Barry Lopez, in his essay “Learning to See”, tells the story of losing all his photographs while riding his motorcycle to see an editor. Lopez, we learn in the essay, was a published photographer earlier in his life as well as a writer, and that event combined with later ones led him to choose writing over photography.
I’ve struggled for some time between writing and photography. One of the difficulties I have with photography is that the it comes between me and the world. Photography, as Robert Adams notes, sometimes has a way of replacing people’s experiences. We pile off of the bus, turn away from the very landscape or monument we stopped to look at, and have our picture taken (or now, more commonly, we use our self stick), and then get on the bus and drive away. We forget to actually have the experience we intended to have because we’re too busy memorializing it to show friends later. And even when that’s not the case, at the very least the camera creates a barrier between us and what we see.
Recently I’ve had an event similar to Lopez’s motorcycle incident which has caused me to reevaluate the role of photography in my life. Like him, I feel the competition between photography and writing, and I’ve watched how the two effect my experiences. While I love photography, I’m now finding writing a more rewarding path. My experiences without the camera are far more interesting than with it. I actually see more without the camera.
As a result, there will be some changes in this blog. You’ll see some writing and snapshots from my travels, opinions on what Apple is doing, and book reviews from what I’m reading. From there things should evolve organically.