This Must Be The Place
There’s a French term, mise-en-place, which translates to putting in place, or to translate more properly, it’s the idea of everything having its place. It is often associated with cooking, where it refers to a particular spot for your pots, pans, bowl, plates, tools, spices, sauces… everything. Always in the same place. And this way, when you’re busy cooking, you’re not also wondering where things are. You can go into a bit of auto pilot with the more technical aspects of your endeavor. Find your flow.
Photography also has its versions of this. From packing the bag to ingesting and editing photos, you can create a routine with it that can reach mise-en-place levels. And routine is powerful, not only for the flow-state it can enable, but as an emotional tether in difficult times. It provides a certain amount of predictability. And when life seems to be thrown into chaos, a great routine can be an incredible soother of nerves.
Lately, with everything going on in the world, I’ve reacquainted with this need. As I write this, a close election between two sides that have never been further apart hangs in the balance. Like a lot of other people I know, I’m having a hard time feeling enthused, positive or energized for creativity. But at the same time, I’m busier than ever. I’m shooting upward of three times a week, sometimes with back-to-back, same-day shoots, or shoots I have to drive a distance for. I’m doing studio work, event photography, editorial and lifestyle shoots, product photography, environments, real estate, and more. And I need to pull it together for each and every one, suck up my inertia and find my way to it, with a positive attitude and with no loss of quality for any given project.
After months of this, I’ve found the place in myself where I can manage it all. It’s a different gear, but it still produces the same results. And it involves cutting down the decisions I need to make on set.
Finding Zen in Removing Choices
It was a big lifestyle shoot with five different models and two separate locations in one day where I really found out the power of paring down my choices. Both…