I push buttons.
When I want to take a photograph, I’ll push buttons on a device similar to the one shown above.
Not a day passes without me pursuing esoteric new sounds by pushing buttons on this contraption:
Frequently, I’ll push the following buttons in carefully crafted patterns for the purpose of writing and recording new songs:
Every few weeks, I sit before this densely packed matrix of buttons — pushing them tens of thousands of times in pursuit of the latest ULTRAsomething essay:
Why am I pushing all these buttons? Because it’s a way to push the metaphorical buttons built-in to all of these:
Specifically, each time I go on a button pushing binge, I’m hoping to trigger some sort of contemplation, realization, motivation or emotional response in my fellow man. And in turn, I’m hoping that this inspires my fellow man to push more buttons of their own.
Nearly twenty years ago, I established ULTRAsomething as an online repository to house and share my creative and professional output.
Eight years ago, I extended the site to include a little dog & pony photography blog as a means to attract and engage clients.
Within several months, that blog ceased to function as a means, and became an end unto itself. As I channeled more creative energy into the blog, the site became increasingly “ULTRA” and decreasingly “something.” ULTRAsomething had metamorphosed into the “ULTRAphotographyblog.”
The truth of the matter is, this blog has never really been about photography. At least not entirely. I don’t write articles specifically for photographers any more than I write music specifically for musicians. Creativity is creativity. Psychology is psychology. I write about existentialism, self-doubt, exploration and discovery. I walk the corridors of history — honouring what I respect; dismantling what I don’t.
So it seems a bit ridiculous that I’ve restricted myself to framing each and every essay within the narrow borders of photography. The concepts I discuss are global, and they apply to anyone who pushes buttons of any persuasion. They even apply to people whose creative proclivities involve pushing these buttons:
Creativity is not dictated by the buttons we push. It’s universal. And universality is the real spirit of ULTRAsomething.
So the site has just undergone a relatively minor change — albeit one with significant philosophical impact. The ULTRAsomething blog no longer resides on a photography-specific subdomain. Instead of being a sub-set of a sub-set of the ULTRAsomething site, it has become the ULTRAsomething site — sitting at the tippy-top of the domain name.
So what does this mean? It means ULTRAsomething is no longer being hijacked by its most popular component. It means, when I sit down to press the buttons that write it, I don’t necessarily have to write only about pressing buttons on cameras. I can write about pressing buttons on whatever object best illustrates my point.
Many of the lessons I learned as a composer and sound designer applied directly to my photography — allowing me to shortcut certain processes and avoid repeating mistakes. And I’m now applying many of the lessons I learned as a photographer back into my music.
So does this mean ULTRAsomething is no longer a photography blog? I guess that depends on whether or not you believe it was one in the first place. It is and will remain unabashedly about the pitfalls, passion and pathos of the creative process.
Obviously, since photography is one of the primary beneficiaries of my creative angst, many (if not most) articles will continue to relieve themselves in the general direction of photography. But sometimes my thoughts might best be described in a musical context. Or maybe that next bit of inspiration will hit when I’m pushing buttons in my car. Or on my phone. Or…
ULTRAsomething will still be ULTRAsomething, only it’ll now come with more “something.”
I’ve accepted that this change will cost me readers, and I’ve also accepted that this is the inevitable cost of growth.
And with growth comes growing pains. I changed the structure of the site significantly — eliminating all subdomains and condensing and consolidating all non-blog content. The very act of moving the blog’s URL from its old subdomain to its new location at the top domain means I have broken (but will gradually repair) eight years worth of external links into this site. It might also affect new post notifications for site subscribers. This, too, is something that should be temporary. Please be understanding these next few days — transitional hiccups are going to occur.
I am free of my self-administered shackles. I can now take photos without every article needing to be about the act of taking those photos. If a photo needs to just be, it can just be. Similarly, if I write new music or derive some wacky new philosophy, I won’t have to find some way to tie it back to photography. It, too, can just be.
I’m a button pusher. You’re a button pusher. We’re all button pushers. It doesn’t matter what buttons we push. Only that we push them with forethought and purpose. Maybe you’re a graphic designer or an illustrator. Maybe you make furniture, wine, clothing or pottery. Whatever you create, an ULTRAsomething article that might appear to be about photography will likely contain something relevant to you. And if you’re a photographer, don’t immediately assume an article about music won’t apply to you. Everything applies. Everything we read, learn or experience shapes our approach to pushing buttons.
And who know? Maybe a few of you will even be motivated to push this button:
©2016 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
Really? You actually want to know something about the photos that accompany this article? OK. With the exception of “Humanity,” they were all shot with an Olympus OMD-EM1 and an Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens. Grand total time spent photographing objects around my apartment? 10 minutes — and it shows. Though, truth be told, half that time was spent yanking the background fabric out of its duffel bag, and re-inserting it. “Humanity,” which I shot with a Leica Monochrom (Type 246), appeared on this site once before. Sure, I could have taken another photo to represent “humans,” but I already had this one on the hard drive, and I happen to like it. Besides, this whole site upgrade is taking a significant amount of my time. Photography is getting back-burnered until the new and improved ULTRAsomething is up and running smoothly.
REMINDER: If you find these articles to be entertaining, inspirational or even helpful agents in your war on insomnia, please consider making a DONATION to this site’s continuing evolution. As you’ve likely realized, ULTRAsomething is not an aggregator site — serious time and effort go into developing the original content contained within these virtual walls.