My 200th post – and a new start

Orchard under snow, Canterbury

You might have noticed a few changes around here!  It’s part of a general overhaul of my blog (and my life!) that’s been a long time coming.  After almost three years of regular posting, I more or less stopped writing back in early 2014 as I was suffering badly from photographer’s block, which I thought was going to be a lot shorter-lived than it turned out to be.  I knew I needed a change of direction but I couldn’t figure out what it was and in the meantime my blog and my photography languished like  forgotten pot plants in a winter greenhouse.  It seems appropriate that this should happen to be my 200th published post, as it marks my comeback, which makes it sound a lot grander than it is but is nonetheless true.

For a long time my teaching and my thinking on photography haven’t lined up properly.  Most of the workshops I’ve been teaching have been about learning about how the camera works and what the settings are for.  There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s very useful and I’m very happy to teach this to people.  However, my real interest in photography has always lain in other areas – how it helps us learn to ‘see’ and how that enriches our lives, how we can find a creative outlet through photography, how every photo we take is in a sense a self-portrait and what that can teach us about ourselves, and how issues in photography are also issues about life in general.

There’s a branch of photography called contemplative photography which is much more in line with my own photographic ethos.  I’ll be saying more about what this is in later posts but briefly, it’s a way of using photography to slow ourselves down, to become more aware of the world around us, to enable us to better express ourselves through photography, to develop our creative potential, and to concentrate as much on the process as on the end result.  This is the direction I’ve been wanting to go in for a long time and I’m busy making plans.

  • I’ll be starting a regular Contemplative Photography group in Newark, and developing day workshops around this theme
  • Eventually I want to offer these workshops online, both as self-directed courses and as taught classes
  • I’ll be writing more about photography as a way of life and how learning to see doesn’t just help you take better photos, it also helps you enjoy your life more
  • I’ll be writing more about the psychology of photography, how we use it, and the benefits it can bring us – photography as therapy, in a broad sense
  • I’ll continue to write about other photography-centred issues that interest me and, of course, about my own projects
  • I’m going to retire my ebook from sale and will offer it free to anyone who subscribes to the blog by email – the book’s been around for a long time and although I’m proud of having written and designed it all myself, it’s not the book I would choose to write now.  Actually sorting this out may take me a while as I’m slightly fazed by the technology involved in swapping an email address for a free download.
  • I’ll be adding many more articles for free download which will cover a lot of technical issues and other areas I don’t tend to write about in the blog.  I’m going to add a Donate button to this page, and if anyone gets value from the articles and feels like buying me a coffee as a thank you, they’ll be able to do that.
  • I’m hoping to integrate the galleries on my website into my blog so that I only have one site that covers everything.

Whew! – lots to do and I need to get on.  The hardest thing I’ve found is getting back into a routine of writing regularly – having got out of the habit, it’s surprisingly difficult to get back into it – but winter is a good time for this.  It’s a time for planning, for preparing, for work to be going on underground and out of sight, so that things bear fruit later in the year.