Musing, Quoted

edward weston

The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.

We’ve been discussing early photographers and theorists in my Visual Theory seminar, and it’s interesting to see the views and fears of men writing 50, 100 years ago concerning the medium. Some things never change. The tech-craze has certainly reached a peak right now, and I feel that there is so much pressure to have the newest camera/lens/gadgets and change them up when technology updates every few years. Reading the viewpoints of early photographers, however, makes one realize that in the barest sense, a camera is a camera. We can get caught up in pixels and file sizes, but in the end the vision, the composition, the mastery of the photographer over his machine is key. Updating your camera does not make your pictures better if you lack these abilities.

Food, Musing

lessons from karlslunde, denmark

food is a good window into any culture.

Every weekend in Denmark my host family and I spent time together sharing recipes and trying new dishes. They always put effort into making and presenting a meal, even if was just afternoon tea. For them, eating was socially significant: a time to take a break from one’s day and enjoy the company and conversation of others. I think we often overlook just how valuable a family dinner can be. Over the course of four months, I got them a little more used to peanut butter desserts, and they caused me to rethink the way Americans eat. It’s been hard to re-adjust to the less-than-baking-friendly atmosphere of college.


northfield, minnesota

all good things are wild and free.

The Arboretum seemed a hopeless tangle of growth and buckweed and mosquitos and heat and midwest endlessness—wait, midwest endlessness. There was that one point in my afternoon run where I would hit the top of the hill, after panting and cursing my way up a crooked, stumbly path, and I would stop and stare and revel in the vastness of the fields and how strange they seemed to me, how simple and reminiscent of a world I did not know.

I was skeptical about shooting the Arb, but as you see in these photos what a beautiful thing it is. The light. The golden light. I had never seen literal “fields of gold”, that fabled, romanticized phrase of the midwest, but did they come alive, and were they ever golden. They shone. But beneath that-blues, dark blues, purples, silver. There was so much color. And the fields weren’t just fields—there were stalks too, individual plants, woven and shining, curliques, branches, stalks, colors, and the whole thing was a pattern and the whole thing spoke to me, telling me of a wealth which cannot be measured and is often overlooked.