Dis—–Tance.

2020, thoughts

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I’m not active anymore on photography related forums. I don’t read websites like fstoppers, petapixel, dpreview. I am not interested in the latest gear. I have interacted very little or none with peers on Twitter or IG. It allowed me to distance myself from the photography bubble.

You needed to favour Nikon, or Canon. Photography has died, because so many people share millions of photographs a day. Every amateur can become an influencer and share their thoughts and opinions on photography, preferably gear of course. I just don’t give a s&#t about it. I just don’t care.

A lot has happened in the meantime. The Corona pandemic, black lives matter, protests, people believing in conspiracy theories, finding their truths in their own filtered bubbles. And somehow the tech industry is thriving. And I will totally ignore the US elections. It’s not my country, I can’t vote, but it will affect us nonetheless though.

Many of us have been or still are social distancing themselves from friends and loved ones. Many people suffer the consequences of the Corona pandemic and subsequent countermeasures. People losing their jobs, or reduced working hours, money uncertainties. The economy in recession and somehow business thrive unlike ever before. Again it shows me that people base their lives around certainties. Even the young ones want certainties. Going to school, finding a job, making a living, starting relationships, saving money, and making their lives worthwhile.

When uncertainties fill our lives, it becomes clear that many people try to find answers instead of simplifying their lives. And people become strongly opinionated. We are at a point in life that the unbelievable internet revolution also clearly shows its dark side. Discussions becomes shouting, freedom of speech becomes intertwined with opinions. A political correctness on both sides of the aisle forces us into stand-offs. It has become so easy to find your reasoning for your own believes. And we make the mistake of assuming that believes is the truth. When there is unwillingness to listen to others your own believes become useless. It might all seem or purpose a ripple effect, but in the end changes will be minimal and we still need to live with one another.

Instead, maybe it is better to distance ourselves from it all. Maybe it is better to experience the freedom of actually not having an opinion, or at least not share it with others. Often they say the silent majority allowed bad things to happen, but sometimes the silent majority can actually silence fightings. When silence becomes noise too.

Maybe I ramble too much, I will try to silence myself again and focus on photography instead. Still take care, stay safe.

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

September update

2018, Photography, thoughts

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I’m sorry it took so long to post something new on my blog. Working, commuting, family, it all consumed a lot of time. In between I still try to photograph, a bit. The pictures will follow later, but I thought it was time for an update and some thought.

So Ricoh announced the GRIII a day before the Photokina 2018 opening. The GR series are basically the only cameras that really interests me. I’ve been using it since the end of 1996. 12 years with the GR1, and since 2009 with the GRD1, GRD3, and from 2013 the GR. While I love the concept of the GR series, I also believe that going digital caused scope creep with the designers. The digital GR cameras became programmable machines, and all I tried to do was make it more simple in it’s usability.

You see, the 1996 GR1 was a simple camera to operate. Choose your aperture or put it in P-mode. The only add-on was exposure compensation. Simple. My GR though has Tav mode, many programmable buttons, a rocker dial on the back that is as unpredictable as the weather in West Europe. So all I did, was choosing one aperture, ISO 1600, and using the zoom button for exposure compensation.

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When I look at the back of the new GRIII prototype the user interface has changed. Less options, it seems. I’m personally glad that they ditched the flash, and that the GR has no tilted screen. I hope it can still be operated with only my right thumb. I will hopefully figure this out soon. More about that later.

Street photography. It seems no other genre in photography gets people more opinionated. While I wouldn’t call myself a street photographer I admit taking a lot of photographs that others think is street photography. I don’t take these however with street photography as my intent. With the new GDPR legislation that took place in May this year it is good to think about this intent. There is more protection now for the individual and personal data. And photographers are part of the personal data too. Cause I think honesty and respect are of the utmost importance, I think it will also alter my photography. And strangely though I find this very exciting.

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So here both above mentioned subjects come together. Earlier this year I was interviewed for a German street photography magazine, Soul of Street Photography & Philosophy. It was as a joy to be interviewed by someone I know. It allowed us to dig a bit deeper in my reasoning, and thought process. So what has this all to do with Ricoh and street photography? Upcoming Saturday, 29 September 2018, Ricoh Germany and the Soul of Street magazine invite users and enthusiasts of all GR camera generations to the first GRmany Meet & Greet. It will take place from 10 am to 6 pm at stand A041 in hall 2.2 at Photokina. In their “photographers corner” the people of the Soul of Street Photography & Philosophy magazine and some GR-photographers from the PxP-Portfolio will be there, including me. So maybe I see you in Cologne. And the magazine, it is available here.

Don’t know, do know

2018, photograph, Photography, thoughts

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So President Putin and Trump met each other in Helsinki. I don’t know really what to think of it, but the outcome felt like a definite shift of power. The world order we got to know, and grew up in, feels changed now. For some that might be a fantastic moment, for others it could be the end of their world. I don’t know if it is good or wrong. On the one side you have an elected president who I seriously doubt is fit for office, although my view might likely be influenced by my European more left of the political center position, and on the other side a president who was a former KGB agent. I don’t know, but both don’t really give me confidence to trust them.

I grew up in the Cold War and thought 9 November 1989 was like the most important day in my life, when the gates in the Berlin Wall stood wide open. There was the East and the West, until that moment when the Cold War came gradually to an end and the Soviet Union crumbled down. I knew there was no right or wrong, even though they kind of taught us so. I guess, there are wrongdoing rightly people and vice versa.

No matter where my thoughts and sentiments wander, it becomes obvious that the world isn’t right or wrong, isn’t all white or black. And the same can I say about my photography. While much of my work was black and white, it’s message or feelings was originally intended to be somewhere between it. After years passed by, and melancholy filled it in more often, it started to feel too much like black and white to me.

Therefore I decided to stop doing black and white photography for now. Also I deleted all my black and white photographs on my Instagram account. I still appreciate the beauty and simplicity of black and white, but really like the diversity of color now. Color isn’t just what you see. There is so much more to it. Just take a look at some of the movies by Wong Kar-Wai from Hong Kong.

It just fits me better right now. It provides me with a new set of challenges. Just to say, I’m curious how my photographs look in color.

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Thoughts on GDPR and color

2018, Photography, thoughts

‘Thought’ is maybe one of my most favourite English words. And it is very much part of my personality. When I did a Birkman method test some 18 years ago it was clear I was a thinker.

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In a week, on May 25 2018, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation will set in. And I wonder how that will affect us photographers. And especially those who publish work regularly on the internet or printed publications.

Now let me make clear that I don’t collect personal data. You can subscribe to my blog and you will receive an update in your mailbox whenever I publish a new blog post. The owners of wordpress.com, Automattic, also use cookies to track your internet behaviour. By next week they have to be compliant to the GDPR. I don’t run biometric software, but I’m aware that my photographs do sometimes show people’s faces. Automattic made the following statement about GDPR. If you, as a visitor of my site, want to know more about what Automattic, and it’s partners, do with the collected data, you can read that here.

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Regarding privacy concerns I try to determine how that will affect my photography. I don’t photograph on the street with consent and don’t ask those photographed for their permission to be published. I have no commercial intentions for publishing my photographs. I don’t seek payed photographic jobs or clients. I have a day-time job and photograph for pleasure, therapeutic reasons, my personal mindset and right-doing, and because I just love photography and it is very much part of me.

Privacy is still a concern to me, and I will try to keep you informed on how this new legislation and all the privacy concerns will affect my photography. So, one of my first measures is activating the EU Cookie Law widget you might notice below.

I’d like to know what you do to comply with the new regulation. And will you take the GDPR in consideration when taking photographs in public spaces?

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And when it comes to photography you might have noticed an increasing amount of color work on my blog. During my therapeutic counseling due to my burn-out I started using positive mindfulness on daily basis. And somehow using black and white in my photography didn’t feel right to me. Now looking back at my photographs from the last two months I noticed that subconsciously started to do a lot more in color. Therefore I decided to stop black and white for now. Right now, color photography syncs so much better with my current state of mind.

At some time I will try to dive deeper into this subject. And I’m sorry for my thoughts of sort on the new GDPR, but I feel an obligation to you, the readers of my blog, to make this clear.

And on a different note, when it comes to 100% photographs post (like the previous one) I will probably keep the comment section closed so all the focus will be on the photographs instead. Feel free to contact me by mail or twitter (and follow me there too).

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

What is next?

2018, thoughts

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I’ve run this blog since 2007, but I know I haven’t posted a lot in the last two years. Having dealt with a burn-out last year, I’m doing fine now, I started to wonder what to do with my blog. Is a blog about my own photography sustainable, should I broaden my horizon, or should I just put an end to it?

From all the social media efforts and platforms we’ve seen in the last decade I still believe blogging is still the best in the long term. In essence blogging hasn’t changed, while platforms came and disappeared. Whenever a larger company buys a platform it might grow in number of users, but also loses it’s core essence. Just look at Flickr or Instagram, in my opinion.

So I decided to keep running my blog. In what form I’m not still sure yet. Maybe it will become a combination of image(s) posts, micro blogging, and long form pieces. And maybe, or possibly, beyond photography.

I still love photography, but there is so much more I like or am interested in.

The blog is not dead!

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma