They say your media diet says a lot about you … Well … damn.

This past week has been dedicated to photo editing. Between a 50mp camera and a 40mp camera, save times can range from 3 to 8 minutes, and my computer is not slow. It gives me time to blaze through different websites for stories.

Keeping up with all the fake news in the world can become a time suck. Here are just a handful of stories that have had my attention over the past few days.


14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. Concentrate on this fear, make it a priority in your life, moan continuously that you could go broke any day now, and complain about how much everything costs, particularly if someone else is buying. Try to initiate quarrels about other people’s feckless, spendthrift ways, and suggest that the recession has resulted from irresponsible fiscal behavior like theirs.

Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.

Read the rest of the 13 ways to be miserable here.

Imagining outer space

More below and can be found here.

Helios considers what the uncharted territories of outer space might look like. It was created as a passion project in my basement studio using various liquids and chemicals. It is staged as an audiovisual stimulus inspired by the aesthetics of vintage NASA space travel.

Having spent my entire childhood in an area lacking both basic infrastructure and light pollution, I developed an escapist obsession for watching the night sky and contemplating. I would constantly get on people’s nerves asking: “What do the limits of the universe look like? And what’s behind that?”

This is how I imagined it.

Music: Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Transition
Audio: Mission Audio from the Apollo 11, Day 3
SFX: Electromagnetic vibrations from Mars pulsating in various wavelenghts mapped as sound.

The thrill of abandon

In a little bar in New York City back in 2012, our friends Becky and Luis sat with Tina and I over a couple of drinks and we discussed a dream possibility of staying at their friend’s farm house in the Loire Valley of France. They said the farm house was offered up for stay at next-to-nothing rates.

Becky and Luis brought it up.

T & I latched on like leaches.

It was one of those discussions that usually turn into a whole lot of nothing. The home was owned by their friend’s family.

Tina and I didn’t let it go. And we reached out to the couple and asked a few times, “Do you think we could really stay in that farm house?”

Between 2008 and 2012, Tina and I didn’t travel much. But that trip triggered a full-on travel bug infection.  Continue reading

Life moves so fast you can’t even taste it

The last two weeks of May, Tina and I were traipsing around Europe like to spoiled brats. We lived the life. Saw the sights. Ate the food. Met the people.

It was an amazing adventure.

We landed back in Chicago on May 30th.

And on May 31st, the universe thought it would be great to infect us with a stomach bug of some kind. I had diarrhea and Tina just couldn’t seem to find a time when her stomach didn’t hurt.

On June 1, we had booked the day with meetings. It was a Friday. We pushed through the day, but then found ourselves in bed for the weekend. Well, I was in the bathroom and in bed.

Then June 4 to 15, we were booked with appointments and jobs, most of which were 10 to 12 hour days on site. With the amount of gear we use, there’s a lot of work necessary to clean lenses and cameras, recharge batteries, and log footage. Most days we accumulated 150 to 200 GBs of data on 5 to 7 different memory cards. So there’s an hour of my time, watching data transfer to hard drives.

Or there’s requests for highlight images. So I have to fish through 4,000 to 5,000 images to  land on a few “good” ones to send.

Most of the projects these last two weeks were events. LARGE events. Multi-day events. We’ve been photographing them for years, and it’s hard to let go of them once we see the checks roll in. It’s a form of greed.

They’re hard work. Grueling. I carry between 10 and 25 lbs on me at all times. And in three days, I can easily rack up 45,000 to 60,000 steps.

But we keep them because we know the pay off is good enough to say yes to them when they book us for next year the last day of the show.

Tina and I have stopped shooting weddings. And smaller events, we’ve left as well. We still hold on to these two June events and one other client who has us two to three times a year.

As I grind through my days, I think. I think a lot. I think way more than I can write. And I regret how much time is spent not writing, when it’s often something I really want as part of my routine.

One of my thoughts over the past two busy weeks was that life was moving so fast, we couldn’t taste it.

I wonder how many people go through life like that. Not tasting it. A meal is just a moment between two other slots in their calendars. A workout is a routine experience. Seeing people is part of the day, not to be relished, or experienced.

On a busy day, food was thoughtless. It was stress induced. “If I don’t eat this salty plate of fake orange eggs, I won’t have the strength to make it to lunch, which will be a plate of salty chicken with a side of sautéed peppers.”

It seems weird to criticize good food. I’m sure there are people in the world who would love to have eggs, chicken and sautéed veggies.

But to use those items as more fuel and not an enjoyment. Or an experience, that seems weird to me. That seems so, well, American.

Back when I worked for the man, in 2000 to 2002, I hated it. I worked 9 to 5. Well, I personally worked 8 to 7 most days with lunch at my desk. But my time at home was so limited. It was to find something to eat at night. Get tired. Sleep. And Groundhog Day my day again and again and again and again.

I dreaded the idea that I worked to pay rent in a place I visited in the evenings for 2 or 3 waking hours.

There were may things that drove me to self-employment, but that was one of them. A huge one of them. I felt like it was a waste to spend 1/2 or more of my paycheck on something I enjoyed only 10-12% of my day (I didn’t count sleep or mornings as time spent at home).

The other thing was, I wanted to taste life. I don’t want to use moments in my day as stepping stones to get to the end. I don’t want my days to look exactly like the one before it, with corporate meetings and life-moving-so-fast tactics that distract me from the enjoyment of life.

I’m not working for retirement. I’m working to feel retired now. Or at least on occasion. Although the last few years have seen a big uptick in our schedules, and we are a little busier than before. But we’re also enjoying these European trips more, too. So there’s a trade.

If you’re not tasting life, slow down. If you’re sick of spending 10% of your day in the place you spend the most of your paycheck, you might be missing out on other things.

I’m a photographer because I LOVE what I do. I would photograph dirt. It’s just a fun art to practice. So the majority of my day is doing what I love with the woman I love. I cook. I sleep. I live in my oasis. And being too busy was like pinching myself to see if I am dreaming or not. I am in a dream 99% of my life. And that’s the way I prefer it.