When we travel we take our expectations with us, our prejudices, our sense of normality. We see what we see through eyes trained by home.
- Christopher Priest, The Gradual
GQ has a good interview with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. It’s far-ranging, covering the company’s attitude to making clothing, to climate change, to politics. But what really struck me was this:
Gradually, the conversation went even darker. About Trump, Chouinard added, “It’s like a kid who’s so frustrated he wants to break everything. That’s what we’ve got.” I asked sarcastically if any part of him was an optimist. Marcario, sitting next to him, laughed loudly. “Did you just ask Yvon if he’s an optimist?” Chouinard smiled and cocked his head. “I’m totally a pessimist. But you know, I’m a happy person. Because the cure for depression is action.”
I would note that I think action is the cure for pessimism, as opposed to depression; one is a state of mindset whereas the other is often a serious mental condition that can require professional assistance. But that nitpick aside, I think he’s correct that you press through pessimism by acting to make the world a little bit better every day than how you started it.
For the past few weeks I’ve been deliberately constraining my photography by shooting exclusively by a 35mm equivalent lens. This was the focal length that really convinced me that I enjoyed photography as a way of seeing and experiencing the world. I’m a big fan of zoom lenses, and keep eyeing the Olympus 12-40mm 2.8 Pro lens, but I find that I learn the most about a scene by having to walk around it with a bright prime lens.
When I travelled to Cuba, having to march around with a 50mm equivalent lens meant I went into entirely new places and angles that I wouldn’t have if I’d had a zoom lens to otherwise get a shot. And while I’ve previously used my 35mm equivalent, I have to admit that I’ve been far more reliant on some of my zooms and the 50mm; I just haven’t focused on learning to use the 35mm lens because there is so much more walking-by-zooming that I have to do with it compared to even my other prime lenses.
But that’s silly: I enjoy the focal length, I just have to work a lot more to get things out of the camera. So I’ve been using it at night, during the day, and exclusively attached it to my camera body for the past month and intend to bring it (along with an 80-300mm equivalent lens) when I travel to South America in a week and change. I like the idea of an unobtrusive lens as my walkabout, and then the zoom for when I’ve trekking through nature. And, perhaps most importantly, I really like the idea of forcing myself to get a lot more comfortable with my current gear as a way to inhibit my desire to buy more gear: I have functionally underused equipment, and I should be playing with it, first and foremost, before even considering the purchase of new kit.
“We start on the path to genuine adulthood when we stop insisting on our emotional competence and acknowledge the extent to which we are – in many areas of our psyche – likely to be sharply trailing our biological age. Realising we aren’t – as yet, in subtle ways – quite adults may be the start of true maturity.”
Great Photography Shots
Mobiography’s landscape photography shots are really, really amazing and showcase just how much you can do with a contemporary smartphone and good lighting conditions.￼￼
Music I’m Digging
Neat Podcast Episodes
Good Reads for the Week
- Mapping apps and how advertising subtly warps user experience
- The Sinking Brothel
- Inside Trump’s Cruel Campaign Against the U.S.D.A.’s Scientists
- Instagram Influencers Are the New Fashion Establishment
- Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology
- ‘Living laboratories’: the Dutch cities amassing data on oblivious residents
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
- Joan Didion
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
- David Thoreau
Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.
- Simon Sinek
As much as I love the intimacy of a stable, healthy romantic partnership, I’ve always been wary of my need for loneliness and private time. I brandish my introvert badge with chutzpah. But, deep inside, whenever I got with someone and I needed to take time off to replenish, I always felt guilty. I felt like I wasn’t ready . That if I really, really wanted a relationship, I would not have this need to be by myself.
- Tchassa Kamga, Before I Could Date Anyone, I had to Date Myself.