December Publications

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Guy* and I were sitting in the hotel hobby, waiting to meet friends for dinner. This would be our last night in Stockholm after two very full days surrounding the unveiling of the Profoto A1. We’d spent the morning at the company’s HQ, had met with some of the engineers and managers and done a full-blown interview with CEO Anders Hedebark later that afternoon. The plan all along had been to write a basic account of the launch event for the magazine. But I’d been sitting in my room for an hour, going over conversations in my head, dozens of encounters and moments...and my brain was quite literally buzzing.
You know, this piece I have to write...I think it needs to get a lot bigger. Can we do that?
What do you have in mind?” Guy asked.
A road movie. This journey, the A1—but ultimately…Profoto. It needs to be about Profoto itself.
Go for it”, he said with a big smile.

That story—Fearless: Profoto. The A1. The Future—is on newsstands now, in the December issue of Photo Life magazine.

Here’s the gist of it: I was deeply impressed by what I saw over there. Ultimately, beyond the almost iconic nature of this company in our industry, what I witnessed was a very small group of people pushing hard. That’s it. So I wanted to write something that would express this as honestly as possible, without becoming sycophantic. Hopefully I’ve succeeded.

Now of course, the reality of print media is quite different from these virtual worlds we build here on the web: pages cost money and space is finite. So I’m all the more grateful that Photo Life accepted to let me expand on our initial vision—especially under the crazy tight deadlines we were facing at the time.

Below you’ll find some of the images I shot for the article, along with a few more that couldn’t be included. That space thing I just mentioned.

Later :)

P.S Alongside the December issue, the magazine’s annual Buyer’s Guide is also hitting the shelves. I was contributing editor this year, my first time doing anything of the sort. Quite an intense experience but I’m very proud of the results.

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 *That’s Guy Langevin, editor-in-chief for Photo Life and Photo Solution.

Time, Stillness & Territories

Like many, I feel a very real urge to reinvent myself, to be reborn with every new year. This passage acts as a trigger to assess everything in my life, top to bottom, left to right, inside and out.

I hate standing still when it comes to creation but it can be so damn easy to fall into a groove and stay put, comfortable in the knowledge that our status quo is the right path, that nothing needs to change. The only real way to move is to push, always push, go against all that has become established, facile and obvious in our workflow. Invent new reflexes, find roads that lead out of the comfort zone. Our craft needs to be one of exploration, always, and yet… I constantly struggle with the notion of knowledge vs renewal. How much to keep? How much to discard? What has turned into repetition and what’s worthy of building the future on? Beginning everything anew may sound attractive but it’s a false solution: it can be just as easy to follow a scorched earth philosophy as it can be to rest on our laurels, to throw everything away and imagine we’re advancing when we’re really standing just as still as we were before, only two short steps to the side. So there’s a line to trace, a balance to find…

In the end I tell myself all that matters is our voice: I have to believe some inflexions will always be my own if I stay true to the right impulses. And I don’t pretend to be an exception in this regard: it’s part of all of us who search and reflect and struggle to bring something to life that didn’t exist before.

Then there’s time — that bloody, ever flowing river. I read a very interesting post during the holidays, a piece written by Michael Lopp and linked to by John Gruber. It’s entitled The Builder’s High and it’s a very well written essay about the place social media now occupies in our lives, essentially replacing our ingrained, almost genetic need to invent, create and build with a false sense of accomplishment, driven by a mostly empty, passive activity. He posits we might essentially be tricking our brains into believing the builder’s urge has been satisfied when in reality nothing has happened.

It’s probably too early to predict any long term effects but it’s clear all this constant “interaction” has an impact on how we operate, day to day. It offers tremendous possibilities but at a very basic level it’s still consuming time previously spent otherwise and that’s no small matter.

I wrote a lot and talked a lot and shared a lot in 2013 — not on Facebook and not about what I was having for dinner but still… I’ve been wondering these past few months if I shouldn’t pull away a little, allow myself some breathing space. Not so much with the intent of slowing down (I honestly couldn’t) but more as a way of being more selective and perhaps allocate my time and resources a bit differently. After all, in the end we’re working with a very real, finite amount of material here. But then perhaps it's just a question of picking and choosing; when all is said and done, I truly feel I get as much back as I put in and I couldn't imagine finding myself isolated, alone on my tiny island, without the support and input of everyone I've met on this journey so far. 

So here’s to the Year of the Horse, to renewal, enlightenment and inquiry. Here’s to Time and actually building stuff.
Let’s all wish ourselves adventures — into ancient as well as bold new territories.

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