Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 123: Less is the new black

I'm a photographer
I have a few crappy cameras
Sold the fancy ones with too many buttons
I believe in auto focus
And I take most of my photos with my phone
Because I know that there are ten great photos
Within ten minutes and ten feet
Of anywhere to anywhere

And this is why:

My friend Chris O. dropped this book off at my desk after seeing the Hipstamatic photos I took on my iPhone on facebook. The author of this book, Chase Jarvis, is my kind of people. Finally someone who, like me, believes that it doesn't matter what kind of camera you have. It matters that it's with you and it matters that you take a lot of photos with it.  That's how to get the photos you want. Photography's dirtiest little secret. It has little to do with talent.

Chase Jarvis fills this incredible little book with beautiful photos and wisdom.
"I don't want more settings or buttons. I want less. Less is the new black."
He's right. What I love about taking photos with my phone is that I am both in a scene and removed from a scene. I can be where I'm required to be but have the tools I need to keep my inner artist occupied.
"People usually ignore the camera that's built into your phone because they consider it useless. That comes in handy."
This guy rocks my world. I have a few friends that buy a lot of cameras and equipment. They also buy a lot of tools and stuff that they never really use. These are all just things that get in the way of getting art out in the world. I know for me, as a painter, I find that I use less as I paint. I know what brushes work for me. I know what paint colors work for me. I know what canvases work for me. I use up, give away or toss the rest because all that extra stuff squashes my mojo. Gets in my way. Bugs.

So dear budding artist, pare it down. Cut back. Stop hiding behind your fancy tools. And, take this final piece of advice from Mr. Chase Jarvis:


  1. Not sure I'm buying the part about it having little to do with talent. My guess is Annie Leibovitz could take much better pictures with my phone camera than I can. Yeah, you can take tons of photos and you'll eventually get something. You can also put a hundred chimps in a room with typewriters and one of them will eventually type a novel. But the room would be a mess. And the novel would most likely Sidney Sheldon or Danielle Steele.

  2. Your post resonates in a big way. So often the accumulating and organizing of the stuff becomes the end rather than the shooting, the doing. If simple gets you one shot, then I'm all for it. Yes, less is the new black. Sing it out.
    I don't mind a couple of bells but they too often clash with the whistles.

  3. I'm going to consider the fact that I cleaned out a bunch of stuff in my apartment for a Goodwill drop as being fashionable. My apartment is now wearing black.


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