A new semester, and advice from Hunter S. Thompson

We start a new semester of classes at the university today. I’ve lost track of how many “first days” this makes, but they’re always enjoyable. There’s hope and promise of what’s about to come, even in the midst of winter.

I’m also using it as an occasion to renew attention to this blog. So far there’s been a somewhat consistent pattern of renewed energy, followed by conflicting demands for attention followed by inactivity here. It’s not that the vision is inconsistent. Finding topics to write about however……

In that spirit I’m taking some words from Hunter S. Thompson as inspiration. In an entry on the Petapixel blog today, Michael Zhang presented a letter Thompson wrote to Pop Photo magazine in 1962, responding to an article the magazine had published. In the letter, Thompson talked about feeling at one time after being in New York like one shouldn’t take a picture without the benefit of professional instruction and top-end equipment. The technical details of how photography works overtakes the purpose of photography.

In the letter I read this quote: “When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer.” 

That’s applicable to both teaching and blogging at the beginning of this new semester. One can overthink what students are supposed to get out of the class and overlook the enjoyment of recognizing their growth. One can get so consumed in having profound words to say about a topic and overlook the pleasure of just sharing something interesting.

You can read Thompson’s whole letter on the Petapixel post.

So, with Hunter’s words in mind, we’ll pick up the vision.

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