Looking back in the past

2016, Photography

I don’t try to make a habit of looking back to what I have done. It is the end of the year and many will come up with their best …. of 2016. Yeah, 2016 was such a productive year. I did so many things. Crazy things, awesome things. Tried so many new things, failed sometimes, learned so many things. Things to keep doing, things not worth repeating. Just check my selection.

I’m goofing here, but you’ll likely recognize these posts. Instead I’m making an effort to look further in my past. I’m taking you back to the years 2011 and 2012. I started my first photo a day project that lasted 72 weeks. I know that some will tell you that taking less photographs might in fact help you get more inspired and motivated in photography. Others will tell you the opposite. I guess they mean it right, but honestly all they want is to read their blog posts. I for god sake don’t even know why I started. I guess, because I can. And I just did so. No expectations, no intentions, but I did go deep. It was to become an emotional roller coaster.

The beginning felt easy, but the second month was difficult. The following months my back started playing games with me. I photographed tons of barbed wires, I photographed many shadows. I mean, I’ve seen shadows. It felt shadowy. I kept photographing though. Seven days a week. I went past 365 days. That felt like a gimmick, it was a part of me. So I continued. I don’t know how many photographs I took. I don’t even care.

It drained everything out of me, but when I ended it after 72 weeks it felt like it needed to be ended. When I look back, it all felt like a big experimentation. Despite the 504 selected daily photographs I don’t think I produced anything really good and consistent. I tried too many cameras. Experimented with forms, color, post processing, but really had no glue what I was doing. Maybe therefore my last photo a day project felt so differently.

I don’t care what others say about a photo a day project, but I don’t regret doing it. Twice, in fact. The first project helped me to start all over again. Learn from the mistakes I made and the failures, many, I produced. From the 504 finally selected photographs I think only three made it really worthwhile to me (these are the once in this blog post). In the end, that and the experience I gained is what I take with me into the next year.

There are so many things I don’t care about anymore. I don’t give a damn about gear, I try to spent a minimum amount of time editing and post processing. I try to care about small things, non photography related. We complain that there are too many photographs posted on online sharing platforms and yet all we care for are camera reviews. Nowadays I only get 1/5 of the traffic on my blog that I got in 2011. Even this year the best read blog posts are camera impressions I posted in the past. That is photography. Only a small group really cares about photography. So think about the reason why you started to photograph. Bring the honesty back into photography.

I have no intention to turn my blog into a traffic cow again. I only use it for sharing my views, my photography. I try to keep things simple and brace myself for what 2017 will bring to us. All the best for the next year. Peace!

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

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27 thoughts on “Looking back in the past

  1. Hello again Wouter and i wish you a happy new year.

    Lets talk about photography and i like your subjective photography very much and let me say with the words of Robert Frank: ” The eye should learn to listen before it looks”. – All the best to you and your family.

    1. So true Titus. Read an interview with Christopher Anderson the other day. He mentioned that a photograph can have a sound track. That makes perfect sense. All the best too.

  2. The photos and the texts make me think of a time-tunnel, beam-me-up machine or something like that. It starts in a more or less well known, explored and compact physical world and it brings you to anywhere-anytime-OMG in an instance. Photographing and hence exploring-defining your known world should (that’s the hope or thought) bring you some insights of the world or of yourself: perhaps as if being in another universe or some world with other thinking-rules. Opposed to the classical time/beam-me-up traveling (a ‘flash’) this exploration should take serious time and the journey is just as important as reaching whatever other side. Reaching the other side would be, I imagine, realy just the start of another hop …

    1. For me being there is not the most important thing Hans. I appreciate the journey the most. It is where you can learn, fail, and succeed. And the journey can be anything. A real life journey or learning your inner.

  3. I’ve been occasionally reading your blog, but this post resonated with me – so, I’m commenting to let you know that you have a new follower!

      1. My interest started when I was four years old and loved to look at the old family photo albums. But I am not skilled in taking photos. I just love to do it anyway

        1. The skill of taking photographs is in my opinion overhyped with too much focus on technique, Maria. Your personal experiences, thoughts, ideas and intuition make a lot more differences I guess.

  4. Dear Wouter,
    I’m long time reader here that never comments. Just wanted to send a “thank you” though. I came via a GRD3 review but have stayed for the photos and thoughts. Mag jy en jou familie ‘n wonderlike jaar beleef! Eben

  5. Wish I had discovered you and your work many years ago. Your work speaks volumes, and your words speak honesty.

  6. I am a newcomer, and very glad I found this site. A photography site that’s actually about photography.

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