There are no rules

"Photography is not a sport, there are no rules, everything must be tried and tested" - Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt is one my greatest inspirations. I love his landscapes, portraits and even the nudes (not a big fan of the genre, but the way he did it was just genius).

I think what I like the most about him is his approach to photography. For him, it was all about creating something with the medium, avoiding silly self-imposed rules.

He died in 1983, 5 years before Photoshop was created. That didn't stop him from completely changing his images in the darkroom. Actually, he admittedly did most of his work in the darkroom.

The image of the seagull is a good example. He added the bird afterwards, and the morning Sun years later.

He was brilliant, and we'd be wise to follow his advice to experiment and try everything.

PS: If you want to know more about Bill Brandt, I strongly recommend watching this interview from 1983 for BBC's Master Photographers.

Creating stuff that will outlast ourselves

A while ago, I had a "terrible" realization: everything I had done in life as a software developer was already gone or will be gone in the next few years. Apps have been taken down, websites have been closed.

The exception might be a few lines of code, here and there. They will survive as long as someone else keeps them alive.

The fate of all the side projects I've worked on over the years (hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work) is already sealed, though: they are all gone.

Even as a photographer, if I stop paying the bills this website would be shut down, and all online platforms will eventually go away and / or delete my images.

Your life's work gone, just like that.

The day I realized about this was the day I sold my first physical copy of "Went West", my first book. At that moment, my website and online platforms stopped being the only places where my work lived. There are 40+ copies of that book all around the world, and since then, I've also shipped several prints of some of my images.

I know they too will vanish, eventually. Some might have already been thrown away, or put away. Most will follow at some point.

My hope is for just a few that will survive and outlast me, if someone finds them to bring some joy. A legacy of sorts.

While I appreciate the immediacy of the web and the convenience of online platforms, I'm aiming to create more physical work this year and to put it in hands of more people.

I like driving

I don't mean sitting in traffic on my way to the office. Rather, a peaceful drive through the mountains on my way to a day out making some images.

Behind the wheel, I'm alone and I can't use my phone. I have no option but to go through my thoughts and sometimes, to get bored.

Being bored can be very good for our brain. Sadly, it's also very hard to achieve nowadays: not more than 5 seconds of boredom would go by without me reaching for my phone (I have adopted some measures to fight this terrible habit).

I don't know much about meditation, although it's something I've always been interested in. One day, I might give it a try.

Until then, driving will be my meditation.

Download my latest ebook for free: "Long Exposure Photography"

 
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Christmas is here, and it can be a wonderful time to try new things with our camera. Long exposure photography is a great tool to have in our arsenal, and if you haven't gotten around to play with it, then you might like my latest ebook: Long Exposure Photography.

I also uploaded the first of two videos about long exposure photography. They will cover pretty much the same contents of the book. Watch the first episode here.

Getting inspiration in nature

I got started in photography because of nature. It was when I moved to Oregon that I felt like I had to photograph those places my eyes couldn't believe.

I hadn't been out in nature for a while, and I believe that is what was driving my recent lack of inspiration.

Instead of visiting yet another town here in the Algarve, I decided to go on a little hike in some nearby hills (called Fonte de Benémola).

The short-term benefits were pretty clear: I was able to breathe and clear my mind. I think there will be some more long-term benefits, because sometimes all you need to run a marathon is to take that first step.

Downgrading my camera gear

I've been feeling a little bit uninspired lately. It's normal, everyone has highs and lows in photography.

When I struggle with creativity, there's one thing that almost always comes to my mind: camera gear.

"If only I had this camera or this lens... I could create something different"

I only recently realized that it's not a new piece of gear that I want to buy. I want a better version of myself, a better photographer making better images than the ones I'm making right now.

But it's not about the equipment we have, it's about the use we make of that equipment. A new camera or lens might inspire you to get out, but it will still be you who has to make the images.

A few weeks ago, I started shooting with my old Sony a6000. It's an almost 4-year-old camera, able to create beautiful images. It's always been a backup camera so I used to look down on it.

Not anymore. From now on, it will be my main camera for photography (digital, this is, the Bronica is not going anywhere!).

I also downgraded my 70-200mm big and heavy telephoto lens to the 55-210mm that came in my a6000 kit. The quality coming out of them isn't even in the same league and still, I've made more images I like with the latter. That's due to the size, weight... and also price. Being cheap means I'm more willing to risk it in rough conditions.

This kit should enable me to create most of what I want to create with my photography. Thinking otherwise has only led me to dwell and waste time looking at new gear.

Let's get out and enjoy what we have, let's get out and create something.