Process 078 ☼ Making Change Happen
Plus: Leica Q2 Monochrome test shots
After a few weeks away to deal with the challenging adult ritual of moving apartments Process is back on a weekly schedule. This week’s letter is about change and making change happen, through photography. It’ll be a bit more personal than usual.
Also in this issue, pictures from last month’s CineStill x Process photo walk organized to welcome Steve from CineStill to Amsterdam. They were all taken on a Leica Q2 Monochrome, a stunning and unusual camera.
The Process Giveaway is being re-invented and will be back in a few weeks.
I’m opening up a limited number of mentor sessions for the remainder of 2022. They were snapped up quickly last time that I decided to create a waiting list for December and January. To get on the list email me with the subject line “Mentor Session”.
Read more about how a Zoom or in-person mentor sessions works here. Below is a snap from a session with photographer Carolyn West who had this to say:
"Wesley is a fantastic mentor! At no point during our session did I feel as though I was dreaming too big or extending myself beyond my skill set. Wesley helped me push the boundaries of what I thought possible for my project and assisted in planning the first steps to see it come to fruition. As a result, I have never felt more motivated to work on personal photographic projects."
Making Change Happen
Seth Godin has influenced my thinking as an independent creative entrepreneur for a long time. His interviews never fail to inspire me to think differently and look at a challenge from a new angle.
Seth said something in conversation with Tim Ferriss that made me stop and think:
If you think hard about one’s life, most people spend most of their time on defense. In reactive mode, playing with the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards. Instead of seeking to change other people they are willing to be changed.
This hit home for me. Since moving continents in the summer of 2020 in the middle of the pandemic I feel like I have been playing defense. Rather than being focused on formulating strategies to accomplish my personal and work goals and executing those with consistency I was preoccupied with putting out fires and plugging leaks in an effort to create a calm place to then build from. But that calm pace never arrived and without my intentional future focus and consistency I did not move forward either.
It’s time to move to a different table, to use Seth’s metaphor, and bring about positive change in both my own life and the lives of others. Before photography became my profession it started off as a powerful tool to help other people feel seen. Once it became my job that continued to be my favorite part, whether through my personal projects like One of Many, my street portraiture around the world, or my client work for magazines and commercial clients.
Making people feel seen, sometimes for the first time ever, is my true purpose as a photographer and human. With the risk of sounding pompous, making people feel seen can change someone’s life. Sometimes in a small way where someone might feel they’re not photogenic and I can prove them wrong, and other times in a big way where a photo essay can help raise awareness for a specific cause.
Some more thoughts from Seth as he continues from the earlier thought above:
Part of the arc of what I’m trying to teach is that everyone who can hear this has more power than they think they do. And the question is what are you going to do with this power? Because it comes with responsibility, which is that you’re going to make change happen or you’re going to ignore it, and if you make change happen that is on you.
In addition to being able to use my photography to make change happen in the lives of others, I need to get back to making positive change happen in my own life as well. This year has made that abundantly clear to me. I am re-committing to this promise to myself to live a life in which I am playing offense and with focus and power.
And with that I want to say thank you to everyone who has been reading along and supporting my work for the past 78 issues (!!) of Process. It means the world.
Call To Action: If you’re considering making a change in your life I’d love for you to share it here in the comments so we can encourage and learn from each other.
Leica Q2 Monochrome Test
A few weeks ago I organized a small Process x CineStill Photowalk in Amsterdam as a way to welcome my good friend Steve to Amsterdam for the weekend.
My friend Tom brought along his beautiful Leica Q2 Monochrome and when we took a tea break at De Plantage I took it for a spin and totally fell in love with it. Below are some images from that little 15 minute test shoot, all taken inside of the restaurant while we waited for our tea to arrive.
Note that “monochrome” means that this camera can only shoot in black and white, a delicious limitation for some (me!) and not at all suited for others (most people!).
Some of the images included here (above right, and both below) were taken with the in-camera macro mode which impressed me. With a simple turn of the lens the camera shifts into macro mode and the minimum aperture goes from f1.7 to f2.8. Even though this is a fixed lens camera this extra mode makes it feel like a two lens camera.
This camera has an electronic viewfinder, which most digital Leica M don’t have. For me that’s a huge plus, especially for a camera that can only shoot in black and white since it helps me see instantly what an image might look like rather than seeing in color and having to imagine what it might look like in black and white.
The quality of a sensor dedicated to only shoot black and white provides beautiful and delicate grey tones that a color sensor simply can’t get. The entire sensor is dedicated to the near infinite grey levels between black and white. Look at how it handles skin tones in this portrait of Tim, who you may remember from issue 037.
The way this camera handles light and shadow is also quite delightful. Even though nearly all the light in the photo below is coming from the left, we still get lots of detail in the people facing away from the light or otherwise covered in a shadow.
And finally, the huge file size means I was able to crop in a crazy amount on the photo on the left (below) and still get a serviceable image out of something that was originally just a small detail (see right). For a crop fanatic like myself this is a great tool.
That’s it for this week!
Next week: My experience shooting medium format slide film with a polarization filter. Spoiler: it’s gorgeous and it’s all I want to do now.
Also coming soon: I’m taking you on a trip around the world visiting barbershops for a client shoot I did for an American razor company.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others.
Did you enjoy this issue? Share it with a friend who might love it too.
Can’t get enough? Browse the Process Archives.
Find me on Glass / LinkedIn / Instagram / Twitter / Pocket / YouTube
Keeping a journal has helped me finding my purpose, personal and with photography just by reminding myself where I want to go. I remember a drawing at a bar I was going when I was a teenager "If you don't look where you wanna go, you'll go where you're looking at".
‘making people feel seen can change someone’s life’ reminds me of the late great French photographer Sabine Weiss, who said the same