When it comes to the things I use, especially those I rely on every day, I want to use only things that have been proven as much as possible. Proven to work. Proven to last. Proven over time and use.
This is fairly easy and straight forward to find in the offline world. For instance, I gravitate towards and enjoy using pen and paper because it is proven. As a tool it works, lasts, requires nothing else, has been around for hundreds of years, and is used almost everywhere so is easy to find. Other tools are proven too. Hammers are proven, for example. Nail guns may be a quicker way to drive a nail but require power and have a hundred ways they can fail or break. A hammer always works.
In the online world, it’s a bit more difficult to find things that are proven. Things change quickly. Formats and applications come and go. What’s hot today is gone and unsupported tomorrow in too many cases. Experience has taught me not to rely on many of these things or to be too quick to jump on board new things that come along. They aren’t proven.
Yet, there are some things in the online world that are proven — at least as far as such things can be in the world of technology. Here are two examples: Plaintext and Email. Plaintext (.txt) as a format is proven. It has been around in some form or another since the dawn of modem computing. Email, the basic plaintext form of it, has been around long enough to be considered such. These are things I trust. Things I have used for a long time, work today much the same as they always have, and the chance of continuing to work far into the future is high. Plus, they’re practically universal. Practically everyone who is online has an email address. Practically every computer can open a plaintext file.
This doesn’t mean I won’t use things that aren’t proven. I will and sometimes do. But I don’t place my faith or trust in them until they are proven. I don’t pretend they will be around forever and I always have an escape plan for when they inevitably go away. I don’t go all in on a new thing, especially if it means abandoning something proven.
So, when people ask me why I love and prefer email over [Insert latest email killer here] it’s because email is proven. It’s why I don’t use the latest note taking app or word processor. It’s why you won’t find me hoping on the latest new social thingamajig or chatting whatnot or blogging whozit. And while I watch those things come and go and their users jump on and off them, I’ll still be here using the same proven tools I have for-what-might-as-well-be-ever and getting the things I want to do done.
I actually find myself designing a fair share of logos for various web and branding projects for myself and clients. I freely admit that I’m not a graphic designer in any traditional sense. I certainly wouldn’t call myself one. I don’t know own or even know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator. When I set out to make a logo for my own use or a client’s, I set the expectations as low as I can. I let folks know up front they will not be getting anything fancy — I don’t do fancy — but they will get something strong, utilitarian, and unique. If they want something more than that, they should hire a real designer.
Yet, when called upon, I design using the simplest tools I know and have at my disposal — various fonts, Apple’s Pages ’09 (which I find far better for this purpose than the latest version), and Acorn. Despite the fact that I don’t consider myself a professional designer and am using what the professionals might consider amateur tools, I’m always proud of and impressed with what I’m able to achieve. Here are a few examples:
In many ways, I think for the purposes at hand it is an advantage that I’m not a professional. I’m forced into the constraints of both my ability and using what I have on hand. In many ways, this forces me to be more creative. To do more with less. And, that is something I believe in.
Of course, if you like the work you see above and think my skills and sensibility are a good fit for your needs, please get in touch.
They don’t care about the perfect shot, nor do they wait for it. They have no clue what the “rules” are. Everything is interesting to them and worthy of being shot — especially what’s happening right now. They bring true meaning to the spirit of “point and shoot”.
Kids are not only used to telling stories, they are used to listening and watching for them too. Kids shoot what’s there. It may be blurry. You may end up with half of a face or a torso. It might be crooked or upside down. But it will likely be as authentic and real as anything you might shoot. Kids live the moment and shoot the moment.
Kids have the wonder and curiosity that adults have spent many years replacing with logic and skepticism. To a kid, what looks like some moss on a rock is, in fact, a fairy chair. That skyscraper is a rocket ship. A few trees in a park are a mighty forest where woodland creatures come alive. A kid will shoot the truth they see.
At the least, giving the camera to your kid will teach them that making art and telling stories is something everyone of all ages can do. It will teach them to respect the value of the equipment and how to handle it properly. It will let them know you trust them and that you care about what matters to them.
So, the next time you have the chance, give your kid a shot.