I have a confession to make: I pine to coin neologisms. Useful terms that become part of the vocabulary. I'm jealous of my friend Michael Reichmann, who coined the term "pixel-peeping." I didn't like that term at first, but now I have as little objection to it as anyone else: it's useful, and it has become widely accepted and widely used. It's just part of the vocabulary.
My attempts under this heading always come to nothing. I have to face the fact that I don't have the knack.
Despite this, it appears that I coined a[nother] term a few days ago: "mindflow."
Sounds like some bogus exercise at a New Age awareness seminar, doesn't it?
But it still might be a useful idea. Mindflow—related to workflow—the mental processes and process issues you go through when photographing.
I've claimed in the past, for instance, that when you have B&W film in a film camera, eventually you learn to "see" B&W and "ignore" color. Because that was true for me. (No longer.) But when the camera records color, I simply can't ignore color. I can't "see" with a "colors camera" (as Zander used to call it) the same way I do when my only option is B&W. This is why I've long wanted a B&W-only digital camera such as the new Leica M Monochrom. Even though other people refuse to even grasp the argument.
But this, to me, is a mindflow issue. Not a technical one.
I've claimed the same thing about prime (single-focal-length) lenses: that when you photograph for long enough with just one lens, eventually you can see the world—visualize—just how the lens will see, without trying. You can frame pictures by looking around with your eyes, without needing to look through the viewfinder. Another mindflow issue.
Also in the category: your ideas about what or why you're photographing. Might have to do with meaning (for instance, maybe you're documenting housing collapse or migratory butterflies) or it might have to do with visual passions (you love the idea of pristine untouched wilderness and seek that out to photograph) or subject obsessions (Joel Meyerowitz once did a whole project on redheads*).
If you accept the definition, you'll see that it's an essential but under-discussed topic. Or family of topics. Mindflow.
But the term is certain to not catch on, if my track record is anything to go by.
Maybe I should ask MR what he'd call it.
*Back when he was one. Maybe now he'd do a project on bald guys.
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A book of interest today:
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Michael Stevens: "You write, '...when you photograph for long enough with just one lens, eventually you can see the world—visualize—just how the lens will see, without trying.' I found exactly that last weekend. After over a year of rarely using anything other than my M4-P with collapsible Summicron attached, I went out with my little Olympus XA (with its fixed 35mm lens). When I went to take my first shot of the day I lifted the camera to my eye and immediately had to take three steps forward."
gerry: "Mindflow = Stream of consciousness (psychology) 'refers to the flow of thoughts in the conscious mind.'"
Mike replies: So not really a good term for what I mean then. Told you I was no good at this.
Ben Rosengart: "Funny bit of synchronicity. I saw this blog post immediately after a phone call with a friend who appears in Redheads."
John Voorhees: "At my first job as a newspaper photographer we shot B&W and color and I had a camera body for each one. This let me see in color or B&W depending on which one I was using. (It also led to the best image being in the wrong camera.) I find now that I can 'see' in B&W if I visualize the image as a B&W print.
"As a side note, an image of my wife, then my 21-year-old girlfriend, appears in Redheads."