week 6 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

I really thought about quitting this week with my PAD project. No inspiration, no time, nothing changing, everything the same, and for the first time since last year February I felt the pressure of photographing to keep the project going. I need ideas or at least a different locations to photograph. And I constantly feel these doubts. It feels like nothing is changing, no progress, what do I learn? And these thoughts what would happen if I temporary stop for a couple of days. Would I still be able to motivate myself?

I fought the entire week with these doubts, doubts about continuing the project, doubts about my photography, doubts about sharing my photography. Still, I believe stopping now makes no sense to me. I don’t need to continue, no I want to continue. I am thinking about setting myself some goals every week to find suitable subjects to photograph.

Last January a group of photographers, including me, on a forum (a forum focused on compact cameras and it’s practical usage) participated in a project to photograph each day with only one camera-lens setup the entire month. The intention was to actually enjoy your photographic gear and just really appreciate the process of making photographs. Since I already photographed each day and mostly used a single setup, I insisted on participating. It was special to see each and everyone being a lot more creative than they ever thought they would be. Many were excited, some thought it was tough to photograph each day without any particular event occurring. There was a lot less chit chat about gear (which I personally think is a really good thing), but when the project was finished the interesting photo-related discussions stopped. Most instantly went back to all their gear and moaned that they would never do it again. It frustrated me and made me realize (again) that these forums are really the wrong places for me. I like to find like-minded people to talk and enjoy photography (in particular photographs). The popularity of these forums however drive mostly on the gear enthusiast in my opinion. I love to be challenged and feel inspired and motivated by seeing good photography. I love to get out and I greatly enjoy the photographic process, seeing moments, making photographs

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

39 thoughts on “week 6 | 2012

  1. I like the 2nd and 4th shots in the series in particular. Keep up the good work!

    I know what you mean about the Internet forums; I think they go a long way to driving the desire for ever more gear. I like to look at photographs and talk about photography, but we all get sucked into the gear-talk constantly. I have found that my Fuji X100 has helped to an extent with that, since I can’t take the lens off–I’m stuck with what it has. Another way I have tried to side-step the constant need to upgrade your equipment is to get back into film…there isn’t the incessant turnover that there is with digital gear, and film forces me to slow down and just concentrate on shooting.

    I’m not sure if that helps you, but it’s some tips that I have and can share quickly. Feel free to get in touch and commiserate, or just talk about photography and NOT gear!


    1. I have no need (or money) to return to film, but I also have no need to update my gear. It works what I have. That is also part of the reason why I dislike forums. They can only talk gear and all have opinions. It sometimes feels like car forums where kids without driving licences talk about the cool and uncool cars.

  2. I really like ur 1st and 4th photos, it really looks like it was taken from an analog camera.
    I’m also having a hard time taking photos these days since being in a new position in the company i work at. Wish i was able to afford a nice digital camera like ricoh gxr, and i wish they made an olympus om mount so i could use my om lens. Too many wishes though, hehe. Keep up the photography, Wouter!

  3. I too feel frustrated by being locked into a particular location. But looking at your photos it always encourages me to go look and look again. If you can take a picture of a urinal and have the confidence to post it then I can find a picture in an orange orchard. About the urinal, at first it was the picture I liked the least and then I saw three tone zones of black, white and grey. Wonderful and simple and now my favorite. Since I have to repair them for my day job I would never think to photograph them.

  4. I think of taking photos as euphamism for time to think, express our creative self and communicate with creative others. To not have time for these is like not having time for yourself and the centering and grounding aspects of the self. The gear is no more that a brush to command, and has no other virtues. It is a characteristic of creativity to have relativistic concerns about validity and attainment. I think most sit between the evidence of our best endeavours and the iconic. We often neglect the functionality of doubt and uncertainty as part of the creative process. I think we need tremedous energy to make our way along our own unique path and creative journey. Doubt and uncertainty are just experiential refractions of negative perceptions, just information that we need to decide on rather than uncritically accept as a truth. It is easier to disapear into the technical aspects of cameras, or reading and comparing lists. Its a much more challenging thing to use a insentient device to create something that is a fusion between the twin streams of tecnology and art but also carries something of ourselves and our relations with the world we live in, and be able to suggest this narrative visually.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post and photos.

  5. Winter doldrums, perhaps? Despite your comments, I think #1 and #7 are, in fact, not entirely your “usual” subject matter and the composition in the first with its widely separated balance points is also a bit unusual for you. So not as same, maybe, as you think. You are sometimes too hard on yourself.

    As for that though, I really like the idea of setting some goals. It might be a good way to change things up.

    And in the end, remember it’s a victory, as Dylan put it, to just keep on keepin’ on.

  6. Hi Wouter,
    love nr2; i do like BxW which has some blurr in it, that usually comes down to macro or portrait, as you would need an extreme lens to do it on an object a bit further away.

    These kind of pics are great for me; everyday life objects, which you pass a hundred times without noticing.

    Love it.

  7. I feel like quitting my project all the time. I’m into the third year (continuous) if taking one picture per day of my dog Ozzy. Believe me, it gets old, but I struggle on knowing that it’s a whole project, not just one particular day.

    1. What? Are you already photographing Ozzy more than two years? Wow! One thing for sure, Ozzy is a way better model then my Westie Mickey. For how long do you want to continue your project?

      1. Hi, yeah, I’ve been taking pictures of him for 842 days. I am continuing until I can’t do it anymore. I was dreaming about doing it until he dies, but he may live until 12-18 years. LOL! I take the attitude of “one day at a time”. I’ll quit when I’m really sick of it.

  8. De plaat van gisteren (nr 6) vind ik echt prachti Wouter. De foto roept mij positieve gevoelens op oftewel het raakt me. Voor de lage stand van fotograferen, de voetstappen en uiteraard het licht vind ik het mooie aan deze plaat!

  9. Great shots, great angles. I’ve notice that your last photos are somewhat veiled, the lighter areas not reaching real white. Is this on purpose?

    About your PAD project, the important is to keep going, although not necessarily in that particular form. I think one must not put to much pressure on oneself. It must be done for the fun or things won’t work at all. You compromise yourself with a photo a day… It could be one each week, ten each week, etc. Whatever works for you.

    As blogs and similar projects are good to keep us going, I tend to force myself to make regular posting even when I know that, photographically speaking, I have nothing of great significance to post. Sometimes we are in a creative desert and we must face it naturally, because things tend to balance sooner or later. Live, be happy, take pictures, post it. I think this should be the order of priorities.

    António Marques

    1. Pure whites and pure blacks are like sharpness to me. It is no necessity. It is something I currently prefer to tone down the harsh contrast.

      I will think about the thought of missing a day (or more) intentionally or unintentionally. I feel it is important for me to keep having a flow.

  10. I too participated in the forum project you mention above and I agree with your assessment. I, like you, are continuing my PAD on my blog and also challenged as what to photograph.

    However, fortunate or not, my job takes me many placed giving me an opportunity to see something different regularly.

    But when I get home, I’m challenged like you to look at my surroundings for something of interest that’s different.

    The forums due seem to be centered around GAS and I too can get caught up in that. However, since purchasing the A12 Mount for my GXR I think I’ve ended that part of my photography. Other than finding a couple more lenses to fulfill my kit.

    I barely know what you’re going thru in finding subject material and staying motivated to photograph every day. But I do feel pressure to out do my previous picture posted. I just need to mature some more and just try and enjoy the experience of being out and try to appreciate what life has given us.

    1. I think it is a really good thing that you’ve started your own PAD project, Duane. It can provide means to appreciate what you have instead of what you want. I hoped others would have picked that up too at that forum.

      Gear and technology are probably accessible knowledge, everything else in photography requires creativity and determination.

  11. Writers and journalists talk about style and text structure, they couldn’t care less about the equipment someone used to type a story (“Did you use PC or a Mac for this article?”).
    And people who love to cook may chat about flavors and recipes, most probably not about which brand in cookware one is using.

    So you are right, what’s the deal with all the gear talk on the photography sites and forums? I noticed even photographers dedicated to lo-fi (!) mobile photography are just going on and on about apps and iPhone vs. Android discussions.

    1. It is like I wrote in the above reaction to Duane’s comment. It is likely to do with people can understand and interpret. Unlike technology, photography itself is much harder to comprehend.

  12. “I like to find like-minded people to talk and enjoy photography (in particular photographs).”

    I’m here, Wouter. For exactly this reason. No forums but places that inspire like yours. No gear discussion but taking about creativity, the stories behind & frames that may content the whole wide world. Getting behind the scenes witout revealing to much of the mystery & magic of our photographs.

    I know your feeling & doubts so well because from time to time I experience the same. And it’s great to see that I’m not alone with that. I don’t know if I would call myself a photographer but I do know that I am not interested in any gear but the photographs. And that’s why I am here & that#s why I don’t leave.

    And by the way … another great ride through your visual week: The first one blew me away the fourth & sixth ones left me speechless, my friend. Great!

    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

    1. And that is also the reason why I follow photographers like you, Fritsch.

      Like Jörg Colberg recently wrote on his website the essences of photography are desire, trust, and most certainly doubt too.

  13. There is photography whit his art, his technique, his gears and there is just art. Sometimes we approach to something that is telling us some
    true or just give us some visual pleasure. Each of us has his ways.
    Years give us many times just a great moment, that moment of comprehension, that slowly fade away. So don’t care.
    This is photography?
    Who cares.

  14. Doorgaan!!!! (gebiedende wijs). Je stopt toch ook niet met ademhalen! Je bent voor meer mensen dan je denkt een inspirator.
    gr. Guus

  15. wouter, i have always loved pictures of photographs. it is especially valuable these days, as for most of us the connection to photography is mainly thru the internet. what’s ironic about your photo is that it shows the laptop, digital camera, and all the other gadgetry next to the prints, which reminds us what we are actually missing with internet mumbo-jumbo and “forum culture”….
    take care,

    1. I purposely laid the left print on top of the notebook to remind us that the power of photography are the photographs. Everything else is just chit chat and holds no substance.

      Take care too, Roni!

  16. Hi Wouter,

    I discovered your blog a few of hours ago and can say that your words and your images are truly inspirational.

    For the past week I have been in a state of slow realisation with my photography. This blog and in particular an article you linked to on ‘Photography and Desire’ have quite literally been the final ingredient that opened my eyes to the fact that I have been simply missing the point.

    I’m in no position to even suggest that I could undertake a PAD project, I know that in my current photographic ‘mindset’ I would fail miserably.

    Is a PAD project a brief? not from a client or a boss? but from yourself? Do you want to do it?

    Personally I don’t think you should stop your PAD project, but only you can decide that – no comments, either positive or negative should sway the decision.

    Along with the previous weeks events, thoughts and realisations you have inspired me to pick up my camera because I want to – I have wrote my first blog post here: http://blog.mattkirwan.com/

    Kind regards,


    1. More than ever before I realized photography is a passion for me when I started the PAD project. With a PAD project there are no clients, no expectations. Just you, your camera, your creativity, your trust, desire, and doubt. And it can become really personal.

      I won’t be stopping my PAD project. I just have to cope with the lacking days. Best wishes and thank you, Matt.

  17. For a long time, I’ve been thinking about starting a forum for photo sharing and discussion without gear talk. In order to avoid gear talk, we’d have to literally make a rule against writing what gear was used, otherwise it will always lead to more gear talk.

    As you know, I am a gearhead and enjoy gear talk a lot. However, I think I’d also enjoy a separate space where gear talk is excluded and it’s all about the photography. Sort of like what Paul Giguere does with his podcast, excluding gear from discussion despite the fact that he too is interested in gear.

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