Originally Posted by Steve Williams
The M8 has crossed my mind more than once. The cost still scares me though.
I am curious though about the Empty Mind not being compatible with photography. Seems as if a visual release could be beneficial. I just finished reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Albert Einstein and it seemed obvious that Einstein sort of lived a non-stop Empty Mind approach that allowed him to see things others could not.
When I look at my personal photos I can see a repeating of things. I just can't get my head emptied of "this is good composition, this is worth shooting, Cartier-Bresson already did this, blah and blah..."
I do appreciate the feedback though.
The problem I have is with 'empty mind' and 'prepared mind'. In photography (as in Buddhist practice) you need to have a framework for what you are going to see, and 'empty mind' is as much a framework as slavish following of the 'rules of composition' or the excessive analysis you describe.
My most original thoughts generally come unexpectedly, from a vast range of sources. For example, I've just written a piece for my AP column in the UK which was prompted by something I read in a book about folk song: about how the historical accuracy or factuality of a folk song is substantially irrelevant to its success and impact.
In photography, I'm much inclined to shoot first and ask questions afterwards, which may be why I am happier with 35mm than with 8x10 inch. What happens, increasingly, is that I see something and then 'shoot around' it. Sometimes my favourite shots are not the ones I expected, and I can't even explain why I like them. At least, not to myself, though I can always do the Empty Artspeak if someone is interested.
Maybe 40 years ago I wrote a poem that began, "I see everything twice today," about that special intensity that comes when you see things as if for the first time. Today, I try to remember always to look at things, for themselves, for their beauty, not as potential subjects for pictures. Often I forget to shoot; only later do I think, "Oh, bugger, I could have photographed that." Sometimes, at the time, I think, "That's too hard to photograph." But sometimes I get pictures.
This is why, FOR ME, your approach of 'X films per week' would be counterproductive -- and why I don't want to use a camera I don't like. I'm not saying you will feel the same way; just suggesting it as an alternative.
There's a wonderful phrase, 'hardening of the categories'. Ask yourself, "Am I doing it this way because I have always done it this way? How else could I do it?" And even if the new way doesn't sound as good, give it a try. It might surprise you.