Archive for December, 2008


little me among the greatest

I just wrote a small series of posts about working with projects, the first one is here. Apparently, these posts has drawn some attention since Paul Butzi mentioned it in a post on his blog, and now over at Photostream in this post by Colin. The funny thing about Colins post is that he placed  a quote by me, “I want to push my creativity, not my productivity” onto his list of “Words not to lose“. This list is crowded with famous photographers and other artists, and it feels a bit strange to be mentioned on the same page as these people. It’s like being dumped in to an embassy cocktail party wearing jeans and a t-shirt.


the journey

In a project, the main focus is always to finish. 

Why should I care about finishing my photography…. I don’t want to do that. I want to keep on doing it.

Oh, it doesn’t mean you have to stop photographing, you just finish a project and move on to the next. Well, maybe I don’t want to do that either. I love shooting some of the subjects I do, I don’t want to stop doing that either. I can fool myself into believing I have finished a project, but when I look through the files later, it is obvious that I just continued shooting the subject. 

So, to bring up an old saying (not sure I get it right in English, but you’ll probably get the point), “The goal is the journey”. It’s not about getting there. 

It is truly fulfilling to have something “finished” work to show for from time to time. Some of my motivation comes from seeing an end product. So, how does this fit in. Let’s change the word “finished” with “finished for now”. When you’re just following the muse, working on whatever makes you feel good, it usually ends up with piles of almost finished work floating around. Then at some point, the frustration may come that “I’m just fooling around doing nothing”. Ok, now there is something that disturbs the joy of it, and there is a couple of bad solutions, like ignoring it, or quitting. But in order to fix it, some work must be done. So maybe a short burst of boring labor will bring out something you can be proud of. Is it finished? probably not. It is only finished when you later on discover that you didn’t do more work on the subject, or when this was the best you managed to produce. If you still have more in you, the work will continue, and at some point you will make a new “finished”, and another one. In a project, the goal is to finish, and when you reach the finish line, the quality of the product is whatever it is. If you follow you passion, you want to milk your full potential. It feels so much better to “finish” something, knowing that I will remake it as soon as I find a way to do it better, instead of finishing it and being frustrated forever that I didn’t do it differently. 

So, to sum up.

I want to be an amateur in the true sense of the word; doing this for the love of it.

I want to enjoy the journey, and from time to time, I’ll make a stop, and maybe I leave something behind, but I will soon continue. Maybe you’ll find something better at my next stop, maybe something completely different, who knows.


still not doing projects

Doug wrote a comment on my previous post on the topic, and maybe I should have jsut answered that one, but there has been so few posts lately, so it became a post instead.

Doug says that projects may provide direction and consistency, and I totally agree., but if direction and consistency brings me joy, I feel it will come naturally. Doing photography as a project, in the strict sense of the term, is helpful to get past rough spots where the motivation fails, but as long as I don’t make a living of this, it just isn’t worth it. For professional photographers (or professional anything), the project mindset, and work disciplin, is both helpful and necessary to push on and get progress. This may also be the case for working artists, trying to make a living of their work. The prize you pay is the chance of being fed up, and if you have a “real” daytime job, it’s a bit sad to get burned out on your hobby.

On the other hand, if I stop every time I meet resistance, it will be unsatisfactory too, so I will force myself past the rough spots, but not because of any “project” mindset. It is because I know I will feel better once I have passed it.


don't put down work where it does not matter

In my previous web galleries, I wanted to do things a tiny bit different than than the tools I used supported. This added more steps to the flow of getting images out of the library and on to the web page. Not much work for each individual image, but still enough to make it a hassle. And it didn’t really matter. Take for instance the frame I used around my published photos. I had to record an action in Photoshop to create it, so that in itself became a just a matter of running that action, but I also had to export the photo to pdf first, convert to jpg afterwards and move the jpg to the right location. Now I just drag the image into the right LightRoom collection and push publish. The watermark looks perfectly fine.

So, I have completed the first step in my new gallery publishing flow, and I’m quite happy. I had to do some work on the Lightroom template I used to make it more consistent with the rest of my web page, but that was mostly a matter of copying various parts of the RapidWeaver template into the LightRoom template. I had to break the menu system in the gallery section. It requires a lot more work than I am willing to do before LR and RW starts to talk. 

Still have a some work to do on the look of the main gallery page, but that will probably fall into place during the holiday. 

So, now I have more or less achieved my goal of being able to publish images directly from LR. It took me 5-6 hours of template fiddling, but will probably pay of in the long run. In the process, I found a gallery viewing scripts that works a bit better than the one I used, and I increased the size of my gallery photos to fit within 1000px*800px. 

So, here you can see how the galleries looks. Not that much different but much easier for me.


new gallery solutions

I tend not to update my galleries as often as I want to. I have tried to find the best middle ground between look and feel, and easy maintenance, but I see now I have to work more on the easy updating. Right now, I’m running an export from LR, resizing and framing the pictures. Then I copy them to my RapidWeaver work directory, open RW, import the images, and publish to the web. Too much work.

So now I have started to investigate into directly exporting images from LR instead. The trick is to find the right gallery template, or make one myself, and to figure out the best structure and work flow. This solution makes it difficult to synchronize the menus and look between the galleries and the rest, but I’m starting to feel that I really don’t care that much. As long as it looks good, I can live with a small inconsistency.

Anyway, I have started to try out some templates, and I found one that contained support for Cooliris. I’m pretty sure it will be too much for my galleries, but the effects are very cool (as eye candy). If I start to use that template, I may keep the option of using it. After all, it is optional. The main viewing capability is done by the Java based uuuh not Lightbox …. not Greybox ….. uuuu …  one of the boxes, I don’t remember which.

Anyway, have a look here

You’ll have to install some CoolIris shit to make it work, but once you do, press “Start slideshow” at the upper right corner. I’ll probably remove that gallery some day soon, so forgive me if the link stops working.


am I doing projects

It seems like the number of visitors on this blog is picking up when I’m not writing much, so I suppose I should add a post or two to keep things down. Don’t want those wordpress servers to start glowing…. duh

A couple of weeks ago, I made a bold post stating I am starting to realize where I’m heading. Well, I still think that is true, and I done some more thinking on the subject. Around the photography web, everyone is talking about doing projects. Nothing new in that, the concept has been around longer than me, and I’m not going to say it is wrong. Projects are fine. I make a living out of project work. Setting goals, doing some fun stuff, and then lots and lots of frustrating, boring stuff that must be done. Lots of stress and sweating over deadlines.

When I go home, I don’t want to do even more projects. Even if I have tried to convince myself that I will do photographic projects, I rarely manage to discipline myself. And it is not because I can’t do it, it is just that I don’t want to. I want to do this because it is fun, because it is food to my soul. If I start to think projects, I get stressed and feel guilty that I don’t work harder to achieve my goals.

I want to follow my own muse.

I want to push my creativity, not my productivity.

If I force myself into being productive, it should be to stimulate the creativity, not to meet an arbitrary deadline.

So I have started to adopt a slightly different mindset to what I do. It doesn’t really affect what I do that much, it just makes me feel better when I’m not doing it. Photographing that is. I am not defining projects, I am focussing my interest on certain subjects. This focus must come naturally and out of joy, and not be something I force myself into. My latest points of interest, the forest shots and the night lighting shots, came about when I was browsing my archives and discovered some trends. I found the beginnings of series hidden in the old stuff. This inspired me to go out and do more shooting on the subjects, and to organize the material I already had. Hopefully I will keep my interest long enough to finish something, but if I don’t, I’ll just put it on hold.

It is also well aligned with the “art is a verb” philosophy that I have adopted from the very first time I heard about it. I do this for myself, enjoying the process, and any product that may fall out at the other end is just a bonus.

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