So I'm easing back slowly. I'm following the Trump nightmare, hoping for the best. I had a deadline this week—my Photokina article for the December issue of Photo Life magazine—and it was good to sink my teeth into something substantial. It also forced me to dive into the material I shot in Germany and Belgium, something I'd so far neglected due to recent circumstances. Some prefer to decant what they've captured, leaving some distance before tackling the editing process...I don't usually work that way. I don't mind coming back to a session at some point but I prefer immediacy, having the lingering echo of those images still floating around in my mind's eye. Otherwise it's like I'm flailing, without aim.

I want to thank everyone again for condolence, wishes and thoughts. We held the funeral last Saturday and as much as I dreaded the moment, there's a reason we come together when someone is lost: we're social animals, we need the circle. It's not the conventions or the placated, ready-made formulas...it's an underlying current we share. Something to lean on as we build our new reality.

But I didn't document any of it. Not this last ceremony, not the multiple "homes" or the hospitals. After 2012, there's no visual record of our mother through my eye. Which is understandable I guess but strange, at least for someone so vocal about preserving and capturing life as a whole. I've thought about it often, how on a certain level I was perhaps being hypocritical by keeping this ordeal invisible. I've documented traces—the family house, mostly—but I purposefully avoided my mom. Maybe it was a lack of courage. But I've never viewed photography as a rational, systematic method of understanding the world; it's always been based on impulse and instinct. And the truth is: I didn't feel like shooting any of it. It would've been artificial, forced. More hypocritical than abstaining from picking up the camera.

So this period of our lives will rely on chemicals and neurones. And I think that's probably fine. 
We're headed to Maricourt for a very rainy weekend. It's Cynthia's birthday tomorrow—time to breathe again.

Have a great weekend guys.


Not much shooting this past week. Not much inspiration, really. There are photos to be chosen, calls to make, music to select…but damn it, Jacob is thirteen today. Rite of passage, a crossing of boundaries—this isn’t Kansas anymore. His voice is lower than it used to be, his demeanour different than it was just a few short months ago.

There’ll be time to grieve in the coming days but this weekend…it’s about cake, life and the future that lies ahead. 

Shot with the X-Pro2 and XF 35mm f/1.4 R

The long, long dream ahead.


It's over. Our mom passed away on monday, in the early hours of the morning—she fell asleep and silently drifted off. Peace, finally. I feel terrible saying that...speaking of relief overshadowing sadness and loss. I've certainly tasted the tears, but as I sit here trying to find the right words, respite is the one constant that binds it all together. Because her life had become the antithesis to everything she was before, all she aspired to and all she hoped. Because we were helpless, trapped in the knowledge that none of it would ever be the same again, that her existence would become even worse than the nightmare we already knew. Because it made no sense—this descent, this relentless vanishing.

Today, for the first time in many, many years, I found myself revisiting happy memories. I remembered her as she used to be and already, as present and raw as it still is, the disease appears to be fading from my consciousness.

I'm not a religious man and don't have faith to hold on to...But I do hope there's a never ending summer evening out there, on some sideways plane of existence; ciccadas on the wind, a purple glow wrapped around the horizon; a perfect replica of our house circa 1978, standing alone on a quiet street, my mom having mint tea with my dad—both of them sitting on the porch after dinner, re-inventing the world as they used to. A long dream, snakelike and restful.

A blue hour
for the next eternity.

The promise and loneliness of airports


You're sitting at a starbucks, drinking a double espresso—long, cos it lasts longer. Your flight is two hours away and you've already passed through security, taken off your belt, smiled nervously even though you had no reason to be nervous. Security does that to you...although not as much as it used to. These miles add up after all. Your gate is at the very end of the airport —64—until it changes; probably to Gate 5. But hey.,,,exercise right?
Ding dong.
You've always wondered why so many people get called over those intercoms. The special ones. That chime will ring and ring—it never stops. And some of these special ones get called over and over again...they can't be busy doing something else can they? It's an airport...dreary and tedious and made to break you before those dreams of travel take hold.  Hey maybe that's it: these people have simply dissolved within themselves. They've lost all ability to react, forgotten their own names. 

Yeah. Sounds about right.


After all the cheers and enthusiasm, the packing pics and the social banter, one thing remains, regardless: the ambivalence of leaving. It hits me every. single. time. Sure it's exciting to travel, all these images waiting to be seen, waiting to become. Adventure is a rush, a chemical boost as drug-like as heroin. And eventually you crave it, in spite of yourself. You long for the promise of the unseen. I'm not going to whine...I'm one lucky son of a &$(@. I get to do stuff others dream of, get to shoot for a living, get published. I can't even pretend at a pity party.

But right now, as I sip these last few drops of coffee and write these words, under the sterile glare of sodium lights...a loneliness overcomes me. It's that in-between state before jet fumes and strange surroundings. That moment when you think of your kids and your wife, of the possibility of never returning.

Airports are like that.
Full of hopes and uncertainties.


Introducing: The Process

PROCESS: a sustained phenomenon or one marked by gradual changes through a series of states;

For quite a few years now, I've tried to strike a balance on this blog between technical, personal and visual. It's not always easy—at times I veer too much towards one or the other, depending on how I feel, what I'm going through, shooting at the time etc. But to be honest I've often rebelled, internally, against the how-to side of it. Why? Well, for one I get tired of purely technical pursuits. I get tired of how without why. I'm also afraid of repeating what's already been said by photographers I respect, and to whom I have nothing, zero, nada to add—David Hobby, Joe McNally, Zack Arias...seriously, all the bases have been superbly covered already. If I'm to contribute anything serious, it would need to at least provide a different angle.

I've been promising a book on post-processing for what seems like ages. Questions about this subject come up over and over again, either through comments or via email and I'm always happy to help when I can spare the time. I totally understand the interest around this topic and consider it an integral and very serious part of the photographic workflow. But I've pushed back writing about this due, mostly, to lack of enthusiasm. My own enthusiasm that is. Again, it comes down to finding the proper approach. Last year I finally decided to start working on it... and instead found myself derailed, diving head first into what became These Kings. These Subterraneans—hell of a different ride. I've known—deep down—that a few people were probably disappointed when I released that project, expecting something else entirely.

But as some of you know (thank you btw) TKTS became more than a photo book: music's part of it, and some of the texts are essentially philosophical ramblings on the art of photography, experiences... So I had an "epiphany" regarding the next project: forget processing. Instead, why not talk about the entire process? Philosophy, mechanics, subject, narrative, clarity sliders and focal lengths. All of it. Yes, post-processing as well but as part of something much, much larger that would tie it all together. That got me excited. And given the breadth of the topic, a book didn't really make much sense anymore either—I wanted something open-ended and revisable, something I could add to and modify as a sort of living entity. Like...oh I don't know...a website? Hmm...

Long story short: no more waiting. Today I'm launching The Process, an ongoing series that I'll be publishing through this very blog, dealing with everything mentioned above. Because photography isn't just pixels— it’s an art form, a craft, a science. It's a method of experiencing what surrounds us, making sense of it in a way that also happens to prolong its consciousness. It's a pursuit that has to be about emotion just as much as sharpness. It needs the how while also begging for the why in order to avoid becoming an empty shell. 

The work-in-progress nature of this project means its organization will likely always be in a state of flux. For now, the index is divided between Techniques and Thoughts—rudimentary "chapters" that I've populated with a few relevant posts written over the years. You’ll also find the first article written specifically for The Process: A Film Curve. And to be clear: the new index is there simply as an additional way to browse and gather articles in one place. As you can already see, all articles will still be part of the regular content. This wasn’t obvious at first. I could’ve segregated the entire series to a separate blog—in fact I almost did that—but in the end, keeping these posts together with the rest of the site felt like a logical extension of the core concept: that all of it is one and the same, that everything feeds everything else. 

That The Process is ongoing, holistic and universal.