I was aware of the subject in selecting it before raising the camera to my eye, the actual composition took place through the lens. It was one found image after another, a sequence of delights, sometimes challenges, always resulting in Kodachrome slides or Plus-X prints -- some of which were surprisingly good.

In attempting to return to photography decades later that eye-camera interaction continues to elude me.

I understand digital and have no romantic delusions of returning to overnight bathroom/darkroom developing and printing binges no matter how attractive the magic of watching the image materialize on paper.

The problem remains finding a way to reestablish that through-the-lens way of seeing and responding. My Nikon with optical viewfinder didn't provide it. The Olympus EPL1 limited to LCD screen as viewfinder has come closer. If I can ever get to a real camera store and compare the Olympus and Sony electronic viewfinders perhaps I'll find a satisfactory compromise.

In the meantime, your inclusion of functional references to the way you use hardware would be appreciated from time to time. Your readers can learn from them.

There is also no reason to avoid writing about and providing clips to demonstrate video equipment and technique. Video can provide a powerful means of portraiture.

And for those involved in the business of photography I think the reader from ODL Designs made the case. The idea of setting up and lighting a job only to have some other guy's video crew piggyback on your work would be enough to induce a stroke. Far better to be providing the service and billing for it.

All that aside, any way you chose to take your blog will be the best way to go. Most of us will tag along with you.

Kirk Tuck said...

HI Max, I haven't censored or "lost" any of the comments on this one. I'm happy to read your post even if I don't necessarily agree with you or whether it's so truthful that I get pinched. Blogger can be a little capricious. I always for get there is a "more" button at the bottom of the comments and I looked there and found this message. if you original comment doesn't show up I hope you are willing to repost it. Thanks, Kirk

Patrick Dodds said...

I'm another TOP and VSL reader. Went through a darkroom phase in my early twenties, then put things photographic away for 20 years until digital came along. Now I'm obsessed and working hard at making a go of photography, currently as an adjunct to my day-job but, hopefully, at some point, using it, my love it, to make most of my living. Thanks for all your sharing on here Kirk - you've left me a bit confused at times with the mix of gear / it's not about the gear posts, but I keep coming back so, for me, you are doing something right.

Steve said...

Hello Kirk,

I am a self-employed carpenter of 28 years who fell in love with photography while on a 3 week solo trip through France and Italy back in 2004. I've been a daily reader of your blog for the past two years. i enjoy your writing and your insights (I even like the gear talk). I remember and especially liked the "Lone Hunter" piece.
I'm looking forward to whatever you have in store for us in the future.

Steve Belanger

Karlen Mkrtchyan said...

I don't need any suggestions what gear to buy.
I ran into Strobist.com a couple of years ago and got hooked. I followed you from there. I love portraits and love reading about photography, written by those who have been in the field for a long time.
I don't read your blog every day, but I really enjoy reading it.


Karlen from Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk
Well done on the reset, it is definitly a new world out there
I just have a video related question
Do you rate the Tascam portable digital recorders, and does Final Cut Pro X do a good job of syncing external audio or is plural eyes better.

Karlen Mkrtchyan said...

I ran into Strobist.com a couple of years ago, and followed you from there.
I don't come here to read about gear, even though I'm studying the difference between Hasselblads 500, so I know what to buy later.
I love face expressions and eyes. I love portraits. I really like reading your blog, and I'm learning from the portraits you photogrpah.


Karlen from Seattle.

Ray Hunter said...

I thought I posted a comment about 7 hours ago, but I have no idea where it went. This is the first time I have tried to post a comment and probably did it incorrectly. Anyway, if this is redundant I ask for forgiveness in advance.
I read your blog regularly. I do not, and have never made my living from photography, but photography has been a passion and an important part of my life for the last forty years. I've taken little detours into painting and drawing but always returned to photography, where I started. I enjoy your blog enormously since I found it. You inspire me (and others) by naming in print the attitudes and practices that help one be more creative and enjoy the creativity of others. The human spirit is enlivened with the recognition that others share our pursuits, and concerns and fears.
I don't seek equipment reviews but enjoy the comments you and/or Mike Johnson make about equipment because they are balanced and relate to your everyday use of products. Equipment blogs can be a lot like talk radio: people obsessing and arguing about things as a means of actually engaging them. Equipment blogs can also be a convenient substitute for discussion of creativity, which can be intimidating. It's easy to talk about cameras, they're commercial products. But to talk about risking failure or embarrassment in the pursuit of creating something, well, that's scary. I think you are either not afraid, or have developed some really good skills at coping with fear. I appreciate your confidence and feel lots of others do, too.
Finally, talking about video vs still imaging is a bit like telling the Pictorialists that images aren't going to look like paintings any more, it's inevitable but involves change and, therefore, is controversial. Thumbs up for the controversy that results from change! I look forward to reading your ideas in the new direction you've chosen. Glad to be coming along for the ride.

Hunter said...

Whoops! That sentence should read: Equipment blogs can be a lot like talk radio: people obsessing and arguiing about things INSTEAD of actually engaging them. Glad you're the blogger and not me.

Gregg Mack said...

Kirk you stated ”In fact, I don't want to seek out an audience, I want my audience to seek me out.” I would be willing to bet that if you would simply stop checking the number of pageviews and other Google Analytics for a couple of months, that this is exactly what would happen. I urge you to give it a try.

Now to answer your questions:

“Who are you?” You and I are very similar, but we are opposites. You started out studying electrical engineering, but ended up mastering photography. I mastered electrical engineering (well, technically nobody is capable of doing that), but now I ended up studying photography.

“What do you do to make money?” I earn a salary by designing printed circuit boards and managing a small team of professionals who have the skills needed to help design the boards, get them manufactured, and up and running in the lab.

“What do you do to make art?” There is art in engineering (along with the usual political BS any other office job has). I still like the creative aspects of my profession, but after 30 years of doing it, it isn’t really my passion any more. I am just beginning to learn to make art with my photography, but honestly, I view my photography more as a method of documenting my life experiences. I am always pleased when I see one of my photographs on my computer that has some aspects of what might be considered “art”.

“Why are you here?” All of my leisure time is spent learning about photography. Your blog gives a rather unique view into the thoughts, insights, and fears that a true photographer has, and your writing style is very interesting to me. I have learned a tremendous amount from your books, as well as your blog.

“What do you think the future will bring for you and for the rest of us....in a photographic sense?” I used to think that when I retire from engineering that I would like to make photography my job. Not really a second career, but something that would keep me busy and be useful to society at the same time. I’m not so sure anymore. I am pretty certain that I will continue with photography, but probably just from a hobby or curiosity standpoint. I don’t really need the money, so I doubt that I would put out the huge effort to properly market myself as a photographer. I do think that the future of photography that we will see in 20 years or so will not be radically different than what we have now, but the business of photography will look nothing like what it does today.

Anonymous said...

It is your blog, do as you please. I believe your past content has been pretty good. I imagine the future content will be the same. An exception would be your tendency to wax on about your disapproval/approval of social groups, e.g. Boston friendliness vs. Texas friendliness......That sort of commentary usually blows. Throw it out with the the gear reviews.

Thanks for benefit of your experience.


Greg Gauger said...

Hi, Kirk,
I enjoy your blog and look forward to the new direction. After all, it is about the picture. I bought an NEX-6 so I could merge new and old. I love digital photography and won't look back to film. In the same way, I love my old Nikkors and use them regularly. The least used lens is my kit lens. To step into the 21st century, I use the Sigma 19 and 30. Similar focal lengths to my Nikkors, Hexanon and Olympus lenses, but with autofocus. I'll have to send you a couple of pics with my -6 and Nikkor 105. The facial expressions I caught on my boys were not the result of the gear!

Kepano said...

Kirk - I come to the creative industry after a very successful career in IT. I never considered myself an artist because I thought artists either drew, painted or sculpted. But, I realized that I'm happiest when I'm creating and communicating ideas through various mediums - music, words, photography, video... Throughout my entire career, I leveraged those skills to educate/sell/convince/collaborate, but only recently did I recognize the "art" in my work.

So, I left a position selling hardware to start up a content creation business. A large part of my revenue today comes from developing content for iPads and "responsive" websites - mobile is pushing everything... Photography and video factor into this work, but the integration work is where I probably spend most of my time with occasional spurts of pure photo/video work. I'm a one-man-band who can create a lot of leverage for client organizations.

I've been reading your blog for a long time. Also bought your small flash book a few years ago. The gear reviews are interesting, but unlike many here, I actually look forward to your video discussions, as I seem to be on a similar evolutionary path. I also enjoy your business discussions - I often encounter issues that you address in your blog. The timing is often really uncanny. E.g. your post about prints/pricing for portrait photographers. I had just finished a job for a client who was okay with me offering sales to the people we shot, a secondary revenue stream. I was in a quandary about pricing when you made that blog post. Can't say that I solved that riddle yet, but your post was helpful.

Thank you for years of interesting content. I look forward to seeing how this transition goes.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks for the input Wayne. Maybe the future content will be different. You never know. As to my tendency to call foul on silly and annoying social trends that should have been squashed in the cradle....don't expect that to change. It only blows if you disagree with my assessment...Now, help me figure out how to end cellphone use around the world... :-)

Richard said...

You wrote,

"I'm no longer in the business of reviewing the tools."

Then, I may read more than one article a week! (I exaggerate a bit!)

I'm retired, and my main hobby is botany. Most of my photographic interest is in flowers, so I don't have much in common with your own work. But I enjoy what you write about photography, and hope that there will be more of that now that you aren't "reviewing the tools!"

Best of success in this endeavor.


Anonymous said...

May be I read all the gear reviews because the articles about the "Art" simply don't offer the drama that equipment makers face when introducing a new product. After all they take risks, try to be ingenious with their latest ideas and seduce us to pony up. My 2 cents.

Unknown said...

I am a full time Program Manager at a high tech company in Silicon Valley. Which means I go to meetings, send emails, and ask other people to do real work. They somehow pay me for that. Photography has been a hobby of mine off and on for the past 25 years. Recently I have gotten more serious about my photography and am working on becoming a commercial photographer. I really enjoyed your Minimalist Lighting book and really enjoy the blog. It is great hearing about the real life of a working pro.

In terms of where I see photography going: I hope that the gear gets good enough that we no longer really talk about it. The conversation shifts more toward light, composition, and visual storytelling. There is not enough of that out there. That is the other reason I come here.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Anonymous said...

I think you are being hard on yourself. We all go through periods of reflection.

I think it would be a mistake to simply ignore the gear altogether. Sure, there are plenty of gear sites out there but practically all of them are strange, unpleasant places populated by people who think photography is all about the gear, not about the image. Insightful thinking about the gear is only relevant to me when it comes from the mind of a photographer.

We cannot separate the fact that the changes taking place in photography right now are driven by technological advances. The movement toward video is driven by the creation of Tech that makes it happen.

You were, and remain, quite right to champion the development of EVF's and LED's in stills photography. I have to thank you for this, because I moved to cameras using EVFs and I have to say it is re-ignited my passion for photography. I am having a ball here and I thank the VSL for setting me on this path.

I certainly prefer to read your musings about the motivation behind the image, your sometimes circular reflections on life and picture taking and the whole damn point of it all. But the technology is changing fast. And the creative applications for these new technologies are mind boggling. I want to read the thoughts of an artist as he interprets these changes, learns to apply these technologies to the craft.

Sometimes I think photographers go through a period where they want to reject the Tech , somehow feeling that it gets in the way. This is understandable but it misses the point. Photography IS about technology. And if we reject the technology then we may as well paint, draw or sketch.

And I'm not great at drawing.

Thanks for everything,


( from the sunny English West Country )

Alexander said...

Software engineer and amateur photographer from the Netherlands.

Bought my first camera in 2005, a Sony DSC-H1. Moved to a Nikon D40 in 2009 because I needed something more responsive. A Cosina 100mm f/3.5 macro lens made me learn to work the exposure triangle. A 'project 365' in 2011 made me better understand myself as a photographer. It also made me see that 98% of a fulfilling photograph happens outside of a camera. Moreover it taught me that the other 2% are deceptively easy to solve nowadays.

To be perfectly honest I always thought you had found a very nice balance between discussing gear, art, and industry. I have often referred to your blog as one of the best places to find raisons d'ĂȘtre for Sony's SLT technology. Not anymore it seems. If possible, perhaps you could put back just one of your SLT related reviews, which were always so much more than gear reviews alone. If not I'll understand.

Finally I'd like to wish you all the best with your blog and everything else you do. Also many thanks for all the moments of insight VSL has given me so far. Looking forward to seeing how your blog will manage to reinvent itself.

Thank you once again,


Colin said...

I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in England. I'm a reformed banker (don't hate me...) but I also owned and ran a couple of portrait studios for 5 years so I've seen the pro side of the photo business as well. Damned hard work (like you didn't know that already!)

Like most people, I read gear reviews but am increasingly unsure why! I've only bought one new camera in the last 8 years so question why am I wasting time looking at opinions on bits of equipment i will most likely never buy. I understand why most blogs are gear-oriented, since the people who blog full time have to find a way to support themselves and click-throughs to Amazon or B&H and camera ads are the only real option. And I can't criticise them for that at all since I read their blogs for free. But that presumably explains why there are few blogs about photography itself rather than gear - it's more difficult to monetise (I hate that word..) the blog if you're not pushing new products.

It would appear that you make your living from photography and that the VSL is a labour of love. On that basis, you are free to write about what you care about rather than what you have to from a commercial perspective. And since you write extremely well about stuff that others don't - the business of being a photographer, what gets you excited about a photograph, where the art of photography is heading etc. - I'd really encourage you to continue. If a piece of gear helps you to achieve your photographic goals then I'd love to hear about it, but I'm not going to stop reading your blog because you didn't review the new Panasonic XYZ blah blah that came out yesterday and will be 'obsolete' tomorrow.

The internet is clogged up with clones these days and strong individual voices are rare. Yours is one of those voices and I for one want to go on hearing your thoughts on photography, life, coffee etc. Just don't talk about baseball,basketball or that funny football thing you do over there. We don't understand those strange sports on this side of the Atlantic.


Shootr said...

My first job out of High School was in a Portrait studio. But my mentor was a poor businessman and I took the brunt of all the unsatisfied customers. I learned to hate it, but stayed long enough to save up for a new Nikon FM.
It was your portrait work that inspired me to get back into it after 40-some years. I can see an authenticity that speaks to me. Even your posed portraits look natural and yet elegant. Even if the rational mind does not notice it, the subconscious mind KNOWS the difference between a real smile and a smile made just for the camera. It is my people skills that will need the most work.
I come here hoping to learn something about your process and vision, and I think I get the most out of just looking at the photographs (more please!).
I enjoy your writing but it did seem a bit uneven- "the gear doesn't matter, get to work!" one day, and a pixel peeping contest between the Fuji and the NEX the next. I can always use some philosophical inspiration, along with the business insights and ideas.
Your love of the intimate, artful portrait shines through. That is what I am here for.

Matthew said...

Yes yes yes - Less what and more why. Visual literacy is much more than which gadget has the most gizmo. It's interesting to learn about the higher hit rate, but honestly it's a disappointing that the internet is so drenched in stuff (and sex), it has so much more to address. Recently watched the great new doc 'Searching for Sugarman' which is a beautiful lesson in perspective for our incessant culture of monetisation. Probably why I'm feeling a bit right-on at the moment.

If you're interested I came to you via the Candid Frame interview which was great and very useful as I was preparing for a talk on 'Bootstrapping for Business', so I'm a new reader, unsullied by your previous posts, ha! - Keep up the good work, Matt, commercial photographer and lecturer in the UK

Bob Travaglione said...

Maybe we all are in the same cosmic boat... being born into a sliver of time where we have been transitioning from one method of working into a brand new world. In the late 90's we thought scanning our negatives would be around for a long time. Suddenly by 2004 (approx) we were thinking and comparing in digital imaging terms only. I bought my first digital camera in '99 - an Olympus Camedia C2500L and never looked back. I think that our obsession with equipment acquisition is just that we all feel we need to make the very most of our time and energy and offer images that reflect our ideas and the needs of the picture buyer that are of the finest quality.

Ray said...

I found your blog by serendipity, a couple of years ago, and have read it regularly ever since. I am not a photographer, but an artist who happens to use photography as a sketchbook to create watercolor paintings. Your articles about art, and the creation of meaningful images are what kept me coming back. As long as you continue with that, I'll KEEP coming back. Thank you, Kirk.

Anonymous said...

I'm in too Kirk. Having only "found" you recently I've been enjoying your thoughts and look forward to following the transition of your blog. As a 70yr old amateur who's enjoyed the hobby for 60yrs (box camera through 35mm/medium format to APS-C and now, a Sony A-99) I'm planning a trip to the Scottish Highlands with my wife to take pics of the incredible landscapes there.
I've always tended to take available light pics of people and find the newer digital equipment incredible - a far cry from pushing Tri-X in the latest soup available.
Great blog and great insights. Keep on telling us your thoughts particularly re people/portraits and make us old'uns keep thinking about and enjoying the Great Hobby.
Regards. Tom Wilson

James Weekes said...

I am going to swim against opinion a little bit. I enjoyed your gear talk because it was from the point of view of a user, not a gear head. There was no measurement or pixel counts, just nice shots of Austin and how you felt.

That said, I will stay for your wonderful writing and the opportunity to see your work as it progresses. Plus, your mercurial nature tells me that we may see an equipment note creep back in. One of the things that makes this and TOP such good sites is they are not predictable. Just keep it up!

Jim Weekes

Anonymous said...

I'm a retired academic physician with a life-long love of photography. For the last 10 years I've been honing my digital photography skills in support of non-profit organizations. I do portrait and event photography in return for client donations to charity. I do most of my photographic work in support of my church's photo-directory and newsletter, the YMCA, and the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition. My gear is Canon (1Dx, 5D3, L lenses from 16-400 mm, 6 speedlights for off camera flash) and I've converted my home office into a home portrait studio. I've read your book on LED lighting, but I haven't really ventured into the use of continuous light sources and videos. My website is "charleshaskellphotography.com". I start every day with your column and find it both educational and inspiring. I look forward to vicariously joining you on your photographic journey.

BarefootPilgrim said...

Kirk, you seem to be an interesting person and that's why I read your blog. It's stimulating and engaging to read about how another human being (who is able to articulate well) muddles through his life. The gear reviews have been interesting (sometimes) but not important except in the context of how your art evolves because of the gear.

I love reading about your opinions, your feelings, your failures, your successes, your "Ehh" moments, and especially your process; the how and why you make the photos you do, what you like and dislike about them and their circumstances and challenges -- the human side of being an artist with cameras. These are the important things about your blog to me.

Forget about page views and hit counts. Just continue being human and saying what you really think and feel. That's what makes TVSL interesting.

Dave said...

I like all your posts. I can see you know what you're talking about and you're passionate about great photos. I've learned a lot about process, gear and thinking about photos from your posts.
Generally speaking, I'd like it if you kept the stuff online, but, it's your house. Do what you like!

Art in LA said...

I think I stumbled onto your blog when you had guest posts at TOP a couple of years ago. I'm a "family photojournalist" here in southern California who picked up the hobby in junior high and high school, back when b&w photography classes were still offered in the public schools. I was fortunate enough that my "Chinese hand laundry"-owning parents could afford to get the kids a Minolta XE-7 + 50mm lens back in the day.

Today I'm an independent consultant, focusing on software project management gigs ... I'm a techie/engineering/business guy by degree. I don't consider my photography "art", but I do want to create really great images of my memories. If other folks like it, that's just a bonus. If not, no big deal ... it's mostly for me. The most fun part of photography is framing and shooting in existing light ... wish I could outsource all of the post processing. This is probably why I don't shoot much video - so much post-processing/editing required.

I visit VSL to live vicariously ... see what it's like to be professional photographer, how you manage your business vs. your art, the strategies you take on your photo "walkabouts" in Austin and elsewhere, the decisions you have to make regarding your gear (e.g., your rationale to go EVF/Sony). Your recent piece that talked about that "weird irrational fear of impoverished limbo" really spoke to me since I'm a freelancer ... what happens when (if?) my current projects go away?

The future? I'm still going to be still image focused. I recall one of your posts that talked about how you can really examine a single frame ... with video, everything flies by and you can't dig into the details. But, when video workflows get easier, I may dabble with moving pictures ... I like the idea of video, I just can't invest the time.

I'll keep coming back whenever I see an post pop up in my RSS reader. I like your voice, visual and written, about gear or process ... nice to be able step away from my work to see if the grass is greener elsewhere.

rdrowe said...

Most of what I wanted to say has been said already.... :-)
I'm in. Looking forward to your developing thoughts. All the best.

Kirk Tuck said...

Dave, I'm slowly adding back the classics. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am a photography hobbyist and travel extensively. I also read a lot, mostly ancient history and classics. If commentary from Gibbon, Plutarch, Herodotus, is of any value, I would say your efforts in "calling foul on silly and annoying trends that should have been squashed in the cradle" will be about as fruitless as my efforts to improve my photography through the purchase of newer and better photo equipment. But, if it works for you.....

On the cell phone thing, I believe they, as well as all other forms of electronic communication have, rather than bring about the promised social improvement,e.g. open sharing of great social ideas to bring us to mutual understanding and promote social tolerance, have served largely as an amplifier for the stench of the bovine fecal matter we have, worldwide, been dealing with since time began. My prediction is that the stench/decibel level will only increase. I understand the military has a new device, Thor, that effectively jams electronic communication signals. I would like to have a Thor device. It could be a real hoot on the highway.

Here is a topic you may be able to help with:

Why is it that I continually see, and drive right past, great scenes that are just begging to be photographed. Am I a photography masochist? Are there others out there continually beating their head against the wall over this sorry behavior?

Its been fun. I am sure it will be in the future.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Doctor (GP).
Long-time amateur photographer.
Started with B+W as a teenager, found colour film disappointing, then found a new lease of life with digital.
Reckon photography is the art form for the technical mind, combining art with engineering, science, and even commerce for a few.
Accordingly, I read all of your posts, whether they relate to the art or the technicalities or the equipment, because it's all relevant. I suspect I'm typical of your long-term readers.
What will the future bring: like every other aspect of life, more of the same themes, but constantly differing details.

AstraWlad said...

Hello from Russia with great respect! I'm an amateur/par-time photographer and a regular reader of your blog. To be honest, I came here looking for an OM-D reviews :) but I liked you posts about more general subjects a lot and decided to mark this blog as one of my "morning coffee" sites. I am not interested in video at this time but I think I will still visit you regularly in hope to see more articles about art, business and human relations. Thank you for your work!

Low Budget Dave said...


Yours is one of the few blogs I read every day. My hobby is portraits of autistic and special needs children, because of my son.

Getting a natural smile from my son can be a time-consuming challenge. He does not sit (or stand) still; and if he sees a camera, he will attempt to put on one of those "say cheese" smiles. The only way to photograph him is while he is doing something else, so we usually end up with a photo of the prop.

Even the gear reviews are interesting to me, because special needs photography (in some ways) is similar to sports photography. The camera has to have blazing fast autofocus, and has to manage a high frame rate shooting raw at high iso. You need a great IS, and a large aperture lens, because you can't always pick your angle or background.

We hired a professional photographer to make our portraits when our son was two. She was very patient about waiting for a smile, and using every prop in the place to distract him from the camera. When we looked at the previews, we pointed to the monitor and asked him "who is that?" He told us, "That's Will." It was one of the first times he had ever looked to see what we were pointing at, and the first time he had ever identified a picture of himself.

I practice photography because I want to create that same feeling for other people, some of whom can't afford the time or the money for a "real" photographer.

Alex Monro said...

Kirk, I enjoy reading your blog as much for your writing style as the subjects you cover. There are loads of gear review sites on the web, and some of them are so poorly written it's hard to understand what they're trying to say. You have an intelligent, thoughtful approach with a touch of humo(u)r that's enjoyable to read.

Since you aren't dependent on page views for income, just write about whatever you feel like writing about. If sometimes, perhaps when you've got a new camera or lighting setup, that happens to be the gear, that's fine. If it's about a commercial portrait shoot, or a stroll around town with a camera, that's good too. Many readers will enjoy reading, despite, or perhaps because, it might not be on a subject that's their primary interest.

For people who want gear reviews, there are plenty of other sites just a few clicks away. You provide something different. Vive la difference! :)

Thanks for all your entertaining and informative writing over the years.

Alex Monro

Brad Calkins said...

Kirk - I try to read your blog every day or two. You are one of the few working photographers out there who writes posts that aim to enrich the photographic community, rather than sell your services. You've recognized that your blog is not for your customers. I like that you are willing to take a stand, and that you clearly are in search of ways to stay interested and move your photography and business forward. Yet you are looking to get the job done, not impress us with a new f1.2 lens. Most of all, you are human. Sometimes you get fired up, sometimes you are hopeful, sometimes you are frustrated! If you can ignore that stats, I think your blog will trend in the direction you want. You may have fewer followers, but they'll be the ones you are interested in...

I'm an engineer who bought a Canon AE1 with paper route money when I was twelve. Somehow I never considered that one could have a career just taking photos :) Maybe I'll get there someday!

Keep blogging - we'll keep reading.

Dave said...


Wow. I totally respect this move -- shows some serious cajones. I've been a long time reader and this post has finally pulled me out of lurker mode. It's like you are your own best critic. Previously, my only gripe with VSL was the gear fixation. I thought it was a necessary evil. How does a photo blogger build an audience without gear chat? After all, 90% of would be photographers give up once the shopping is complete. Mayber you don't want that kind of audience? I think you'll be better off focusing on your core fans and building a stronger tribe (borrowing from Seth Godin).

Good luck. We'll all be watching.

Anonymous said...

I work as a tech/PM and am hobbyist photographer learning to light and take better pictures of my kids and family. I used to like your blog very much - the technical howsto and the insight into a different industry and experiences on the job but mostly the "why we make art" discussions.

Of late -- and it's already been pointed out -- this blog got very angry, very "look at my Sony. LOOK. Look at my Sony gear" (or some theme thereof) and it just felt like a sales pitch. You may say that your page hits (why do you care?) went sky high when you posted something about gear but these are the exact posts I didn't waste time reading.

As good as your writing is, if I wanted dpreview/DxOmark I'd go there for the real thing. I originally came here for discussions around why/how to make beautiful portraits

Robin Smith said...

I'm in the pharma business now but have been in scientific publishing for a long time before that. I've been photographing seriously since I was 12 and I got my first real camera (Zenit B). I find it provides a purpose and improves my awareness of the world around me. You are a truly intelligent blogger and refreshingly free of the breathless hyperbole of most other sites. I like the way you talk about your business challenges and your refreshing honesty about what you like and what you don't.

As I suspect you realize, if you really don't talk about gear then your audience numbers will inevitably experience a precipitous decline. The reason is pretty simple - there is simply not a lot to say about why one takes a picture or how great the result is, without it being irritatingly pretentious, self serving or frankly rather unbelievable. How many times have you heard how the photographer waited for the "critical moment", or how they intentionally "underexposed to bring out the powerful blues", or they desaturated the image to "emphasize the simple lines and contours" and so it goes on? This may be true but is, likely as not, simply a result of raising the camera to the eye and pressing the button. I for one tire very easily from high falutin' explanations for why such and such an image is presented as an example of fine "art". The image is all you need - if it works then it works - if it doesn't then no amount of technical mumbo jumbo will help it.

Judging by your writing you will not be doing this, but if you swear off gear talk altogether then you are somewhat more likely to stray more into the more highly subjective areas of mutual admiration of photos and such like. You have a practical approach to your blog, which is what we like. Why you pick the gear you have and what is important for you and your business - this is all stuff that I don't know as I am not a professional photographer and this much more interesting to me than either the relentless gear stuff or the dubious aesthetic philosophizing given out by many photo sites and blogs.

So I guess what I am saying is do not stop your thoughts on the development of photo gear as these are interesting to many of us, and keep up all the good work of educating us amateurs what works for you and what doesn't and why. I am not a videographer, but I think you should cover it as this will indeed be an important part of your business in the future. By the way, I don't think your could stop talking about gear to some extent even if want to...

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog as a result of a link from Photo.Net. Exactly what I've been looking for - someone who understands the value and commercial strategies of "legacy" photography, and is intersted in using what is now available to create new products of value (and I'm not talking about hardware here). Looking forward to following your evolution.

Thank you


Daryl Davis said...

I'm 56 years old, married, father of 10-year old twins daughters. I'm a shift supervisor in the county hospital's security department. I've done a bunch of things over the years, but mostly law enforcement. I do freelance writing for a college textbook publisher from time to time.

I got started in photography at the Stanford University photo club, back in my student days. I've shot 35mm, medium format, DSLR. I now own the Olympus OM-D. My tripod is a Marchioni Bros. Tiltall. I still want to have a go at large format work.

I've been on your blog for a few years now. I've enjoyed your gear reviews because they focus on real-world use, not chasing inconsequential increments of lp/mm, fps, yadda, yadda.

Achieving a compelling vision always has been my biggest challenge. I've most enjoyed your work on artistry, vision, and the nuts-and-bolts of how you work. I purchased your Commercial Photography book, not because I'm thinking of going pro, but because I wanted to see how you integrate artistry and business. You have a compelling way of bringing heart and mind together, both in your writing and in your images.

I've probably not commented enough on the blog about these things, but thank you for taking us along for the ride. You really do energize my thinking. I'm greatly looking forward to the reconstituted Visual Science Lab.

Rob Grey said...

Hi Kirk,

My name is Rob and I've been reading your blog for the last two years. Maybe even longer. The gear reviews were interesting at first, but I soon skipped them to read your musings about the art and the business of the medium. Articles just like this one are what I look forward to now.

I'd consider myself an amateur with professional aspirations. I've tried and failed at doing photography as a living. Now I am content at doing my own thing and being part of a few gallery shows per year making and selling landscape prints. It's not lucrative or glamorous, but I like it just fine.

Keep up the good work Mr. Tuck.

Jeff Damron said...


I'm a 51 year old attorney that lives in Eastern Kentucky. Photography has been a hobby of mine since I was sixteen and my mother bought me a Minolta SRT 202 and my older brother bought me a basic darkroom set, including a Bogen enlarger. Over the years I have shot a fair number of cameras, film and digital. I mostly shoot digital, but bought an old Nikon FE over Christmas and put a few rolls of Tri-x through it because I feel guilty about abandoning analog, and because I like the look for 35mm 400 ISO film. But I don't seem to have the dedication and I'm back shooting digital again. But I did notice that I didn't miss all the hooplah over new digital cameras that came out between Christmas and March, and I find I'm happier now with the old Olympus E-620 than I was before the break from digital. I have a blog dedicated to black and white photography which I also largely ignored for three months. I didn't miss that either, although I have posted a little lately. Since I am generally no longer interested in the never-ending reviews of new stuff, and since it is a mystery to me why anyone prefers that to discussion of more important topics in photography, it is safe to say that I will continue to read your posts (even if I get a few days behind from time to time).


Anonymous said...

I'm in too. I always find something worthwhile in your posts and continue to come back for thoughtful content rather gear, gear, gear. Gear as a general topic is becoming passe' now that most gear is more than good enough. Even though I initially trained in the physical sciences and later in law, I don't mind the "angst" or whatever in the slightest. It's a real part of real life. Besides, I studied some with Minor White at MIT, back when, and am married to a psychologist, and angst is par for the course.

Mark Davidson said...

Hi Kirk, I am a photographer of about your age(but not your experience) who does mostly architectural and commercial work. I came from an art(isn) background meaning that I enjoyed the seeing and thinking about seeing of photography.
As my career has prospered I spend much more time thinking about how to get more out of my images than just what the client ordered.
I want to create images that people will enjoy or reflect upon but not ignore.
I am as much a gear hound as the next guy but have lost the lust for the stuff. I like to think about possibility.

I come to your site because of the reflection. Yeah, some of the gear stuff is interesting but at bottom I think you and I think and worry about the same things.

Rob Grey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cidereye said...

Haha, totally agree with you John and is why I always visit.

Whichever way the wind blows is the best thing about Kirk's blog period I reckon.

Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for all the time and effort you put into this blog. I very much appreciate it.

I am not a professional photographer. I enjoy photography (mostly sports photography, the very tiny minority of all photographers). I read your blog for some learning and some entertainment.

I really tune in to the "Day in the Life of a photographer" posts. I also enjoy "how I created this/these image" posts, the "Why I like this image" posts, and the "how business is changing" posts. I also tend to read the gear posts, mostly to discover how you use the gear.

I guess I am into the more tangible things. As your posts become more abstract (philosophy, feelings, vision) I start to tune out. This probably has something to do with my own self-image of being a craftsman, not an artist.

I suspect that a large percentage of your audience are more craftsman than artist (whether they are willing to admit it or not). I personally am quite happy to be a craftsman and to refine and improve my craft. And your site helps me to do that.

However, the thing that I like most about your site is your honesty. (well, I also like your eloquence too.) I don't have to tune in to every post you write. For me, it is far more important that you write honestly about your passions.

If your passions are changing, that is OK. Some of us will be able to keep up with you and some of us will not.

If you never write another post that clicks with me, I will still remember all of the posts you have already written that did. Thank you for that.


David Mantripp said...

I think you should write about whatever you really want to write about ... and if it frustrates you, stop. I'm not into portraiture. I'm not much into swimming. Sonys don't sing to me. And yet I check out your blog every day. And I thank you for putting your valuable time into making my daily grind just that one spark brighter.

(we do have common ground on coffee, mind)

Dave said...

I sell high performance software to Wall Street investment banks.

When I do photography the target audience in my mind is my grandchildren (who I do not expect to be born for at least another 10 years). These are not the only ones who will look at the photography but I try to be sure it meets their needs.

When my grandchildren look at what their dads were like as kids and teenagers I want there to be a rich selection of materials that can hold their interest and tell a story even though the events happened before they were born.

I want the material to be nice to look at but I also want personalities and life stories to come through. Video is obviously a vital part of this. Thinking ahead and knowing the story I want to capture is essential.

Being able to handle a lot of difficult use cases is also important in what I do. Videoing an airsoft battle in the dark with infrared lighting (if you use normal lights then others can see whoever you are taping), photographing high speed dancing in a dimly light night club, photographing sports and music events from seats far from the performers (my children), and time-lapse videos compressing 8 straight hours of video games into 3 minutes have all been important use cases for me in the last few years.

I am not focused on endlessly talking about new equipment but I am interested in how to improve the quality of what I do.

For example, I bought your book on LED lighting and it has improved both my video and still photography when I can use it (mostly when I shoot at home). My wife and I got rid of most of the incandescent lighting in the house and replaced it with daylight balanced fluorescents. That, along with the LED lighting, makes both video and stills just look better because of having consistent lighting. I have started getting into sound and am trying to figure out how to make that a better part of what I do.

Bill Van Antwerp said...

Even though most of my shooting is underwater, I continue to be amazed at how relevant your insight is to many of us amateur photographers. The underwater photography sites are full of gear reviews and gee whiz photos but when you ask many of us why we shoot what we shoot the usual answer is a blank stare. For a long time I thought that simply recording the natural history of the underwater world was enough but with your help, I finally realize that what I am trying to find is the relationship with the creature that you have with your models. Aspiring to take meaningful portraits of underwater critters is now my goal.

Thanks for encouraging us to shoot more, test less and enjoy what we do. Keep up the good work.


M. Keefer said...

Kirk, there are still some of us who are into it for the photos. The art of photography. In what seems like a lifetime ago, I recall developing film and photos in a dark room. Digital has only spoiled me for the instant gratification and ability to come home after a day of shooting with a hundred shots or more rather than a couple of rolls of 24 shots. Still, I like the look of film and have gotten pretty good tweaking the RAW images to get the most out of them. I still have an old Minolta 35mm film camera, my Canon 35mm was stolen about 10 years ago. I have two Canon digital bodies and several good lenses covering everything from 11mm to 400mm. In the end, it is about the photos. Lenses, film or digital bodies are just tools. It's about the photos, capturing light, life and making art. I also enjoy video though my old computer is slow working on video, but it is art. I enjoy seeing the work that went into the old movies, things like A Street Car Named Desire, the shot of the house and the stairs, that was an artists eye that saw that, and their are great cinematographers today, I see great lighting and thought that goes into good work. You know it when you see it. All the best. Mark

jason gold said...

i admire your new found promise of no more product reports and buys..
i doubt it will work. Technical is about how we all use and do our photography. Don't let folks say artists,
who use paint and brush etc don't talk tech! Ya betcha they do! I had a girlfriend Graphic Artist.
Man, it was tech talk with all her buddies.
so do it one day at a time. Stay away from Precision Camera except for buying 120 rolls for your Swedish Brownie.
OK and collecting proofs and negatives.
I can do this easily. I live in Toronto.
I just saw add for Nikon 7000 at Downtown.. see ya later..

Anonymous said...

I am 50 years old and have been doing photography for about 42 of those years. My real job is that of a Network Administrator. I have in the past been a full time pro and have photographed over 150 weddings. In the market that I am in you have to do weddings to survive. For me photography has gotten to be more and more of a hobby. I still do some pro work when the opportunity arises, but I am not really looking for it. I have always considered photography to be my Parachute. If I had to bail out of my current job I would be able to survive on the combination of my computer skills and photography until the next career job came along. Being a bit of a techie, I am not just content to get an image. I like to know how that image happened and don't feel like it is really mine unless I can mostly duplicate that image on demand. I was a late adopter of digital imaging. I have said that I am arrogant enough to believe that somebody might want to look at something I shot a hundred years from now. I know this is possible with the film based images I have made, but I have doubts about the digital stuff. Even being a late adopter I don't have issues with the technology. I am a computer nerd. I can shoot, manipulate, and store as well or better than most. I still shoot film and I still have a wet darkroom darkroom and a high end Jobo Processor. I like the immediacy of digital, but I also love the MAGIC of film. As far as VSL goes I think you have hit the right mix of equipment vs philosophy/technique/etc.. You lose me sometimes when you start talking about mirrorless cameras and such, but just because I (or others like me) am not interested should not influence your blogging about it or anything else. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep being Kirk Tuck. About my photography I have been known to say that I shoot to make ME happy. If somebody else likes it that's their own fault. I would suggest you adopt that about the blog. I enjoy your blog. I like the frank discussion of the business and art of photography by somebody who is actually making a iiving at it and NOT making a living doing seminars...

"somebody named Chuck"

Noons said...

Now, here is an interesting new concept: a blog about the art of photography! As opposed to endless parroting of technical mumbo-jumbo, ad infinitum.
I am sooo glad I discovered this blog years ago! Hang in there Kirk: we - yeah, I'll be selfish, sue me! - need more art and less techno-babble. I now have one reference place for portrait art. And it's here. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from The Netherlands! I am a 40 year old male working in an eventful office environment. Photography is my hobby and has been for 20 years now. Sometimes I get small "assignments" from people that otherwise would not be able to afford a "real" photographer. I found your website when searching for info on the m4/3 system and I keep returning because of your writing skills, insightful articles and your joie de vivre that you share with us. I will continue to visit your blog for these reasons regardless of the move you will be making.
I consider you to be a master artisan because while the artist works to receive recognition the artisan first and foremost aims to earn a daily living.



Marlon dela Cruz said...

I recently restarted my blog after becoming disillusioned with the whole thing. I found myself doing bits and pieces that other more established blogs were doing. I was doing it for the pageviews. It wasn't my voice or my own message. Just rehashed rubbish that I read from other people. It took a 20 month hiatus to finally gather enough strength to take up photography again and blog.

Now I blog about my motivation and inspiration, you know, why I do what I do and not how I did it and with what tools.

I come to your blog to read about your motivation, inspiration and opinions.

Tony Grover said...

The ancient Egyptian artists probably debated over which stone or copper chisel was best for producing the cleanest edged hieroglyphs. But then as now artists were drawn to art, despite descending in to gear debates when the muse seems elusive. Good move with this site. Chasing the muse more often is what will keep me coming back. I will likely write comments more often, too. Gear debates go sterile so fast - thanks for the reset.


Gervasio said...

Hi from Spain!

I'm a 30 year old scientific researcher in the field of computer science, and photography is only one of my hobbies.

I started folowing your blog... maybe about a year and a half ago, and I must addmit that I arrived here because of your articles about mirror-less cameras. I was (and I am) a little bit tyred of going out with the DSLR, especially when I'm traveling, and I found your articles on that subject quite interesting. So, it's true, I came here because of the gear. But it is also true that I have stayed here because of the other articles, the opinion articles like this, the articles about how you do your job, etc. There are more than enough gear-based blogs in the net, I follow some of them, but I usually read only the headlines, this is not the case with this blog, here I read almost all the articles, so keep walking and do what you think will be best :).

Jessica Sweeney said...

Hi Kirk,

I'll also be glad to see the gear posts go. I love your posts about connection and street photography, and I enjoy watching you navigate whatever seems to be in your head day by day (often, within a week, you contradict yourself - but who doesn't in their own head all the time?). I've appreciated that you write without too much of a filter, even if that means that I don't always agree with what you have to say.

But yes please. More concepts, more philosophical discussions about why and less about how. Everyone else wants to tell me how, which is why I stopped listening to them after I had heard enough. I could think about why forever.

And thanks for being awesome and thought-provoking as usual!

Francesco Carucci said...

Great post, Kirk.
I'm a former Videogame Developer, currently a Software Engineer working for a huge company making gadgets. I love my job. I started doing photography five years ago to be able to understand the mindset of the artists I was making tools for (artists making videogames with me). I got hooked into photography and now I do my best to produce images that are technically as good as possible and try to convey a meaning and my feelings. I don't know how successful I am at doing it but I have fun trying. I know I don't need to do photography to earn a living so I'm free to always shoot what I like.
Being a geek and an engineer I love gear, the latest gadgets and I want to know how they work, but I also want to know how I can use them to produce my images. At the end of the day I'm an engineer who plays at being an artist.

Matt James said...

I think you are on the right track. I enjoy your writings on photographic art and your professional experiences. Your gear talk is also good, but you seem concerned about this. I guess gear obsession is not unique to photography, and is not a new thing. But in recent years, as digital has risen from an inferior to a superior technology (for the most part, it seems), it is understandable that people were concerned with specs (no longer an issue). But there is enjoyment from using good quality equipment that is in-sync with good art, it seems to me. Also, there are exciting developments that relate to size, feel, etc (e.g. smaller mirrorless, etc) that has little to do with mere specs. All these are good things and I would not suggest you give up on writing about gear, just enjoy and keep it in perspective.

For me, it is your writing about the art of photography that is of the most interest. I have been taking photos for more than 40 years but still feel like a beginner. I have a technical profession, and photography is a hobby, successful or not. In recent years I have been enjoying travel, landscapes, abstracts, street, astrophotography, people, etc. Sounds like I am searching for something, but I do know that the modern digital tools have opened up a whole new world to me and my attempts at photographic art.

You write very well, and I certainly admire your portrait work, and the way you approach it. You have made some stunning images. I do not have much interest in video (except when the kids were small). I also enjoy the street type wanderings, having been trying this in recent years.

Perhaps your older blogs would be more accessible if they were not presented in an infinitely long roll.

Your blog is very refreshing and inspiring. Keep it up!


Anonymous said...

First time I've read your work. Excellent article. Photography is a amateur hobby of mine, I don't make money with it at this point. I can agree with a lot of what you have mentioned above regarding the over analysis of gear and the use of this to turn a profit. It becomes incredibly tedious after you've read a couple of 'reviews'.
This article however had me gripped the whole way through, even though I'm sitting at my office desk with 6 other web windows open.
You certainly have my vote for continuing to write like this.

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