Going full circle is something that happens to us all to some degree.
Some circles are positive, whilst others burden and become a hinderance. Some circles provide enlightenment, whilst others a merry-go-round one cannot wait to get off. My circle and focus for this blog post is fortunately one that has provided much insight and education, support, new acquaintances and destinations. I'm a different photographer because of it but also a very grateful one too. 53mm has benefitted from it and as a result, has initiated the start of many more circles to learn about the sorts of targets that will further the initiative. I have progressed from the many conversations and inspirations shared, as well as encounters and chances, opportunities and risks taken. My circle has been one that has allowed me to live a photographers life, but that isn't in any way suggesting that I have made it a career. No. It remains a passionate hobby, but I am involved enough to be able to slot it into my life and live the dream for brief moments. That's suffices. For now.
I started my photographic journey with one Fujifilm camera and one lens and after 3 years have landed right back at that point. Full circle. BUT with a wider, wiser perimeter. For me, this feels like home and it's good to be back.
I have experienced more, owned more, sold more, talked more, collaborated more, posted more, created more, experimented more, enjoyed more, failed more and succeeded a little and I am thankful for every shutter release and instant.
But as one circle ends, another one unfolds and new journeys await with new destinations. I just don't know where yet.
In brief, my destination at present is a lot different from the place I started from. I am more sagacious and have become more stringent in my approach. I guess, coming full circle has led me to come to understand that I no longer want to be a part of certain aspects of 'popular' photographic culture and am resorting to what I have learned from old skool practitioners whilst embracing all that that means; being stubborn in my stance and clear on my outlook.
Stop the train...
My present terminus, has enabled me to address one area in my photography with new eyes. One that I have always been intrigued with - cost/costs. I have not been immune to G.A.S. In fact, I have easily been the opposite but I have learned from my bouts of it what I need and what I don't. For now, after owning an array of other lenses, one lens is enough for who I am as a photographer. The versatility of the XF35mm F/1.4 is enough. Period. I knew this from the start of my X-Series journey but I am much more secure in my understanding of this now. All of my gear is used and has been recycled from other photographers and I don't think that is about to change. Rather than forking out for new gear, I am more than happy to re-use equipment from photographers who have lovingly cared for their resources and take over cherishing them as they steward something new. I guess, I see myself now as a rescue photographer in that sense. My second hand kit is limited but it is everything I need. I feel this is a good destination to settle at. But my culling in costs hasn't just bought me to this point. I know this new grasp on spending is to stretch into another area and that is software.
Apple and it's marketing model of apps, apps, apps hasn't helped us as photographers. For with this new method of acquiring the digital darkroom, comes a revamped model of making money, ending the days where you could buy a piece of software outright and have it for years on end, including those all important updates. Not many providers offer 'one-offs' any longer and if they do then the fear that they may change to subscriptions is ever present. Adobe, being the giant that it is, now venturing into this subscription based ownership of it's programs, has changed the game and no matter how many new candy-coated features come along, it doesn't take away that monthly bite that has to be paid. To me, this takes away the peace of mind of owning something that is so vital to ones creativity. It's more about hire purchase than freehold. If like me, you feel disgruntled at the thought of loaning their goods as opposed to owning them, then you too might discern this sting as a stunt in creativity, encouraging dissatisfaction. I feel dissatisfied. Especially with the announcement of new subscription prices for the new products that are marketed as the new must have. I'm afraid that their use of the word 'classic' doesn't help in settling my worry that one day 'classic' will turn into obsolete, irrespective of the lure of a cheaper monthly premium. My understanding is that this 'classic' stamp is really a hidden attempt at slowly transitioning the more cost conscious photographers towards the bigger, more expensive plans once 'classic' is forced to pasture. I don't want this anymore and here is a deeper awareness of my new destination. Adobe Photography Plans in whatever shape, form or price are not something I am buying into any longer. The sad thing is that I have invested a lot of money in presets for Lightroom and that will be money down the pan BUT it is a sacrifice I am going to have to burden or maybe forgive myself for as I venture elsewhere. In the UK the new, new cloud based photography plan is a whopping £19.97 a month and let's face it, 20GB of storage space eventually isn't going to be enough to match the 1TB offered with the price hike. I am not the only one who feels this way. Many of my heroes in photography, who in fact 'do' this for a living, are beginning to feel the sting and are starting to voyage elsewhere to greener pastures. And if they feel like that, then amateur-old-me has no reason to stay with Adobe's monthly rates. I do get why Adobe are doing it. This strategy is a sure fire one of securing revenue that eventually will allow for more advances in their software, but I can't be a donor to their cause any more.
So where now?
Ideally, to an editing suite that I can buy outright and own, like the old skool way, receiving updates without the premium bite.
The choices that I have given myself, after much research are: the Luminar 2018 program, that is imminent in its release, Capture One Pro 10 and Google Nik Software and I am excited by all these contenders.
Luminar 2018 looks like the very capable bridge I'd be ready for as I cross over from Lightroom to something new and I would use this as a stand alone program, not as a plug-in. The cost is nice too at £53 as a pre-order with a few extras thrown in to seal the deal.
Capture One Pro 10 comes in at £249 for sole ownership with all future updates and is an incredible darkroom. I even purchased a series of tutorial videos a while ago to learn the ins and outs of this editing suite but that price tag is a little of a hefty one right now, in amongst purchasing a new house. BUT I do have time on my side. My current subscription to Adobe runs out in February 2018 and as a means of halting my cancellation, as an existing customer, I received 60 days free subscription meaning that I will only have one month subscription to pay before I cancel for good. This could mean that I enjoy the fruits of the 'classic' Lightroom and Photoshop package until the time where I would naturally be ready for a new flame, save up and buy Capture One Pro 10 outright. In theory, I would have saved enough to purchase Capture One Pro 10 by then, all the while learning it's ropes. That's option 2.
Option 3 is proper old skool but carries some speculation. Google Nik Software has a very exciting future now that it has been taken over by DxO. A take over was only a matter of time seeing as the Nik editing suite has helped so many photographers create and present their work and as a result amassed a vast following. It seems like its a win-win situation for any company with the photographic and programming experience to tackle its continuation, something DxO has in droves. It's such s relief to discover after a campaign to save it that Nik is to carry on. It is guaranteed to be a popular choice BUT will it change to a subscription system in order for DxO to claw back what they forked out for it? Time will only tell and I hope they present a sensible option for the masses who right now are enjoying its use for free. Finding an agreeable balance might prove to be slightly tricky. We all watch that space.
Each option has its own pros and cons. New versus old. Established versus new kid on the block. Cheaper versus expensive. But I am going to go down the Luminar route. OK, it doesn't have a file system yet but that is promised for 2018 and should plug that hole nicely. Price, features, speed of use and functionality seem to be right for me. Capture One Pro 10 is a fraction too costly BUT that isn't to say that it wouldn't be the right option later on down the line and I do have the tutorials. My Luminar 2018 preorder has in fact already been sent so 16.11.2017 dawns a new beginning to the look of my photography away from Lightroom. I have had a little experience with Macphun's Creative Suite so the cross over shouldn't be that drastic. I'm looking forward to it.
So to cut this long story short, 53mm has a new destination too, after coming full circle itself, and is moving home. Squarespace has become too expensive and after taking into account the wonderful kindness of the PATRONS that support 53mm financially, and my own budget, WordPress is going to be it's new residence. The costs of this move will be a fraction of the annual fee with Squarespace and with the new 53 magazine making it's home with LucidPress the overall costs would be more in line with sensible economics rather than the false economic model I have been living by with the 53mm initiative thus far.
The new website will be home for the 53 magazine as well as a few of the key features that have made the present website inspirational. Content is now secure, with 5ERI3S, PROCE53ES, X-pert 53 and 53mm Featured AND with the 12x53 contests and a few new ideas the bi-monthly magazine should be packed with inspiration. I think a change is in order to freshen things up. The 53RD COLLECTIVE is looking great with the new line up of photographers and the 53 magazine will be a great home for them but I'd also like to celebrate more of the followers of the Instagram feed to inspire even more use of the XF35mm lenses and X100 equivalents. The new start is just the platform I'd like to attempt to take 53mm to in order to search for new avenues and collaborations.
Exciting times and 53mm phase 2 will be launched in early 2018.
I appreciate you
So going full circle has been such a good thing, for my personal photography and for 53mm. Opportunities are on the horizon, and I'm looking forward to bumping into whoever or whatever they are on the way to a further destination or two.
Thank you for ALL your support and encouragement so far, for being a solid community of companions. You All have not only developed 53mm into what it is but also me as a photographer too. 53mm's vision and intent is as strong as it's ever been..
And thank you for taking the time to skim over some of my thoughts and conclusions. I hope it all makes sense.
Wishing you inspirational light.
Inspiration is the Intention