business

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.

How to have a distraction-free phone without crippling it

I truly believe smartphones are the single most empowering tool of our era. These little devices can do things we couldn't even dream of just a few years ago, no matter where we are.

With great power comes great responsibility, though.

My phone has greatly improved my photography, but it's also hurt it. I've found myself losing track of time while on my phone and missing shooting opportunities, like a sunrise in the morning. I've also found myself replying to tweets in the middle of a shoot, just because I grabbed my phone to meter the scene and saw the notification.

To avoid stuff like this, many people go to the extreme of keeping just the very basic apps on their phones. This is a mistake, in my opinion. Trying to avoid the downsides of using a smartphone, they are also missing out on the good stuff.

I believe there's another way, a way where we can still take advantage of these devices while limiting their negative effects.

This what I've come up with (this is for iOS, but Android should provide similar functionality).

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This is something you have to do every day

Casey Neistat tells us to show up every single day.

I think it was Michael Kenna who said, during an interview, that photography is something you have to do every day.

Showing up doesn't mean that we have to shoot every day. There's so much more to photography than using a camera: from developing / editing the images to publishing and promoting them, organizing your work in books, contacting models, agencies or brands, uploading stock images, planning your next trip, even cleaning your gear or posting on Instagram.

The point is: photography has to be in our minds every day, and we should make every day count, even if it's just a little bit.

It's ok to be miserable

Note: I have an audience of one in mind when I write these kinds of posts - me. While some might find them useful anyway, it's me writing to myself, about things I struggle with.

I rarely get a good image from a trip that didn't require a big effort from me, so big that it made me feel miserable (unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way around: feeling miserable doesn't guarantee that I'll get a good image).

My best images were made on days where I had to push myself beyond not only my comfort zone, but also what I thought were my limits.

I love the feeling of exhaustion after a whole day of shooting, looking at those negatives or RAW files, and finding out you captured what you saw.

It's ok to be miserable. It feels good.

One click away

Photography is not linear. No matter if you've been a photographer for a month or for a lifetime, we all are just one click away from our best image.

Think about that the next time you pick your camera.

One click away.

Today could be the day.

Consistency: the gate to Greatness

I don't know where I got this quote from. I even had to Google the name to confirm he was The Rock.

Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.
— Dwayne Johnson

I believe in this.

Don't sit and wait.

Study, improve, work, put yourself out there.

Little by little, every day, get closer to where you want to be.

Don't stop.

Nothing is guaranteed in this life, but consistency is our best shot at getting what we want.

YouTube: it's a full-time job

I've been uploading 2 to 3 videos a week to my YouTube channel for the last couple of months.

It might not sound like much.

A family member was wondering about this recently, and they were surprised when I told them the amount of work involved in creating one of my videos.

Most of them are from the field. Going out already takes anywhere from a couple of hours -minimum- to a full day.

Then I work on the images. This means developing and scanning film -at least one hour per roll- plus post-processing for both analog and digital negatives.

Editing the video can take me several hours as well. More often than not, it's a whole day in front of the computer.

Lastly, I upload the video to YouTube -not an easy task when you are on the road-, create the thumbnails, and promote it everywhere.

It's a long process. One that takes hours and days to complete.

I love every bit of it.

Become a curator

Ain't nobody got time for nothing nowadays.

You can see it on the road or at the grocery store.

Time is the asset of our days. It always has been.

In the past, there was no escape to a "let me show you the photo album from our last vacation". Today, you can simply leave a like on the FB post and swipe away. People aren't paying attention, though.

Curation is more important now than ever.

We need to respect our viewer's time. They will give us a few seconds -minutes if we are lucky- of their days in exchange for good content. We need to use that time wisely.

Give too much, even when it's awesome content, and they'll swipe away. Give too little and they'll forget about you.

Small doses, all the time.

Edit your videos. Keep clips short, between 5 and 10 seconds. Use good music. Show only the parts that contribute to the story.

Edit your images. Don't show 30 pictures of the same thing from different angles. Sit on them for a while before sharing them.

Discarding clips and images will hurt. Like a wound that is healing, this is good.

Knowing what to share and (even more importantly) what NOT to share is a skill in high-demand, a skill that may take time and effort to develop.

I'd say it is THE skill a photographer must have today.

Why I started an IGTV (Instagram TV) channel

Why I started an IGTV (Instagram TV) channel

During the last few days, I've been trying **IGTV** (Instagram TV) as a possible (and yet another one) outlet to share my work.

When it first launched a few months ago, I was very skeptical. I still am, but after playing with it for a bit I can see its huge potential.

So far, I’ve released 4 videos on my IGTV channel and I’m liking what I’m seeing.

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