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Process vs. Specs

Recently I was reminded of some wisdom my dad shared years ago:

“Photography is not about the camera, it's about process of capturing photos. A great photographer can take incredible photos with the simplest camera. It's not about the camera!”

Now, that may sound simple, and really it is. However, I've observed many people getting hung up on Specs when they ought to be focused on Process.Best Buds I do it too. In fact, here are some of the ways I've learned to move focus from Specs to Process:


Focus on processor speed, hard drive, screen size, RAM, rather than what can be achieved with the machine as a whole. I'm much more interested in a balanced machine that gets out of my way and lets me get work done, than how powerful the machine is.


Focus on the f-stop, shutter speed, lens size, megpaixels, brand name or whatever spec you care to insert here. Some of my favorite images have been captured in my Zire 72's crappy-cam, or on a vintage twin lens or SLR film camera.


Getting hung up on fonts, colors, shading, shadows, shapes, etc. when I should be focused on the message I want to convey to the viewer. I've found that sketching ideas on paper, besides being very fast, removes options and forces me to focus on the idea. There's no plethora of tools or effects to distract — It's my mind, a pencil and paper — anything can happen.

Writing: Focus on spell-checking, grammar, font, leading, layout, etc. when I need to just sit there and hammer out my idea. When I write I like plain text editors or pen and paper for this very reason — there is nothing to distract me from capturing my thoughts.


Placing my focus on doing the "right things" in order to appear transformed, rather then being open to real transformation. Doing the right things takes energy, because I'm caught up in how I look to others — being open to transformation takes the effort out of my hands and puts it in God's hands. However, when I am transformed, the "right things" flow naturally and effortlessly.

Setting my mind on Process rather than Specs is difficult in that it requires deeper effort. It's easy to let myself get caught up in activity, focusing on doing the "right things" when in fact I ought to be stopping to think, ponder and plan where I want to go.

However, I've repeatedly found when I move from Spec level to Process level, the results flow naturally, give me more joy, and produce results far better than I could have achieved just focusing on Specs.

Reader Comments (5)

You raise some very valid points...
September 29, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterryan
Well said... Both the part by you, and the part by your father...

I try always to use the story editor in InDesign, in order to not get cought up in the aestethic side of it, but I've got to admit that it's hard not to play around with fonts and drewl over the Nikon D2x, for instance... ;-)
September 29, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJørgen Arnor Gårdsø Lom
Thanks J�rgen, your thoughts are appreciated! And yes, getting lost in the details of design is tempting indeed. :-)
September 30, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Good reflection. We mask ourselves so much, and never allow real transformation to take place. Its paniful, its hard, itse ugly, but it is beatuiful, peaceful, and ultimately refreshing. Such a paradox. May we all be open to the formation from God.

How are your talks coming. Sorry I have not called you back, I am never home at descent hours these days, e-mail is best.
October 4, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
Thanks for putting down your thoughts, Mike. Great things for me to ponder today.

October 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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