Traditionally we understand the term ‘ruthless’ as being without pity or compassion; a lack of care for the feelings of others. Many years ago I was introduced to another , less loaded, connotation. That being to do what needed doing quickly and effectively without any prevarication, self doubt or any self indulgent angst. It presupposed of course that the act was indeed necessary.
The Dutch have a word for it…. Landschapspijn — literally “landscape-pain”, “place-pain” (Dutch); the distress that comes from seeing familiar habitats or ecosystems degraded and depleted. This popped up on Twitter as Rob Macfarlane’s Word of the Day last week. (If you don’t follow, Rob, you should.) There is a painful symmetry here as it was also the Dutch who gave landscape photographers and painters the word ‘Landscape’. They named the beginning and foresaw the end of what we do. I’ve written before (here) about our responsibility to minimise the damage that we ourselves cause. Those arguments don’t need to be repeated here. Last week a number of interrelated events coincided.
There is the well used saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. There is however another useful phrase, ‘You cannot stand still. You either move forward or slide backward, there is no viable long term stationary position’. The Lee 100 Filter system is part of the history of image making; for many years it was the de facto choice for anyone who took the process seriously. The holder most Lee users own was introduced 25 years ago. Over recent years the competition has increased substantially and as so expertly proved by the British Motorcycle Industry in the 1960’s, complacency by any manufacturer, however strong, is fatal. In my view, Lee have evaluated an almost perfect product and sought to improve it. Have they succeeded? Read on.
For some years, I’ve been using what I found to be the perfect winter glove system. The original blog post can be found here. This winter I’ve been trying a variation and can recommend it without hesitation. I bought a pair of Heat Company Shell Gloves and have been using them over the past month. https://www.theheatcompany.com/en-gb/gloves/shell
I enjoy creating intimate landscapes immensely, those small scenes that comprise found objects and arrangements. The better the end product however, the more likely it is to precipitate the range of questions to do with asking or suggesting that the items had been placed or rearranged. The questions range from pure inquisitiveness to peevishness and those that are no less than accusatory and derogatory by implication.
I’m going to echo an introduction that I’ve used before. This isn’t a review of a book it is a response to it. It may only be semantics but review seems to suggest a level of judgement that I don’t feel qualified to claim. A creative work is produced with a ‘message’. That message isn’t always the one that is received by the audience. This is my response and may not be the message that was intended.
I remember the first time I saw photographs of mountaineers in the Himalaya using ski sticks to aid walking. Jump forward 30 odd years and we now see them being used to aid walking along the streets in Lake District towns. They have become an almost essential ingredient in the ‘fashionable walking holiday wardrobe’.
Vallerret are a young Norwegian company trying to conquer a niche market. Their core product is an insulated glove with up to two fingertips that can be slipped back to allow fingertips to more easily operate camera controls. There are two gloves and one mitt in the range along with some inners. Refreshingly they offer a women’s specific glove but sadly not alternatives to every model. In every case the hinged fingertip can be secured out of the way by use of sewn in magnets.
I have a bit of a mantra that I trot out on 1:1 ‘s or in conversations, debates etc. I’m happy to share a perspective and share my approach. I’m never an advocate of expressing a view that this or that is the ‘right way’ or ‘best way’ of approaching any aspect of what we do. A little non harmful anarchy can be a good thing. I’m not an evangelist for any approach, philosophy, technique or piece of equipment. The only situation where I’ll take a firm stance is on an approach to avoiding damaging the very beauty we come to look at or photograph.