Discover more from Process by Wesley Verhoeve
115 ☼ What Photography Means To Me
GIVEAWAY: $150 gift certificate for Moment
This week's letter is my attempt to answer the often-asked question: “What does photography mean to you?”. Also in this issue, a wonderful Process Giveaway with my friends at Moment who made available a $150 gift certificate to their photo shop.
If you’re new here — Hello! I’m Wesley Verhoeve, a photographer and curator, and this is Process, where I write about photography and finding your creative voice.
Process was the first Substack about photography, and now has readers in over 120 countries. When I started writing, I lived in the New York City, and now I call Amsterdam home. I am deeply passionate about my craft and sharing what I learn.
Some favorite issues from the archive:
☀️ Shout out to my friends at Squarespace for helping make this issue possible.
Housekeeping - IRL Process Events!
📸 The first PROCESS PHOTO WALK is happening in Amsterdam on Sunday, November 5th. It will be followed by a free screening of the street photo doc series Wrong Side of the Lens. RSVP here — there is room for 56 guests and it’s nearly full. Each attendee will get 1 year free on Glass.
News: director Josh Ethan Johnson will fly in from NYC for a live Q&A!
🍻 I am co-hosting the first official SUBSTACK MEETUP in Amsterdam with my friendon October 18th. Only 12 spots, so RSVP here. For anyone writing on Substack or curious about starting. A casual hang with kind writers and a beverage.
💡 I will be in Oslo from October 10-13, and have one mentorship session slot open. Grab it here.
What Photography Means to Me
Process is like my personal show-and-tell session. First, I show my work, and then I spill the beans, revealing the stories behind it—imperfections, lessons learned, and all. Usually, I share practical tips and wisdom, and other times, I talk about the philosophical side of this craft. Today, my friends, is one of those philo-moments.
You know the deal—I'm the guy who's always got a camera in hand, capturing moments and stories. But let's take a step back for a second, and explore what's really going on in my head when I'm creating and what it means to me.
Photography is more than just a craft; it's my lifeline to the world. It's how I connect, how I navigate, and how I process the beautiful, chaotic, and sometimes confusing world we live in. It’s the framework that gives legitimacy to my insatiable curiosity and allows me to ask every question that comes to me. It is a passport that allows me to travel into the worlds of other people, exploring new and different places, and get to know communities of individuals.
My camera is never far from reach. Whether I'm shooting professionally or meeting a friend for coffee, it's in my bag. My camera is not just an instrument; it's an extension of me. It gives me permission to ask questions, to lean deeply into my curiosity, and to see the world through a different lens, quite literally.
But here's the real magic: photography allows me to make connections. Not just any connections, but genuine, soul-deep connections. In a world that often skims the surface, there's something profoundly moving about being truly seen and observed with intention. That's what happens when I take a portrait of someone, whether it’s a magazine shoot, an album cover, or a stranger on the street.
To capture that intimate essence, it requires trust, a sense of safety, an underlying calm, and creative playfulness. It's a dance, a conversation, and in that fleeting moment, if it all comes together perfectly we create something special.
The most meaningful moments in my photographic journey are when someone I've photographed looks at the final image and says, "This is the first time I've felt truly represented, seen in a way I haven't felt before." It's that instant connection, that recognition of self, that leaves a small but permanent mark on both of us.
Or consider those nervous souls who step in front of my lens, only to exclaim afterward, "That was over so quickly, and it was actually quite fun!" It's a revelation, a shared joy that leaves us bonded, even if only for a moment. Sometimes, those moments become the seeds of enduring friendships.
Photography, for me, is not just about capturing the external world; it's a portal to my inside world as well. During those meditative moments photographing still lifes or wandering through quiet neighborhoods for projects like my book, NOTICE, I take time to delve into the depths of my own feelings and thoughts.
It's therapeutic, this communion with the camera. It's a way to work through emotions, all while my hands and eyes are occupied with capturing the beauty around me, and my feet find their rhythm in the act of walking.
But perhaps the most profound gift of photography is the serenity it brings. It yanks me out of my head, planting me firmly in the present moment. It demands my full attention, urging me to forget yesterday's worries and tomorrow's anxieties.
In the end, photography is my way of exploring the world, myself, and everything in between. It's a journey that unfolds with each click of the shutter, an intimate dance with light and shadow. So, thank you for joining me on this introspective trip through the lens, where every frame captures a piece of my soul and the world as I see it.
Here's to the photographs that tell our stories, to the connections we make, and to the calm and clarity we find in the chaos of life.
That’s it for this week! If you enjoyed this issue I’d love for you to share it with friends.
Next Week: I will write you from beautiful Oslo, Norway, and talk about how I find and meet like-minded people in the somewhat lonely world of photography. Plus some Oslo photos if all goes well!
If you’re new here and curious for more? Subscribe below.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others. <3
PS If you're interested in supporting Process and seeing a body of work I’m very proud of, please consider buying my photo book NOTICE. Second print out now.
Gear & Tools Used
Camera: The images in this issue of Process were shot on the Canon 5D Mark IV, Pentax LX, Pentax 67ii, and the Fujifilm X100F.
Film: Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak TMax.
Lab: All my analog work is developed and scanned by my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. They’re my favorite lab in the world. Use code “PROCESS” to get a free upgrade.
Portfolio Site: Big shout out to Squarespace for helping make this issue of Process possible. If you need a website, I can’t recommend using Squarespace more. I have been a paying customer for more than 10 years (!!?) and it’s been so easy to build and maintain a beautiful and professional portfolio. I even added a shop to it recently.
Check out Squarespace and use the code PROCESS10 for 10% off your first order.
To enter this week’s Process Giveaway answer the question below in the comments:
QUESTION: What are you most grateful for in your photography journey?
This question is related to last week’s issue, in case you missed it.
My answer: The amazing people I get to meet when taking street and other portraits.
ENTER THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY before 11 a.m. EST on October 21st.
The winner will be randomly drawn. This giveaway is for Process subscribers only.