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Friday, 15 July 2016


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I don't like Thrillers, but give me a good mystery!

Enjoy going long Mike! It's the journey, not the destination as it is sometimes said.

I'm guessing you will do well in what always seems to me to be a daunting endeavor - writing a book. Even though I write for a significant part of my income (advertising and technical materials) I learned quickly that I don't have the chops for fiction, or entertaining non-fiction. When I'm tempted to try, I look at the quote pinned to my bulletin board. It is attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright: "I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters."
The fact that you put the word "digital" in front of "photography" tells me that you have a knack for finding an engaging subject.

Good luck with it, Mike. I'm looking forward to publication. (But, no pressure!)

Why are you categorically distinguishing the digital medium in such sweeping evaluations as "beauty" and "meaning"?

I don't want to slow you down, so no more commenting.


"All right, I admit, I've already had to toss one chunk o' text."

The first time I tossed out a (big) chunk o' text it was a relief. It made me feel like a real writer. One with standards.

Good luck with your book. I'm looking forward to it. I don't mind that you're taking full weekends off. You've put up some great articles in the past few weeks and I remain addicted as ever to TOP.

I think that's great. The $0.99 eBook is a very useful thing for both sides of the transaction.
I would say don't put pressure on yourself to make it more than a nice long form essay. Leave room for volume 2 and beyond.
The title is intriguing because it implies that beauty in Digital Photography is different from Beauty in traditional photography.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts.
For what it's worth, my personal standard for judging if my $0.99 was well spent is finding one really helpful insight that I can take away. More is ,as they say Gravy.
You could probbly stop now and meet that one.
Looking forward to it.

Don't feel bad. I read thrillers/mysteries almost exclusively and I couldn't write one if you put a gun/garotte/knife/bazooka to my head.
And it's not like I'm a complete idiot, I used to write for one of your ex-employers myself. Have a scotch and a fine cigar, don't worry, be...oh well you know.

Genuinely curious: Do you believe that digital photography has a different beauty and/or meaning than film-based photography ??

[Yes I do, and I'll explore that in the book. --Mike]

I can't wait to read it!

Best of luck!

One thing -- if the natural size of what you have to say is shorter than book-length, don't let that stop you from releasing it.

You get to set ebook prices, so you can price it properly for the length, so nobody is ripped off.

And, perhaps a very important point (though fiction is a different market), there's a lot of enthusiasm among readers for buying novellas in ebook form. We don't seem to regard it as a rip-off if it's clear what we're buying and the price is suitable.

There are lots of things in the world that are worthy and worth saying that take 40,000 words rather than 100,000. (And various shorter and longer lengths too of course.)

I'm much looking forward to the book, Mike. I've read Robert Adams on beauty in photos a couple of times, and would love to see where that could go with *digital* photos. An enticing challenge, a juicy adventure ahead.

I look forward to it Mike as it's not something that is discussed much these days. Beauty (which is obviously in the eye of the beholder) is the reason I became interested in photography in the first place, and although my perception has changed over thirty five years of doing it, it is still the great motivator for me.

Aw, don't knock yourself out. If you want more pages just use a bigger font. ;-)

Very much looking forward to this. It's a provocative subject too, with a some people dismissing the possibility.

I agree with you Mike on the importance of looking at other people's photographs to help decide what interests you, and to develop your own work. However, there is a lot of work that I enjoy looking at, think of as valuable and high quality - even important - but which is not at all the kind of photography I either can or want to make myself. There are many kinds of images that interest me when other people make them, but I have no interest in making.

And on the question of book length - the great Science Fiction writer Frederik Pohl maintained that the problem with writing SF was that you could get the Big Idea you wanted the book to contain in the first 20%, and you then had to write the remaining 80% to satisfy the expectations of the novel as a form. Hopefully that won't be true for yours!

You haven't read Sandford and you tried to write a thriller? Goodness, Mike, you are one out of the box as my old mother used to say! LOL.

All the best with your new project. My daughter has just bought me a kindle (out of pity; here in paradise, books go mouldy). I'll look forward to:

1) Seeing the latest Sandford in kindle form (I hope), and…

2) Reading your book on the kindle in due course. :)

By the way, I have written all sorts of things but I have tried and tried to write fiction. I can write in all sorts of styles, even my own (but I could imitate Hemingway and Wodehouse wonderfully well as a teenager) but st the end of the day, I really don't have anything to say in fiction!

But still!

By the way, in fiction, have fun with "The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden" (although it could be a little shorter) and for goodness sake, a late printing of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" recently appeared in the used bookshop here enabling me to reread it and enjoy it again (and pick apart some of the arguments). When I was doing my degree in psychology and English as a late 30s student in the late 1970s, I made an entertaining project of finding a way to use it as a source and citing it in every essay I did. You’ve gotta enjoy stuff!

Cheers, Geoff

Mike, this is what I'm really waiting for.

Looking forward to your book!

My rule while writing is: are my eyes and fingers happy right now? If so, I'm on the right track.
don't edit as you go, just let the thoughts flow onto the page (the screen, but ...)

Mr. Camp (an extraordinary talent ) may coach you in the use of the "icebox" or "cold storage" for stories. (short version: write, put it aside and then look at it again in 6 weeks. then edit/rewrite.) Have fun! Writing is joyous!

It's funny; back when you posted your "photo art" piece, I was reflecting on how I like to enjoy looking at (some) types of art that I have little interest in trying to produce, myself. But I don't know if that necessarily argues against the idea of a "natural terrain". I like to produce the same types of photos you do, from the sounds of it - minimally manipulated versions of things I see, because for me, photography is all about responding to things I see (and, through photography, learning to see better). I love looking at Julie Blackmon's works, but have no interest in trying to do what she does. (I'm happy to capture a candid scene that's similar, but no desire to stage a scene). I can enjoy a posed picture, but don't want to pose people. And so on. The biggest difference in what I enjoy looking at and what I enjoy shooting, though, is that most of my books are of black and white photographs, while I'm a color photographer.
All that said, there's photography that I'm comfortable looking at; photography that rarely fails to draw me in, that's similar enough to what I like to shoot (outside of the b/w v. color discrepancy) and the further I get from this comfort zone, the less likely it is that I'll enjoy looking at it (or looking at a lot of it).

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