Saturday, February 28, 2009


Door to Nowhere

I think reinvention may be my favorite word. If James Lipton ever comes knocking, that will be my answer to his famous questionnaire by Bernard Pivot.

Thich Nhat Hahn, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, talks about how every day we have 24 brand new hours. A new world of opportunities, choices, decisions, about how we want to live our lives. I think about that often.

Many people I know have gone through reinventions, either personal or professional. I am going through one now in a sense, brought on in part by the untimely and unexpected death of my father in 2006.

I have had the pleasure of watching one of my good friends go through a professional reinvention in the past couple of years. Duncan Davidson was quite well known in the programming/geek circuit when I first met him a few years ago. He had written books, regularly spoke at conferences, and had as much consulting work as he could handle. But Duncan was feeling less passionate about coding and more passionate about photography.

Because he knew the tech world, he began by shooting technical conferences, learning the ropes as he went along. Then, as he began to have opportunities to shoot conferences internationally, he was able to merge his passion for travel with his love of photography. Shoots in the States were often taken as road trips instead of flying, so he could shoot the wonders of Yellowstone, the Mohave, the coast.

Recently, he’s become a big name in photography with his photograph of Bill Gates unleashing a swarm of mosquitos into an unsuspecting crowd at the TED conference. But my favorite work of Duncan’s is that which combines his architect’s eye (ask him about his previous reinvention!) with the palette of an artist. The details of buildings, landscapes, and people, where what you see first is the color, the play of light, and the emotion of the piece before thinking about the object of the photo itself. His shots from Burning Man a couple years ago (including the photo at the top of this post) are great examples of this.

You can view Duncan’s work on Flickr here. He also has a site for purchasing beautiful, high-quality prints here. He’ll be adding more pieces to the sale site as time allows. These days, he can usually be found behind a rather large lens, somewhere other than home.

Casa Batlló Stairs

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