One of the books that I wrote which I’m the most proud of is my Zen Photography book, which I finished in the Vietnam, at the wonderful LA VIET coffee cafe compound.
I think the reason why I love my Zen Photography book, and why it has resonated with so many people is that it is honest, interesting, and insightful.
I have some general thoughts about how to become a zen photographer — the first is focusing on the zen photography aesthetic and ethos.
The second one is very simple: delete all of your social media accounts. Delete Instagram, don’t use it. Delete comments, delete statistics, disable them all.
This is where I still recommend using wordpress.org over wordpress.com. it seems that wordpress.com, which is run by automaticc— they always find a stealthy way to try to include statistics and stats into everything.
With wordpress.org, you can disable comments, disable stats, disable at all.
If you really really really really really want to become a zen photographer, the strategy is to structure things in such a way in which you’re not exposed to any feedback.
Also, I think the reason why I’ll never put Seneca in organized sports is that the focus on numbers, games, winners and losers is a bad one. I would rather just take him to a park, like Calvin and Hobbes just play Calvin Ball; just make up the game as you go along. And ultimately the sport in the game isn’t even that important, what is more important is your courage physicality strength and physical capacity and capability.
First and foremost, I don’t think it’s actually necessary to shoot black-and-white. I personally prefer it, but you can still do it in color! Just keep the color super minimal.
For example, I really like the photo curation done by the Apple Photos team, there is this fun little dynamic photo exhibition gallery thing in front of the Apple office in Culver City on Washington, the compositions are beautiful; simple, elegant and flowing.
iPad Pro photographer?
Just shoot on your iPad!
Very funny thought that I have which I really love about shooting photos on the iPad, the iPad Pro 11 inch, with those stupid accessories is it almost feels like you’re shooting photos on a large format 8 x 10 camera, but done in modern-day times.
Certainly the image quality isn’t the best, but compositionally it is fun and interesting and I enjoy doing it a lot!
How to shoot more zen
Simple thoughts include just on one camera, one lens. Whether it is integrated or interchangeable doesn’t really matter.
A simple thought I have is with the lenses, or the camera set up, opt for the most minimal, the most lightweight compact setup. For example on my Lumix G9, I recently bought the Panasonic Lumix 14 mm of 2.5 pancake lens, and I love it! The more compact, smaller and lighter your lens… the more you shoot the happier will be etc.
Also, a simple suggestion is just purge all of your camera equipment. My friend Stan Hudecki did this with his stuff, giving it away to family members, or people in need. Good vibes.
In 2015 I did the same, also purging almost all of my camera equipment, just giving a way to friends, family members etc. The reason why I like giving away camera equipment is that it could have greater utility for somebody, rather than just the annoying thing of having to sell it. I actually don’t like to sell stuff because it is too much work. Having to coordinate, negotiate, it is all such a pain in the ass.
Other zen thoughts
When you go on a photo walk, or go out to take photos, a simple thought is just leave your phone at home. While I think the iPhone is a great tool for photography, it is just too distracting.
Also another tip what I personally do is whenever I take Seneca to the park, I always lock my phone in my glove compartment, and I play with him at the park in order to not get distracted.
I think the biggest enemy and today’s world is being distracted. Imagine shooting photos on your iPhone, getting all these stupid notifications while you’re shooting etc. The simple thought you could do instead is put it in airplane mode when you’re shooting, but the downside is also that you might be tempted to turn off the airplane mode.
The future is standalone digital cameras
When I was in Mexico City, my student Chris Chung had the compact digital medium format Hasselblad camera, and I liked it a lot. Why? It was simple minimalistic and aesthetic, and also, because digital medium format is lower, I think it forces you to slow down.
My pragmatic thought is digital medium format is great; I really love the Pentax 645Z, and I think it is actually a more interesting idea to buy a digital medium format camera instead of buying a digital Leica M camera or a Leica Q camera, which is essentially a low-key Panasonic Lumix camera. How do you know? The Leica Q1 camera uses Panasonic Lumix batteries! Proof is in the pudding.
Also apparently Pentax put out a new black and white only DSLR camera, I think this is the most interesting camera in the market.
Zen photography assignments
- For an entire day, only shoot photos in macro mode
- Delete your Instagram
- Start your own WordPress.org website, just use bluehost.com or Ionos.com
- If you already got a website, see if you could disable the comments and statistics
- Put on website blocker extensions on chrome or Safari or Firefox which block gear review websites and rumor websites
- Don’t follow any photography related websites or blogs or YouTube channels. All of them ultimately just want to get you to buy more equipment, whether cameras or lenses or other stuff
- If you should color photos, try to experiment only capturing one photo at a time. Only blue, only red, only yellow etc.
- When you’re out shooting and composing your photos, strive to make the edges and the background as simple as possible.
- Diagonal composition
- Triangle composition
Upload your best photos to arsbeta.com
See if you could apply this Zen photography aesthetic to your Halloween photos! Make the photos as simple as possible, folks on details, and use the flash.
Arsbeta.com for your best photos
The more lenses you got on your iPhone the worst. Nowadays my thought is whenever I see anybody with three lenses on their iPhone, it looks kind of silly.
Greater flex to have just the normal iPhone with 2 lenses (2 is enough, just like kids or kidneys or lungs), or better yet, an iPhone SE — with just one lens!
Also a simple thought: every day uninstall at least one app from your phone or iPad or whatever… Better yet uninstalled two apps from your phone every day!
Also, manually go into your iPhone notifications panel and disable all of the apps notifications which include text messaging etc. the only one I enable is FaceTime, in case that my mom Cindy or my sister need to contact me.
- I am more afraid of the man who has trained one move 1000 times, than the man who knows 1000 moves – Bruce Lee
- Even a hair cast its own shadow — Publilus Syrus
- Better to use chatgpt to search for information instead of google, because you don’t have to deal with ads!
- Never read nothing that has an advertisement in it, which is all of you too, magazines, books which promote products or services etc.
- Just own one type of currency or one type of crypto. For example, I’m just invested in 100% bitcoin. It is either all or nothing, I’m also interested in chain-link, but yet have found a strong enough reason to dissolve all my bitcoin into chain-link. Proof of reserves however is a good idea.
- Just one wife, spouse or girlfriend: it seems that polygamy is too much stress. Better to just have one spouse, one wife, one girlfriend etc. More zen.