What do I want for Christmas?
I want a hug. I want a kiss. I want an embrace.
I want good cooked food with my family. I want to be fully present in the moment.
I don’t want to worry about my email, my social media accounts, or any sort of external worries.
I want inner-peace; inner-zen.
I don’t want to care what others think of me— I want to start to value my own opinion of myself more so than others’ opinions of me.
I want to lie down. I want to look at the sky, appreciate the beautiful sun above me.
I don’t want another camera.
I don’t want another “device” in my life to complicate my life. I don’t need more shit to charge.
I don’t need a fancy BMW or Benz.
I don’t need more 0’s in my bank account.
I don’t need more clothes to clutter up my (already cluttered) closet.
I don’t need words of praise.
I just want to enjoy the moment— laughter with family, good food, the smell of Vietnamese food in the air, and to perhaps take a few photos to document the moment.
I don’t need a new iPhone.
I don’t need a new digital Leica.
I don’t need more friends.
I don’t need more followers.
I don’t need anything— just the love of my family, my close friends— all other things are superfluous.
What do you want for Christmas?
I wish you peace, love, and tranquility. I wish you to appreciate your own photos, and to not care about what others think about your work.
I want you to make photos that make you proud and happy. I want you to print your photos, share them with your family, and to give them to those you love.
I want you to frame your own photos (cheap IKEA frames are fine)— and show off your own art, rather than collect the art of others.
I want you to be like a child— to explore the world in 2016 like you had no bullshit or “theory” holding you back.
I want you to take photos like the first time you picked up that instant film camera.
I want you to take photos like there were no tomorrow.
I want you to drink lots of coffee (preferably black, and also preferably espresso).
I want you to spend time getting feedback from colleagues and friends you trust.
I want you to disregard labels in photography, and to start your own vision in photography.
I want you to not worry about post-processing, or how to get more social media followers. I want you to learn how to choose your best work, to edit your photos ruthlessly, to remember that photography isn’t about making good photos— but to enjoy your life.
I want you to immerse yourself in all different forms of art. I want you to hit up a museum, to hit up a photography exhibition, to surround yourself with jazz & classical music, and for you to invest your money in experiences, not stuff.
I want you to save that $1,300 you plan on buying a new camera, lens, or whatever— and use that money to go on a round-trip ticket somewhere, to buy a shitload of gas and food and road-trip across your country, or to invest in photography books that you will re-read over and over again.
I want you to make your photography more personal. I want you to not care about the world’s opinion of you.
I want you to “do you”— focus on your own happiness and then extend that happiness to others.
I don’t want you to be dissatisfied with all the wonderful things you already have in your life.
We don’t need more things to clutter up our life. But we do need to appreciate what we already have more.
If you haven’t bought your loved ones a present for Christmas yet; buy them a massage on Groupon, buy them a photo-book, buy them a Southwest gift card for them to travel, buy them a photography class, buy them tickets to the museum, or buy them a lovely meal at a local restaurant.
Give the gift of love, attention, and care to your loved ones.
It doesn’t need to be expensive. It just needs to be meaningful and from the heart.
All other things are superfluous.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and even if you’re not religious— give your family a big hug for me, and spend time with them 100% (without being distracted by uploading your Christmas food to Instagram or Snapchat). Listen to every word they say, and cherish every moment.
Oh yeah and make a few photos and document all that.
Make photos that are personal to you— memories that you will appreciate, and don’t upload it online. Keep it for yourself.
Happy holidays y’all.
Here is a gift for you; a new Black-and-white preset (optimized for the digital Ricoh GR)— should work well on all cameras.
Now spread the love.
Thursday, 12:37pm, Dec 24, 2015