thoughts

Thoughts on the Nikon Z9 by Someone Who Has Used Every Nikon DSLR

In all my years in photography, I don’t think any camera has had as much buzz leading up to its release as the Nikon Z9. There were many reasons for that, both good and bad, but now that the camera’s here, does it live up to the hype? After one week of using it, I think so.

The Tenets of Neo-Modernism, A Way to Look at Creative Photography

After decades of studying the classic works of photography, I’ve determined there is a historic and philosophical bifurcation in the works created. For convenience, I classify all works as falling into one of two camps, and the group I’m personally drawn to — and one that I find most applicable in discussing current photographic creativity — is what I call “neo-modernism.”

Should Black and White Imply the ‘Age’ of a Photograph?

In many art practices, a new method or process does not usually automatically override the old one. You can still use berries and charcoal to paint a cave wall, paint on a canvas, or put pencil to paper. These do not become irrelevant just because a Wacom tablet can be used to make a digital illustration or a VR for a 3D painting.

Producing Narrative Photographic Work for a Small Audience

Producing photographs, writing, and ideas to share with others is such a wonderful way to direct creative energy, and for many, this approach involves setting themselves up as a photography business practice in some way, whether that’s offering the work as a product or as a service.

Whatever Story You Have, Tell It Slowly as a Photographer

There's an expression in relation to investment banking I've heard which I think translates quite well into advice for documentary photographers: "it's not timing the market, its time in the market."

With Photo Zines, Less Can Be More

All of my recent motivation in photography has come from the desire to see actualized publications of my projects, in the wake of the wonderfully positive response to my recent Bulgaria zine and USA Digest.

Lighting Setups Are Nonsense — Here’s How You Really Learn Light

When starting out, you will inevitably stumble upon someone telling you to use a three-light setup for portraits and a beauty dish for fashion photography. I think that’s a whole bunch of nonsense. Lighting setups don’t teach you light -- they only confuse you and derail you from progressing.

Camera Gear You Should Never Buy Used

I previously wrote an article on some of the gear that photographers can buy used and how I saved $15,000 doing so. It feels wrong for me to buy any new gear -- like I'm burning money when doing so. That said, here are a few photography things that even bargain-hunters like me buy new.

I Stopped Trying to Impress Other Photographers, and I’ve Never Been Happier

My name is Jordan McChesney, and I'm a photographer based in Japan. Let me start by saying that I am not a professional photographer, and I’m well aware that my movement towards success is an ongoing process that is (hopefully) in the early stages of even bigger things to come. That being said, I think it’s a good idea to reflect on my last year or so of growth.

Thoughts on a Framework for Photo Ethics

Ethics in photography is a topic that just keeps popping up. Whether it’s the latest dish on Magnum, or an argument about photographing the homeless, some days it seems you can’t turn around without stumbling across another disagreement.

The Little Camera That Can: Pocketing the Fuji X70

I bought a used Fujifilm X70 online last year during the UK lockdown. For quite a while I’d been wanting a camera that I could pocket. No case, no fluff, just pocket.

My Considerations Photographing the Military in Washington DC

While on assignment in Washington, D.C. in late January earlier this year, I had to think very carefully about the situation I was documenting. The events around the Inauguration of Joe Biden had swung the global spotlight around, and I knew that there would be scrutiny of any historical artifact that was produced in this space at this time.

The Existential Argument for the Photographic Print

When I die I will no longer have active control over my archive. My will will outline that my negatives are left to any archive that may want them -- depending on whether my career looks anything like I’d want it to, this may be one or two, or none. The main responsibility falls to me to do what I can while alive if I’m to enjoy being represented in the photography community by work that legitimizes me.

Regarding Photographs: And In Conclusion…

This is the end of my essay series on how we see and think about photographs. While I could certainly ramble on more or less forever, this is a good place to stop.

Regarding Photographs: On the Ethics of Photography II

In the previous essay I set aside a category of ethical issues around photographs. Specifically, the issues that arise from the very existence of the photo, rather than from the meaning of it. Issues around consent, and around extraction (who gets paid.)