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To look back at 2018 there will be two significant features: (i) the number of photographs I took (and published on Flickr), and (ii) the number of cameras I bought. I’ll start on the second point.

In January2018 I had 2 active film cameras, Sony a57 and the Minolta x-300. By December I had 10 active film cameras. Oh my! Rather than fill this post up with dreary details about each camera I’ll do a video and talk the dreary details. Watch this space. Nonetheless, this is the list of cameras I found in my possession by December:

  1. Leica R6 (the birthday present)
  2. Nikon F3 (the donation from a friend)
  3. Konica auto s2 (older than me – my first rangefinder)
  4. Pracktica MTL3 (soviet tank part to match my old Zenit)
  5. Canonet ql17 GIII (Rangefinder for the proletariat)
  6. Minolta x-700 (the classic Minolta – the x-300’s big brother)
  7. Yashica MG-1 (the rangefinder that chooses the shutter speed – hmmm)
  8. MPP (British large format camera from my Nikon friend – you need to have friends like this!)
  9. Holga 120N (the leaky, plastic, medium format camera for wonderful randomness)
  10. Sony a7 (the full frame mirrorless replacement for my a57 DSLR/SLT)

I’m writing this on 1st January 2019 and thinking about what I need to do next. It won’t be buying another camera (unless I come across £1000 and can get hold of a Leica M4-2 or M6, or Voightlanger Bessa R3M [keep dreaming – Ed]). This year has to be about using my wonderful collection of cameras. And that brings me onto the second point. In 2018 I posted on Flickr roughly 760 images – about 3 times what I published in 2017, and about 5 times 2016’s output. It’s great that I’m so productive but I think this signals that I need to now move to the next step and start to produce less, but better images.

I read a great editorial in the January issue of Black and White Photography magazine which really helped my understand what I need to do next. To summarise, the piece described how when teaching creative writing she had asked students to write haikus. This they duly did, many of them. Then she asked them to review all the haikus they’d created and look for a theme: now they had to go away for a least a week and produce a single, crafted haiku that represented this theme. Applying this analogy to photography, my photos last year were the multitude of haikus, but in 2019 I need to look at the theme, the style, the intention, and produce the single haiku. In practical terms, a much smaller output of images (perhaps just 10) that are the distillation of what has preceded.

In other news, Flickr has changed their free accounts to only allow 1000 images. Bugger! I have over 3000. Multiple accounts is an option, though I can’t really be arsed as no one’s really looking away. What I do have is my own, hosting web server account (404i.com) so I will probably start moving my portfolio to this platform if I can find decent software to manage it and display it.

Tim R P Brown

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