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Rolling in

September 30, 2011















A walk in the fog, last Saturday morning in Cape Cod.

. . . . . .

I was talking with a friend recently. And I said that sometimes, I wish people would just appreciate a beautiful or interesting photograph instead of trying to acquire or buy everything in it.

And I wanted to share that with you today. I think it’s important to remember. When I look at Pinterest, so many people post the most incredible, inspiring images. And then I’ll see a note that says “to buy for the living room” or “someday my house will look like this.” It’s happened with some of my own photographs, and it makes me sad.

I guess the internet makes all of us feel a bit “wanty” sometimes. But with non-commercial images, I think it’s important to look past the “stuff” you see and allow yourself to be moved by something beautiful.

29 Comments
  1. Louise permalink
    September 30, 2011 1:34 pm

    Strange how fall-like those photos are when it’s 29 here! Saw your pictures in situ in the US for the Starbucks’ campaign; so cool! Well done.

  2. September 30, 2011 2:13 pm

    I second that emotion. Here’s to contented, whimsical viewing (and living).

  3. ashleylistonavnaim permalink
    September 30, 2011 2:31 pm

    i suppose this is the ever-present love/hate fling with the interweb…it’s in those moments that i’ve had to step back & create for a while before wandering back to it, renewed, hopefully changed & ready for deep appreciation again…thanks for the reminder.

  4. September 30, 2011 2:41 pm

    Superb as always.

  5. September 30, 2011 3:16 pm

    Your photos today are beautiful. I totally agree with your words as well. Over the past year I’ve been focusing on getting away from the need to consume and own everything. The Internet can be all about “wanting”. It is quite sad. I’m focusing on creating and appreciating instead.

  6. September 30, 2011 3:35 pm

    Amazing pictures as always. Great way to capture the arrival of autumn.

  7. September 30, 2011 3:47 pm

    Gorgeous images and thoughts, as usual.

  8. September 30, 2011 3:51 pm

    Gorgeous images as ever Brian – looks like a wonderful walk. I especially like the pop of colour in the fog in the image with the red boat. Enjoying your Indian Summer I trust?! :-)

  9. Laura permalink
    September 30, 2011 3:53 pm

    I totally agree on becoming more aware of the “wanty” (good word) factor, but isn’t it possible that acquiring the picture may be a way of sharing in that beauty–the privilege of looking at it every day? Just thinking. It could be the highest honor for the maker of the picture!

    • Laura permalink
      October 2, 2011 3:34 am

      I just realized after re-reading that you were talking about what is IN the picture, not the actual picture. I get it now…

  10. Devon permalink
    September 30, 2011 5:11 pm

    This is really giving me something to think about. Are we talking about the difference between commercial and “art” photography? Because I feel like the internet – and especially blogs – are creating a third thing that lies between these two. I mean, many of the photos that you post here are art, in my estimation, but many of them are more about tastefully displaying a lifestyle, don’t you think? Carefully made snapshots of the daily prettiness and deliciousness and design with which you surround yourself? Sites like 3191 are full of this sort of thing – it’s because MAV has a knack for making us want things that MORE and CO has come to exist, no? I mean, if you take the Starbucks packaging out of your photos for Starbucks, do they simply become beautiful, satisfying images? I think not. If that were true, advertising would be way less effective than it is, and blogs wouldn’t sell so many ads. I think that the photo itself is *about* what is happening in the world that the photo captures, and about making that world as visceral and appealing as possible (even by leaving out the parts which are not as nice looking), not – as in the case of art photography – about the experience of looking at an image. Yes, our culture encourages us to want. Yes, we must all take responsibility for how we let that affect us. But I think that a truly successful piece of art complicates that desire – or causes us to face it, or forget it. I get that feeling often on your site, or looking through your favorites. But a lot of the time, it is just – hey, nice tea pot. Which is not to say that your photographs are then commercial, just that the photograph isn’t quite great: it is still about the world *you* live in, not the world we all live in. And your world is nice, by most standards, and so people might want it.

  11. September 30, 2011 5:59 pm

    Your photos transport me to the places you visit. I agree with the previous poster. Your photographs don’t inspire me to want material things, but it does inspire me to visit the places you’ve been and appreciate and capture the simple moments in my own life.

  12. andrea permalink
    September 30, 2011 6:13 pm

    Interesting issue, Brian.

    Devon (good comment!) speaks of art complicating desire. Made me think of an era that took this rather literally–the Dutch 17th century and their still lives that seemed so beautiful. When you got a little closer, though, there would be a reminder of vanitas–a bit of rot on the fruit, petals starting to fall, or similar warning signs.

    There may be an overabundance on the internet of a genre I heard described as “my serene bedroom.” But it is important to still leave room for beauty in our lives, while avoiding envy.

    Something to ponder.

  13. September 30, 2011 6:50 pm

    I am happy to report that I love watching your photographs just because of that, because the feeling they evoke in me. And nothing else but their beauty.

  14. September 30, 2011 7:29 pm

    wonderful photos. i really simply appreciate them for being beautiful. thanks. :)

  15. September 30, 2011 8:42 pm

    these are really lovely, and i totally agree with you.

  16. September 30, 2011 11:37 pm

    Hear hear. This reminds me of a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the inspiration being paralysing at times. While the minimalist in me doesn’t want to acquire heaps of the things I see online, I am aware that you can sometimes be pulled into lingering over others’ work and overlooking the greatness of your own. Love this post.

  17. October 1, 2011 1:17 am

    Yes! Here’s to more thinking this way…

  18. October 1, 2011 1:51 am

    These are things I think about alot . I sometimes catch myself feeling jealous or sad when I see all the pretty things bloggers always seem to have so try to be mindful that my photography/ blog doesnt simply act as an advertisement in that way. Its not a perfect process and I do find I edit myself often, but its something always in the back of my mind.

    Having said that, I wouldnt mind owning this beach! Oops.

  19. Liz permalink
    October 1, 2011 9:16 am

    I think that’s an interesting idea. When I look at myself, I do not want to imitate the pieces (furniture, cutlery etc), but the atmosphere. Like your pictures, which are if I may say so more of a modest beauty (and I mean this in a very good way), it makes me want to recreate the same kind of character. This could even work when I move around what I already posess. I don’t feel jalous but more inspired. That’s just my idea, for what it’s worth.
    Beautiful pictures, again, by the way.

  20. October 1, 2011 9:42 am

    So true. Beauty is something filled with silence. Words ruin it. Plans for the future ruin it. Money often buys it, ruining it.

  21. October 1, 2011 12:50 pm

    So stunning. I am moved every time I look at your blog.

  22. October 1, 2011 7:26 pm

    i so agree. —
    wonderful series.

  23. October 2, 2011 12:46 pm

    Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to capture my everyday life, the way it is. Sure, there are things that I would love to have, but looking for the good in right now seems to make those “wanty” things a whole less important.

    I grew up on Cape Cod and miss it so much. Thanks for bringing me back for a day.

  24. October 3, 2011 9:37 am

    foggggggyyy and loooooovely !

  25. October 3, 2011 12:59 pm

    fog is always a pleasure to photograph. It is so emotive and picturesque! I especially love these foggy images :)

  26. October 6, 2011 12:15 pm

    Touché – love it (your blog) – want it (just kidding) – many thanks!

  27. October 6, 2011 7:58 pm

    Wow – those last three, right in a row! Great images as always, Brian.

  28. October 8, 2011 1:01 am

    The beauty of some of the scenes you capture is simply inseverable from the objects that create those scenes. As an architect I believe that it really does matter what’s the design of the chair, cup, teapot… And while admiring the beauty of the scene, we also admire the objects.
    I visit your blog often, and I always find inspiration that I’m looking for. The beauty of your photographs is incredibly saturated, filled with dense atmosphere, blues and melancholia. Photographs that are a bit less inspirational are those representing a certain type of scenes from your daily leisures – beautifully arranged breakfasts, lovely corner on your countertop, etc – the type of pictures that are closely related to the kind of photography one can find inside interior design magazines. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
    Blogs are the type of media where people share personal things about themselves in order to inspire, create counterpoints, paths between people that are alike. Sometimes we’re moved, and sometimes we just want the chair! Nothing wrong with that, nothing to be sad about. ;-)

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