HAPPY NEW YEAR 🥳 🥳 🥳
It’s fair to say that 2022 wasn’t the easiest of years for a lot people. And it’s probably safe to venture that 2023 will continue along the same trends of growing inequality, uncertainty, and tension. The debilitating illness of greed, the tribal stupidity of frontiers and a cacophony of other forms of animalistic fear will probably flood our lives with nefarious consequences for the months to come.
I see this as an opportunity. An opportunity for stronger bonds between people of good will. There are many. Far more than we give credit for. And an opportunity to make art. In a world that gets more polarized year after year, art offers real solutions for non-partisan discussion.
In its own tiny corner of the online universe, DearSusan will continue to provide safe haven for anyone wishing to express their artistic drive in photography, anyone willing to teach or learn all things photography, anyone wanting to share a passion for location, situation, story, gear, technique or know how, or just happy to start or join a civil conversation. Let’s make some magic together.
Every year, new ideas and plans emerge for DS, sometimes out of thin air and at the last minute, ahem. Some see some follow-through (such as taking up printing, albeit very late), some lead to failed experiments (Share your world, online galleries …) because I misjudged the enthusiasm for them (which is OK, that’s what experiments are for) and some just never leave the state of pipe dream.
This year, I hope to be more on point, ahem again.
So here are the plans for the blog, my personal photography and what I hope we can do together.
Try as I might to ignore the urge, this has become necessary because DS is using up 90% of its allowed resources with over 1250 posts, 20 000 high-resolution (by web standards) images, 10 000+ comments, 100 pages and more 😆 Without the clean up, the hosting company will block DS and no access will be possible. The alternative would be a dedicated server costing hundreds of dollars more per month. The DS secret stash doesn’t extend that far 😉
On this topic, I recently went to my Paypal account to discover a very generous number of donations that really do help keep the lights on 🙂 I don’t say this enough but, even beyond the financial aspect, it is a tremendous mood lift to see people care enough to help 🙂 It is much appreciated. To all supporters:
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU !!!
The clean up should have few consequences for visitors (beyond the website not shutting down).
My hosting is used for 3 websites. My pro home, which I will be rethinking soon, and moving to another service. A side project that uses up some resources, which I will delete completely. And DS. Leaving DS as the only resident will help free up some much needed wiggle room.
Beyond this, I am making a list of the posts that have not been visited much in the past 3 months. Those will all be deleted, and the attached photographs also. By statistical law, no one should notice. And, with any luck, fewer pages might help the geniuses at Google understand that DS is a photography blog and index it better, even though every post isn’t a cheap listicle, every title isn’t stuffed full of stifling keyphrases, and I don’t engage in sleazy link building. One can dream 🤪
I started my career in research and teaching. The knowledge-sharing yearning never left me. And while the blog allows me to describe a few experiments destined to convey some meaningful information, blog posts don’t allow for a structured approach to something more definitive and ambitious.
Add to this the fact that I find most online courses quite boring 😉
So I’ll be offering my own version of what a course could look like. One that will help participants find and develop their voice. Not one that will teach the lastest hack but one that focuses on fundamentals. My thing is to create beautiful b&w travel memories from banal subjects found during walks. Your thing is probably different. Let’s find it and see how to take it to new levels.
In the past, I have tried to provide this sort of experience in the form of a workshop called “layer cake”, for which the idea was to meet with a gallery owner, a prestigious curator and a pro from Magnum to help you understand your path, then shoot, then meet again for feedback.
As novel and interesting as the idea was to me, the financials, the logistics and – let’s be honest – the fear of facing judgment, meant that too few candidates raised their hands for this to break even, let alone make money.
I’m hoping to provide a similar logic in a more affordable and less scary format. All of the course will be free, because I’m not in it for the money, but feedback and coaching will be paid for, because people have to feed their kids 😉 Let me know what you think!
Beyond getting the best possible course online, my main goals will be to continue printing (and to become more proficient at it) and to find gear for the next few years. Printing not just individual frames, but also thinking in terms of photobooks and projects. I have been able to try my son’s Epson A4 ecotank and results are good enough for test prints, even in B&W, so this is next on my purchase list. Another fun little project, courtesy of Matisseo (who print my travel albums) is their 1 pic 1 day offer. Essentially, I just paid 35 euros, will make a picture a day and will receive a 400 page recap book at the end of the year 2023. Brilliant! I strongly urge you to pursue a similar fun idea to develop visual awareness and a thirst for long term projects. Oh, and I hope to sell prints and ebooks.
Gearwise, my Hassy X1D is not proving to be the unburstable steed I originally anticipated. The shutter button is quite tired and frequently refuses to acknowledge even strong pressing, bugs are almost constant, and a trouble-free boot is as rare as political decency. If it can be fixed, then great. To my eye, it still offers the best image quality I’ve personally witnessed from any digital camera, at any price and any resolution, by a large margin. Ergonomics, design, build, haptics, all bring a smile to my face over and over again. I would love to keep it forever. If that’s not possible then …
… well, I honestly have no idea, and my elucubrations have taken me to cine cameras (my fave option, but too impractical for my use case), smartphones (meh), film cameras (particularly now that Pentax are planning new ones) and the obvious X2D. I hope 2023 brings me more clarity on this topic, and will work systematically towards that goal.
Saving the most important thing for last: what would you like to see on DS in 2023?
Have your say! More gear? More travel? More interviews? More challenges? More how-to? More book reviews? More talks about Masters of the Craft? More something else? Longer posts? Shorter posts? Image review posts? Videos? A forum? Something else? Let me know, and if there’s general interest, I’ll try to make it happen.
Until then, let me wish you again a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR !!
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