Drawing and re-drawing our mental models of the world around us is exhausting. But without it, we get stuck.

Abstract away enough layers, and ultimately, what we do as humans is four things:

  • Ingestion / absorption / seeking
  • Integration / Processing.
  • Production / output / dissemination.
  • Maintenance / rest / prepare for the next cycle.

This is true for so many aspects of our lives, with different ratios. Our bodies follow this pattern in so many aspects. Sleep follows the pattern— light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep. Food follow the pattern — the act of eating, turning food into energy and nutrients, processing waste, etc. Our production of cells, our breathing patterns. …


Canon, Nikon, Sony, and the rest of the pack: You have an opportunity to make a small but important change. Go on, lead the way.

If you’re an avid photographer shooting with remote-controlled strobes, you’ll have come across this issue: One set of flashes is connected to your camera, and it controls all the other flashes in the photo studio.

Almost all of these systems use the same terminology: “Master” for the trigger that is doing the controlling, and “Slave” for the receiving strobe. It seems convenient because the language is so clear — until you pause for half a moment, and think about what that use of language does to normalize and casualize literal slavery.

Screen shot from the B&H website, but it would be unfair to single them out — almost all manufacturers and retailers use this language to describe strobes and remotes.

So, what’s the problem?

I’ve written a few books about photography — and…


On Moving towards the light.

Imagine you are a computer. An instruction comes your way. Based on a set of instructions, you return a one or a zero. A light or a dark. A yes or a no. Every choice is binary, and in the very deepest depth of logic, there are no ‘wrong’ answers. The program can be wrong. The data can be wrong. But the answer is always a 1 or a 0.

Imagine you are a single-celled organism in a vast ocean, and there is a source of light. You have one of two choices: Move toward the light, or away from…


Are you willing to pay the price of systemic racism by using a closed platform like Clubhouse? As a leader of communities, your answer should be “no”.

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Over the last few months, Clubhouse — an audio-only social network — is gathering more and more speed. Good for them, and the more Facebook competitors we have out there, the better. The issue is that, as of right now, Clubhouse is only available in the Apple ecosystem. This is a problem. In broad lines. there’s a socio-economic split between people on Apple and Android devices. For example, in India, Android has a 95% market share. In Mexico, 94%. In China, it’s around 90%.

Within the US, these divides have been known for a long time, too — there’s a…


Fiction.

Tuesday. My phone screams bloody murder to announce the arrival of seven o clock on this early-spring-has-sprung Valentine’s day. The third V-day I’ve spent alone in a row. I grumpily tell my phone to cool its little electronic horses. As I wrap up my groggy negotiation with the sleep-interruptor, a new noise. A notification. A lucky break. A text from the friend who is at least 80% to blame for the hang-over I’m currently indulging.

“If you can dress as if for a date and be here in 30 minutes, we need some extras for this indie film we’re shooting.”


What if it were impossible to receive wealth from your parents and illegal to give money to your children?

We are all born naked. From that point onwards, paths diverge pretty damn quickly. Some of us are born into an ocean of privilege, which can come in all sorts of shapes, forms, and colors.

As far as demographics go, I am ‘boring’ — I am able-bodied (74%), English-speaking (78%), I have beyond-basic literacy (79%), I’m cis-gendered (99.5%), heterosexual(ish) (96.5%), white (76%), and I finished high school (90%). All of those things come with significant privileges; if I’d fallen into the minority side of those percentages, my life would be significantly harder. I fall into a number of minorities, too…


Wearing a robe that could do with doing cartwheels inside a washing machine for an hour, I’m standing in the middle of my kitchen, one foot wearing a slipper. “Huh,” I softly grunt to myself as my eye slips off one foot and onto the other. Will you look at that. There’s my other foot, also wearing a slipper. They match. I feel a sense of accomplishment.

There’s flour on the floor from an abandoned baking project. It turns out you have to add liquids to the bread maker for it to make bread. I mentally beat myself up for…


When my previous therapist invited me to imagine murdering someone, I knew I needed another therapist.

My previous therapist’s visualization exercise to help me deal with my history of being bullied involved imagining holding the main bully underwater.

Drowning, he said, because people can’t speak when they are drowning

Drowning him with my foot on his neck. Drowning him, he said, because people can’t speak when they are inhaling water. Drowning him, he said, because it was a good visualization. Drowning him, he said, because he deserved it. Drowning him because getting rid of him would feel good. It would bring healing. …


It turns out that shooting Polaroids in the studio isn’t impossible — it just takes a little bit of engineering and ingenuity. Here’s how I turned a $200 toy into a studio camera.

Being able to use studio lights with the Polaroid camera was a ton of fun.

I’ve done a lot of portraiture in my time (ahem), and I’ve never shied away from building my own photography equipment. I’m also intrigued by the tactile nature of instant photography. There’s something about the ability to immediately destroy a negative that makes portraiture a lot more fun. And with Polaroids, you can give your models the photos before they’ve even developed. Nobody has to see the photo except them — and then they can share it from there… If they wish.

I know that consistent light sources (like video lights) would have been easier to use with a Polaroid…

Haje Jan Kamps

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

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