What Will Your Verse Be?

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.  What will your verse be?”

– Walt Whitman

“The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.”

– Pablo Picasso

2020 is in full swing for most of us, the celebrations of New Year’s Eve already a distant memory.  I normally start each year energized, eager to plan out my year and attack new goals with intent and purpose.  My calendar fills with product launches, travel, presentations, podcasts, workshops, Skype sessions… and before I know it summer has arrived.

This year started out differently though.  Our usual cold, rainy days were followed by snow, causing power outages and blanketing the sky with lifeless grey clouds.  Productive planning sessions were replaced by contemplative periods, and most of my time has been spent writing, playing guitar, and walking the dog.

These have been slow days…. quiet days…. good days.

I initially attributed this different pace to my father’s recent passing, especially as it has only been 21 days since I delivered his eulogy, but more and more I am realizing that there is something bigger forming in my mind… a desire to do something special that is not yet defined.

The last few years have been incredibly productive:  I have reviewed a lot of gear, written almost 300 articles, guested or guest hosted on dozens of podcasts, delivered hundreds of presentations and taught thousands of students.  I cherish all of these things, with no intention of slowing down or stopping, so this desire isn’t because I am unsatisfied with the work that I am doing.  It is, rather, a desire to do something new… something… bigger.  I find myself constantly thinking of the quotes that I started this post with, especially this one:

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.  What will your verse be?”

I have always felt that my “verse” was the work that I do with my students.  I am a creator to be sure:  I love crafting a wonderful image, creating a well written essay, or nailing a song on my guitar.  But, I find more joy from seeing my students grow as artists.  It is what I live for.

I am realizing now, however, that the Create Forever project that I participated in last fall set off a huge period of intrinsic reflection… reflection focused on things like service to others and personal fulfillment.  I am sure that these feelings were compounded by many hours spent writing my father’s eulogy, where I spoke about his amazing life, his remarkable accomplishments, and his legacy.

So, it is time for me to write a new verse; not to replace what I am currently doing, but to build something new that can exist alongside my current work and contribute to this wonderful community of people that I am a part of.  It doesn’t need to change the world, but it definitely needs to be meaningful.


I am writing this post while sitting in my favourite coffee shop.  It is another rainy Vancouver day, and I am taking a break from reading a script that a film-maker and respected friend sent me.

The script is for a short film, an intensely personal project that tells the story of a loved one’s mental health struggles.  The story is told with passion, with love, and with an artistic vision that I hope to one day achieve in my own work.  In summary, it is brilliant.

This is a great example of what I am talking about:  My friend is writing a new verse in his powerful play, and it couldn’t be more awesome.  I am very proud of him.  And, I am inspired by him as well.


Have you ever felt like this?  Like there was something building inside of you… something that you just had to do or create?  If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments below, just as I absolutely plan on writing about my journey here on this site.

In the meantime of course, life goes on:  Soon you will see new work on this site from San Francisco and Los Angeles.  My street photography workshops in Vancouver and Toronto are filling up nicely, and I have many speaking engagements and weddings already booked.  I am sure that Fujifilm will release new equipment of course, which we will definitely discuss here as well.

The powerful play goes on and on though, doesn’t it?  And, it is time to write a new verse.

…what will it be?  What will your verse be for 2020?



8 thoughts on “What Will Your Verse Be?

  1. jazz110 says:

    Thank you for such an inspirational article. I’m on the last end of my run, and wish I had contemplated these questions earlier. But, it is never too late. Thanks for the push!

  2. anangelsshareblog says:

    What a wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing. It has been a cold, rainy, and dreary January here in Tennessee and, so far, it has been busy to the point of distraction. I love the idea of a new verse and will reset my thoughts to that idea. I hope you are well, friend. I would still like to send you a copy of the book in which I have a piece but only if it is good for you. I wish you a 2020 full of what you want and need and full of wisdom to discern both. I look forward to the images you create both through the camera and on the page. Always, Terry

    • Ian says:

      Hey Terry!

      How are you?

      Things are working their way back to normal here, thank you for your kind thoughts. I will definitely reach out soon regarding the book.



      • anangelsshareblog says:

        I am good, thank you! I hope you are well, Ian. I’ve been doing a lot of work but not as much photography. I can tell when things are out of balance and I need to grab my camera and head out. Now is the time. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents. Thank you for checking in on me. Have a lovely weekend! Best always, Terry

  3. maphotossite says:

    I really like your writings, your pictures, and your philosophy. 2020 is going to be a strange year for me. We have moved to a house that we share with our oldest daughter her husband and three kids. That was a big change. We have 5 children and their partners plus 11 grand kids. That means many family gatherings and photo opportunity. We have a project that started a couple years ago where I print the best pics from to gatherings, hang them on a wall and the children pick the ones they like. I will keep doing this in 2020. One thing I did not plan on was having open heart surgery in march. I know it is routine surgery, and that after I will be much better, but still I find it scary… I also decided to buy a new camera. My first tought was to replace my XT1 with XPRO3, but decided to go for the X100V, I believe that this camera is going to make me shoot more. I know the X100 series having owned the X100S, but I gave it to our youngest daughter. Have a great year Ian, all the best.

    • Ian says:

      Thank you for your kind words, they are very much appreciated. I loved reading about your family and photo project… what a wonderful to preserve important memories and include the children in the process!

      Congratulations on your decisions to purchase an X100V. I truly believe it will be a camera that will serve us well for years.

      Best wishes,


      P.s. I wish you all the best for your upcoming surgery. I know that it can be a scary thing, but as a 20 year paramedic I have a tremendous amount of faith in the cardiac care that we provide these days. Please keep me updated on how everything is going.

  4. Doug Johnson says:

    Ian, what a beautifully written article. I have made my living as a photographer for over 45 years, and have loved photography since I bought my first camera from a junkie in San Francisco. I’ve been retired for 15 years, traveled a fair amount, and instead of feeling like something is building, I am feeling like my creativity has drained out of me…my passion gone. I see you are guest speaking at the Lions Gate camera club tomorrow…maybe you can motivate me!…maybe I can motivate me.

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