Object No. 10

Object No. 10

I bought this music box in a shop in Europe years ago as I was thoroughly lost in daydreams and the mind numbing realization that there were so many places in this world to get lost in. Surrounded by unfamiliar walls and unknown languages it felt as though I would never run out of ways to get lost both physically and emotionally. The world felt infinite, comforting and intimate.

This was just before the hysteria of smart phones took over our lives. If I remember correctly, I was carrying the recently released first generation of iPhone with me which went mostly untouched during the trip. While it was a cool device, my world didn’t revolve around it, I didn’t feel the need to be connected at all times and share constantly to keep everyone in the loop. I simply wandered the streets of Paris, Vernazza, London, anywhere the train let me off, camera in hand, no expectations or specific destination, only a sense that the world could go on forever if I kept walking forward.

No matter how much time passes there are ghosts from these places where I felt lost that cling themselves onto melodies, colors, light, objects, anything. They wait patiently for their chance to appear and haunt my thoughts for a time. Some of them grow weak and leave me be after a while but others hang on tight, grip strong and steady as I go about my day.

The melody these metal prongs play is one which echoes in a white room with a door to any number of different outcomes. It was during this trip that I learned to never underestimate the creative power of being lost and the lasting impact it could have if I continued to take chances and never settle on anything outside of what I was honestly passionate for.

Living a life with risks and always staying curious enough to wonder what is around the next bend in the path ahead has lead me on amazing adventures and taught me valuable lessons about myself and the world we live in. It’s easy to fear that first step into the void but the regret of not taking it is something you can’t take back.



Unless you have been under a rock I am sure most all of you know Nils Frahm by now. A modern composer who’s compositions center around the piano but often drift into modern experimentation using synthesizers and creative playing styles that lead to some truly beautiful music. In his most recent release, long delayed on vinyl, he has released a set of live recordings as a means to closer connect his audience to the versions of his music heard at his live performances.

It’s interesting to see how a modern classical performer allows his music and compositions to evolve while he explored ways to perform them live as opposed to their original forms aided more by home recording techniques. These live recordings offer a look into the intuition and creativity he has as a performer and I love every minute of it. I could see this record easily becoming a long standing favorite over time and suggest you grab a copy of your own before they run out.

Object No. 9

Object No. 9

There is no reason this was shot on a bed. I was searching for a nicely lit space and it seemed like a perfect spot even though the scene and the object have nothing at all to do with each other. But maybe this adds something to the shot in a way, a subject and its location don’t always need to justify each others existence. Though sometimes a subject that feels forced into a location, like a model too obviously staged somewhere can cause an emotional separation that can be distracting.

Yet here we have an old wooden typeset letter stained in old ink from long forgotten publications and somehow it feels right at home in my bed. The displacement is almost irrelevant because of the calm, glowing afternoon sun and the mood it captures in our imagination as we spy on this letter over the edge of a blanket.

It may seem like I am reaching a bit far out here but this kind of exploration of a photograph is how we discover what we like about photography. Having an understanding of why we enjoy the photos we enjoy can lead us to a better understanding of our own photographs and those of others.

Looking back on my history with a camera, it took years of slow progression and growth to feel as though I was in control of my own style. At first I emulated others I admired then slowly started taking these inspirations and applying them to my own ideas and exploring new approaches and formats once I had a better understanding of what it was that I liked about my favorite images by others. It’s one of the most important steps of a photographers development but also one of the hardest to overcome.

Discovering ones style behind a camera is sometimes easier than we would think but often easy to overlook if your not paying attention, so keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to over analyze your favorites.

One Way V1

There Was Only Ever One Way Out

I held out as long as I could manage but one day recently I put on the first episode of The Walking Dead and have been thoroughly hooked on its dismal plot-line since. The mood of the show has sunk into my mind and, oddly enough, made me want to get out and go camping, get away from technology for a while. There is something strange in the way you are unable to get attached to any character because you can only assume anyone, no matter their significance, could be killed off from the plot at any given moment. I bring this up because when I posted these photos to YWO I had just finished an episode of The Walking Dead when I did my usual ‘first thing that pops into my mind’ way of titling images I was left with this ambiguous title that seemed fitting of the mood considering the lonely mood of these photos.

I shot them last week while I was out running a few errands and needed a photo for the day. I stopped by this abandoned rail road that I remembered was nearby for a few photos before the sun left the sky completely. I ended up with a nice series that I thought would make for good wallpaper pack, hope you guys enjoy them!

One Way v2

One Way V3

One Way V4

Object No. 8

Object No. 8

Heres an odd one. If my distant memory isn’t playing tricks on me, I got this Wienermobile whistle at a Ford Auto Museum long ago. I have no idea how old I may have been at the time, memories this distant tend to loose certain factual detail. For those who have no idea what they are looking at, this is a tiny promotional whistle which is the likeness of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a vehicle that has seen a number of revisions over the years and still to this day gives out these whistles as far as I know. They even have a name, albeit an unfortunate one, Wienerwhistles. Interested in the history of these driving wieners, have a gander at the Wikipedia entry here.


Breakspiracy Theories Vol. 1

Malcom Kipe may not be a widely known name these days but in the heyday of the now defunct Merck records he released a couple of fantastic albums I consider to be classics in the realm of instrumental hip-hop. At the time, Merck was releasing music way ahead of the curve right along a handful of other small labels at the forefront of pushing electronic music forward in new directions. A few names off the top of my head that you may recognize who got their start in the Merck camp are Tycho, Helios, and MachineDrum. Merck may be gone but are certainly not forgotten to those who know the part they played in the evolution of electronic music.

Give Breakspiracy Theories a spin if you are in the mood for good old head nodding boom bap influenced hip-hop beats, some of my favorites from that era, right up there with the likes of perfuse 73, Daybre, Madvillain and others. Considering this was released back in 2004 I think it has held its ground well and can easily recommend it. The vinyl version was released in two volumes, which you can still find through Discogs, for reasonable prices but it’s also on iTunes and streaming services for those of you who have not yet been bitten by the vinyl bug.

Day One at work.

Day One Journaling

The great folks over at Bloom, creators of the best journaling software out there, Day One, reached out to discuss my journaling habits using their software in interview form on their company blog. I have been using it for close to two years now and have grown to really love it. I have lately been using it more and more as my go to app for most of my writing both personal and for 50ft related writing. Head on over to Day One’s blog for the full interview here.



East of the mountains North Carolina doesn’t see a lot of snow but from time to time things line up and we end up with a few inches on the ground. Last week saw the most snow we have had in ages and we took advantage of the weather and took a trip out to the lake to shoot around. Outside of one lone runner out on the trail we were the only ones who braved the slippery roads to head out. This lead to me having to dig the car out with a shovel after it got stuck spinning in place in an empty gravel lot near by but we managed to get back on the road eventually.

While YoungDoo had more luck than I did with her long lens I caught what I could and this shot seemed like it would make a nice desktop for those who aren’t totally sick of the snow or those down under where they may need a little cooling off in the heat of the summer. Either way, enjoy!


One Year

Most of you know by now that last February I started a project to share photos every day as a photographic journal, not limiting myself to one photo a day or any particular theme, I set off with the simple idea to capture and share my life as a means to closer examine and remember the day to day happenings in my life.

At this point, one year has passed and a limited run book is on its way featuring the images selected to share with everyone on Yesterday Was Only from day to day. Speaking of which, only one week left of pre-orders, that’s it! If there are any additional copies available beyond pre-order it won’t be many so if you would like a copy, now is the time!

In the process of finding nice enough photos of my life to share there were plenty that did not make the cut. Piles of photos that theoretically would never be seen by much of anyone at all unless you happened to be looking over my shoulder as I scroll though my Aperture libraries.

The thought crossed my mind toward the end of the first year of the project that maybe some of you would be interested in seeing the uncut version of my photographic output from 2013 so this is exactly what I have prepared in the most chaotic way possible, at 24 frames a second in a quasi stop motion video. (I tried 15FPS which allowed you to actually make out individual frames here and there but it drug on for too long)

The end result is a six minute video that you may or may not be able to sit through to the end without your eyes rolling into the back of your head. 8,212 frames in total it may be a bit on the indulgent side of my bright ideas but I figured why not. No scheme or theme like some self portrait photo a day guys pull off, this represents my entire photographic output for one year.

So, aside from a handful of personal photos and commissioned work that were omitted, have a look below to see every single photo I took last year. The good, the bad, the embarrassing, all of it.

A clearer, full definition version can be seen over on Vimeo.

Watching it is almost overwhelming for me in some ways. It represents one year of my life of which I only am allowed a finite amount of, so seeing it all compacted into this frantic rush of images makes it feel both small yet exponentially expanding. It’s like having my life shoved down through a funnel.

My reason for sharing this is not to show off a bunch of photos. Most of these were never meant to be seen, they are the test shots, the trash bin, the debris left on the cutting room floor. My reason for sharing is to illustrate how much, as a photographer, I don’t share with the world (and I know I’m not alone here). Photographers have this trick where we only share our best work, our best light, the brightest and most welcoming side our lives. There is a lot that gets brushed under the rug as we put our best foot forward to come across as a well adjusted, unique personalities on the web worthy of your time and attention.

There is a lot that gets embellished in the viewers translation of an image, what you see is not always exactly what existed in front of the photographer. The photographs we see and love represent the peak of what life is able to show us, sometimes to impossible levels of perfection. It’s often a showcase of almost imaginary moments even more grandiose than life can honestly give us. A photograph is not life itself, but a photo copy of it which this isn’t a bad thing, not at all. I think that photography, as a modern trend that has all but consumed our day to day lives, is a gift. Not particularly because we get inspired by the photos we see but because in the act of making photos we are driven to live better lives in order to capture and share amazing things.

Whenever you take the long way home, crawl into weird positions with your camera to get just the right angle to make a scene more unique, or prepare your food as beautifully as possible so it will look delicious when photographed, remember that photography drove you there. Just don’t forget to look beyond the viewfinder from time to time and soak in these beautiful things that pull you, camera in hand, along in life and on occasion set it aside and do something just for yourself from time to time.

I look back through these photographs and I remember just how many places I have seen not only because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, but because I took the time and energy to put myself in these scenarios in the name of finding great photos. I owe a lot to the fact that photography has taken me to such beautiful places in my life and sharing this passion with my wife, YoungDoo, has multiplied this magnetism ten fold as we explore together. For that, I am thankful.

The life of a photographer has long been thought to be one of adventure, travel, and privilege. It’s easy to look on with envy as you see other photographers that always seem to find such amazing places to photograph. There is no big secret to this though, these amazing places, people, and circumstances are all around us. The only way to turn these stories into our own reality is by getting out there and getting lost. Go ahead, buy a ticket, shut down this device and grab your camera, I’ll wait…

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share fiftyfootshadows.net with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.


• Post these elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics.
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


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All of the images contained within this website, fiftyfootshadows.net, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

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It’s not fair to artists if you do not credit their work and link back to the original content creator. It is theft plain and simple and blogs that attempt to somehow be mysterious by not giving credit to the creators are simply hurting the artistic community as a whole. If you love it so much then please, support it! The artistic community on the Internet is based on trust. Without trust then what do we have? are you going to be one of the responsible users out there or will you be among the bottom feeders, stealing content and passing it off as your own to make a quick buck in ad sales.

Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

-John Carey (curator, owner)