A Collection of Middles

The year was 1975 and Minolta Corporation introduced the SR-T 201 as an upgrade to the popular SR-T 101. They hired me that same year. The SR-T line disappeared a short time later, but it was another 30 years before I was discontinued. I’ve witnessed quite a few changes in the photo industry—to say the least—and throughout it all my love for photography has never diminished. I love to talk about and write about photography, but more than that I love take pictures—and that’s what this blog is all about.

When the opportunity to blog first came along, I politely said “no.” None for me, thank you. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not one of those writers who believes that a blog is something clumsily written by an amateur with whom they must suddenly compete for a free lunch in the press room at CES. I understand that blogging is a legitimate form of journalism.

It’s just that the whole notion of blogging perplexes me. Where did all of the bloggers come from? I had no idea that so many people like to write. How many kids in your high school English class LIKED writing “themes?” How many could SPELL “theme?” See what I mean? And today they’re all adults with blogs.

What’s the motivation? Egomania? Immortality? A compulsion to proliferate flawed grammar? It takes a big set of frontal lobes to believe that strangers are even vaguely interested in what you have to say. If that’s the enticement, does it play out? Most people who read and enjoy an article in their favorite publication can’t remember the name of the journalist who wrote it. So how could they possibly track down and follow that writer’s blog?

Perhaps the current blogging outbreak means that people actually do want to talk to one another. If I judge solely by what I see on the street—people listening privately to iPods, unwilling, even, to make eye contact with strangers—I’m forced to believe that humanity is far too inwardly focused to ever be interested in the words of a stranger. Maybe reading a blog is a safe, sanitary way to understand what another person is thinking without the risk of being put on the spot to reciprocate unless you really, really want to—and can do it under the cloak of anonymity. A blog offers a layer of insulation that allows the reader to be compassionate and detached at the same time.

But I must admit, the chance to get away with writing one-sentence paragraphs really appealed to me.

So, I talked myself into it. I’m blogging. Now, who has their finger on the bleep button? Am I posting this stuff myself? What if I innocently use a word my daughter brings home from second grade without realizing that it’s the latest synonym for poop? Does the spellcheck feature of MS Word catch stuff like that?

And now that I’m committed, where will all of the blog-worthy ideas come from? Mercifully, blogs are characteristically short, so I won’t be trying to crank out nine hundred words on Saturday morning before my kid wakes up. Blogs are for people who love to tell stories but can never think of a plot. No beginnings or endings, just a collection of middles.

Blogging is a big responsibility. I have an obligation to tell you the truth, to check my facts and to be as clear as possible at all times. That explains the name of this blog. If you’ve read many Owner’s Manuals you’ve surely seen the phrase: “This page intentionally left blank.” The publisher uses it to let you know that the empty page is not a mistake, or at least it’s not the printer’s fault. The company couldn’t come up with anything meaningful to say.

My hope is that you read something here that you do find meaningful and useful in one way or another, and that you write a comment to say so. And I hope that if you really like what you read—if it adds to your enjoyment of photography even one tiny bit—you’ll steer a likeminded friend to this blog so they can share.