406 N. Harrison St.

November 25, 2020 – 406 N. Harrison St, Port Washington, WI

A couple of weeks ago I listened to Episode 27 of the Eyeball podcast featuring Noah Kalina. Overall it was a really enojyable 73 minutes and if you’re reading this, you probably like photography and I recomend you listen to it. One thing Noah spoke about was the interestingness of a photograph. I’ll paraphrase here: He said when a photograph is just made, it is super interesting because it is new. Then it drops in intrestingness over the next 6-8 years before starting to become interesting again and in 10, 15 or 20 years it will be super. Time is what makes a lot of things interesting. You just need to be patient and hold on.

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Six photobooks

There were a lot of really good photobooks released in 2020 and there are many that I have not yet had the chance to see. I only picked up six this past year and not all of them are 2020 releases. I’ll share a few thoughts on these in order of book size, smallest to largest since that’s how they’re stacked in front of me.

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2020 Books

For those that are impatient, here’s the list:

Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport

The Making of a Manager, Julie Zuho

Boom Town, Sam Anderson

How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Michael Sorkin

Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion

Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion

The Story of More, Hope Jahren

Superlife, Darien Olien

Range, David Epstein – in progress

How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi – in progress

One book per month was my goal and I’ve come close to meeting that. It wasn’t the pandemic that had me reading more this year. I decided at the end of 2019 that I wanted to get back to reading more frequently and happened across a list of books Alex JD Smith posted on his IG story around this time last year. I figured something from that list would be a good starting point so asked for a few recommendations. The first 4 on my 2020 list above are all from his 2019 list.

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A year away


Sometime late in 2018 I realized, thanks to Screentime statistics on my iPhone, that I had been spending a lot of time on Instagram. An embarrasing amount of hours scrolling with an occasional post, likely when I needed some minor phtographic validation. None of this was bringing me much fulfillment and I decided to step away. My last post in 2018 was December 2nd. 49 likes, one comment.

I moved the Instagram app into a folder and off the home screen of my phone. For several months in 2019 I did not open it at all. Eventually in late summer I opened the app again, viewing in very small doses, wondering if I had missed anything of importance. Mostly some scrolling of my feed and some time with Stories. What I was immediately struck by was the incredible number of advertisements between posts by people I followed. It was easy to decide I did not miss that at all. Stories were fun but they had lost some allure as well.

That’s how things went until late in the year when I found myself scrolling too much again. Maybe it’s some of the downtime at the end of a year and during the holidays that brought this on. At one point I got the “You’re All Caught Up” notification and I knew it was time again to dial it back.

I had hoped when I stepped away from Instagram a year ago that it lead to a serious uptick in my photography. I had goals of completing photobooks, doing more projects, meeting more phtotgraphers in real life. In reality I did complete a couple of books which was very satisfying. However I probably took fewer photos in 2019 than I have in many years and I didn’t expand my interaction with other photographers much at all so the results were mixed at best. Still, whatever else I filled my time with in place of endless feed scrolling surely was better for me.

What I think I’ve come to is that Instagram wasn’t my only problem. It was a lack of clear photographic goals and then the discepline to make time for them. When I made time to complete photo books, I did. When I made time to go out and make photos, I did.

Building on that, I am going to try and be more deliberate and intentional about making time for photography in 2020. I have already identified a handful of events that I will focus on and hope to build from that. Does any of that include Instagram again? Only time will tell.

24 Hour Project Recap – 2018

The 24 Hour Project is a bit of a bucket list adventure. Once you’ve done it, it’s reasonable to question if you’d do it again, subject yourself to the sleep deprivation again, walk as far again, struggle as much again. For me, the answer was yes. Fortunately my partner in crime from last year, Jake Rhode, was up for it again too.

Our goal was to not follow the exact path we took last year. We sort of succeeded at that. Many different stops, some repeat locations, mostly dictated by the constraints of early spring outdoor activity in Milwaukee, WI. Ok, here’s the play-by-play:

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