Document everything. Little things.

Document Everything. That is probably the one and only advice I would ever give to any photographer, especially anyone going traveling for an extended period of time. Document everything. In pictures and in words. It is all about process and all the little things which are really the big things. I have gone through so many different phases of photography over the past 4-5 years. Having the luxury of time and shooting a lot I time-travel faster through these phases faster than most. The biggest change was switching to a smaller tool in 2011, Fuji X cameras and now a Leica M6. This means that I always carry my cameras, it is not a tool that has to be ‘unpacked’ when it is time to shoot – my camera is always there, always ready. This is important. Not just breaking out the tool when it is time to make pictures, make the big ‘hero’ shots, the big moments, no it now means the camera is just there, like my notebook, I record the feelings, thoughts, impressions, in writing, the camera is now there to always document it visually. Part of me. Meaning all the little things, the little moments, which are actually the big moments, get documented. Document everything. That is my one advice, given to me by a friend, I am passing it on.



These two images are not much, shot at two different places in New Mexico, just small moments, but one of the man great things about making books and playing with layout, spreads and small prints are discovering small images and images that pair up well together. Images made on the road, time traveling, free, just looking, searching, experiencing, seeing, shooting. No big plans, no big moments. Driving through the magic emptyness under a comforting hard sun. Stopping at a café at the end of a long straight road cutting through wide open New Mexican desert. Having lunch in a funky café in the funky town called Truth or Consequences; the guitarist turning out to be really good. Small things maybe, but no, turns out to be the stuff that is remembered and the stuff I am happy I documented.

Document Everything, make pictures. Make work and lots and lots of it. Big breaks, I guess they can happen but they never quite turn out as expected. It is doing the work, and more work, keep plugging at all the small things, make pictures. Make work, make connections, enter unexpected doors that open. It will add up. It must. Little things. Not so little at all.

11 Comments on “Document everything. Little things.”

  1. I remember you saying this some time ago and it simply not making sense to me then. Why, when I see the same old stuff everyday, to the point where I’m too numbed to even notice it, nevermind try and make a picture out of it?

    Leaving though, gives everything a its own mortality (more morbid than it sounds for the most part). For me: I found myself asking lots people at the Matrix, on my last day, if I could take a picture of them. Something I would have never thought/wanted to do within the confines of the building in any other circumstance. Everyone wanted to know what I was going to do with them. My answer was: “Nothing. These are for me.” And I am still thinking with regret, that two great friends were on holidays then, and I never got portraits of them.

    You’re absolutely right that the small things add up. Personally if nothing else. And hell, that counts.

    (I have to keep reminding myself to do this though. So much of the time i plain forget)

    1. “Nothing. These are for me.” – That’s it, that is exactly it. So many times have I forgotten to shoot the most important shots, the ones “for me”. I have to keep reminding myself too.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I should document my own life and the life around me more often, or even when on the road working or researching for new projects. I did start carefully with the (photo)diary approach, and I’m further developping it as we speak; an idea I picked up at Daniel’s blog.

  3. Great post Flemming and nice reminder.

    Having a two year old daughter I’m constantly documenting her life and her early years. I have often have so many images but not enough time to process them or edit videos. Still, better to have the data and worry about time than not having the data at all!

    One thing I’ve not done yet is “changed to a smaller tool” and know I’ve missed out on many opportunities as I did not have my DSLR with me. I’m a big admire of the Fuji X-Series range and hope to take the plunge at somepoint in 2013 and document even more!

    1. Sounds great Paul, definitely better to have the data (and back it up!) and then later be able to process! Yes, smaller cameras are great. I am never going back to a big heavy DSLR.

I'd love to hear your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.