#53: Notes from the hiatus

#53: Notes from the hiatus

Organizing with Google Keep // New photos from latest scans // Pedestrian Magazine Issue 5 // The Pomodoro Technique // Never Retire // + interesting reads

Life: I started a new job a month ago. I’m lucky. It’s a tough economy for the creative industry right now. There’s an abundance of talent ready to create amazing work. Any time there’s a downturn, it always seems like creative is cut, whether it’s in media, marketing, or with arts funding.

I think creativity is essential but sometimes that can be a tough argument when people are lining up for food or to get unemployment benefits. It’s all interconnected. I think that’s part of the new reality. There’s clarity around the interconnectedness of the challenges we’re confronting. Where do we fit into the fabric of those challenges? Where do they intersect?

Productivity: Somewhat serendipitously this article on the pomodoro technique found me through Google News (love them, hate them they create powerful tools for sifting through information), and I decided to try it because I struggle at times with staying focused while working on a computer.

It’s been miraculous! Working in 25-minute intervals is the perfect cadence for me. The five-minute break allows me to take care of quick chores or get up and pace to collect my thoughts. I’ve started to call them micro walks. It’s a new productivity hack. Pacing is such an interesting activity.

Photography: I’ve been working my way through the rolls of film I bought last year, about 30 rolls of Delta 3200, 10 rolls of 35mm Portra 400 and 5 packs of Instax. With this batch I’ve been mapping the locations and time of the photos. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and in retrospect, I wish I’d made more detailed notes in the past about my landscape photos.

The main difference between habits and routines is how much aware and intentional you are. A habit usually manifests itself as an automatic urge to do something, often triggered by a particular cue. The stronger the connection between the trigger and the habit, the more ingrained the habit. - Ness Labs

Productivity: Google Keep is my note machine. I’ve been using it for a year now. It has its flaws, like all software, for example, it freezes in the field sometimes, and that sucks, but overall it has been a great addition to my workflow.

I’ve started to think about it as a format.

One day I was making a note in the field, and I thought to myself, this is fun. I enjoy simply gathering the information.

What other information can I put in this container I’m calling a note? How can I use the labels and other features? Technology can have a strange influence on the process, and photography doesn’t exist without technology. That relationship feels like a trap. What if the cameras disappeared? How would you make your art then? A photo is just one piece of data. I don’t know where this is leading but testing the parameters has already forced me to think differently in the field.

Money: Retirement is a bizarre concept, and I have a feeling capitalism is somehow the corrupting factor. We should all be retired all the time. How is that we live in a society where we wait until the end of our lives to do the things we enjoy the most? It’s pure corporate propaganda.

I’ve always invested in experiences and it has paid off intellectually and creatively more than I can have imagined, but that doesn’t fundamentally alter the equation when it comes to financial stability. At this point, I have no notion of retirement. I’m going to work on these projects for as long as I’m able physically and intellectually.

Media: My friend Alex Wolfe is out with a new issue of Pedestiran Magazine, and it’s really interesting. I like the direction he’s taking it editorially and think it has a good chance of scaling into a bigger entity, but it will take some effort. I think the walking niche has a few interesting developments happening right now.

Craig Mod also launched his latest book ‘Kissa by Kissa’ which sold out relatively quickly. He has mastered the subscription model and built a sustainable audience for his work. It’s not easy, and takes years, but he is proving that if you work hard and have a solid skill stack, that you can make it work.

  • I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing - Farhad Manjoo in the NYTimes making the argument for no cars in Manhattan. The visuals are the most interesting part of the piece. I fully agree, and think Manhattan should be a cutting edge incubator for a carless future.

I’m a strategist, photographer, and writer in New York City. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram & Twitter

Way of the Walk is my newsletter on walking, photography and creativity. Each issue, I share updates on my current walking projects as well as interesting articles and projects focusing on walking, urbanism, New York City and art.