Amused To Death

But on eliminating every other reason
For our sad demise.
They logged the only explanation left.
This species has amused itself to death
— Roger Waters

We have finally reached the dream. Affordable goods and enough money to buy them. A lot of them in fact. Items that lasted for a decade or more are now being replaced yearly (helped I’m sure by manufacturers building things NOT to last). With the advent of the internet, we shop almost daily. We use YouTube to show us shiny new toys by our modern day evangelists and then use the affiliate link springboard like an Olympic diver, landing headfirst into the deep blue pool of the Amazon. There we swim around, basking in the majesty of it all. Delivery by 9 pm tonight. Fat arses clad in pajamas need not leave the sofa. We shop like our lives depended on it and feel good because we are a Prime member. Yes, a Prime member in every sense of those two words!

We shop constantly and it makes us feel great. Yes, it makes us feel great for around 10 seconds after we press that buy button. But don't worry, there's still the thrill of waiting for delivery. But we might as well go back to YouTube and take a look at the accessories, just in case we might need them. And so it continues. The chase for the transparent dangling carrot.

The truth is; the more we consume, the more empty we feel. We're not filling a hole...we're digging one. Shame we can't use that hole as a landfill to dump all that crap we bought. But there is another truth that is just as serious. We are prisoners and we are slaves. We work to make money. Money to buy stuff. That stuff will need to be replaced whenever the manufacturer decides they want more of your money. The cost of these goods increase but income rarely does. You want better, you want more. So you buy on credit and you work more to pay for it, and so the cycle continues. But at least you have that giant screen TV to sit in front of after each hard working day. Entertainment to numb the empty feeling consumerism brings to the table. All over the world, millions of us are sitting in front of bright screens. It's as though we are waiting to be amused to death.



You probably know by now that we are shooting this month [Consumerism] essays using our oldest digital cameras. I first moved to digital using Olympus and then Nikon, but those cameras are long gone now. So the original X100 is my oldest digital and my oldest Fuji camera. 

I looked back to see when I got the X100 and my first shot was taken on the 22nd of March 2011 (I think I bought the camera the day before). The image above was shot with this X100 three days later and although this looks like some sort of protest, it is actually people waiting on the Apple store to open on the release day of the latest iPhone. The queue actually goes around the corner and up the next street too.

So my X100 has come full circle, covering consumerism in 2011 and now again in 2019. I wish I could say I’ve enjoyed using this camera again, but although I have a soft spot for my original X-Series camera, it just made it blatantly obvious how far these cameras have come in the past eight years. So it's going back in the box, and a very nice box it is too. It's more like a jewelry box than a camera box. A far cry from the poor cardboard boxes we get these days.

*This post was partly inspired by Roger Water's ‘Amused To Death’, which is the title track from what is, in my opinion, the greatest rock n’ roll album in the last 40 years. That album was inspired by the book of the same name.

**You can win an imaginary balloon and whistle if you name all the gear pictured in the table shot. The prize will be sent via telepathic thought waves on the first Sunday during the week.

And on the Seventh Day



Like in pretty much every country in the world, consuming is the national occupation of choice in Belgium. But on Sundays consumerism takes a break. There are exceptions but by law, stores have to close on Sunday. There’s a lot of pressure on the government to loosen or even completely change the rules. Multinationals have to feed their ever growing machines and consumers want to shop 24/7.

But honestly, it’s not so bad to be unable to buy more meaningless stuff once a week.

My oldest working digital camera is the X-Pro1 and my oldest lens for that camera is the 35mm F1.4, so that’s what I used for these pictures. The viewfinder is a bit low res and the controls are a little sluggish in 2019. But if I’m completely honest, I could probably still do 80% of my photo work with this “old” combination. The original X-Pro forces you to slow down and that’s necessarily not a bad thing. Shooting this story reminded me how enjoyable the slow simplicity can be. My X-Pro1 was pretty much retired, but it’s still way too good to sit in the back of my cupboard.

A week's worth


By Patrick La Roque

We barely realize how much stuff we consume on a daily basis. We go through the motions, take out the trash, recycle as much as we can and now compost most of it...but it still just moves constantly, in/out, flowing like a river.

The images below barely scratch the surface. I picked through the recyclables before dumping them in the bin outside. I could’ve added Amazon packages and at least ten times more boxes and wrappers and cans. With five of us sharing the house and the kids growing up, it’s quite an exponential curve. And you can’t help but imagine all of this multiplied across every household, a thousand million times...we ingest and reject at a dizzying pace.

As photographers, this extends to our gear as well: the appeal of the shiny and the new is a siren’s song that’s hard to resist. This is why we made a point this month of shooting all our essays with our oldest camera—well, our oldest digital and usable camera anyway. In my case (and a few of my colleagues as well I think) this was the Fujifilm X100. Back when these were still called Finepix. And you know what? It wasn’t a pleasure to shoot and it quickly highlighted just how far we’d come. Technology really does shift insanely fast and our reflexes and expectations shift along with it. And yet I was profoundly surprised when I loaded the images on my computer: the files from this camera totally stand up, even in 2019; even on a 5K Retina display. In the rush of new features and medium format and ever faster performance I’d forgotten how good this little camera was, despite its flaws.

Images should always spring from who we are, not what we shoot—and yes, we know this in our bones.
But it was damn good to be reminded.



It’s funny - I hadn’t intended to write a companion piece to my last essay; but, here we are.

I was back in New Zealand last week, driving down the west coast of the South Island; and what struck me after a few years in Australia wasn’t just the colour - though the variation in shades of green are certainly striking - but the interconnectedness.

It’s a very wet place, the coast, and there’s a dark lushness to the forests; especially compared to the areas of New South Wales where I spend most of my time these days…

Deep Blue Year

By Vincent Baldensperger

De bas en haut, avec pour seule frontière l’horizon, 365 nuances de bleu. Pas de saison pour le marine, l’égyptien, le cobalt, l’azur, le saphir, le smalt, l’électrique, le prusse, le canard, le turquin, le minéral, l’outremer, le guède, le ciel, le barbeau, le céruléen, l’ardoise, le céleste ou encore le bleu roi… entre mer et ciel, chaque jour sa lumière, chaque instant sa nuance… Bienvenue en 2019 !

From bottom to top, with the horizon as the sole border, 365 shades of blue. There is no season for navy, egyptian, cobalt, azure, sapphire, smalt, electric, prussian, peacock, deep, mineral, ultramarine, woad, sky, cornflower, cerulian, slate, celestial or even royal blue… between heavens and oceans, each day has its light, each moment its nuance. Welcome to 2019!




I used to live near these fields and I walked them often for a couple of years to get some air, think, forget, despair, hope or just be. I liked how things changed with the seasons but as soon as I entered the second annual cycle, I got bored because it was like watching a movie again just after finishing it the first time. What's the point of life if it's just a constantly repeating pattern?

It took a while before I started noticing the subtle changes that came with each cycle. I saw wildlife that wasn't there a year before, the puddles on the path were in different places, there were new sounds, unfamiliar faces and so much more. 
This morning, when I walked these fields again for the first time in a couple of years, I noticing that these small changes are all it takes to transform an area over time. 

Nature is wise teacher, small changes do have an impact. Our actions aren't pointless, so let's make them count.

Constant Renewal


Photography & Text by Derek Clark



Occurring over a period of time.

Remaining the same over a period of time.

(of a person) Unchangingly faithful and dependable.


A situation that does not change.

Glasgow, like most cities, is changing rapidly. But you may have noticed that the older something gets, the better the chance of survival. The Provan's Lordship is the oldest house in Glasgow. It's a stones-throw away from Glasgow Cathedral and was built by Bishop Andrew Muirhead for the chaplain of nearby St Nicholas Hospital in 1471. I was lucky to have the place to myself when I visited recently and I have to say that it was more than a little eerie. You can practically feel the history in each room as you make your way through the house.

Nearby graves at Glasgow Cathedral have alphabet gardens growing in the engravings of the tombstones. Nature takes back everything eventually and here the soil has blown into the channels, followed be seed. constant growth; Constant renewal. Nothing ever stands completely still.

A short walk towards the city centre reveals the latest area for architectural renewal. Glasgow College and the surrounding area has seen a massive change in the past few years with building after building being erected at great speed (at least for someone who lives outside the city). But if I had to put my money on which of these buildings would still be standing in 100 years, The old Provan's Lordship would win hands down.

An old London bus passes by the modern architecture, the rattle of the Diesel engine cutting through the quiet like a chainsaw. It heads toward the Provan's Lordship. A link between new and old.


All Still


By Patrick La Roque

January is usually a quiet time of year, but 2019 is different. My calendar is filled with judging, writing and shooting assignments, including a few days in Toronto at the end of the month for a rather important gig. Combined to holidays that were little more than a seven-days-a-week-xmas-playlist blur, the sense of renewal and opportunity for reflection are missing this time around.

I’m meditating again (or trying to...the brain is one crazy nervous beast) and over the past weeks I’ve searched, actively, for images that would bring me peace. Therapy through photography. It’s much too easy to get caught up in busyness otherwise—as Kevin and Dominique both expressed very well in their last essays.

So here’s some illusion, while we gather our thoughts.

Fresh Eyes

Fresh Eyes

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rising move towards instancy in everything we do. From Twitter to Netflix to reducing the thirst for knowledge to scanning the top line of a smartphone google search we live in a society where time and space is seldom afforded. We want instant access, instant gratification, instant response and decisions. But sometimes time is the essential ingredient in allowing us reflect on where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what was really important all along.