Blurb Discount

IMG_3293

Hey Campers,

Just got this from Blurb HQ. If you have something in the works then here is a nice little nudge.

The holidays are just around the corner, so we wanted to pass on a little holiday cheer to our friends and family with Blurb’s biggest and best discount of 2014:

30% off with no minimum order.*

Just use the code FRIENDS2014 at checkout before December 11, 2014 and you’re all set to make your own one-of-a-kind books. Celebrate your year, your travels, your family, your successes—anything you want. Make a book as special as you are, and make it with Blurb.

(Of course you’re welcome to share this offer with your own friends and family—let’s keep a good thing going.)

Here’s to a great 2014—and happy book-making!
IMG_3294

The Situation (Hold Please)

I’m sitting in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales after taking the first half of the day to get here. A walk, taxi, train, car and short walk. In tow were my three Tenba bags including my roller bag, large backpack and small backpack. I’m not trying to sell you a Tenba bag, but as you can see, I use them. . But why do I have them, and why would I want to navigate the world with so much stuff?
photo copy
Great question, and one that I ask myself on a daily basis.

How much easier would it have been to get up this morning with a Fuji XT-1, one lens, or even two, my laptop and drive and make the same journey? As many of you know, I contracted Lyme Disease a little over a year ago, and all I can tell you is that everyday is a challenge. Still, all these days later. I simply don’t have the energy I used to have, and when I hit the wall I hit it for real.

So fifty yards from where I sit writing this, in my room, is my Hasselblad with two lenses, Leica with two lenses, Polaroid and Canon 5D-III with three lenses. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it all fits in my roller bag, including all the film required, model releases, cables, bellows, card reader, extra batteries, medicine (a lot), light meter, hoods, pens, plastic bags, etc., etc. This is my standard rig. Inside my large backpack is a Zoom H6 audio recorder, two mini tripods, two microphones, XLR cables, etc., etc. And yes, people think I’m crazy. Perhaps I am.

But if any of you have seen my new site Shifter you will know that I use all of these things on a regular basis. In fact I have entire campaigns based on these materials.

So today my feeble mind wanders and wonders. I know there is no way around having all this stuff. I could swap the Canon for the Fuji, which would save a fair amount of weight, and I’m seriously considering doing this. I rarely use the digital but when I need it, like last night at TEDx Sydney, I need it.

It’s funny. I’ve had these conversations with myself many, many times. Games I play. Remember a few things. Working with a film camera verses working with a digital camera are as different an experience as you can have. I don’t believe someone swaps and then makes the same work. That just doesn’t happen, and I’ve got fifteen years of examples of photographers I know who USED to be great but suddenly became very average when they picked up a digital camera. This is another conversation I’ve had countless times over the past decade, always in private because photographers are fearful the “public” will hear them bashing well known photographers who haven’t made a decent image since picking up a digital camera.

I actually don’t think this has to be the reality. I think we have to learn how to use each camera for what it is, and be vigilant in our attention to detail. A Fuji with Nik filters don’t make TRI-X no matter how bad you want it. But maybe you don’t need TRI-X? Why try to make it something it really isn’t? Digital is immediate, endless and flexible far beyond anything in analog history. I think a lot of photographer who declined with digital did so because they were ready to taper off anyway. It’s about laziness, years of busting ass, and also we all love new shit. That’s a fact. Compound this with the reality that many well known folks are surrounded by people who are telling them they are great, so when they show subpar work they are still getting “Oh man, you are AWESOME,” and most of the time they think “Wow, I must be awesome.”

I just put down this laptop and shot four frames with the M6 and 50mm. f/2 at 1/8th. I KNOW this image will be fantastic. I had a foreground, midground and then the subject with window light coming from the left. A classroom of people. Very quiet. This is Leica territory.

And then there is the lifestyle of digital. Computer, computer and more computer. I think maybe this is the part that really has me cringing. Now if I was GOOD on the computer perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way, but I’m not so I do. I will shoot at least ten times over the next days days, here in Australia, and don’t need to edit any of it. No computer required. I will ship the film the day I return and then board another flight to another location.

Not sure why I wrote this, but this scenario has been on my mind today. Two hours in a train to think and wonder. I want the digital to work. At least a part of me. But I have a sinking suspicion I’ll be humping this kit until I pass out or get robbed. I have a sinking suspicion I’ll be adding a Fuji to my lineup once again, probably replacing the Canon, but I don’t see anything replacing the Blad, Leica and Polaroid anytime soon.

New Site New Direction

Shifter_Homepage
“What are you going to do with Smogranch?”

Don’t know. Probably very little. You see I have a new site. Shifter.

A “shifter” is someone who shifts our perspective on someone or something. I realized I was spending a lot of time with these people. Photographing them, interviewing as well.

They are far more interesting than me, which was the realization I needed to explore a new route. A new site. A new life perhaps.

Ladies and gentleman, this site is work in progress and came about only in the past few weeks. Somehow the lunatics at Coffee and Magic were able to pull this together in a very short amount of time. I was little help.

Shifter_Dispatches

Shifter_Found

Shifter_Just_Listen

Shifter_Print

Shifter_Individual_Post

In some odd way this site is a complication of many of the thing I was told not to do. Shocking I know. About 99% black and white. No video. Audio interviews. Long form essay. And no social media. Want to follow this site, gotta RSS this baby otherwise you will never hear me or see me. I actually created a Twitter account and then realized I would die if I went down that road.

As you can see, there are several categories such as “Believe,” “Found,” “Just Listen,” even the “Dispatches” I’ve been shooting for Blurb. My interview and audio skills are puny but are slowly getting better.

I’m not sure where I’m going with all this, but I can assure you I will enjoy the ride.