Convenience

2018, Photography, thoughts, weekly project

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I admit it, I’m all in for convenience. Since last autumn I’ve written a lot, really a lot. I used notebooks for that. Small and simple notebooks with a black cover, so I could take it with me everywhere. I wrote daily, and it helped me a lot learning and realizing what was going with me. It helped me deal with my anxiety and doubt. I still write on a daily basis, and in the meantime filled multiple notebooks.

Processed With Darkroom

Processed With Darkroom

There is one thing though for me. 12 hours a day I’m working and traveling. I stand up at 5 am and get home around 5:30 pm. With some family time, eating, and walking or cycling, the only time remaining to write is shortly before I go to sleep. That is at 9:30 pm. And while I love the writing process, it felt restrictive to only have a short moment a day to write. Despite the size of the notebook it felt uncomfortable to write about my private life in public spaces. Also the storage thing was becoming a worry.

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What mattered to me was being able to put down those words. It really didn’t matter how, as long as I’d able to write whenever I had some time available. Not the tactile feeling, but the convenience is important to me. It is easier to type something on my phone. So now I use a cross platform notes app, so I can write on my phone or Mac. No costs, no stress of time availability. The whole writing process can easily blend in with my daily huzzle.

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It reminded me of photography when I was young, when we’re still shooting negative film or slide film since it was the only choice we had. For me, most of the time, film was expensive. I learned to be sparse on exposures, to be cost effective. It also meant waiting a long time before I processed one roll of film or sent in a slide film (and doing the framing myself).

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Now I love restraints, like using a single focal length, but when digital photography took off I was finally able to feel unrestraint from the burden of the costs. I could photograph whenever I wanted, just because of the conveniences of digital photography.

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And speaking of blending in. I photograph pretty much on a daily basis again. My commutes, my strolls, my bike rides. Not that I have any intention to restart a daily photography project, but enough to return to the weekly collections.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

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20 thoughts on “Convenience

  1. It’s quite the same for me. I share my notes between my smartphone and my computer through my personnal cloud and I write at night or early in the morning. But I’ve got not much time for photography…

    1. For me photography and writing is sort of the same experience and I don’t need much time for both. There are always a few minutes to spare and these can provide interesting moments or thoughts.

  2. The act of writing, of putting the contents of your mind on paper is liberating! When you read the stuff you sometimes find the solutions to things you’ve been mulling for weeks. No matter on what you write!

    The only thing is when your fellow commuters see you tapping away at your screen they go: ‘OK, another of those FaceBook obsessed types..’ 😉

    As for the liberating side of digital…. I can’t feel that. I get too much drawn into the multiple possibilities of those cameras. For me, restrictions are liberating, bizarre, no?

    Carrying one fixed focal length lens only and one roll of (costly) film makes me produce more photos that are OK to me than going out with a digital camera, multiple lenses or a zoom lens. But each his own…

    1. “As for the liberating side of digital…”, it is more how we deal with it. Man, a Nikon F90 had lots of options too. Reason why I bought the GR1 in 1996 in the first place. I now prefer my iPhone since it is all about simplicity. Despite digital photography I didn’t lose the 36 exposures mindset.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing. A couple years ago I too began making notes and today continue that. I try to write a few sentences every day about what happened that day. Later with time I write in a bigger journal about what I’m thinking. Writing has been a great tool for me and glad it’s helped you Wouter!

  4. “Convenience”: fitting the activities we want to do or must do into the natural rhythms of our lives. When the activity doesn’t ‘fit’ or feels stressful, I try to change something… the activity or the rhythm. But changing the rhythm is hard.

    As always, thanks for the thoughts and images. Love the one with the rain on the window.. beautiful.

  5. Very consistent photography Wouter, and always inspirational. I’m very glad to see you posting more often again, and opening up the comments. I’ve wanted to comment on past posts but not been able.

    Funny how close writing and photography are for some people. I wrote recently about my five biggest photography influences, and after giving it considerable thought for a few weeks, I realised none of them were photographers. I used to write (poems, songs mostly) before I started photography with any intent. The last kind of writing I enjoyed was haiku, and they became the natural bridge into photography. For me, a haiku and a photograph are near identical, both capturing the feeling and sensory experience of a particular moment.

    1. Both writing and photography can be very creative outlets. Both are at least very thought provoking processes. i think much of my inspiration I find elsewhere too. Maybe an idea to write about it myself.

      1. Yeh I’d be really interested to read that one.

        By the way, I was just celebrating you having comments switched back on, and on your latest post they’re disabled again!

          1. I kind of thought that was your approach. I understand, it’s just good to be able to say when we like specific photographs. Which with yours is often!

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