week 13 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

For a year I almost exclusively photographed with the Panasonic GF1, I acquired last year. As a result I hardly used my Ricoh GRDIII. Since it is still a special camera to me, I wanted to restrict myself this week to my Ricoh and it’s 28mm wide angle lens (only the first photograph was taken with the GF1).

With the wide angle and the small sensor (which allows for huge depth of field) I found it absolutely more difficult to compose and still avoid to much framed. Especially when I usually (prefer to) photograph with a more moderate wide angle to nearly normal prime lens. I still wanted to know whether the GRD is up to my expectations.

And admitted, I had a hard time. I always felt comfortable using the GRDIII for my B&W photography, but with color it is a very different experience. I miss some of the color depth and the highlight clipping is a lot more annoying. Even with the raw images there is hardly any highlight recovery possible. After a couple of days I got the feeling back and noticed that I had to be even more careful with exposing.

As a result this week the series likely has a different feel to it. After photographing more aesthetically for a while I wanted to photograph more explicit and critical. Experimenting more with more contemporary photography and the new topographic style.

I want to accompany this week’s photograph with a list of 7 items.

1. Why actually a list? I do so, because I don’t like them. I however see them pop up just everywhere and on so many website and blogs. Top 100 of best photographers, top 10 of best cameras, top 10 photographers to ignore, 50 best places to photograph, 15 tips how to edit your work better, top 99 of what ever. We humans are generally lazy and want to be entertained. Reason why there are theme parks, movie theaters, parades, fairs, shopping malls, festivals, you name it. These lists should entertain, excite, and inspire you, but in my opinion they kill all of it. Therefore my list of 7 items. Seven, because there are 7 days in a week. Seven, because most lists contain mostly more items. So next is number 2.

2. I have thought extensively about this. I really miss a place where photographers can openly discuss and criticize photography, but I fear that still many of these places will turn into some sort of gear freak show. This has maybe to do with the previous item about laziness, but if a camera can provide you instant look and gratification, why bother studying photography and art in the first place? So forums for people with a syndrome (those with gear acquisition syndrome) and hopefully more inspiring and meaningful blogs about photography for others.

3. I wrote this one before a couple of weeks ago, but when you really want to understand photography and it’s relevance check out these incredibly meaningful articles about desire, trust, and doubt in photography by Jörg Colberg.

4. Take notice of the previous item. Be doubtful. I had a hard time deciding the Wednesday, day four, photograph this week. I shared a print screen with two photographs on twitter. It provided me helpful thoughts and insights. About such editing decisions I will dedicate a blog post later this week. So make friends, meet similar minded people, no audience.

5. Want to become a better photographer? Get out, take photographs (a lot), learn to edit properly. Meet other photographers, share your thoughts, discus photographs, and respect each other. Make fun, but don’t take it too serious. Just remember item 1 and all the lists. We always structure our daily lifes, so let it go with the flow.

6. Accomplish progress, because you want too. There is nothing wrong with being good, but remain honest with your intentions and desire. Competition is good, but it can kill creativity. Becoming a member of a local photography club can make perfect sense (don’t mix that up with a camera club) to meet similar minded, but don’t do it to gain recognition and earn priviledges. It is amazing how photographers who earned some (inter-) national recognition decades ago still give meaningless paid lectures. Become a professional photographer, because you want too. Not to be a more respected photographer.

7. Ignore everything that has been said before. Be prepared to learn things your self. Trust your self and: “Say what you do and do what you say!

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 12 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

I would say this week was most certainly dedicated to the light and spring. Not particularly in that order, although I do have a preference now for all that light. The days are getting longer, there is noticeably more sunshine, and everything dull and grey gets a makeover. I notice for myself that it ignites new ideas and possibilities. I hope for you all on the Northern Hemisphere will experience the same. And those on the Southern Hemisphere, don’t worry. The fall is absolutely amazing too.

It was the week of finally getting a hang for color and in the end, loud rock-‘n-roll. Enjoy the spring.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 11 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

I like photography unexpected and unplanned. I try to photograph free and unrestrained by predefined projects. It is what I prefer to do. The unexpectancy takes me to moments I would otherwise not notice. For instance take the last day of this week. We wanted to photograph in the Dutch harbor city Rotterdam, but due to railway problems we ended up celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish pub in Amsterdam.

And I know quite some people ask me how I can persist continuing photographing each and every day. Sometimes I really don’t know. At such moments it almost feels like an automated process, but very often I just really enjoy the flow of recognizing something interesting. Most importantly though I feel the end results becomes less relevant. It just really takes me away from some of the daily stress. Just 15 minutes, often even less. And just a moment without worries, a moment to recharge. Every day can be a challenge and I certainly don’t want to turn my passion into a stressful process either.

And on a side note. In between all the gear oriented websites I currently mostly look forward to the weekly Digest updates by LPV Magazine. It is one of the best regular photographic reads in my opinion. It for instance takes you this wonderful and sometimes even hilarious series “Maddie the Coonhound“.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 10 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

All too often there are weeks that not much is happening, but this weekend I was excited that my friend Jorge Ledesma from Miami finished and posted his interview with me. You can read the interview here. Through this interview I also saw some great photographs and a cool blog by Canadian photographer Patrick La Roque.

Last Friday I saw this fantastic looking online quaterly photography magazine, Edits. And I like the navigation too. And I saw this excerpt from an interview with Lee Friedlander that gives meaning to how he worked as a photographer. Something I can truly rely too.

I love to travel, to discover, to venture in the unforeseen. With most of my surroundings however not really changing, except for the seasonal changes, I gradually try to experiment more with less conventional compositions and more staged photography. I do so, because I like to see how obvious things look like on a photograph.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 9 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

As a free photographer I set my own pace. No requirements, no strict time tables. During the midweek days I find it easier to find subjects while strolling the local streets. In the weekends however I hardly focus on photography. A single moment, a few clicks, and nothing more. Editing the selection and finishing a blog post is the most I (try) do on my notebook in the weekends. I do like photography trips, but kind of dislike the planning, the traveling, and the costs that come with it. And it sets expectations too.

While temperatures rose, the winter slowly faded away, and the spring gradually made it’s first marks, it was the sun that forgot to shine this week. On the plus side it is amazing to see my friend Jorge grow and develop in his photography.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma