The Zen of Over-Complicating ~

After taking some time off and trying (unsuccessfully) to accomplish things the past couple weeks, I'm brought back to my blog to make some observations about an online video I watched last week. The video was ominously titled 20 False Facts That Even Professionals Believe To Be True. I should be quick to point out that the "professionals" in question were photographers, just to be clear. But overlooking the obvious oxymoron (or maybe not; John Oliver often emphasizes "true facts", so there may be more than one kind of fact, in fact) the video was a revelation. Of sorts.

The video, hosted by one Tony Northrup in Modern Lens Magazine, covered a wide range of issues, such as a lens' "sweet spot" (as related to sharpness), the Reciprocal Rule, crop factors, f-stops, infinity focus, and a lot more. All busy, arcane, complicated minutia...and I loved every minute of it. I am, of course, an unrepentant gear-head, and a bit of a math geek, albeit somewhat clumsy at it.  There was a time, back in my old studio days before the ubiquity of automation, where these skills were useful, even necessary.

Speaking for myself, however, this commotion can be a problem. The mesmerizing complexity of technology, sweet siren song though it is, is often an obstacle to making a beautiful photograph. Creativity requires simplicity; photography often demands complexity. Ours is a technical field, after all; it's not canvas-and-brush. We are forced to be cognizant of -- and familiar with -- a lens' sweet-spot, and crop factors, and infinity focus. And much, much more. It's tough to wean ourselves away from it.

I'm trying to be comfortable with the largeness of less, and I think I'm getting away with it. I love my iPhone. I love my mirrorless Fuji. I love the aperature-preferred setting. I love simple, accessible software. I love making my eyes do the work. I love that I'm starting to feel my way into a photograph more than working my way into it. Most of all, I love that it's a process and that it's something I can get better at.

While my worldview has expanded to include most of the universe, my vision is honing down to a sweet-spot of its own: this moment, this place, this light.

And that's a fact.