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