Sara for DEDPXL

I love gear.

The obsession can be pretty intense; thinking about it, talking about it, even arguing about it on the internet – which ends up drowning out the most important thing: making photographs.

Years ago, I discovered that the longer I do this “photography business” thing, the less gear I end up using. As I refine my work more and more, the tools I use become less and less. As I distill, the results become finer, smoother, more crisp and with more clarity. It’s like I am my own wine distillery, only instead of refining wines, I’m bringing my work to its most fundamental point. Using less and less to make more. Which can sometimes be a bummer for the Gear Obsessive lobe in my brain that wants to argue with other people about things like camera straps and camera bags. Or development times. Or how to hold a camera. Or how to think.

But over the last 13 years there has been one element that has saved me time and time again; has calmed me down, has supported as much gear as I can carry, has helped my business and my personal life and has made me see things from various perspectives and has shown me when I’m wrong or right, and has helped me through failures and victories and sadness and overwhelming joy and celebration.

It isn’t a tripod, or a camera lens, or a bag. It doesn’t have shutter failures, or a warranty or a radio triggering system. It doesn’t have megapixels. Sometimes it has a burst rate, but mostly when I haven’t taken the trash out, or I’ve been spending too much time playing Grand Theft Auto.

The most important element in my business and in my life is my wife, Sara.

Sara for DEDPXL

She’s been the tripod and the foundation that everything I have is built upon.

She’s always offered support and understanding, even when I am too bull-headed to accept it. For years she would watch the stress of me trying to run myself as a business and she would always offer help. “I’m here for you.” she would say, and I would dismiss it and keep pushing that rock up the hill. I would beat my chest like an ape and think “No. I am Man. I can do this alone. I must. To provide.”

Finally, last year, the stress became too much; too much worrying about money and my health and contacts and emailing and making marketing materials and car payments and the Future and no clients and some clients and late payments and lists of possible contacts and gear and printers clogging up and not having money for inks and . . . I could feel my heart start to squeeze a little. I was drowning. And when I finally came to her, head hung, coughing up water, ashamed, I heard my own quiet faint words as I said “I need help”.

And she said “Yes. I am here for you. I always will be. Tell me what I can do to take some of this weight.”

And she started to help; pencil scrawlings on paper became databases and suddenly I had connections where I previously didn’t. And I had meetings where before I didn’t. She did this because she wanted to help, because I asked, and, most importantly, because she believes in me.

Every so often, when business drags and things get really slow and money makes me start to panic and I start to get fatalistic and over dramatic and hate the world and hate every other photographer around me and want to just burn everything and quit, Sara will sit me down and she will tell me “Maybe if you *weren’t* this good. Maybe if your work really wasn’t all that and never got better. Maybe if I heard that clients don’t like your personality. Maybe if nothing changed, then I’d suggest it might be time to move on. But your work is better than anyone in this area, and you get better day by day. People know your name. People know your work. Clients like you. Even if you can’t see your own progression, I do. So, no. You can’t quit. I won’t let you. You are too good.”

Sara can see my path much clearer than I can.

 

She is absolutely the most fundamental element in my life, and in what I’m trying to do to make a living by creating images. She is the strongest tripod that exists or has ever been created.

And she makes sacrifices because she believes in me and what I create. Sara is also a photographer, but she photographs less and less because she spends more time helping me. I feel bad about that, because the time she could be creating landscapes gets cut because her husband is struggling. She deserves more rewards than I can provide her. I don’t think there isn’t a week that goes by when I don’t think about everything else she could be doing for joy besides entering names and addresses in a database to help keep me more organized. It bothers me. But she says she knows I’m happiest when I’m shooting and interacting with people. Thats what I should be doing. She’s helping me with the other stuff. Amazing.

Sara for DEDPXL

Don’t forget the people who are there to support you. Make sure you leave time for them. None of us can do this alone, and having a support system that is more than CPS or NPS or a rental house is absolutely necessary. A wife. A family. A best friend. Those are the true legs to the tripod that is the foundation to any person, not just a photographer or a business. Photography is amazing – I’m not wired to do anything else but create images. But know when to step back. Know when to put the camera down, and pick up your loved ones hand. Holding a hand while watching a sunset is so much better than taking a picture of it. And the value far exceeds print sales too.

I didn’t know what I wanted to write for my first post here at DEDPXL. I got scared that it had to be something about cameras or sensors or film. But as I sit here looking out over my studio and the images on my wall, and think about my business and my work, I realize that Sara inhabits every part of it; from the joy of getting a really amazing frame, to when I think I’m a crap photographer, to when I’m standing in front of a classroom of young aspiring minds and sharing my love of creating images that empower people and enlighten imaginations. Every step of the way, her support keeps me going. She helps me ignite, over and over, that passion and fire and desire I have for the alchemy of photography.

Cheers,
Sid

Editor’s note – Check out this short film Sid made to propose to Sara. 

Sid Ceaser

Sid Ceaser is a commercial, editorial & fine art photographer based in Nashua, NH and is a monthly contributor to DEDPXL. In addition to shooting he also teaches workshops and runs a podcast with designer Dave Seah.

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41 Comments

  1. Frank Grygier

    Sid, What a poignant and lovely way to begin. I was reminded again that without the one I love I would be nothing and that with her I can do anything. God bless you and Sara.

  2. Mike

    Great post, Sid. This can be applied to anyone, no matter their profession. Having someone to support you, encourage you, and help share the load is so important.

  3. Steve

    Very nice. Great post!

  4. FRANK IN WISCONSIN

    Pure troll repellant. Honest posts like this elevate this site above the “dp reviews” of the interwebs. and point out the pointless nature of arguing over technology or technique. So much has to go “right” before that shutter is pressed that is just not included in the store bought black box.

    Sounds like you are one lucky guy Sid; and she deserves all the credit you can giver her. Zacks’ heartfelt tribute to Meg at GPP was much along the same lines.

    This kind of post reminds us there’s a human side to all the megapixels. Nice job

  5. Jenna

    Sara is incredibly photogenic!

  6. Senthil

    Dear Zack,

    Not sure whether it is appropriate to write this in the comment section. You can remove this or not publish this, if you wish.

    I am not a professional photographer and I do not have any intentions of becoming one. It will remain a passionate hobby photographer for life. My day job (I don’t like that phrase but in the interest of others, I use that phrase) is paying me well enough to lead a very comfortable life and allows me to spend on photography also.

    I have learnt a lot from you about photography, lighting and thought process. In fact, more than from anyone else. And I have paid you enough.

    After you switched to Dedpxl, what I get from you had changed. Day by day, it is changing more and more. In the opposite direction of my expectations, I should say. I am never comfortable with emotions and sentiments. I am more a man of intellect. I am just like that.

    Of course, it is your platform and you have all the right to keep it running the way you want. I have no arguments there. So, I have decided to just log out of your platform and will not return again.

    I thought of leaving without putting in writing like this but after some thought, I felt I should let you know.

    Thanks for everything. And wish you all the best.

    • FRANK IN WISCONSIN

      Politely:
      “math or moment”? There’s plenty of “math” discussions around to dive into. Some people are chasing technical perfection; some the new toys; some the art and the humanity. Rest assured, Eventually he’ll be back. He seemed to be a “reasonable” sort.

    • Sid Ceaser

      “I am never comfortable with emotions and sentiments.”

      Senthil, you aren’t alone. Lots of people aren’t. Lots of people refuse to acknowledge it. But here is the deal: you can go anywhere to learn about an f/stop, or composition, or bracketing. What you don’t find very often are the people sharing their road bumps. You might think Photography is nothing but settings and lenses and bags and business cards, but underneath all of that is a more fundamental necessity that every single person needs. Support. Even if you don’t want to talk about it, or are uncomfortable with it, I think it’s important to talk about. I get that you shoot for fun. I think everyone should be shooting for fun, regardless if they make it a profession or they don’t. You might only see the surface of what it’s like to be a photographer; the choice portfolio shots, the shiny website, the few-and-far-between accolades or successes. What you don’t see is all the behind-the-scenes stuff. The failures. The struggles. And, ultimately, the realization that photographers don’t exist in a vacuum. They can’t do this alone.

      So we talk about what really helps reach that next plateau or goal. Not a stupid 85mm f/1.2 lens, but someone to help us with a database. Someone to make a cold call. Someone to help lift the burden.

      I’m sorry you aren’t interested in that. Or perhaps uncomfortable to the point of not visiting any longer.

      When you take apart a photographer, he isn’t make up of ultrasonic stabilization or fine Domke fabrics, he’s a guy, or a gal. Or your neighbor. Struggling to figure stuff out and make it work. Intellect absolutely is involved with building relationships and giving support. I want to talk about the stuff that *isn’t* talked about.

      F-stops don’t change. Let’s talk about the stuff that does.

      Cheers,
      Sid

      • palinode

        “F-stops don’t change. Let’s talk about the stuff that does.”

        My god. Perfect.

        • Zack

          +1

    • Zack

      Senthil,

      I get what you’re saying. I think Sid made a great reply so I won’t go that route. He echo’s my thoughts.

      I’ll say this though… if you aren’t going to be comfortable with emotions and sentiments then your photography is going to be cold and lifeless. For me, drawing from emotions and sentiments and struggles and happiness and anger are what drives how I’m making photos these days. Or at least… where I want my photography to go. A goal I’m working on. I’ll be posting about this soon in a music / photography post. Not sure if you’ll see it or not.

      I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the technical side of photography. I’m still going there with DEDPXL but it’s time to peel back deeper layers and not just talk about the “how” but about the “why”.

      I’m going to challenge you Senthil. What is the emotion in your photography? Is there emotion in your photography? Is there a feeling a viewer can get from your work? Are you trying to connect with your subjects and your viewers and the world at large? Is there a struggle you have that is NOT technical in nature but emotional in nature. Surely you are not a robot. And simply being a man of intellect does not mean you can not also be emotional. The most intellectual person I know is my wife. She’s also very emotional. When her intellect and her emotion combine it’s fucking amazing.

      Spock. Spock was a man of intellect. Probably the most boring person at the party as well. I’m not saying you have to be footloose and fancy free and a party animal. Look at the work of James Nachtwey. He is quiet to the point of being kind of cold. Not the life of the party. But the man captures emotion like no other. He’s a very very very smart man but there is an emotion that rages in his work. I don’t give a damn what camera he shoots. What his favorite lens it. I want to know how that man thinks. I want to know how he deals with everyday life. I want to see behind the curtain.

      I’m very proud of the contributors I’m picking for DEDPXL. We’ll have more technique and how to stuff. We sure will. Been working on that stuff behind the scenes for weeks. More gear reviews and discussions but it is this kind of thing I want to talk about more.

      If you need to move on, move on. I am changing. I am wanting to do some new things. I don’t want to be the same ol same ol photographer and blogger that I’ve been for the past decade. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to break out of some of the molds I’ve made for myself and some molds others have put me in.

      Thank you though for voicing your opinion and thoughts. I really do appreciate that. As I told someone earlier… DEDPXL is still in its infancy. Be patient. You’re going to see that this is going to be pretty cool.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Johnny

        Zack,

        I’ve been a fan of yours since the OSP days. I love your candid and honest approach. I feel being real is more important than anything.

        What you said in reply to Senthil, “the WHY” reminded me of what I said to a friend of mine that was questioning my reasons for purchasing Dan Winters book “The Road to Seeing”. This friend could not understand spending money on a book that doesn’t go into the technical details about the photographs he took. I was astonished at this response and simply told my friend that it isn’t a ‘how-to’ book, it’s a ‘why-to’ book.

        At that moment I saw the light bulb go off in my friends head.

        We can know the how’s all day long and there are countless resources out there for us to learn… but it’s the ‘why’ that matters above all else. Without knowing why, we are lost.

        I told my friend that I felt the perfect photography book would not have any photos. : )

        ***

        Sid,

        Awesome post man. You reminded me that I cannot let the hectic and suffocating nature of this job keep me from showing my wife how much I love her and respect her for all she does for me. She sacrificed her career as an interior designer long ago to raise our small hoard of children and allow me to be a photographer.

        I’m going to give her a kiss now.

        < Johnny

        • Dave P.

          Johnny – “I told my friend that I felt the perfect photography book would not have any photos.”
          It’s funny you should say that because I recently started reading a photography book that does not have any photos (except for the one on the cover–taken with an iPhone). The book is “A Beautiful Anarchy: When the Life Created Becomes the Life Created,” by David duChemin. I don’t know if it’s the *perfect* photography book but it’s a damn good one.

          Sid – What a wonderful new beginning. Being somewhat of a “Sid groupie” (three-time attendee of your “Portable Portrait” workshop), I’ve gotten to know you somewhat, and what you’ve written here is from the heart. What a beautiful tribute to Sara. One “takeaway” from the very first workshop was (is)–it’s not about the gear. I remember feeling a bit sheepish “only” having a crop camera and a “consumer” lens among many of those photographers carrying “real” cameras and lenses. Reviewing my shots, I realized I had taken one of my favorite photographs–with my “lowly gear”, no less. The other thing you instilled was confidence…doing everything in manual so we knew what the heck was going on. I used what I learned this weekend to photograph my nephew’s senior portraits. You see, he has autism, and the “shooting window” was short, but as a family (including my wife behind me doing crazy stuff to get him to laugh), we pulled it off–using just what you taught. Thank you.

          Zack – I’ve been a fan of your work for some time. I loved your “Photography Q&A” book, and I’ll definitely be checking out this dedpxl thing (sorry, not sure what to call it). I was saying to a friend recently that Sid kind of reminds me of you, or vice versa–and I don’t think it’s just the beards. A lot of what I’ve seen or read from you strikes some of the same chords I’ve felt when talking with Sid. I mentioned this to Sid, who said you may be a “brother from another mother.” Glad he’s on board.

          Best,

          Dave

        • Zack

          When I read Sid’s first comment on this DEDPXL thing I knew he was a kindred spirit! And “thing” is fine. I’m still trying to define it. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Zack

        • Dave P.

          Correction: The title of the book I mentioned is “A Beautiful Anarchy: When the Life *Creative* Becomes the Life Created”. Apologies to David duChemin.

      • Senthil

        Zack,

        My friend called me and told that you have replied and he was bit upset about my comment. I think my comment had been taken in a different route altogether. It is due to my mistake. First, I realise that I should not have posted as a comment to the Sid’s column because it is not about his post but it is about Dedpxl in general. Apologies. Secondly I apologise to Sid for sort of hijacking his post to some extent. Zack, I will express my views about Dedpxl through personal mail conversations, if you write to me.

        You challenged me by asking whether there is emotion in my photography. And Sid talked about technique and gear. Those two reactions made me realise that I have not expressed my thoughts properly. I do not want to hide behind the fact that English is not my native language for not expressing my thoughts clearly. I should have but did not.

        About the technique and gear. Yes, I was obsessed with those things, like everyone, for a very short period of time. Once I got the required control over the technique, which I did fairly quickly, I moved on and away. It lasted just a year, during which I bought so much of gear, read so much of material on the internet, watched so much of tutorials. I decided enough of learning after first year and started focusing on my work. I learn about gear and buy them only when I hit a wall and I need to go beyond that wall to achieve what I want. I had the maturity and intellect to do that.

        About emotions in my photography. I will twist a line from the movie Amadeus. I am cold but I can guarantee that my work is not.

        I sincerely believe that my intellect, coldness and lack of emotions help me create work that moves my viewers. I started shooting video six months back about which my knowledge was near zero when I got into video. I spent one month to learn about it and made a video to educate people about the issues around child marriage (under age marriage, to be precise). It may surprise many, but child marriage is still practiced widely in my country, particularly in villages. I do not want to get into that subject much because it is a big subject, but I will just say that the lack of education, lack of awareness and socio economic reasons are the prime reasons for that. I chose one song on this topic (sung by a folk singer, Magizhini Manimaran), got the permission to use the song and created a video. During the creation of the video, I spent lot of time in remote villages (where the quality of life was way below my normal levels), ate their simple food, slept on the floor with them, open toilets and so on. I neither enjoyed nor complained. I did not feel anything differently. After spending considerable time with the shooting and post production, I started screening the video in village community areas. I also gave the video to some NGOs who work on this subject and asked them to distribute / screen in villages where the practice is high.

        I did all this with my own funds. I did not charge anyone. I paid all the expenses including production, post production, accessories rentals, travel etc from my pocket. I also cut DVDs and distributed them free of cost.

        But I approached and executed the entire thing without any emotions or feelings. I approached this as a cold business model. What I want to achieve? Who are the target audience? What is their level of intelligence? What will appeal to them? What style will make them sit and watch? What will make them understand? What will influence their thoughts? Who can influence and prevent this inside the families? How to design this? How to create this? How to present this? So many questions like this. I asked all these and found answers with my intellect and not with my emotions. I was very cold throughout this like a business man. The final product may not be great technically but it achieved what I wanted it to. If I shoot this again after a year, I will shoot it differently from technical perspective but the emotion will be more or less the same even then.

        Though I have never cried in my life, I made hundreds of mothers cry with this video during screenings. After watching this many women told me that had they watched this some years back, they would have prevented some child marriage in their families. Still my emotions were / are neutral. I would help solve a problem with my intellect rather than console the affected person with my emotion.

        I am not trying to advertise myself since I don’t see any reason why I should. Just to make the point that my work is not cold, I am sharing the video I talked about. It is from a completely different culture and language which many of the readers have no experience with. But I am still confident that the emotion in the video will be felt. The actual song starts at 1:49. Till that time some young girls talk about what they want to become when they grow. You can watch it at https://vimeo.com/93922390

        Did I do this because I was affected by this problem? No. What are my emotions on this subject? Nothing. Did I do this for money? No. Did I do this for future financial gains like using this as my portfolio? No. As I said in my earlier comment, I do not have any plans of becoming a pro (meaning financial gain from my art). Then why the hell did I do this? I normally do things to challenge myself. To satisfy me. But I take care that I do not hurt others’ sentiments or values. There might be some other meaning buried somewhere inside me, but I do not care to find it since I don’t need the reason.

        Coming back to the point in question, I am not a machine but a human. So, I do have emotions. But it is very minimal and I continue to kill it / suppress it with my intellect consciously. I have found out that my work achieves the purpose only then. It works for me. May not work for others. It may be because I do not need any emotional stimulant. I am currently working on a documentary video about a certain suppressed community in my country and also on a short film (crime thriller) simultaneously. Since I am approaching both with my intellect, I am able to work on both these diverse project simultaneously. Will my work be better if I pour my emotions into them and feel it? I don’t think so because the emotions generally tend to slow me down and make me look at things with a bias.

        — Senthil

    • Levi

      Hey man – I’m a little confused on the apparent paradox of your thoughtful comment.

      How is you that you are a ‘passionate hobby photographer’ and yet ‘never comfortable with emotions and sentiments’? How do you balance the two? Doesn’t emotion empower passion? And aren’t sentiments essential to photography?

      I don’t understand….

  7. Larry

    What a tribute. And to her too.

  8. Simon

    Great post.

    And Zack if you are reading this (or Megan! ahha) good job on bringing guest writers in.

    This is the BEST blog on internet right now. No contest.

    • Zack

      Thanks Simon,

      And I want you to think of Anne, Sid, and others as just writers. I’m not looking for guest writers. I know that’s being a bit picky with the words but we are building a calendar of deadlines and DEDPXL contributors are paid to write for this blog. I’m wanting this to be legit.

      But… thank you. I’m glad you are enjoying what we have built so far. Much more to come!

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Simon

        It’s good to read that this baby is a coop effort!

        And it’s quite amazing that you write back so often on comments!

        Keep it up everyone!

  9. Matt Treager

    Well done, Sid. I resonate especially with this: “Know when to put the camera down, and pick up your loved ones hand. Holding a hand while watching a sunset is so much better than taking a picture of it. And the value far exceeds print sales too.” My wife got a good laugh and nodded in approval when I read that line to her.

    I’ve really been enjoying these more “op-ed” style posts. I think it fills a big need in the online photo community, where it seems people are a bit hesitant to have some real talk, and instead hide behind their perfectly crafted veil of a latest photo shoot or gear purchase (I’m guilty of this, too).

    I look forward to reading more of your articles, Sid! And kudos to you, Zack for finding such great contributors – can’t wait to see where this blog goes!

    Cheers,
    -Matt

  10. Tom K.

    Sid…..I have been a fan of yours for years. If I’m not mistaken you posted quite a bit in years gone by in Fred Miranda’s forums. Your work has always inspired me and your energy and personality shine through in your subjects. Your sentiments in the above posted article show the humanity of the side of photography…or any other profession for that matter……that a loved one such as your wonderful wife can provide. The power of the support/love system you have is priceless. You have tremendous talent and a supportive loving wife. That’s a formula for success in life no matter what you do. I’m glad it’s photography. Zack made a brilliant move by bringing you in to DEDPXL. Welcome and thank you for your inspirational words and images.

    • Senthil

      Zack,

      My friend called me and told that you have replied and he was bit upset about my comment. I think my comment had been taken in a different route altogether. It is due to my mistake. First, I realise that I should not have posted as a comment to the Sid’s column because it is not about his post but it is about Dedpxl in general. Apologies. Secondly I apologise to Sid for sort of hijacking his post to some extent. Zack, I will express my views about Dedpxl through personal mail conversations, if you write to me.

      You challenged me by asking whether there is emotion in my photography. And Sid talked about technique and gear. Those two reactions made me realise that I have not expressed my thoughts properly. I do not want to hide behind the fact that English is not my native language for not expressing my thoughts clearly. I should have but did not.

      About the technique and gear. Yes, I was obsessed with those things, like everyone, for a very short period of time. Once I got the required control over the technique, which I did fairly quickly, I moved on and away. It lasted just a year, during which I bought so much of gear, read so much of material on the internet, watched so much of tutorials. I decided enough of learning after first year and started focusing on my work. I learn about gear and buy them only when I hit a wall and I need to go beyond that wall to achieve what I want. I had the maturity and intellect to do that.

      About emotions in my photography. I will twist a line from the movie Amadeus. I am cold but I can guarantee that my work is not.

      I sincerely believe that my intellect, coldness and lack of emotions help me create work that moves my viewers. I started shooting video six months back about which my knowledge was near zero when I got into video. I spent one month to learn about it and made a video to educate people about the issues around child marriage (under age marriage, to be precise). It may surprise many, but child marriage is still practiced widely in my country, particularly in villages. I do not want to get into that subject much because it is a big subject, but I will just say that the lack of education, lack of awareness and socio economic reasons are the prime reasons for that. I chose one song on this topic (sung by a folk singer, Magizhini Manimaran), got the permission to use the song and created a video. During the creation of the video, I spent lot of time in remote villages (where the quality of life was way below my normal levels), ate their simple food, slept on the floor with them, open toilets and so on. I neither enjoyed nor complained. I did not feel anything differently. After spending considerable time with the shooting and post production, I started screening the video in village community areas. I also gave the video to some NGOs who work on this subject and asked them to distribute / screen in villages where the practice is high.

      I did all this with my own funds. I did not charge anyone. I paid all the expenses including production, post production, accessories rentals, travel etc from my pocket. I also cut DVDs and distributed them free of cost.

      But I approached and executed the entire thing without any emotions or feelings. I approached this as a cold business model. What I want to achieve? Who are the target audience? What is their level of intelligence? What will appeal to them? What style will make them sit and watch? What will make them understand? What will influence their thoughts? Who can influence and prevent this inside the families? How to design this? How to create this? How to present this? So many questions like this. I asked all these and found answers with my intellect and not with my emotions. I was very cold throughout this like a business man. The final product may not be great technically but it achieved what I wanted it to. If I shoot this again after a year, I will shoot it differently from technical perspective but the emotion will be more or less the same even then.

      Though I have never cried in my life, I made hundreds of mothers cry with this video during screenings. After watching this many women told me that had they watched this some years back, they would have prevented some child marriage in their families. Still my emotions were / are neutral. I would help solve a problem with my intellect rather than console the affected person with my emotion.

      I am not trying to advertise myself since I don’t see any reason why I should. Just to make the point that my work is not cold, I am sharing the video I talked about. It is from a completely different culture and language which many of the readers have no experience with. But I am still confident that the emotion in the video will be felt. The actual song starts at 1:49. Till that time some young girls talk about what they want to become when they grow. You can watch it at https://vimeo.com/93922390

      Did I do this because I was affected by this problem? No. What are my emotions on this subject? Nothing. Did I do this for money? No. Did I do this for future financial gains like using this as my portfolio? No. As I said in my earlier comment, I do not have any plans of becoming a pro (meaning financial gain from my art). Then why the hell did I do this? I normally do things to challenge myself. To satisfy me. But I take care that I do not hurt others’ sentiments or values. There might be some other meaning buried somewhere inside me, but I do not care to find it since I don’t need the reason.

      Coming back to the point in question, I am not a machine but a human. So, I do have emotions. But it is very minimal and I continue to kill it / suppress it with my intellect consciously. I have found out that my work achieves the purpose only then. It works for me. May not work for others. It may be because I do not need any emotional stimulant. I am currently working on a documentary video about a certain suppressed community in my country and also on a short film (crime thriller) simultaneously. Since I am approaching both with my intellect, I am able to work on both these diverse project simultaneously. Will my work be better if I pour my emotions into them and feel it? I don’t think so because the emotions generally tend to slow me down and make me look at things with a bias.

      • Zack

        Dear Senthil’s friend,

        Please let Senthil know this is a great discussion!

        Dear Senthil,

        I’ve roped you back in! Hahaha!

        I LOVE your reply. Thank you so much for coming back to continue the discussion. I do not think you are hijacking Sid’s post because it is this post that made you leave your reply. That reply sparked a response. That led to further discussion. I love this. I want this.

        While the emotions might not be something for you I sure would like you to comment more as they give us reason to pause, consider your words, and think on what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.

        Your video is great. Well done on that. Thank you so much for sharing it.

        So… What kind of posts would you like to see? I’m about to post one about a simple photo accessory but I talk through a shoot I did with it and why it was important to me. It’s a post about gear but more than that it is a post about why that piece of gear is important along with how it is used. I would love to hear from you though as to what you’d like to see here. I’m not trying to make this site all things for all people but I think you would have a very articulate opinion on the matter.

        Thanks for coming back if only to further this specific discussion. I applaud you for the work you are doing.

        Cheers,
        Zack

        • Senthil

          Zack,

          Thanks for asking what I like to see in DEDPXL. Appreciate it.

          I understand you have to cater to diverse audience. So, I do not expect to see only what I like to see in this space. But when I get less and less of what I want, I get disappointed and move on. You gain some, lose some.

          I come to you to learn about things I NEED. When I get stuck and my improvisations do not help, I look around for help. You are in a position to give me that since you are a much better photographer than me, you are intelligent, you are passionate, you have eyes, you shoot lot more than I do, you have faced situations I am yet to be in, you have learnt from them and you are original. Proof point? Your QA series on tumblr.

          I think inspiration and motivation should come from inside and not from outside. Ok, I give in. Inspiration, to some extent, can come from outside. If anyone needs motivation from outside, they are wasting their time with photography. I am not judgemental. Just pragmatic. So any stuff which assumes I need inspiration and motivation puts me off. Thank you. I have plenty. I can ask directions when I am lost, but I cannot ask where I should go.

          So, what do I like to see and read in dedpxl?

          You have the ability to get into the skin of other photographers (Did I say I loved your tumblr QA series?). I need more of your brain and less of your heart.

          You can talk about gear but not about the gear gear. I would like to know what problem it solved and how it helped you. It could be a new gear in the market or old forgotten gear or DIY stuff or some divine intervention, I don’t care. I am interested only in what problem got solved. I do not want to buy a gear just because “The Zack Arias” has bought it. And fool myself that I can create images like he does, from now on. I know many guys who bought a Fuji X100s and still scratching their heads. You did not tell them properly or they did not listen properly. I know a particular guy who firmly believes that you cheated him. Hahahaha.

          You can talk about situations. Tight situations. What went in your mind when you are stuck. How you came out of it. What you took home from that situation.

          You can talk about technique. What goes for gear, goes for technique also.

          And…

          Come on, man. Don’t ask me. You know. You know what I mean. Take all your posts, go through the comments section and decide. Of course, you will ignore the one line comments like “Great. WOW. Super. Way to go. You rock.”. Which posts result in plenty of meaningful debates? They are the ones I like to see more of. Check out your post “Moving to Motion” and see the comments section. Was that simple / idle gear talk? In fact, I liked the comments more than your post. Hahahaha.

          If I get something like one third of the content like this, I will love it. I magnanimously allow you to use the remaining two thirds for others. Hahhahahha.

          I always considered you as one of the few thinking and passionate photographers around. You are already there and I am working continuously towards that. This model is becoming obsolete fast.

          I hope you understand why I decided to log out. Anyway, thanks once again for asking.

          — Senthil

        • Zack

          Thanks for the reply Senthil. That’s some fantastic and honest feedback. I truly appreciate it.

          How’s today’s post about the 5-in-1 reflector?

          Cheers,
          Zack

    • Sid Ceaser

      Tom!

      I still lurk over at FM. Someone started a thread about the Lomo Petzval lens and I’ve been flappin’ my gums about it.

      And thank you for your kind words! It’s nice to see people are noticing. Sometimes it feels like nobody is.

      Cheers,
      Sid

  11. Jim Robertson

    I see what you guys are doing here. Getting us in touch with our feelings as much as with our craft. I don’t understand how you can have one without the other. Even after watching Senthil’s wonderful video, I can’t wrap my mind around the possibility that he can create scenes that make me feel without feeling something himself. But his approach does sound very logical.

    Thanks for the touching post, Sid!

    Oh, and loved you in “Your Show of Shows”. 😉

  12. Adrienne

    The best part of waking up is Sid and Zack in my cup! Sid, I’m delighted to see you here! From the days of Flickr trolling and hunting for people who ,’Do something cool’, I’ve loved your stuff. I also love where Zack is taking this site. The heavens have opened up and I said, “YES! This is exactly what’s happening in my business!” It’s a place to be understood, gotten, and relatable. There really are days were I think, “Oh gawwwd, if I have to deal with one more mother of the bride, I’m gonna…” There’s nothing technical I can’t figure out with google, youtube, and my full time models…my dogs. I want to know about a photographer’s being. The human stuff. Who they are being in the face of whatever is happening on a shoot, wedding, etc. The level of expectation on a hired photographer’s performance is 110%. You won’t find a bride saying, “I don’t care about the pictures.” NO! Someone hires you when they believe you’re going to deliver the job the way they want it. They have faith in you even if you were a second choice because they better dude was already booked. I go into a job (any shoot for that matter) with a set of concerns for delivering that 110%, and how I handle myself has nothing to do with my 75lb luggage full of gear.

    We convince ourselves daily of what we can and can’t do in life without any factual basis but what we know from the past or what someone else said happened or will happen. In recreating ourselves, we get something new. Something new has never happened before, so it can’t be based of anything. I write all of this to say, cameras and technology are the predictable and a constant in this industry. Who we see ourselves as and create ourselves to be is limitless and can never be exactly the same as another. It’s the real meat and potatoes of what keeps us inspired and making great photos. It’s easy to figure out what another photographer is doing and copy that. What really gets me going is a place to grow, share, and inspire myself to make something new. Thank you, Zack for providing a space to do so. It’s just what I’m looking for.

    Adrienne

  13. Matthew Thomson

    Thank you. Really hit home with me. Going through tough times myself and if it were not for my wife and family who knows?

  14. Giovanni Maggiora

    Warmest truest love letter I’ve read in a long time.
    You guys are a lucky couple.
    ‘Nuff said…

  15. Carlos Sandoval

    That`s a really heart warming entry. No ISO, shutter speed, aperture talk, etc. etc. can compare to this. Enough said. Keep up the great work, Sid. Thanx.

  16. Ian

    Sid you’re awesome. And… is there anywhere else on the internet that has so many positive comments? I doubt it. That’s a feat unto itself.

  17. Riswandi Koedrat

    Without my wife, our finances will be pathetic.

  18. Ken Enochs

    Lovely post! What a wonderful wife you have and, importantly, the good sense to know it.

  19. Leandro

    Perfect, congratulations to you Sid and Sara.

  20. Garcia

    I bought my first camera two weeks and I am still learning to play with her.