My photography manifesto

This is likely to change over time as my ideas and thinking changes. But right now it is what it is.

    Buy a camera, whichever camera you can afford, a full frame, a crop sensor camera, a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, a mirrorless micro four thirds camera… It doesn’t matter just get a camera.
    “Best” is subjective.
    Buy whichever lens you can afford.
    Sharpness is overrated. It doesn’t matter how sharp a photo is if it’s a shit photo then it’s just a sharp shit photo.


Free digital art and photography magazines

The web can be a great place to find inspiration in the form of great art and artists but the signal to noise ratio, or the amount of quality information versus the amount of trash, can be quite high and it takes a lot of time to trawl through the trash to find the gems. I have way too much free time on my hands and have dug through the trash and found some great free art magazines.

Browsing the web for inspiration is like dumpster diving, you have to trawl through a bunch of trash to find the good stuff.


Emotional Intelligence and Photography

Chase Jarvis’ dirtiest secret in photography video is one of the better videos I have seen for a while. In the video Chase raises the idea that the best ideas and inspiration come from outside of the photography industry. I couldn’t agree more.

A lot of problems that we encounter as photographers don’t have anything to do with photography which is why we need to look outside of the photography industry for inspiration and solutions. It’s naive to only look to the photography industry for inspiration and solutions to every problem we have. One such problem that can’t be solved by the photography industry is the anxiety that we might feel when shooting on the streets. We get anxious that people will get angry at us or cast dirty looks in our direction.


Being bored

Boredom has a bad reputation, it’s generally thought that boredom is dangerous and a disruptive state of mind to be feared and avoided at all costs hence why technology (the internet, the web, computers, smart phones, tablets etc…) that provides us with easy access to perpetual entertainment has been so eagerly embraced by so many people who have to have their smart phones surgically removed from their meaty paws.

Indeed boredom can be a bad thing that can lead to destructive behaviour. But there is evidence that boredom can also be good for us and that boredom at work can make us more creative.

One of my favourite writers, Nick Earls, agrees that boredom is a good thing saying in an interview that it’s important to be bored “because out of boredom comes imagination and creativity”. And Nick is dead right boredom is important. We should allow ourselves to get bored and embrace boredom.


Good bye Flickr. So long, and thanks for hosting all my photos

Nine years, that’s how long I have been a Flickr user for. I have always found the service to be fairly good value. I like the way Flickr looks and how it presents my photos, I like the fact that I can use the Flickr App to share my photos with people on my phone when I’m out and about, I like that I can join groups, and I like that I can post photos to these groups. Flickr isn’t perfect but I believe it’s still pretty good and it’s better than some other hosted photo sharing services.


Why art is important

Photography has come a long way from the early days when the camera was regarded as just a scientific instrument. The history of photography has taught us that photography is indeed an art.

But lately I have been running low on inspiration and have been questioning why I make photos. What is the point of it? Why bother? Is it even important? Is art important? So I did some reading and thinking and I’m happy to say that yes art is indeed important! Art is extremely important and this is why.


Observations – new PDF magazine

For six years, from 2006 to 2012, was the home to fresh and inspirational PDF magazines. Most of the PDF Mags, or zines, covered creative culture: art, design, illustration, photography etc. Unfortunately most if not all of the PDF zines were a labour of love that has lapsed and the zines are no longer in production.

Now if you ask your favourite search engine about “PDF magazines” it will return a bunch of links to questionable web sites that link to downloads of commercially available magazines that have been PDF’d. You will be lucky if a third of the links work on any given dodgy “PDF Magazine” web site because the PDF files are hosted by file hosting web sites that are just as questionable as the sites that use them to provide the downloads. I don’t know when mediocrity became something to aspire to, but it seems the internet has broken out in a rash of it.

I had given up on PDF zines, I thought nobody made them any more. Then I discovered the Observe collectives Observations PDF magazine. Observervations is a pure photography PDF zine made by photographers for photographers.


Six things I learned about photography from playing games

When I was younger I used to be a ‘gamer’. My favourite game genre was, and still is, First Person Shooters (FPS), think Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem etc… My favourite game was Half Life 2 Deathmatch (HL2DM), and I was pretty good at it too. Quite regularly I would finish a round ranked third or better, if I was having a bad day I’d finish fifth or worse depending how bad my day was. I was so good that I got invited to be in a clan. Then I got a job and work killed my fun. Work 1 me 0.

My time wasn’t wasted playing games. Many of the skills and lessons I learned from playing HL2DM are transferable and applicable to photography. I still use those skills and lessons. Here are six lessons that I learned from FPS gaming that have helped my photography.


The best tip I have ever read and why I think prime lenses are the muts nuts

When I started practising photography again after a hiatus measured in years I didn’t know what genre of photography I wanted to practice which made it harder for me to choose a lens to pair with my Nikon D600 that I had decided to purchase to replace the Canon Rebel I had sold along with the rest of my gear when I gave up photography. I ended up purchasing a 24-85mm zoom lens because I figured it would be a good general purpose lens until I decided what other lens or lenses I wanted.

I also decided that if I’m going to drop a big chunk of cash on a decent camera and lens then I was going to make it worth while and take my photography more seriously. There was only one problem, I still didn’t know which genre of photography I wanted to practice. So I purchased some general photography books and started looking at a bunch of different photographers and photos that I liked. It turns out that I liked street photographers; Henri Cartier Breson, Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, etc… they all inspired me to start practising street photography.

Soon after I discovered street photography I learned about prime lenses, i.e. fixed focal length lenses, and became interested enough to want to try shooting with a prime lens. But which focal length? Should I shoot a 50mm prime like Henri Cartier-Bresson? Or a 28mm prime like Garry Winogrand? Maybe I should shoot a 35mm prime like David Alan Harvey? Or should I choose some other focal length? How was I going to decide?


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