Those Who Eventually Find The Magic

 

DSLRguide has been one of my favorite channels since I started messing around in YouTube. Back to front, you can really see the progression of his work as he’s continued to put content out there. He shoots a lot of his material with an entry level Canon T3i, and still comes away with some beautifully constructed and graded videos.

It’s not just the visual element I’m into, though. Most of his videos take an almost blog-like format, not a vlog as people know vlogs to be today, but more of an essay-like style, where he starts with an idea and tailors the entire video to explain it. The material ranges anywhere from How To Edit Videos (for Beginners) to not as simple as ‘follow your dreams’, and the variance is great – it means that I can keep coming back to this channel whether I want to pick up some new tricks or not. But he posted a great video recently on the struggle of inspiration and how artists constructively use discontentment to reach the gem in the rough. I’ve gone ahead and shared it above so you guys can give it a watch yourself if you like.

I feel as though artists and people living and working in creative circles definitely do have this funny relationship with discontentment. I think it’s important to step back from your work once in a while, take a look at what you’ve finished, and be happy with what you created. This end product – this poem, this video, this picture, this story – that’s you, condensed into a form outside yourself, rife with the emotion you carried through the process of creating, and here for posterity now. You made this. Be proud. But at the same time, that voice inside that demands that we express ourselves somehow almost necessitates that we not stay too long in that state of contentment – that we need to get out there and start making our next big thing. That we tear down our monuments and build something finer. That we shred stories because we can do it better this time.

It’s this beautiful vicious circle that leads you to better things if you choose to ride those waves instead of getting washed along with the tide.

So yeah. Do it.

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Those Who Eventually Find The Magic

I Hear “Creamy” Being Used To Describe Paper A Lot…

…and I get it, but it still sounds kind of gross sometimes.

Why am I thinking about creamy paper? Well, I started journaling in earnest the other day, despite what I said in this post from August of last year. Maybe I’m just in a different head space now. I don’t know. I talked a lot about how there was so much minutia that I’d have to lay out on a page – that I’d just end up boring myself over the sheer amount of nothing I’d be committing to what’s basically now written history. But I’m reading that now and thinking about how much we forget with every day.

As human beings, we’re all, at least, acutely aware of the fact that we don’t retain everything. But if you sit back and think about the sheer amount of dust that’s piled away in that head of yours, it’s all a little bit staggering. And I sort of rage against that aspect of, well, being, by making videos – committing certain memories into visual containers, and stringing them together into projects that I want to share with people.

But you can’t save everything. And the amount of video it would take to even try would be exhausting. Hell, just look at vloggers dropping in and out of the Youtube game nowadays.

I think my problem was that I was thinking of a handwritten journal as something for posterity outside of myself first and foremost. And while I do think it’s true that all writers write with even a subconscious want for someone to read their work outside of themselves, I’m thinking more and more recently that I do want to do this for me.

Thoughts on their own just kind of vanish into the ether after they’re had – regardless of the context, emotion, or weight behind their conception. Yeah, I can’t save them all, but I can save some. There’s something comforting – almost meditative about putting them down in this little black (fourteenfuckingdollar) Moleskine I carry around with me.

I Hear “Creamy” Being Used To Describe Paper A Lot…

The Simplest Things

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A big part of getting into photography, I think, is understanding the weight behind a moment. Not just the moments where you’re staring out at something that just demands to be shot, edited, and retained, but the quieter moments where your camera’s sitting on the bedside stand instead of securely around your neck. Where you’re going on your third hour in bed on a lazy evening with your girlfriend, and she’s giggling and getting quietly exasperated at the bottle flip game on your phone she can’t seem to get more than three points on.

You’re not always going to be able to catch that kind of moment of your camera. A photograph’s probably going to be the last thing on your mind in that instant. But if you can sort of grasp the kind of weight behind all time, all space, all memory – from the luckiest moments we burn into an SD card at the push of a button, to the simplest things that we don’t – I think that maybe, just maybe, you’d be good at this.

 

The Simplest Things

My On Again, Off Again Relationship With Street Photography

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Because dutch angles make everything cooler, right guys? Right? Riiiiiiiiight?

With all the talking that I do about storytelling and how much it bleeds into every medium I work with, you’d figure that I’ve had that as my goal for the entire time I’ve been doing photography. Truth is, it really wasn’t always the case. I actually wanted to work exclusively with street photography for a while, and spent a lot of time in the city trying to pull that off. Of course, if you look at my Instagram (shamelessplugshamelessplugshamelessplug), you wouldn’t really be able to tell that – there’s not a lot of street on there at all.

That isn’t to say that I don’t like street photo – I think it’s great. It’s something that storytelling is involved with, but in a different sense than what I try to pull off in my photos. Where I can, I try to create a bit of a “hard narrative” with my work. There’s got to be some kind of visible story in play, whether it’s implicit or explicit, and more often than not, it’s down to me to sort of make one. That isn’t to say the moments and memories in my photos are fabricated – it’s just that I’m almost always wholly entwined into the narrative, and I’m trying to bring it out with the editing, or the shot composition, or the people, or the objects, or the setting.

You don’t have that much control in street photography because you often hold the place of an observer, not an active participant. When you start out, you quickly realize that a big portion of your success while you’re out there shooting falls to whether or not you come across something cool while you’re wandering around in the city – not to mention the absolute necessity that you get your camera up in time to catch it.

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Hoboken, NJ – I’m snapping pictures of a fruit market while everyone beside me is taking selfies with Carlo’s Bakery.

And after another while, you start to figure out fast that just whipping your camera out and shooting pictures indiscriminately into people-dense spots in the city isn’t really going to cut it either. The shots can be solid, but more often than not, you end up with something that feels a little hollow – snippets of the very end of moments you catch by chance, looking past the shoulder of the stranger walking in front of you.

Again, this absolutely isn’t to diminish what street photographers pull off. Their pictures are really what drew me towards the medium to begin with. It takes a sniper’s eye, quick hands, quicker creative chops, and a solid understanding of your hardware and software to do this well, and it’s still something I dabble in whenever I find myself tromping around downtown NYC or Hoboken. But it’s definitely not what I love shooting the most, you know? Maybe I’m a control freak, maybe I’m too attached to the hopeless personal nostalgia that I get out of looking back through my shots, maybe I’m not just built for it.

But I have to admit, it does get pretty  addicting sometimes.

 

 

My On Again, Off Again Relationship With Street Photography