What’s that there in the middle, a seed?

My ‘About the photo’ series has been somewhat long-winded so far but this one will be rather short in comparison. The reason for that is, I was kinda surprised when I received a push notification from my auto-publishing app. I totally forgot the post was scheduled to go out. I caught it a mere 9 minutes after it published and at that time, I could do two things:

  • Retract the post and pretend nothing happened.
  • Quickly write a story with my purest, most immediate, thoughts behind the photo.

I chose the second option.

Have you seen an ado? Not me:

What’s that there in the middle, a seed? A flower, a cabbage?? No, it’s something else. I know those things around it are flowers. Pretty ones as well. Cute little spots of color, just sprinkled over the world.

Some stretched out things as well. I’m not sure what those are. They sure have a very nice shade of pinkish red though. As a matter of fact, all the colors are such a gorgeous cohesive bundle of visual joy. It doesn’t even matter what that thing in the middle is.

Though, the more I’m looking at it, that’s definitely something that could’ve been a flower. Well, in any occasion, it’s a pleasing vignette of how pretty nature can be. What’s more to say, really.

Shall we do another update?

Shall we do another update? Let’s do another update.

Today I’ve been working on adding the individual fine art prints of One Two One to the store. I have laid the last hand on the project page yesterday, so all I have to do now is finish setting up the store and then I’ll be ready to share the project with the world. If you are a reader of these Monologues, you are awarded with the privilege of early access, I guess.To be honest, I am glad I can put an end to this project. I’m happy with the whole process and it has been profoundly educational but I also need to keep moving. Eyes forward, onto the next one.

While I’ll be allowing myself to dream up some new ideas are we focusing on promoting One Two One. Hopefully, people find  the photographs interesting enough to purchase a print of them.

In other news, it is definitely time to write a new issue of my newsletter Dialogue. I have already started drafting the outlines so I know what I want to talk about, which is mostly One Two One, of course. I do find it a little difficult to quite the newsletters as I want them to be well-thought-out and valuable to the subscribers. Something I don’t worry about too much with these Monologues.

Finally, and other other news, I haven’t forgotten about the ‘Do You Register?’ project but I haven’t thought about a next scene as well. Now that One Two One is finally done though, I hope to have less computer time and more adventure time soon.

A few things I thought about today

What looks like play to me might look like work to you.

You will not get rich by renting out your time.

Your struggles are not unique.

The benefits of physical exercise are mental clarity and other things but mental clarity first.

A nightingale-counter in a newsletter called ‘Where are all the Nightingales’ is an excellent idea.

Moving to the 5th floor has me appreciating the change of the seasons more.

Mitchel Lensink, (urban) landscape and documentary photographer.

Yesterday was bad but the future is very bright

Okay, so to answer yesterday’s question, yes the quote-type post was a very bad idea. Nobody liked it. No literally, almost nobody gave it a Like lol. I thought about deleting the post as soon as I noticed how bad it was performing but then I thought to myself: “wait a minute, why did I even want to share this?”.

The answer to that question is because I care about my own writing and I want to share that with the people who care to listen. Apparently, that’s not very many people at this time but that’s okay. Sure it takes away some of the fun knowing that I’m possibly doing this all for nothing. Nevertheless, I still enjoy penning down my thoughts on a regular basis and I will not quit doing that.

In fact, I’ll probably post another quote again in the future.

Now with that out of the way, let me elaborate a little on some other things. First of all, this website that I’ve been building out and tinkering with for the past year is now starting to look like something I can be happy with for the foreseeable future. I’m happy with the color palette, the typography, the spacing of the elements, the functionality. It’s a project I’m pretty proud of.

Yes, webdesign is very subjective and as I continue learning new things, I’ll continue tinkering with it. BUT I will try to not touch its core too much anymore. The plan was never to be a webdesigner. I just want a nice home for my photography and writing and it fulfils that role now. I’m happy!

This also means that I now need to face the actual challenge, which is doing cool things and making cool stuff so that I have something to share in the first place. What this will be exactly is still to be determined. I have some thoughts and ideas that I want to get into more, which I will elaborate on in my next issue of Dialogue, which is coming up soon (subscribe if you haven’t).

In any case, I feel like I’m now in a comfortable position where I can focus on creating but mostly, not at all unimportantly, focus on just living. I have sort of figured out how I want to do things, now I just need to do them.

I cringe every time. Even now.

I’m not a 100% sure this is a good idea but here it goes. As I’m building out my De Lens Loves You Instagram feed, I figured it might be fun to share some more of my writing there as well. That’s why I decided to do one of those quote-type posts. I don’t know, I kind of cringe when I see them but I also want to share my work so here we are.

The plan is to take one of my favorite Monologues every now and then and highlight something out of it. Something I want to shine some extra light on, besides the one Monologue post. This also grants me the opportunity to paraphrase myself and perhaps add some more layers to the initial thought.

This time I’ve decided to bring back my Textures post from a while ago:

I know this looks like I’m trying to be profound but I’m not the type to act all fake-deep. This was just a quick reminder I wrote down for myself. So next time I’ll be out shooting some documentary work, I remember to focus on a full spectrum of images.

A good reportage isn’t just showing you what happened in a particular moment, it’s letting you feel it too. Transporting you to the moment so that you can experience it almost as intensely as the people in it. A good way to achieve that is to:

Shoot wide and show the setting.

Shoot medium and reveal the scene.

Shoot close and highlight the details.

And to shoot textures, allowing you to almost feel the reportage between your fingers.

A texture in itself isn’t that interesting but a good layer of rust, the wood of a building, or the polished finish of a car can really convey a bigger message when you present it alongside a few good establishing shots.

If that doesn’t make much sense then perhaps you should reach out so I can elaborate. If it does make sense and you think it’s a load of crap then, by all means, also reach out. Maybe I am wrong, or maybe I can convince you that my thoughts aren’t that strange.

I’ll have some truly deep thoughts or no thoughts at all. Ain’t no in between.

I spent my entire afternoon on these things

I spent my entire afternoon on the following:

  • Installing the bottom bracket on my bike. I almost got it all the way there but I do really need that special tool they talked about. Shame, though not to worry: it’s just an additional ten or twenty coins I might as well miss.
  • Exporting and uploading the full resolution photos of the prints I sell in my webshop. I keep them on a separate folder in my photography archive so I can access them anytime. Somebody places an order when I’m not near my computer? No problem, I sent the photo link over to the lab and they can get to printin’ right away.
  • Finishing up the product photography of the One Two One book. More on that later.
  • Organizing the product photos of the things I am making in coherent and systematic folders on my hard drive so I know where I am keeping things.
  • Drinking a quadruple craft beer while typing this as a reward. Excuse any spelling errors.
  • Dwelling over if I should commit to English or American spelling for my writing. It’s been all over the place so far and I need to make a decision some time. Not today though.

This all might sound very boring but it’s been soooooo good to get done. A few of these things have been on my mind for months now. I’m happy to move onto new things. New phases. New ideas.

Feel the warmth

I let myself go in a daydream and emerged with a deeper understanding of the layers in life.

As fas as ados go, you will not find one here:

Feel the warmth. Interesting.

How can a photo that feels so cold, radiate such hope? Such sensations of solidarity. Everything about this shot screams winter, wind, ‘it’s about to rain, please get inside!’ and other gnarly things.

But still… I can feel the warmth.

At the very least, I am sure the glowing feelings inside me originate from the sign. You know, the actual words that are displayed. The message that is being conveyed. It can’t be anything else. But how can those simple letters overpower the strenuous elements of the otherwise ghastly photo?

Perhaps it’s a little more than just the words. As if the reason why they are there plays a part as well. I mean, somebody bothered to put that sign up there. Somebody believed in this message enough to go through the arduous task of mounting these heavy letters in such a matter that they mean something.

Perhaps it’s a signal of hope. A reason to believe in things, still. If somebody believes this message is important enough to display on the side of a building, in an otherwise uninspiring environment, then we are not at all lost.

Through all the darkness and the cold, we can still feel the warmth.

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print Photography

A tweet. But different.

I wrote another tweet today but rather than embedding it, I’ll share it here directly.

The wind is so fierce today that the detached net from the basket swings so vigorously it’s leaving streaks in the dirt.

And there’s an accompanying photo as well. The seventh installment of an ever-expanding thread to document the changes in a basketball basket.

Boring? Not so much. If you know where to look.

A windy day

I might’ve gone a little too much into the vagueness of describing a photo here but you’ll have to excuse me. A seemingly boring shot has a lot going on if your imagination allows it.

And as an ado could not be founded:

A windy day. That’s for sure.

A pier. Sand. Dark skies. Rain? No, no rain. Just wind. And a very heavy one as well.

Judging by the sky, it was a stormy day. The choppy water tells the same story. The beach agrees with the water and let’s it sand blow wherever it wants to go. There are no rules here, no almighty entity. Anything is possible. Or, wait a minute, maybe this is the work of an almighty entity?

Maybe this is how a God let’s you know that you don’t matter. If you dare to weather the raw elements on a cold winter beach, He will let you know you are nothing but a puny little human. A speckle in the cosmos. Powerless to defend yourself.

But to be totally honest, I don’t quite believe in all that stuff.

What I do know is

The wind blew
Almost everything away

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print Photography

Let me stay put for a minute

Let me stay put for a minute. I know you could use that time. A little time to deflate. To reflect. Or simply to have a minute.

A minute to yourself.

It’s okay, I will stay put. Have your nap time. I’ll have mine as well. If you don’t mind. Let us have a minute. Just me and my kitty cat. Let us stay put.

Okay but what about this one

Continuing my ‘About the photo’ series1, while also continuing the build of my Instagram feed.

Looking at the likes and comments on the posts so far, I’m pretty sure most of the 26K followers are bots or non-active profiles. Or people just don’t like my stuff. But that’s kind of hard to imagine. Sure, a little self-depreciating humor is fun every now and then but in reality, I’m really proud of, and confident in, my work. I realize it might not be for everyone2, but I am very happy with the general direction I’m heading into.

Now, with the opposite of further ado:

Okay but what about this one. It reminds me of something… oh, I KNOW! Those famous colorful basketball courts in Hong Kong that everybody takes photos of. But then without the colors. Or the fame. And a lack of other photographers taking photos. But it still reminds of that. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should look it up!

Maybe it’s the tall buildings in the back that fill the frame. Or perhaps the straight lines of all the elements creating illusions of symmetry and order. Maybe it’s just the basket. It’s probably a combination of all.

In any occasion, that basket is just standing there. With its weirdly stiff net. Unaware of these seemingly random thoughts I have about it.


  1. Isn’t it funny how it’s a series within Monologue, which is a series in itself as well? Is that even allowed? A side project within as side project? ↩︎

  2. So if you don’t like my work, fine! I’d love to hear why though. Just to learn a thing or two but also to explain to you why you’re wrong. I’m kidding of course. Or am I? ↩︎

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print Photography

I’ve been keeping the same note for a year

I have this note that I’ve been keeping for about a year(?) now. It’s called ‘Vrije associatie’ or, ‘Free association’ and I use it to write down literately anything that does not have an immediate place to go to otherwise.

Any idea, any random thought, any question, anything that I want to remember; I write down there. It’s a good tool to remember stuff without having to think about it all the time. I know it’s right there and if I ever need inspiration or whatever, I can just scroll through it.

Now that I’ve been doing just that for quite some time, I’ve aggregated a sizeable list of ideas and thoughts that I found somewhat important to remember when I wrote them. The fun part is, that most of the ideas I have apparently aren’t so bad. The reason I can say that, is because quite a few of them are things I am actually doing now or things that have actually seen the light of day.

For example, and I don’t want to give away too much here, I wrote down ‘The Lens Loves You’ quite some time ago. It didn’t have a plan or further ideas attached to it then but it’s now something I’m slowly starting to send out into the world. Obviously, I changed the spelling a little in the process but the idea originated there.

Another example is my Endless Cycle playlist, which even has the ‘Tunes to ride your bike to’ subtitle written down as well. I know these are small things, there are some larger ones still remaining, but it’s a comforting thought that not all ideas I have are BS.

Now, I think I have done enough stuff for the week. Let me enjoy a beer and some leftover Indian food.

A pyramid. Sort of.

I told you I’d be back with original thoughts, right? Well today you can enjoy a new ‘behind the photo’1.

As a reminder, I try to approach the stories as if I’m seeing the photo for the first time myself, as if I didn’t take them. If that seems weird to you then I encourage you to try it. It’s a good exercise of looking more closely.

Without further ado:

A pyramid! Sort of.

Not really, now that I’m looking at it more closely. I see the triangular shape but I also see the multiple levels. The differences in material. I can see the light hitting reflective surfaces. I can see deep shadows. Oh wait, I’m looking up. Of course I am. That’s the perfect explanation for the way the light hits.

Which also explains the speckles that are unevenly sprinkled through the frame. Now that I know I’m looking up, this must be rain then. The camera is pointing its lens straight at it. Facing the dangers of moisture entering its body. Such a brave little camera.

Well, this must’ve been a day with pretty bad weather to take some photographs then. I’m sure the effect wouldn’t have been the same on a sunny day though. The mood is… impeccable. I can feel the dread. The drear. As I’m looking up, the stream of drops hitting my face, I feel small.

Tiny.

Unimportant.

Liberated.

Alive.


  1. I guess that’s what it’s called on the product pages so I’ll be referring to it here by the same name. ↩︎

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print

Close-ups in color

Who knows what can happen when you set out to shoot high buildings in black and white? I do! You end up shooting close-ups of wet leaves in beautiful Fujifilm color. With a little help of my own eye of course.

Not by to brag but, I feel like I’m getting quite good at post-processing these days. I really feel like I’m nearing a solid balance of luminosity, saturation and hues that suit my taste.

As illustrated by my next few words:

Oehhh I like those details. Those drops, the colors, the sharpness. I like it! I see a subtle spec of light on the area that’s in focus. I see the shade for the visually obscured. A blur to hide imperfections, maybe? Who knows, these leaves might have some stories to tell.

I mean, can you see the moodiness in them? Can you see how they’re trying to hold on to some sunnier days for dear life? The rain hasn’t gotten the best of them yet but you can sure tell they’ve taken a beating.

Whatever happens, there are always going to be darker days. These leaves know it. For now though, they’re still hanging in there.

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print Photography

Look close and you will see

I wrote a few words to accompany Viewfinder 030. Feast your eyes and tickle your mind with the ingenuity of my writing below:

This is one of those typical boring shots that you don’t pay much attention to at first. I mean, what exactly am I looking at? Well indeed, what are you looking at?

What is that big thing in the bottom right corner? What forms those lines? What is the perspective of the shot, am I looking to the side, or down? Maybe up?

But then, ah! Those lines are tram tracks! Right when the curvature is at its largest. That’s what they are. But what then is that thing in the corner? Is it… a light? Some sort of pole to keep the electrical wires suspended? Nah, it’s definitely a light. And then, of course, your everyday traffic lines. Nice touch.

It turns out this is not such a boring shot after all.

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Viewfinder Fine Art Print

Aahhhh all I need is a little sunshine

Aahhhh all I need is a little sunshine. Luckily that’s just what our great planet is granting me today. The tables are turning, the tides are changing.

My bike, once referred to as ‘vuurflits’, has turned into a beautiful ‘nachtschaduw’ with its new paint and polished parts. The wait is for the final bits to come in to make this thing come together nicely. I can’t wait to do long sunny rides again.

Until then, it’s long sunny hanging-around sessions for me. Aahhhh all I need is a little sunshine.