Boy, the week just flew by. I’m sitting at a table, surrounded by toys and colouring books. I’ve managed to dig myself a hole in the playroom, enough to drop my writing kit in: iPad and iPhone, notebook, a cup of black tea. It’s not my usual working spot but I get to gaze out into our backyard and feel the light streaming in. It’s sunny right now—a rare occurrence these past months. And I can look up at the trees. I like trees.
The blog is more journal than ressource these days, which might be turning some of you off...I don’t know. Maybe not. I’m beginning to believe this might be a transitional year—there are shifts occurring, some deliberate and some at the edge of what I can perceive. I can’t even articulate most of it yet. But this small personal corner of the web I still inhabit, where I’m free to gaze into the void and wax poetic about anything and everything...it can only reflect a world in flux.
I’ve often described photography as a way to make sense of my life but that’s not entirely accurate: it’s the camera at work and at home sure, but it’s also this blog; it’s music, writing, searching...the entire journey from top to bottom. God that sounds cliché. But you know what I mean.
This flux—or whatever it is—has resulted in a very strong compulsion to ingest. Ideas, knowledge, art...as if I suddenly need to feed much more than I need to express. I’m essentially ravenous for outside stimulation in any form. It’s almost vampiric. I briefly touched on this topic about a month ago:
I think a lot of this stems from an impression that I’ve plateaued and must find a path to jump again. Further. Higher. But regardless: about that scrapbook/lookbook...I’ve doubled-down on the concept and thought I’d share the “technical” developments with you guys. It's geeky stuff...but that's always fun right? Or maybe that's just me? Oh well...here goes.
Before Bear I’d been using the Notes app, which had the advantage of providing a grid view of all images. But all images meant...everything in Notes. Not just the curation. So I rarely used it. I switched to Bear due to Notes instabilities in iOS 11 (which are apparently fixed in the latest beta) but mainly because it did a better job at exporting a book-like PDF of the work saved—something I found invaluable in order to actually browse the material and not just accumulate. Recently however, I had to split this curation across several notes: too many images in a single file would crash Bear on iOS during export. So I did. Not the end of the world but it made for more clutter than I would've liked.
And then I realized I’d gotten the metaphor completely wrong: it shouldn’t be notes at all—it should be a journal.
I won’t dive into the benefits of journaling—I’ll leave that to self-help gurus. Let’s just say I do it, until I don’t; until I take it up again. These days it’s part of my daily workflow, in multiple forms. It informs the present but it’s also quite fascinating to read about past struggles or anxieties and realize just how unimportant most of these became. How we always overcome in the end, one way or another. But I digress. The idea of an inspiration journal isn’t at all about writing down “deep-thoughts” or reflecting on life, the universe and everything. It’s basically the same scrapbook I’d been keeping except the tool has changed: I’m using Day One, a bona fide journaling app. This means I get a timeline of the images I save, as opposed to either a flat container or a mess of hundreds and hundreds of notes. I can export to PDF without a hitch, according to date range or tags (if I choose to use them). And I also get the benefit of Day One’s image view—which is much more convenient than the one in Notes and a great way to browse through the collection.
It’ll be interesting to see if there’s an evolution of the curation over time, periods that favour a certain style or colour. At the very least it’ll provide insight into what triggers a reaction, which might be a way to understand my own work. I think we can all benefit from this sort of awareness.
Day One is now subscription-based but the free tier—while limited—should work fine for this sort of scenario (unless you need syncing and more than one journal). Of course there are probably a host of other options out there, I’m just mentioning the tool I’ve chosen. Funny how I’ve owned and used the app for years but never even thought of it for this type of project until a couple of weeks ago. Now it just seems so obvious.
Ok, two additional tidbits for you on this Friday morning...
I gave an interview to the very nice Stephanie Baxter of Fujilove and it’s available right here.
We managed to pull together and bring a new issue of KAGE Collective online. This time we focused on music, using song lyrics as a starting point for our essays. Check it out at our usual digs here.
That’s it for now folks.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend :)
A reset of sorts. Days spent without care for time or the usual obligations. It makes you wonder about the lives will lead, frenzied and tumultuous. I’m taking so many steps back these days, like I’m hovering over most of my existence, watching and attempting to learn. A lot of it feels like chaos but there are flashes of insight, small epiphanies hinting at possible tweaks, perhaps new movements to attempt. A body acknowledging reality.
I accept my visual obsessions. They are leitmotifs meant to deepen knowledge of the subjects. They are the second and third reading of the same book.
At all times, we must learn to “inhabit with intensity”.
COUTURE (X-PRO2 & XF 35mm f/2)
ROOMS (GFX 50S & Pentax 50mm f/1.7)
KITCHEN (X-PRO2 & XF 35mm f/2)
Following up on the last post and that desire to see...it now ebbs and flows, constantly. Some days, some weeks even, I won’t even look at a camera unless I have a job to shoot. It’s rare but not as rare as it used to be—it was a damn near impossibility at some point in my life. I still think about photography and frame images in my mind...but I don’t systematically act on it. I’ve been aware of this change for awhile now and it’s somewhat disconcerting—as though I once needed to shout from the rooftops but have now said my piece. Can we be done at some point? Can we gaze upon this world and shrug, content with the work we’ve done? God I hope not. The mere thought of it depresses me.
I was reading a post about pushed Tri-X and as I browsed the images, I thought about the control we now hold in our hands, about simple decisions we can make that disregard the quest for perfection. And I thought about the ease with which we forget about those controls, as we pursue the next shiny new toy. I love the X-Pro2. When I first got this camera I immediately grabbed onto the Acros film simulation, testing it in various scenarios. It’s still a favourite of mine to this day. But I sort of “forgot” how much I loved it on the X-Pro2 at ISO 2000 SPECIFICALLY—for me, this is where the simulation shines, achieving a perfect balance of grain/noise/detail. So I grabbed the camera, turned the ISO dial and switched to my Moriyama pushed Acros preset. To hell with a safety net.
I felt that giddiness, that joy and pulsing wave rushing through me again.
No silly, we’re never done.
Shot with the X-Pro2 and XF 35mm f2 R WR
I guess it’s tradition now—the quiet, solitary walk into the woods, on the first morning of the first day of every year. Do anything often enough and it becomes a ritual, transformed from mundane to quasi-mystical. It sounds hyperbolic I know. But I do sense something like a second layer covering the world on each of these very private annual outings. Perhaps it’s the weight of all that has passed...or all that lies ahead. What’s ever clearer to me is that we are accumulations, drawers overflowing, the good and the bad pushed into one great big pile. And every year we lay it on—a little thicker, deeper. A mess but still a treasure trove. This is where we dig for inspiration after all—the spark to the bright lights or black fire.
I came very close to writing a diatribe on the Madness of King George today—a metaphor to release the anger I felt at witnessing the barrage of insanity, after just a few days of turning off the news. But that black fire... it’s damn hard to contain. If you’re not careful it will consume you whole. Then I read my friend Ian McDonald’s blog post, slightly in awe of his intense organizational skills, and thought “ok...breathe”. Our world still turns, despite the sonic booms.
I’m not officially back yet (the holidays end on Monday for us) so I’ll keep upcoming projects for the next post. Instead, here’s a journal of sorts—a very messy visual hodgepodge of our holidays.
2018 is in.
Let’s get crackin’.