"The Lure of Diminishing Returns" from A Lesser Photographer


betwixt and between
Thanks to flysurfer's pointing out A Lesser Photographer's Manifesto, I subscribe to the blog... The latest entry The Lure of Diminishing Returns | A Lesser Photographer is, to me, quite thought provoking.

Here's a quote:
If you ignore what you’re naturally best at, the product will either become boring or, if it makes money, a business. It isn’t art anymore and it isn’t much of a life anymore.

See what you think, and it will take you to this article originally in the New York Times: Kwaku Alston's Rebirth in Venice - NYTimes.com

An excerpt below:
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Maryland, Mr. Alston said he moved a lot as a child. He was introspective and had thought about becoming an illustrator. But when he picked up a camera, shot some frames and developed them, he fell hard.

Kwaku Alston
“It was a process to me that came from my mind and nobody else had a hand in it,” he said. “It was something I became good at.”

Yet after years of commercial success, there was that creative thirst that went unquenched. He decided to take a page from the masters and made himself take a picture a day for no other client but himself. Much of that self-discovery has taken place in Venice, a small community that has been gentrifying rapidly in the decade since he moved there.

Maybe this will help us in The Single In July, as well as in our day to day photographic lives.


Super Moderator Emeritus
Down Under
Can't believe I missed this post! :eek:

Thanks for the link BB - you're right it is apt inspiration for our Single in January challenge. Might be good to post some inspirational stickies in the Image Quest Forum for when folks are feeling down in the dumps during these longer challenges...and this would make a good one - from experience the lustre wears thin come day 10 and onwards on a PAD challenge and you need something to help you break through that fugue state ;)


In my twenties I had a job, it was a good job, my coworkers were great people and I liked it but it was a job. It didn't challenge me or excite me so I developed an outside passion. I fell in love with photography and I was good at it but more important I was passionate about it as it lit a fire in my heart. With the support of family and friends I took the plunge switched and started making money off my passion. Within two years I had developed my passion into a job, a good job working with nice people but it was a job and I had to develop a new passion or wither. In the end I went back to my old job and abandoned photography for about thirty years. Now my passion for photography has returned and when asked by others to do a commercial shoot I politely decline and I say, "To like what I shoot, I only shoot what I like!"


For many the dream of turning one's passion or hobby into a career can be a great experience but for others it can turn one's passion into a loss of that passion. The pressure of the business aspect can turn what one dreamed about into a nightmare. I have told many who have asked that one does not need to be professional to be a photographer, you can be an photographer no matter what one does to pay the bills.
I still love my profession and get excited with each project,but I do have to admit though, there are those days where I did not want to pick up a camera to shoot for myself, burned out by the idea of holding a camera.
I do not feel the need to setup goals or projects for myself to keep me interested but I do find the whole world of serious compact cameras to be one of the things that gets me shooting for myself. I no longer have any desire to drag out all of my pro gear ton vacation or run around the street shooting what sparks an interest.