Photographic Routine

It is the routine that matters, especially in times like these; batteries charged, cards formatted, podcasts loaded, camera readied, kilometres walked.

It is the routine that drives me to the streets, even when I’m not feeling it that day, because in the routine lies the reward.  Sometimes it is a photo I love, or a new friend that I make, or maybe just a long walk in the sun.  

… it all comes from the routine. 

Chuck Close said:

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

I dislike his use of the word amateur here, but the sentiment is bang on in my opinion:  Do the work, build your habits, put in the miles and good things will come from it.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but the results will come.

Here are a few random images from photo walks I have taken during the last few weeks / months / years of COVID.  None are my strongest work, but they all came from the routine.

Cheers,

Ian

A Winter in Monochrome

It feels like a long dark winter is coming to an end, doesn’t it?  Coming to an end literally, as winter turns to spring this month, but also coming to an end metaphorically in the context of the pandemic.  We are still struggling with the virus here in Canada of course, but we are also seeing small glimmers of hope:  A 4th vaccine was just approved for use here, and when I talk to people I feel a shift from the endless fatigue of the past year to a building sense of cautious optimism.  Day after day, more and more, I hear people using the word “soon”.

Soon we can hug our loved ones that we haven’t seen in a year.

Soon we can travel to those places we love and miss dearly.

Soon we can go to a live performance and sit with fellow fans, rejoicing in the joy that art brings to our lives.

Soon we can see each other’s smiles again.

Just…. soon.

We have a little way to go yet my friends, but hold the line for just a few more months.  I look forward to meeting new friends, seeing old ones, waking up to the sounds of a new city and creating the work that I love to make again.

Soon.

This winter I’ve been spending time along a dike system that is near my home.  My Fujifilm X100V is always with me of course, and all winter I have had it set to produce contrasty black and white images (using the Acros+R film simulation).  I did try shooting in colour here and there, but monochrome just felt right. 

Here are a few images from those walks… I hope you like them.

Cheers,

Ian

On Happiness: Photographically, and Otherwise

Today I was talking to a student, and they asked me what the most important thing I have learned in life is.

That’s a big question, isn’t it?  During my years I have experienced epic success and crushing failure (not in that order, thankfully).  I have been a cook, a musician, a private investigator, a paramedic, an EMS educator, a web designer, a writer, a photographer, a son, a brother, a father, and a husband.  I have been ill, and I have recovered.  I have had experiences that literally run the gamut from delivering babies to holding the hands of those who were passing from this world.  My life, even the worst parts, has been amazing.

Speaking only for myself:  I think this quote sums up my thoughts on this question perfectly:

“Happiness is a choice, not a result.  Nothing will make you happy until you chose to be happy.  No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy.  Your happiness will not come to you.  It can only come from you.”

– Ralph Marston

My work has gifted me the opportunity to speak to tens of thousands of strangers over the years, and the ones who were truly at peace with their lives all had one thing in common: they had learned to take ownership over how they react to things, rather than letting those things dictate how they feel.  When I was younger this seemed mystical to me…. foreign…. impossible even.  Honestly, it seemed like bullshit to my younger self.  But hey, wisdom comes with age if we let it, right?

Epictetus said:

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.”

This is easier said than done of course, especially in this era of political strife, of a pandemic entering its second year, etc.  But, it is 100% true.  

My student and I had a good chat about where our happiness comes from.  It was a great reflection, and I think we are both better for the conversation.

…and, because I had time on this rainy Sunday afternoon, I thought I would share this with you all as well.

Have a great day everybody.

Cheers,

Ian