Josef Koudelka doesn't spend more than a few months at the same place. For him, being constantly on the move is a requirement "to see, and if I stay longer I become blind".
Other photographers seem to thrive in relatively confined spaces, like Bill Brandt.
Similarly, some photographers need to be shooting all the time and feel depressed when they don't have a camera on their hands. Others are fine with taking photography trips twice or three times a year.
In the end, I think there's no right or wrong way to do it, your photography is just a reflection of who you are.
In this video, I go back to the beautiful Sil River Canyon. I was supposed to shoot film but my Bronica ran out of batteries. In the end and having to shoot digital, I felt like the video wasn't as compelling as it could've been if I shot the Bronica.
I believe that sometimes the story behind an image can be very important, even more than the image itself. Film can provide you such story.
I've talked about documenting our work before on this blog, and I wanted to share those and new thoughts on a video.
Next week, I'll share some tips I've learned over the years, and I'll talk about the camera gear I use.
I was sick for all of last week. This gave me a lot of time to think, and I came up with a little project: building a darkroom as basic as possible so I could bring it with me everywhere.
This is still an on-going project, and in this video I share my thought process and the first results. I expect to have a much more refined and polished process by next week, along with the first final, serious prints.
In my opinion, winter is the best time of the year to make images. It comes with some risks, though.
While I do go on some hikes, most of the shooting during the cold months is done not too far from the car. I drive to a location and make a few exposures. Then I drive to the next spot. This is what I did last week during some intense cold and foggy weather.
I wasn't careful enough and several days of moving between a warm car and the freezing outdoors have taken their toll on me.
It's just a cold and I'll be out making new images soon. It just kills me to see that the fog is still with us and I can't stop thinking about the images I'm not making. All because I was careless.
New video where I shoot some film in some of the best conditions I've had in a while.
"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.
I had Mértola on my list of places to visit for a while. On my way there, I drove through the Guadiana Valley Natural Park, where I saw signs on the road warning about lynx. Now, that was something new to me!
This is an image of a little chapel on top of a hill, just out of town. The light was harsh allowing only for very high contrast shots. This was what I came up with.
My to-do list for 2019 is the same I had for 2018: become a better photographer.
The problem is that setting goals for anything creative like photography might be quite difficult. "Make better images" is not a goal that makes sense, since there's no way to measure it.
I do believe we become better at anything -creative endeavors included- the more we practice it, though. That means creating more content in whatever form that helps us improve as photographers.
Committing to create
Making commitments is very important for me. This might not apply to everyone, but I do my best work under pressure: knowing that I have to upload something tomorrow will force me to create that something.
This year, I'm committing myself to create every single day, and that can be easily measured: I will be uploading a new image every day and two new videos every week, among other things.
It might seem counterintuitive to force oneself to create, but I've made some of my best images after dragging myself out of the house into horrible conditions.
I only write when I’m inspired. Luckily, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning - disputed quote
Improvement will happen
If I follow through on my commitments, I will be a (much) better photographer by the end of the year. It couldn't be any other way: creating every day makes you a better artist.
Instead of setting big and rather abstract goals for the year, I am making small but frequent commitments.
After all, photography is a marathon that never ends and the only way to keep going forward is step by step.
I love the landscapes of the Alentejo. My last trip to Portugal was spent mostly in the Algarve, and I mentioned how much I regretted that decision. I do need more time in the Alentejo, hopefully I can go back soon.
Despite being a bit far from where I was staying further south -90 minute drive or so-, I still tried to make some images around there. This is one of them, of some sheep grazing around this tree just before sunset.
Beautiful and calm scenes no matter where you look at. I'm ready to go back.
It's not often that I get clear skies and mild weather in the winter, so I decided to head to Falesia Beach, Albufeira, and make a long exposure of the Full Moon.
I made two exposures, one with my Sony a6000, and another one with the Bronica on Ilford HP5+.
The first Image of the Month of 2019 is here: Awakening City.
Awakening City was the image I had in mind when I was heading to Chicago, almost a year ago.
It took me a bit longer than expected to find the perfect spot, and it was only on my last day in the city that I was able to make the image I wanted.
This might look like a peaceful and beautiful scene, but that morning of late January was one of the coldest I've ever experienced.
Tne effort was completely worth it, though. This is one of my favorite images I've ever made, and it's part of the work I'm currently exhibiting, America Untitled.
Note: I'm keeping the image of December 2018, Wild West, at a discounted price until 11:59PM PST on Sunday 6th, due to an unusual busy Christmas time.
A new image will be released every month and offered at a reduced price during that time. After 30 days, it will be sold at full price. They will never be on sale at any time in the future, the rate during the first month will be the lowest, ever.
want to know more?
You can find more information about how I create my images and all the details about pricing on The Art and Craft behind my prints.
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.
Starting tomorrow and through February 6th, America Untitled will be in display at Monty Ambigú. This is the third exhibition of this work, the first time in A Coruña.
It is a very special city for me since I lived there for over 12 years. I've been looking forward to this exhibition. If you are nearby and can attend, the inauguration will be tomorrow, January 3rd, at 8:30pm.
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.