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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PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Week 1 | 2014

Photography, weekly project
PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 1 – August 10, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 2 – August 11, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 3 – August 12, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 4 – August 13, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 5 – August 14, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 6 – August 15, 2014

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Day 7 – August 16, 2014

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 52 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project


It is the end of the year and much could be said. A lot has happened to me, my family, and you readers. My thoughts are with those who last their loved ones. And I think of those who deal with sick relatives or friends. We endured the economic turmoil and witnessed political changes all around us. Many dealt with severe tragedies like the people of Japan and the young people in Norway. In the end I still hope you’ve enjoyed your time with family and friends. And of course that kept the passion of photography alive.

It was a meaningful year though. Even though I had my physical problems this year I was still able to photograph regularly with some friends, mostly in Amsterdam. Met some great people in 2011, both in the real and virtual world. Crossed paths with wonderful and inspiring photographers. I totally lived my photography project this year and dealt with all ups and downs. I had no idea how to start, but just did it. February felt awful, March was a turning point, and from April up it turned out better for me. I posted 61 articles on my blog (including this one) and 52 of these where focused on photography a day project. The blog passed the 500,000 views and survived another year. And it makes me humble that other photographers pick up the same idea and do their own photography a day project. I thank you all for that. I feel fortunate to keep this blog going and that my photography gets seen and my voice gets heard.

This last week I wanted to make a small return to the kind of photography I used to do in the previous decade, landscape photography. While I absolutely love to do stroll and street photography, I really appreciate landscape photography. I consider it a great way to learn a lot about composition and light.  Again in 2011 I think there has been too much emphasize on gear, techniques (most noticeably post processing), and the typical compositional rules. It is either photography from the technological point of view, the professionals who make the money, or the curators with their intellectually lectured tone. In the blogosphere there are unfortunately few exceptions, like “A Lesser Photographer” (a good read although mostly in terms of motivation). And unless you are a high profile photographer, most photography blogs tend to be forgotten at some point.

I tried to stay away from much of the typical forum gear talk, but did write an article about the Pentax Q and purchased the Panasonic GF1 with the classic 20mm f/1.7 lens. The ever ongoing raw versus jpeg saga still continues and really pisses me off. Yeah, great that a much mentioned blogger Steve Huff can fix a photograph in a minute (I absolutely respect Steve for all the efforts he makes, but turning your blog in a money maker can be a trap too). And that raw images are best for that, but I can fix a bad exposed raw or jpeg image in a second. “Trashcan!” Seriously, the craft of photography is about exposing correctly based on your intentions and composing thoughtfully. So this one is for the newbies: “Learn the basics of photography right and learn all the post processing much later when you are comfortable with the basics“. A badly exposed photograph is there to remind you that you exposed incorrectly. Learn from the mistake and do it over. Rant over.

But who really gives a sh#$t, when so many people lost their lives, their loved ones, their houses this year. And while we bothered about camera, lens, and sensor availability from Japan, (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster) and Thailand (floods), they were the ones who suffered. Seriously a bizarre world we live in. So lets make the most of everyday, photograph the ones you love, stick to the gear you have, define a project, or simply enjoy the freedom and exploratory feeling of stroll photography. Really appreciate each and every day, look back without moaning, and look forward with excitement. All good light for 2012!

For 2012 I will continue with my photography a day project. I am considering exhibiting all 365 photographs of the first year, although I am still not quite sure how. I like to finish with a quote by Jay Maisel I read in one of Eric Kim’s tweets: “The more equipment you take, the less pictures you’ll take.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 51 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project

I don’t write blog posts to generate lists. My job is mainly focused on generating list, I am a data-analist. There are already enough blogs around who capture thoughts, ideas, just name it in ranking lists. I try to write blog posts that give an inside look. I am not even good at it, but at least I try it.

Week 51 just finished and I am standing on the doorstep of the latest week of the year 2011 with a nasty flu. It is also the last week of my first year of daily photography. Taking photographs can either be easy or complicated. There are so many variables to take into consideration. A whole lot depends on how you feel and time available. But selecting the photographs for each day can form even greater challenges. I really took nothing into consideration when I started this project.

The end of 2010 was photographically and creatively speaking an awful moment for me. I lost many photographs, was unhappy with my photography, and was very close to stopping. I received many advises on what to do. Most heard was taking a break, enjoying the free time, reading, watching movies. And when ever I thought about these advises it felt like it would take me further away from photography. Was that really worth it? Around Christmas 2010 I was glad the year was nearly over, but I also realized that I took some photographs I was actually proud of. It became obvious to me that photography would be the best way to defeat my lack of creativity. But how?

On the first day of 2011 all of a sudden I knew it. The idea was simple and I decided to start immediately. Photograph each day. I life, feel, think, and dream photography. I just love it. A sort of passionate necessity. Photographing each day seemed like the most obvious thing to do. On that first day I thought about several things. Did I want to edit my photographs daily or at different moments? Did I want to share my project and when so, how? I however never thought about my photographic intentions.

I follow some photographers who try to photograph and post daily. While they learned to edit and choose quickly, it could also be stressful to post daily. I absolutely didn’t want to edit my photographs daily or post them daily. I don’t chimp so much on my LCD screen for reviewing. Sometimes you know you took a good photographs, but I got the feeling that a certain flow and continuation in my photographs was important for me. I still wanted to have something that was regularly timed, to keep a certain pressure on me.

I have always been open on my blog that I do have my doubts and do feel quite uncertain about my photography. And I try to conquer it by actually writing about it and publishing my photographs. To be excited about your best photographs I thought it wasn’t so bad to be open about my lesser or bad photographs too. I therefore decided that I wanted to post my photographs. But how often? Daily posting wasn’t an option for me. To stressful, to many moments. I really need to get away from it. To take some distance from my photographs. As a result I opted for a weekly posting and editing.

How do I know what photograph to pick for each day? There is nothing scientific about that. Sometimes you know an image feels right, but most importantly the images I select have a certain flow. This flow kind of resembles how my week turned out. Usually the images that I pick fit into the kind diary that my blog turned out to be. It all sort of evolved. I had no particular plan in mind except photographing what I see. I knew that it wouldn’t necessarily come down to simply the best images. No, I knew I wanted and had to stay close to my feelings. Mood in every direction affects what I photograph and eventually choose. Alone that feeling is worth all the effort for me.

Not the photographic project became the center of attention, but more everything that came with it. Learning to see things daily and differently. In the meantime I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 50 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project

Photographically speaking this must be one of my most productive years. I took approximately 10,000 photographs, which is a lot for me. Normally I get to something like 5,000 to 6,000 photographs, realizing that almost half of the photographs I took are the result of my daily photography. These additional photographs feel a lot more personal. With a particular project in mind you set requirements and expectations. With a lengthy project like this one, without any striking event, you simply can not avoid becoming the prime subject. That feels odd, but for me it was very meaningful. It is a lot about capturing mood.

It made me feel vulnerable too at times. I often had doubts. Doubts about the quality of my imagery, doubts of my intentions, doubts on whether I should continue. Sometimes I do really miss taking landscape photographs, just simply enjoying the pure essence of how light can transform something we generally consider beautiful. But then I do also feel that a lot of people already taking extraordinary photographs we feel are beautiful. And I realize that photography can be too about the ordinary, the simplicity, but also the complexity. That photography doesn’t need to be beautiful or exceptionally interesting. No, what for me really matters is that it is close to me.

I know this year only has two weeks left. And I could finish it and consider the project done. But to me, it feels like the start. I intent to keep this project going and do my regular weekly posting with everyday photographs.

Update December 19, 2011
I have been way to positive in my calculation of number of photographs I took. When I checked the number of photographs I totally forgot that I have set my Ricoh GRD and Panasonic GF1 to take both jpegs and raws. Totally stupid of course by me, but that means my total of exposures is slightly above 5,000 instead 10,000. And that number is comparable with what I normally shoot too annually.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma