Experiment as Method: A New Room in My House

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Old Ralph Waldo cuts it once again. Its’s time for some more experimentation in my life, and it will happen on the web!

For quite some time already had I pondered to radically expand the visuals category here on the site. But while most of you seem to enjoy my photography, TFA didn’t seem to be the right place for it. On the other hand, I wasn’t so sure about building a whole new site… to be honest, it seemed a bit intimidating to have several outlets to maintain at the same time.

The answer to my dilemma came when I chatted about my ideas with Milo McLaughlin from Clearminded Creative. He came up with a wonderful metaphor that I decided to appropriate for this new adventure: I won’t build a whole new palace. Nor will I clutter this friendly anarchistic living room. Instead, I’ll simply open a new room in my house.

Photography = Life

Eric Schmidt aptly called the web “the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had,” so it’s probably a natural petri dish for me. In the tiny Fabian Kruse Ventures building, this new project will be the second living room next to TFA. But in order to not overwhelm any of my regular readers with photos, links and camera talk, I decided to give that room a separate entrance.

Everybody’s a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We’re all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.
David Cronenberg

So far, I’ve got a name.
I’ve got a domain.
I’ve got a logo.
I’ve got some posts written.

But more importantly, I’ve got an idea.

The idea is that photography isn’t just a job. Or a hobby. It’s a part of our lives. As such, it can be used as a visual diary. As a “way to fend off madness and chaos” and tell the stories we experience. As an incentive to find beauty in the mundane. And as an incentive to live an interesting life, a life worth shooting.

It can be seen as a central tool for doing the things we want to do before we kick the bucket.

This is the spirit of what I’m creating in that new room.

What I Did So Far

Like every crazy photographic dilettante, first of all… I bought a new camera. To be sure, I did that as someone who once wrote a successful (German-language) blog post called “10 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a New Camera”. Ha, the irony.

But I did more than that.

Since May 1st, I have been carrying this new camera everywhere I went. I have been taking at least one photo each day. I have been organizing these photos in a (somehow) intelligent way. (At least opposed to merely copying them into different directories spread all over my hard disk.) I have been rating and editing them meticulously.

My goal: Shoot more. Get better. Make the camera a part of me. Have more fun. And show what I shoot to the people who’d like to see it.

Experiment as Method

You’ve got to experiment to figure out what works.
Andrew Weil

In living beyond rules, I choose experiment as my main method. This is why this new room I’m preparing is first and foremost that: An experiment to figure out what works.

What works doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be a huge “success” in the old definition of the term. The chemist and physicist Ernest Rutherford said: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” And it’s true: Statistics cannot replace judgement. So this little experiment won’t be a success just because of site views.

So how will I decide about the success of it?

The answer is probably unpopular in a society obsessed with winning, efficiency and popularity, but: My main metric is the fun of it. Numbers and professionalism and business boredom don’t really matter – as long as it’s fun.1

So far, building that new room has been precisely that: Fun. I’d love to keep it that way!

But it’s also a welcome occasion to remove some dust from good old TFA and put up a nice new wallpaper. (Believe it or not, I’m working on that, too. It’s happening behind construction blinds, but I’m eager to show it to you soon. Fun times for sure!)

More on the new room next week (and in an exclusive preview to Mails Beyond Rules subscribers over the weekend!). For now, some images from May, to give you a taste of what’s coming.

“I like many different things you know so I’m probably going to experiment, and if I didn’t I’d be a little bit strange and boring and stiff and kind of dead, and I’m very not that.”
Joss Stone

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tl;dr

I’m working on a new project. It’s about photography, experimentation and living an interesting life. And it’s going to be a whole lotta fun!

  1. You might see a repeating pattern there. Eh! []

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