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Saturday, 21 July 2012


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"You Can Read My Mind...."

Yep, understand the questioner. And you too Mike.
My example: six years ago diagnosed with Lupus and then cancer. I was and had been up until that time one of the most organized apeople ever; and many people had approached me to help them become organized. now I am so dis-organized and without any purpose that nothing is where it was,
including me. During that time and more recently
sold the family home under duress after being there sixty years and losing my Mum at age 94. Emotional blows, yes plus the medical problems have changed everything for me.Retired and now purpose especially for recreational items and particularly photography.
As with your original questioner have bought and sold these new digital devices always at a loss. Had to decide on a number of problems.

Who was I taking the photographs for? at age 67?
And when I moved from the house to a two bedroom flat which of those items reminded me
of what was now past?

Second question first. All the furniture save two
large boardroom style chairs were sent to Goodwill. Those boardroom chairs are at present
being recovered to ensure they don't appear to have been from theh ouse. Havehired a professional dumpster person, who is each week
asking me about items and if I haven't used them in a year, out they go.
My 4500+ volumes of railway historical history have gone to a number of railway groups, free.
That cleared three large upright shelves. And
it has continued from there. Minimal basics is what I am facing.

As for photgraphy thought my world of no no
any joy was it. Still is. I like my F100 and one
18-105 zoom and 20 mm wide angle, So am using C-41 film as it and digital are similar, prints. A cheap Canon point and shoot from the local pawn shop suffices for any quickie digital images.
Slides no more (30,000 of them to be sorted
and sent to museums or sold).

Am trying to acheive a minimal existence, then
in my mind's eye there shall be less to deal with in the phyical realm.

Mentally? Still nutty as a fruitcake.

And MIke; your list #1 I couldn't even imagine or desire one item, so although a good idea, doesn't work for me.

Great post and great photos

I'm going to borrow a different saying from pop psychology, "Don't beat yourself up!" The success of TOP is a testament to your ability to pursue goals. If you weren't organized on some deep level there is no way you'd be able to put out such high quality content on an almost daily basis. Maybe your living room project isn't complete because you are a busy guy, not because have a terrible personal flaw.

As for the reader that inspired this post... I've found that the best inspiration is desperation. Back before the great recession my photography hobby was stagnating. I was a gear addict and spent more time in the forums than out taking pictures. Then, things changed. We had our first baby, my wife had to stop working, and I changed jobs (taking a 50% pay cut which is typical for my career path). We were eating hotdogs and macaroni for dinner. Without money I had to quit my gear habit cold turkey. Things were desperate. I was going to have to shoot my way out. Armed with one camera and two lenses I started to build a photography income. I did a lot of uploading to iStockphoto, started a blog, and started a pro website. Guess what? My photos got better and I was having a lot of fun. After four years I still haven't upgraded my equipment and we just bought a house in California with money from my photography supplying the down payment.

So, my advice to the hopeless gear addict is to generate some desperation in your life. Make a pact with yourself to use only money you earned from photography to fund your equipment purchases. Just like a crackhead looking for his next fix you'll find that your creativity and drive is bottomless.

Just read 'On being a photographer' by Bill Jay and David Hurn at things will become a lot clearer. It is essentialy the only book you'll ever need to read on photography.

Incredible timing. You are in my head. Dreams and goals are not mutually exclusive, but one without the other seems to create a void. I'm going to do this. Thank you.

Mike, might I suggest that the same charactor traits you seem to be decrying, were the same traits that enabled you to succesfully deal with the enormous responsibility thrust on you almost two decades ago. Being able to deal with a level of chaotic disorder would seem the exact attribute needed to thrive in a situation that was always going to leave muddy footprints several steps out of sync with  a well laid plan.

That's all.

Plans and timelines are all well and good; actually starting is more of an issue for me.

Just finished a book on this subject last night that I found quite helpful called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I highly recommend it. It deals with the resistance we all face in doing what we say we want to do. It doesn't give you any specific answers, but clearly illuminates why that resistance is there. Quite thought provoking.

Never commented before, but I can say this, at least on the web, your pictures always amaze me. You also have the gift to stretch my mind with your humor and your choice of topic. Keep up the good work.

I'm sure you're not alone Mike. The way it works for me (or actually doesn't work) is I'll make a plan to do something on a certain day. Before I go to bed, the night before, I'll be all excited about waking up the next day and doing whatever it was I had planned on doing. When tomorrow actually arrives the excitement I had felt the night before is completely gone.

So I'll get myself a cup of coffee and sit in front of the computer, like I always do. Then I'll begin coming up with excuses as to why there is no urgency to do what I had planned on doing. I can do it tomorrow (I think to myself), or I'll do it after I do something else I've been meaning to do, but the tomorrows keep coming and I end up not doing what I had planned on doing, as well as not doing that something else I've been meaning to do. And so it goes.

To be honest, even as I write this, I had planned on doing something else.

It won't be me laughing this time, cuz you precisely described my inability to follow up on "to do" lists and calandars. They are hopeless relics from the past by the time I ever get around to looking. Never would make it to a doctor's appointment even if I was dying without them calling me up the day before and reminding me! My one saving hope is the coffee machine. If I remember to put a note on it, I'll see it the next morning. That's where I'll place my "photographic dreams" list.

"He wanted to know what he could do to break the cycle of gear acquisitions and break out of the photographic doldrums in which he finds himself."

Your suggestion for the reader to create a structured distraction for himself might help the guy, Mike. I am an enthusiastic fan of concept-guided photography projects as vehicles toward achievement.

But my own reply to such a question would be a bit different. First I would say that there is nothing really wrong with "G.A.S.", per se. Photography, rather like fishing, has always been a gadget-anchored undertaking, more so now that it's a division of consumer electronics. A great many of the most celebrated photographers are/were gear hounds to varying degrees. Personally, I love trying new cameras and do so frequently. So as long as your financial (and mental) health is not in jeopardy by all means swim in the (good) tsunami of wonderful photo products that our age is producing! If you're feeling guilty about buying stuff simply stay away from Internet photo gear-oriented sites and gear-oriented photo people. It's that simple.

But, as to the second and more substantive part of the reader's question, owning and using cameras bears little relation to one's photographic skills. If your shots with a $100 camera disappoint you your shots with a $5,000 camera will really disappoint you.

My next remarks would depend on just what the fellow meant by "doldrums". Is he tired of the same subjects? Is he feeling skill-limited? Is he disappointed by the impression that he's producing the same class of results regardless of what he buys or tries? Of course I cannot know his answers.

Still, it might be productive to consider the following thoughts.

Cameras are no different than, say, writing instruments. You can use a pencil to transcribe or you can use it to express. Transcription -- what your kids look like, what you ate, where you've traveled, your friend's tattoos -- is the core of the reason for most people's camera use.

Expression, however, can be a much more powerful use of a camera although it's not a natural undertaking for most camera owners. In fact camera hounds often deride photography origined in expression rather than technical transcription, especially if the results are not pretty.

But a more creative, freer-form style of expressive photography may be a life-long cure for "doldrums". To explore such a treatment you must first loosen your (probably) tight grip on objective matters -- what camera you have, where you travel, ISO, sensor size, depth-of-field, film, blah, blah -- and, instead, tighten your grip on expressing ideas and impressions. Some of the objective matters will re-enter the picture later as tools rather than posessions. In brief, try launching your photography from ideas rather than from equipment or technique. You may find a much more independent and rewarding path for your photography. Or…you might fall asleeep.

Just my suggestions.

Mike: it sounds SO much me ... Did you write it with me in mind ? No ? Oh well! ... This morning I couldn't find my keys where I TRY to always put them because I'd already put them in my pocket .... Let's definetly return to this subject if one of us can remember it next week

Mike, glad to know I am not alone in the "gonna" club ;-)

Reminds me of my desk. Totally disorganized, crap piled on other crap, at least two separate stacks of "needs to be filed", pens and open correspondance scattered from hell to breakfast, etc. However, even though it appears utter chaos I can FIND what I need when I need it. If anyone decides to straighten up my desk it is well known in the household they may be required to perform several acts of contrition.

Peter Greenaway is probably relieved you didn't quote his email... ;)

I think the question of how to break out of the photographic doldrums, is a really important to address. I have found that a project really helps. The subject of the project should be easily accessible so that you can always go and take pics. For instance, one of my projects is taking pics of the posters on telegraph poles. Any day I can go walk around and take pics of poles. As the weather changes so do my images. This leads to the next benefit of a project, you can really "work the subject" and take lots of pics. The law of averages really applies to photography. Another key to a successful project is to get feedback from an experienced photographer, that way you learn to improve your skills and your project can move in a direction you had not anticipated. Its the creative process. I started taking pics of poles and now I am taking pics of the people who put the posters up, they are urban artists (at least in my mind). Finally, speaking of goals, the project should have an end goal; a self published book, an entry into a competition or a show.

love your punctuation, examples.

The problem with most extremely-organized people is that they spend their days doing ratshit. Who cares if the bills get paid semi-weekly and the sidewalks are swept and the hedges trimmed? You're writing more than the equivalent of a photo magazine, every month, on your own, and that strikes me as pretty organized, in its own idiosyncratic way. If you don't get a lot of other stuff done, so what? Ninety-nine percent of the people on earth couldn't write a photo magazine every month, for years on end.

However...(there's always a however)...what plagues me is not the sense of being disorganized, it's that I want to do more than one thing. Like you, I mostly do one big thing, and the other stuff tends to slide. But I really would like to understand all the ins and outs of Lightroom, and I really would like to get to be a good printer, but that's not something you can just put on your schedule. That's really weeks of work. Can't get that done by next Thursday, even if I took the whole time off. Luminous Landscape has published a really good video (good so far, anyway) on LIghtroom, but it's eight hours long. The only way to really understand it is to watch a bit of it, then go do that thing that was just explained. That's weeks of work...

I dunno. Anyway, when it comes to being really organized, the gas company will occasionally just have to wait for their money. I know, the poor gas company president is out pacing the sidewalk, wondering when my check is coming in, but I've got better things to do than write checks every Monday and Friday, and to fill out calendars.

I sometimes wonder if I have a finite amount of organization that I can use up at any one time. I have to be organized at work all the time. When I come home, I don't want to feel like I'm at work.

Maybe this is not one of the habits of successful people. But you know what? Those "successful" people only write those books once they have 100 people reporting to them who have to do what the boss says. The 99 other guys who lived the same way but didn't make it, never get to write their book. Just once, I'd like someone to write a book about how their success was based on dumb luck.

I'd like to get out and shoot more "XXX" but the world won't end, not even my world, if I don't . Nobody dangling a paycheque is waiting for me to complete the project. So I do it when I feel like it.

You're supposed to enjoy life, it's not always good for you to stress too much. And all those people out there who criticize you, even if it's only in your own mind, for not completing your living room project, well, you know what, if it bothers them so much, let them do it.

I am not encouraging procrastination or sloth, or I don't mean to anyway. But all those super-effectiv super-busy people out there, well, they can do whatever they want. But if they can do whatever they want, then it follows that I (or you) can do whatever we want. If they don't like it, who cares. :)

I won't ridicule because I found your article useful. I tend to live life on automatic. Dreams are okay, but goals mean that I will have to change! Maybe I should consider it.

Just the butt-kick I need. I've worked my list down to three, and have committed to Thursday as D-Day.

My three dreams-cum-goals are:

- To do a very shallow DOF shot with my 85/1.8. Since I bought the lens a couple of months ago, I've been rather obsessed with its corner to corner sharpness, so letting go of that is something I need to do.

- I want to do an effective in-camera multiple exposure with my D3S. I worked closely with Pete Turner for several years, so double and multiple exposure images were my stock-in-trade with film. I'd like to make this a digital capability as well.

- A very nice architectural shot. My portfolio needs updating.

So, if I meet my goal, I might treat myself to a new lens. At least I can say "Honey, Mike made me do it."

Sometimes I fear we really are divided into "doers" and "thinkers" and that changing from one to the other may be impossible. I fear this because I'm quite certain I'm a thinker.

To paraphrase Ingres: "A thing well thought is always well enough done."

It's interesting that gear acquisition and photographic doldrums were mentioned together. It's where we subconsciously fall for the marketing hype around gear making us better photographers.

I know someone who who has a real knack for decorating. She can design a room so that it looks like something out of House Beautiful but she can't keep house worth a darn. Her house is always in a state of disaster.

We all have things we're good at and things we are aren't so good at. Unfortunately I share your "not good at planning and following plans". Maybe we should start a club.

Whenever I feel like I’ve lost my Muse I reach for my “David Hemming’s Blow-Up camera”. I think each of us may have one tucked away somewhere. In my case it’s currently a Nikon D-200 with no grip and a Nikon 50m /1.8 lens with no UV filter. I imagine I’ve parked my Rolls Royce and am taking a random walk in a park. Will I stumble on a murder in progress? I challenge myself to make the best photos I can with only what I’m carrying. It may sound goofy but it’s a great way to clear your mind!

Allow me to suggest a simplification of step #3, since "making a plan and setting a schedule" itself can be a daunting task, and the tasks probably will change as you proceed through them.

Instead of trying to come up with an entire plan, all you really need to do is ask yourself "What is the single very next action that I need to take to move this forward?" It can be as simple as "Order more baryta paper", or "Call the curator of Gallery X to schedule a portfolio review".

The act if determining the real "next action" makes it much easier to actually take that first step towards completing the project. Of course, once that is done, it's just a matter of thinking through the next next action. Rinse and repeat.

(I can't take credit for this advice--this is part of the "Getting Things Done" system by David Allen--something that has helped me tremendously, and can be applied to just about any type of pursuit).

Breaking out of doldrums and gear aquisition syndrome has nothing to do with schedules or timelines, but it has everything with the last part, going out and doing it.

How to break out of photographic doldrums: pick up a camera, walk out the door, and start photographing. Don't come back until you can't photograph any more.

To use up some old film that had been sitting in my fridge for a long time, I loaded up my Holga, got on my bicycle, and went around the neighborhood photographing stuff. I mostly went through backyard alleys, and you know what? There's a lot to photograph back there!!

To break out of doldrums, go and photograph. To break out of gear aquisition syndrome, stop buying stuff.

Now, to Mr. Anonymous: GO FORTH AND PHOTOGRAPH!

I'm not laughing at all.
Every time you do one of these posts, I am more convinced that you're my long lost twin. I have the same piles-of-books issue, the same filed-is-the-same-as-lost issue, the same preference for zippy but not really fast cars, the same ability to postpone overwhelming tasks (weren't you talking about fixing the living room back in March?), and several others.
Cleverly, I married the Queen of Planning and Organization. I've been driving her crazy for 30 years, but she keeps me moving in something like the right direction.

I think I could have written this about myself. Too true.

A post close to my heart. I'm in the 25% who 'dream'. In fact, I have too many 'good ideas' but can hardly hold any of them in my walnut sized brain more than 5 minutes before they slip behind the file cabinet. It used to be that my darling bride (of 24 years) would never let me post anything with her cleaning up my spelling and diction first. Made me look real smart you bet. But now that I'm retired and she is at work all day I finally get to display my ignorance.

The difference between a goal and a dream is that I know how to achieve my goals but I have no idea where to start with my dreams.

I know a lot of successful people, and they all work hard because they either want something very badly or feel very uncomfortable when they are not frantically busy.

Trouble is I usually don't want what they have. If I did, and it bothered me enough, I would probably achieve it. What is more I am very relaxed being relaxed. It's when I do all my best thinking.

If I had allocated time slots for all the things I could have done, I probably would not have done many of the things I did do.

Mike, one thing I have learned from over 20 years of talking and being represented by Art Consultants, Stock Agencies, Galleries etc, is that the Real Artists are not able to organise or promote their work.It's like pulling teeth. The good marketers aren't actually good image-makers.Look at all the so-called successful image-makers.They need someone else to amrket their work. There is actually no exception whatsoever. The ones making money, if we really look at their work,well.....

A quick anecdote. I read of a sportswriter who interviewed Emmitt Smith, the Dallas running back, at his house. On the refrigerator was a small piece of paper with 2,100 yds. The writer asked what it was. Smith said that it was his goal for the upcoming season. The writer asked him why he put a note on his fridge and he said "If I think it it's a dream, the piece of paper makes it a goal." (Heavily paraphrased due to 66 year old memory)

So...........get some magnets!

For those of you feeling bad about having stacks of photos that you've failed to put in albums or display, the Victoria & Albert museum in London which holds one of the UK's premier collection of Objet D'Art and has collected photographs since the early 1850's has only in the last 12 months opened a permanent gallery for its photographs.


The flip side of being tolerant and understanding of slow drivers, as I (generally) am, is that I get really angry at those who tailgate me!


That's funny, I was just thinking about that very thing. Good point about us not intuitively understanding that something easy for me might not be so for someone else.

And I am a MASTER procrastinator! I have this book about time management and getting things done that I keep meaning to get around to and actually read. I think I'm gonna start reading it next week.

So I'll play your silly game. :) Not saying I really NEED to be more goal oriented, the only reason I'm not exactly where I want to be in my photographic career is because other people keep distracting me. So I'm willing to go along with this, just for a little while, and see if there's any value to this rather unconventional notion of "getting stuff done".

I'm making my list right now of several photographic things that I've long meant to tackle but just have so many more important things that keep coming up and preventing me from starting. Like reading TOP, checking Ebay, you know, the REALLY important stuff. Let's see how it goes...

The lost email you are referring to, just reminded me of my pile of films begging to be properly archived:) Being myself a not-so-organized guy, digital is probably not for me, because I'd have an even bigger mess with my photos:) but luckily I can find anything in my analog "archive" by shuffling for a few minutes. Probably, and unconsciously, this is the very reason I stick with film :)

I can make a plan and even program it with Microsoft Project....but sticking to it is where I fall down. The implementation part is where I perform porely[sic].

Y'know, it'd be fun to see some images from the single use device, even if you didn't make as many as your goal called for.

Did anybody ever sacrifice, really sacrifice, anything for a goal? How about for a dream? I rest my case. I'm not usually such a romantic, but your citation of that quintessential nag Dr Phil brought it out in me.

I could give the real answer, but it's been banalized as a slogan to sell sneakers. Just. Do... You know what I mean.

I'm not laughing. As it turns out, I know a lot of people like you describe. When the difficulty getting organized is pervasive enough, it becomes a real handicap. So much so, it seriously impedes an individual using talents and abilities productively. A lifetime spent spinning one's wheels is tragic, but I've seen it happen too often.

If it really is a problem, don't just listen to Dr. Phil, consult with a knowledgeable professional who can offer real help. Maybe it seems easier to make fun of others or even oneself if such problem exists, but like I said, I'm not laughing. I know for a fact, it's no joke.


Great article. I've added it in my Things to Do bookmark file for a more thorough reading at a later date...

Poorly is spelled thus, not porley, unless it's full of little holes.

Mike I completely understand. I am getting my summer pictures edited, cutting 1200 images down to 120 or so for a simple slide show. It is so much harder than shooting the original pictures.

I got out of the photographic doldrums by choosing a subject to photograph and deciding to have a solo exhibition later this year or early next year. I still have slow days but needing to get enough photographs for a show is a good motivation.
As for Gear Acquisition Syndrome, I cured that by going back to film. No more, "Oh God, the new Ubermatic X5000d has this function and my X4999D doesn't!" In fact, I sold most of my equipment and bought a Zeiss rangefinder with a 50mm lens. That and my Contax 645 keeps me happy. Although I do need a new tripod . . . .

Dreaming is free....

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

"..and that people who spell porely and punctuate, incorrectly are acting out their contempt.."

Mike, shouldn't that be "poorly?'

You can be lazy in two ways...thinking and doing.

The most dangerous people in the world are hyperactive lazy thinkers. At best they cause a lot of work and grief for everyone else, at worse they cause wars and banking collapses.

I'm sure we all know a few of them. Quite a few are well known politicians...

Amazzng hw menie pipl thot ewe mixpelt "poorly" owt uv ignrnz er karlesnez.

The surest way of destroying his dream is to achieve them. The engine of life is desire, right?

Bet you didn't know that "porely" is actually spelled "poorly." Thank goodness that despite the introduction of spellcheck, thousands of volunteer spellcheckers like me cruising the Internut are here to set you straight.

I used to work as a proofreader. Worked for a magazine with British, U.S., New Zealanders, Australians, and non-native English speakers---mostly Japanese. After we fought amongst ourselves, arguing about British vs American grammar, British vs American punctuation, and British vs American spelling rules, we then had to deal with our magazine's style guide, as well as APA rules. Then we had a chief editor whose philosophy was "Does that rule make the sentence any easier to understand? No? Then it ain't* a rule that we have to mindlessly follow." I loved her.

After all that and the publishing of the magazine or quarterly journal, a small number of our readership would write in pointing out our errors---whether or not they actually were errors---for us. In fact, we would sometimes get more letters about semi-colons and arcane grammar rules than we would about the research/conclusions of the articles. Pixel peepers of a sort.

Cured me for life of concerns about small grammatical errors, spelling errors, and the proper use of f---ing semi-colons.

*I apologize for the use of the non-standard word "ain't. I blame Steven Hawkings for influencing me.

I don't know if this helps anyone else, but it seems to be helping me: my wife discovered something called meetups. You can try www.meetup.com. Depending on your area, you should be able to find a few photography-related groups. For those not familiar, a meetup group is just a group of people who share a common interest. You join whatever group interests you, and there's usually a handful of volunteer members who organize and schedule events.

With the photo group I joined, various members organize outings to museums or other events and you go and photograph whatever you want. You can be as sociable or as wholly focused on your photography as you want to be.

The point is that I was falling into a bit of doldrums myself, only really taking photographs on vacations because I just couldn't motivate myself otherwise. With these meetups, you don't have to wait for vacations or some major occasion to go shooting, and you might discover places you otherwise wouldn't, shoot subjects which you normally think you wouldn't bother, and your biggest commitment is really to just show up.

I've had a lot of fun with the outings I participated in and discovered that being with a group actually helped free me from getting self-conscious in public and holding myself back in pursuing shots.

Setting goals and planning is all good, but sometimes, for people like me, just finding a way to motivate myself to go out and shoot may be the most important goal of all.

Bryce Lee, very moving! I was going to comment but I can't after that. All I can say is I've been through a similar but much less dire process and yes, you realise what's important and what isn't. Stick with it. Good luck

David H.,
Reminds me of the time a copyeditor insisted on changing "An evening freight roars into Laramie in front of a blood-red sunset" (or some such) into "An evening freight roars into Laramie, Wy., in front of a blood-red sunset." I could have strangled her. The editor backed her, too--the magazine's style was to identify town names wherever they occurred by state, using the standard abbreviation. They wouldn't even go for "An evening freight roars into Laramie, Wyoming, in front of a blood-red sunset."


"Mike, shouldn't that be 'poorly?'"

Right, but I was trying to spell porely.


This definitely strikes a chord with me, especially your calendar example.

I have always struggled to explain to people why I don't "just do x", where x involves keeping a calendar, writing a revision timetable, or some other organisation device.

The truth is, that they don't help me at all. I don't remember to use a calendar, and I wont be able to stick to a revision time table (and not just because I don't want to, but because I cannot be productive all of the time, so I *can't* work at certain times).

More generally, different starting assumptions seem to be root of most communication, and even ideological issues. It is very frustrating, especially when you realise this, but cannot make the other person see clearly.

I don't suppose you have any suggestions for making people believe that you can't do something (easily), or explaining to them that the thing they see as obvious may not necessarily even be true?


Wonderful things.
You hate them as the get closer
and love them when they are passed.
Try them.

"I don't suppose you have any suggestions for making people believe that you can't do something (easily), or explaining to them that the thing they see as obvious may not necessarily even be true?"

I think we're dealing with personality types here--psychological profiles, innate aptitudes, and so on. Research suggests that the more of an outlier a personality type is, the less it's understood by those with "majority" personality types. For instance, introverts tend to understand extroverts, but extroverts tend to understand introverts less well. People with depression understand people who don't suffer from depression, but people who don't suffer from it don't understand it as well. Etc., etc.

I even got this from my crack-addict roommate in rehab--he couldn't understand how I could be addicted to alcohol, because alcohol wasn't a problem for him. He couldn't seem to understand that alcohol was a problem for me because I was addicted to it, and that it wasn't a problem for him because he WASN'T addicted to it, in the same way that crack was a problem for him but not for me.

I've also noticed that the approximately 1/5th of couples with happy, stable, long-term marriages can't understand why other people don't just get married. They sometimes seem to have a limited understanding that other people have TRIED but have been unlucky or haven't been able to make it work.

It's a very interesting issue. Some good pop psychologist should name the phenomenon and write a book about it.


Dear Mike,
I don't believe it´s got anything to do with being organized or anything the slightest like it. You probably keep on with this online blog because above all you adore writing, in fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if writing was a pretty effortless task. Secondly it's because you love writing about photography although if you couldn't write about photography you'd STILL be writing about another subject.
In my case photography is a passion, compulsion or necessity just like a drug and I get a very, very big kick out of it. I've never needed help or advice in picking my camera up or organizing my prints, just as I'm sure you've never needed help in starting to write. Actually it's quite the other way round as I need help in letting go of it all and I admit it sadly causes a lot of unnecessary stress in my young family. Another totally different mater is if all this obsession and photography work is any good - that's a totally different story as I do this above all for my own pleasure and if I ever get any success out of all this that's OK also. But above all my photography is for me.
I'm sure deep down this is true of everybody, if we leave out the romantic side of writing, photography, music, painting, etc all it takes is finding what you truthfully love in life regardless that you're any good at it or not.

A conversation this afternoon (paraphrased).

Friend: "Hey, nice day at last, what have you been doing all day?"

Me: "Taking pictures..."

Friend: "I don't know how you find time - my weekends are crammed!"

Me: "Are you interested in photography?"

Friend: "Don't have any time for hobbies, really."

Me: "So what's keeping you so busy?"

Friend: "Had to go to the hardware store this morning for a new bathroom mirror. Hate going there on Sundays - it was mobbed. I did meet up with other friend for lunch and we caught some of the open on the TV in the pub. Anyway, got to dash as I've got to go home and change - we're meeting other friends later and going to see Batman...."

Me: "Busy day then..."

Friend: "Yep, can't stop and chat though, catch you later."


Bryce Lee, very moving! I was going to comment but I can't after that. All I can say is I've been through a similar but much less dire process and yes, you realise what's important and what isn't. Stick with it. Good luck

Posted by: Peter Croft <---

Thank you Peter.
The other reason for a minimal exitence:
well two actually.
One if there is nothing to do , then I am justified in my own mind's eye doing nothing.

and Two: given my health maladies if I do pass on, pass over, die, whatever in the next few years, and after i am grounded in a small box,
my executors will have that much less junk
to remove, dispose of etc.

Earlier this year, I decided to attack my photo doldrums by making a study of other photographers' work.

Not by looking at photos online, but by looking at photos printed on paper. (Call me old fashioned, but for me, photos are not real until they have been printed on paper.) With my budget limitations, this meant buying books of photos instead of prints.

And it worked a treat! My flagging interest in photography was revived and my interest by proxy in camera gear was returned to its proper place in the grand scheme of things, as my chronic bout with GAS subsided.

All that's left for me to do now is to figure out what to with the piles of books that have accumulated in a corner of my family room...

I should add here that Bryce is a longtime reader and stalwart supporter of TOP! For which I'm grateful. Thanks, Bryce.


Fantastic pictures, Mike. The indoors one especially, but both are great.

I was in my 20s, when I found out that when other people talked about things that were going to do this seldom happened.

A friend of mine had the realisation that as he said you either do something or you talk about it. Not both.

Someone typed . . .

"Dreaming is free...."

No it isn't. It uses time, which is the most valuable thing we have. We'll all be dead soon enough.

Dreaming can be a tool for achieving and exploring things, by tuning them in to goals or exploring future goals, else it's just a way of evading reality.

So I really will fix the skirting-board, errmmm, sometime, honest . . .

Bill Tyler: Yes' but; they are. Fine with his! punctuation) so at least, he got. that. right:

Nice post this one -- I especially like the fact that it implicitly asks a couple of other questions "How does a dreamer organise things?" or "How does an organised person dream?" I suppose we all work differently ...

As for me, when I was growing up, I dreamt of owning a Leica. And shooting with it. I achieved that last year after about 10 years with an M6 and hundreds of rolls of Tri-X.

A couple of years ago, I decided to want to print as well: that's a dream in progress.

Finally, when I was 10 and I visited Europe with my parents I saw the alps and spent hours looking out of a bus window looking at the mountains. In a couple of weeks I get to hike them and get to see them up close (and of course I'll be bringing a camera).

You've just reminded me that actually, I'm living the dream! Apart from work and all the other boring stuff, of course. But I you're right, I need to apply myself to that too if I ever want to get what I want ...


i really like your picture

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