The Grand Staircase

Of all the strange, backwards, unexpected things that happened last year politically in the U.S., there was one that hit me on a personal level and left me feeling a subtle but deep sort of melancholy that has been hard to shake. That was the seemingly arbitrary act of shrinking one of the last vestiges of the untamed American west by such a dramatic amount. I am referring to the large cuts to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This truly humbling stretch of land is seemingly endless and beautiful, mostly untouched and free to explore in a way unlike many of the other National Parks available out west are.

Growing up I was caught up in the romanticized idea of the grand American west, southern Utah in particular, I was lost in the magic of Desert Solitaire, a book by Edward Abbey about living as a ranger at Arches in the late 1950s, and the impossibly beautiful photography of so many great photographers who’s lives work focused on the region such as Michael Fatali, I have always held this region close to my heart throughout my life through not only the stories and photographs of others, but ones from my own father as well. He would talk about his own trips west before there was as much of an impact from tourism in the region. Back when Moab was a smaller, more local town, Arches was a hard to access hidden beauty, and Mount Zion was more lightly visited. The last vestiges of the untamed west would slowly, but of course not entirely, start to fade as time pressed on.

Even within my lifetime I have seen a lot of change as camping and adventuring has become increasingly trendy which has caused more and more comforting amenities to start popping up to make it easier to access some of the most beautiful spots in this constantly evolving land. Amenities that seem nice on the surface but in some ways detract from the experience as a whole.

Among my favorite things about traveling in the region is the infinite quiet of the vast tracks of land and the ability to find yourself standing in a spot where you very well may be the single only person to occupy that land for dozens of miles. It’s a beautiful, unique feeling and part of the reason that the last few times traveling out there by car I would go in the winter to avoid the crowds of the busier vacation months.

Which brings us back to Escalante. This monument was (and yes, still is) an immense tract of land that is largely unsullied and difficult to access. There are not many truly wild, protected lands in the U.S. left and this area was set up as a protected land for a reason. If I’m remembering correctly, it’s protection was always somewhat controversial for locals in the area and of course it would be, I understand how it must feel to some, but some things are worth protecting for future generations to enjoy some of what previous generations were able to cherish and enjoy are they not?

Shrinking this monument by this mind boggling amount was a political maneuver in an endless series of actions which appear to do little more than arbitrarily tear down prior legacies, but I digress. I am not inherently a political person and have gone most of my life with this side of living it drifting along in the periphery of my mental space but even I can see that things are being shaken for little more reason than to take advantage of the chaos that follows. I look at the direction things are headed and hope we can figure out a way to come back together as a whole. This is much more than simply “us vs. them”, surely we are better than this.

But you know what, thats not why I’m here writing today. I will leave the political side of this for those who know and understand more about the politics of it. I’m here to tell my small perspective on the changes at the Grand Staircase by writing about why it means so much to me personally.

This monument is among my favorite places to visit while traveling west because I am able to feel some of the same excitement as generations past. Exploring a land with such minimal human impact is something to be cherished as it leads us to unexpected places and moments of genuine beauty and awe. The joy of driving what felt like forever down a long dirt road into the middle of scarcely occupied canyons and desert made me feel like the world is infinite. It has always made me feel as though there was still so much to explore and I felt the solitude of that place consume me, humble me, and empower my imagination like few places can.

There was one trip there with my brother that I often remember, I think it was my second time visiting. We had driven into the monument late one night, after driving in from Zion. There is an unmistakable high you get when traveling somewhere mostly unknown and this was no exception. We were following mostly paper maps and vague directions at the time as we found our way down unmarked dirt roads in the dead of night with little more than the beams of our headlights to track down an unmanned camp area where we could stay the night for free. (One of the perks of BLM land and part of the reason I so often sought it out while traveling out there, free places to camp, great for budget trips). We set up the tent in the dark several meters away from a cliff edge and called it a night. While we slept we had an unexpected couple of inches of snow fall on us and we woke to a beautiful sight, a canyon covered in the stillness and quiet of a fresh, white coat of snow coupled with the beauty of a cold orange and blue sunrise. Thinking back I can remember the brisk, thin air of winter in my lungs and the quiet beauty and excitement of that moment. Here are a couple of photos of that morning from whichever iPhone was sold in 2009, well before instagram and the like.

This little campground near the town of Escalante in the Grand Staircase is one I had remembered and visited on my own during a different winter outing which I took to get away from the world I knew and venture out on my first solo trip West. A spot that subtly set in motion a chain of events and world travels that changed my life forever. In fact, it was at this camp spot that I took this photograph:

It is an image YoungDoo and I hold dear because it was the catalyst for our meeting each other on Flickr so many years ago (11 years now!?). A photograph, among others, that caused us to discover each others work as artists and still stands today on Flickr as a sort of digital historical marker in our lives as it was the first interaction we had with each other.

I only just remembered this fact while writing this tonight and it really choked me up when I realized this place was partially responsible for everything I now hold dear to me in my life. An arbitrary fact, sure, but one that helps me respect and understand the value of having places like these to explore and share in our collective lives. The Earth is only so big and it gets smaller each and every day as we continue to grow as a global society so protected spaces like these are immensely important to us now, more than ever. They give me hope that one day my daughter Milla and future generations have spaces to explore as we did during our time here on this planet as well. It all connects.

Now that subtle melancholy I mentioned when I started writing tonight is starting to feel a little more like sadness and, well, I’ll drink to that. Heres to the great unexplored places in our past, present, and future, the ability to explore them, and the hope that we don’t fuck up things too much before future generations have their turn to explore what god has given us to appreciate and care for.

Please don’t read into this post too much, I’m not interested in getting too political here on 50ft. I wrote this to share my perspective and a couple of stories. I have respect for others point of view on the matter as well but this site has always been a place for me to vent and share my experiences with others and thats all this was, one persons point of view among many.

More information on the monument can be found here, and here.

Things 2017

It’s that time of year again. To celebrate family, friends, common bonds, and I suppose to many of us, new stuff. It’s my personal belief to look for gifts that could be useful, unique, or at least not set aside and forgotten a month later because in that case, whats the point? I you have to ask someone what they want for Christmas then you’re doing it wrong.

If you have no ideas maybe just give something tasty rather than guess and buy someone a cheap something that won’t matter a week from now. Disappointment this time of year is a selfish feeling, wasted energy and its important to remind each other that the joy of this time of year is not in the biggest box, its in the quiet time we get to have with one another, right? Right.

This won’t be the last time I post this month but let me just say, I hope you all enjoy the season and if your not able to then I hope you find joy in some small way. It’s so important for us all to remember what we have in common rather than how we are different from one another and the holiday season is a great time to exercise that.

At any rate, for several years off and on I have written up a little gift suggestion post. Things I think are unique, fun, or overlooked but to be honest, it’s getting harder to make these lists. I don’t lead the most minimal life out there but I like to find products that will last and add something true to my life, so when I think about gift giving I try to consider things that could be more than fleeting. That said, the list this year isn’t as long, I kept coming up with ideas that I had included in previous years lists already. Maybe worth noting that none of the links below are affiliate links. Well except for the first one ;)

50ft Print Club Print Club Gift Subscription
After discovering a few subscribers to the 50ft Print Club had given the membership as a gift I decided it may be nice to offer up a single year subscription as an option. You can visit the original post on the Print Club for the back story but the basic idea is that each month I pack up a 4×6 print of my choosing, a letter that talks about the print, and often a little hand written note. I put it into an envelope, add a stamp, and send them off to subscribers. It’s a nice little collectable, a surprise piece of snail mail each month, and a great way to support what I do here on the site!

I am nearly to the end of the first year of prints in the series so I will start any purchase of this officially in January but will also send along one for December as well so you have a little something to show for the gift. Because of the one time purchase nature of this the digital bonus stuff from the Standard memberships won’t be included, just the prints. Think of it as a scaled back, simpler version at a discounted rate. Speaking of the rate, this single year cost may or may not see a little rate increase after the holidays, depending on how this goes, it’s a bit of an experiment. Also, please, feel free to spread the word if you know of any 50ft fans out there that may be interested. Thanks so much! Here is a link to the Regular 50ft Print Club/subscriptions as well as the new gift subscription and Tip Jar or directly to the 50ft Print Club Gift Subscription here.

Now, onto the rest.




When the world feels as though its spinning out of time, as if the only thing holding it together is fear, it can be hard to sort out which way is up. When life makes me feel this low it’s easy to wallow in the feeling and let it take control of the core of who I am, and for a little while, thats OK. I think its important to feel anger, sadness, fear, or grief. These emotions are part of life’s balance and are key to opening new avenues of understanding, mindfulness, and tolerance.

We are the sum of what we trust and accept as the truth and in that we are all who we are for good reason. What we allow ourselves to consider as fact, or as right and wrong, or as good and evil, it’s all connected by fragments of honesty hiding in every viewpoint. It has been said many times and many ways because it’s true, we are the sum of everything and everyone we have come to know in our lives up to this moment. Our truth is our maker and that truth is both what divides us and what brings us together.

To unite is only as hard as we tell ourselves it is and to understand this is to accept that there is more than one version of any truth. To unite is to find ways to exist together within common ground and find compromises to exist outside of it without judgement. The only thing that keeps us from finding this is hate and fear which all too often in todays world is born of misreading each others personal trust and truth. Baseless assumptions.

I wish there was a way to help a divided nation of people understand each others point of view, no matter how far removed from each others truth it may be. However, something I have learned recently from my seven month old daughter, there is a moment at the end of each day when there is potential to feel exhausted to the point of becoming delirious with fight and vigor and we shut down anything and everything rational in our minds because we fear what hides behind our closed eyes.

We fear the unknown and that is exactly what we are facing. A change so opaque that none of us feel at ease enough to peacefully close our eyes at the end of each day. All we can seem to muster up is a sense of entitlement and an inflated confidence that our way is the best way, so we fight and scream against all that we feel is unjust but all this does is make the lines that divide us more and more deafening and stark.

So. Where do we go from here? Me? In the face of such a deeply divided unknown and seeing reports of violence and hate against one another, all I can do is want desperately to be the best me that I can possibly be to anyone and everyone in my path in hope that others will feel that not all is sideways in the world right now. A colorless blanket of acceptance and happiness is the best thing I think I can personally offer those around me.

This was a surprisingly difficult conclusion to come to this past week because of a pervasive realization that I could not find a sense of Joy in anything at all for a time. Not even my daughters smile was snapping me out of it. I wondered if she could sense that my smiles and laughter were not genuine as I searched within myself to capture the most basic of life’s fundamental meanings.

As time progressed I chose to turn to music. Simple and pure, starting with somber ambient albums which helped fill in the cracks between my thoughts. I quickly discovered a glimmer of focus among the chords and slow motion melodies. I eventually let in some rhythm and as it fell in sync with the beating of my heart I started to feel the sun on my face and the cool fall breeze on my skin again. Then, little by little, I remembered the power of Joy as it fought back against the darkness.


It is a feeling that was just heavy enough to fight the fear back to where I could start to see beyond it.

Now I can’t help but wonder when the last time many of the people I pass everyday have felt true joy. Did they notice as a flock of birds drifted past a beautiful sunset? Did they enjoy the face of the moon on a clear fall night? Did they feel the warmth of their loved ones hand as it gripped around theirs in the cold? Did the beat of their favorite song send chills down their spine as they sang their favorite verses out loud?

Joy is an essential stepping stone away from the darkness. Not the plastic manufactured Joy on the front of Christmas cards and holiday sweaters, but true, life affirming, heart beat rising, Joy with a capital J. It can be sneaky at times, hard to catch and embrace, but the next time you find even a glimmer of its light I suggest you wake up, grab hold of it, and focus that energy into something good.

Yes, find joy, then give it all away.

Seek it out, recognize it, share it with those around you and lets hope for all our sake that it is contagious.

Birth And Balance

Birth And Balance

The time has come, and we’re as ready as we will ever be. Stepping into another dimension of adult life in the coming week I honestly have no idea what to expect next. I am ill-equipped for this humbling new variety of lingering anxiety blanketed with excitement and blurry expectation. It’s hard to put into words, really. Bringing a new life into the world has given pause to my projections of the future.

My world is becoming both smaller and much larger at the same time. Instinct tells me to protect what I am responsible for so my senses are tuning into much broader frequency ranges than simple self preservation. Because we can not predict the future, now more than ever I recognize the conflicting nature of being human and the need to find balance between self, family, and society by looking beyond personal philosophies to create a world that we can all live in peacefully together so we are able to protect ourselves and each other from our darkest tendencies.

For me, this year is packed full of the kind of huge decisions and responsibilities that I don’t often have to weigh in on, the rare ones that alter the course of my life in distinct ways. A child, a home, a growing responsibility at work. I am buzzing with curiosity and hope for the future… but then I read the news and see never ending stories of terror, racism, violence, intolerance, hate, fear; things that have always been among us but seem to be steadily increasing in weight as my stake in the world continues to cement itself into what is considered adulthood.

Closing my eyes I can still feel joy in the warmth of sun on my face and the smell of spring coming into bloom so I know the potential for true moments of happiness is still alive and well among us, but this rumble under the earth is starting to rattle in my bones and echo into my heart as I worry for tomorrow and the next generation we are welcoming to this world. What fears and uncertainties will they know and how will they be taught to love and help us continue to evolve and discover new kinds of happiness. Will happiness have a different meaning in the future?

Change is inevitable, it’s evolution. Some of us fight to keep things the same, some of us fight to adapt and grow as society demands it. All I know for sure is that the only way to find balance is to allow ourselves to be conscious, alert, aware and understand that our personal viewpoints may not be the only answer for the greater good of our society. There are always two sides to every story. Be sure to hear them both before passing judgement. Assumption is a dangerous precedent and the increasingly casual nature of our consumption and acceptance of information has weakened our deeper understanding of the complex world we now live in. It’s not possible for any one of us to have all of the answers. It takes trust and a balance of conflicting ideas to find realistic solutions to any given problem, not radical emotionally charged rhetoric.

When I woke today and read news of attacks in Brussels my heart sank in disbelief as I worried for those who I know in the city. I felt ill at the thought of them having to navigate that situation and stay safe among the chaos. These events compounded against my already full mind and left me feeling deflated and hopeless for a time. Yet the world is still spinning. Work is still being done, hope is still viable and joy, even in small doses, can still be discovered when we pay close attention.

As small as we may feel at times we must understand that modest acts of kindness and compassion are contagious and as confused, lost, or angry as we may get at times, there is never a good excuse to spread that anger beyond rational discussion. Rather than focus on what makes us different, we should be focusing on common philosophies that we share to bring us together. We let our differences define us and guide us to conflict because we are too stubborn to listen to each other with our common foot forward. How is anything ever going to change for the better unless we make the choice to listen to our rational selves along side our emotional selves?

Balance is life’s simplest philosophy, one I can easily suggest you slip into your daily rotation. As shaky as the ground under my feet feels after todays news, I still somehow see hope that together we can manage to find such a balance, one that may help pull so many opposing forces together and bring us to a future we can believe in, one that encourages happiness rather than fear.



“What are you listening to?”, he asked her as she awkwardly glanced up from a laptop covered in stickers.

There was a time when people like this would bother her, eager, curious men looking to bait her curiosity through something she seemed passionate about.

She noticed his old jacket, cuffs torn from wear, faded blue, forgotten yet loved all the same. Two small pins stuck on its right breast pocket; symbols she did not recognize, or maybe she did, she couldn’t be sure. In this shaken state anxiety clouded her memory to the point of annoyance and distraction. Fuzzy, tangled brown hair, thin silver framed glasses resting on his nose, he had a look on his face that frustrated her. Something between confusion and acceptance.

She realized he had left a few moments later, her gaze met his for a moment and he recognized her need to be left alone. Did she know him?

Her croissant was cold now but she hardly noticed as she took occasional bites. Flakey crumbs had split off and left a greasy mess on her keyboard as she wiped them away. Focus broken she rest her face in the palms of her hands not realizing others nearby started to take notice of her.

Focus. Eyes closed for a time, red was all she could see until a deep breath filled her with calm enough to open them again and discovered he was sitting across from her now. Their eyes met and she froze, confused until she remembered her name, her skin, her breath, and her legs nervously shaking under the table. A smile found its way to her face and she stood up, packed up her things then left the small coffee shop without saying a word.

He sat at the table for a time wondering where he went wrong, was it the breakfast he offered her? Was cereal not enough of a welcoming gesture after a night spent with a stranger? Earlier that morning they lay together in bed, legs twisted together as sunlight cast a warm glow on their bodies. Up until that blank look in her eyes moments ago he thought they had made a real connection. Did he know her?

Their names were etched into the now empty table, understated and at peace. The air was still, the noise of other guests swelled then vanished into the pure white of time. A phone rang but no one cared to answer.

In unison, voices around the world echoed out into a deftly constructed void. Prayers, focused and pure, circled the atmosphere. Through all this noise time is bound to make a few mistakes. From this angle, even God had trouble understanding how this managed to happen.

She found her way to a bus stop but realized she had forgotten her favorite scarf on the back of her chair and imagined it tying itself into knots, hiding from anyone who may have noticed it there. Time grew bright and vengeful around her but she chose to forget it, let today be what it is.

At this same moment, two blocks over, she also stood in an empty lot, scarf tied loosely around her neck, warm and comforted she looked down at her feet, faint smile across her lips, and gripped his hand a little tighter.

He sat alone on a bench in a park he did not immediately recognize and looked down at her scarf twisted in knots on his lap. The hollow beat of a drum pounded somewhere behind a rusted garage door and his head started to nod along. An expression hard to place came over his face as he started to hover a few inches above the bench. No one noticed but God. The rhythm set in motion nearby left him euphoric but disoriented.

The air felt thick on his skin as he floated there, drifting among waves of foamy white. He felt his hands start to speak for him as the rest of his body disappeared and his head was filled with images of the ocean stuck looping at fractured speeds.

Focus. Eyes closed he could only see red, thick and opaque. He knew he had to open them but was afraid. He felt five soft fingers slip into his hand and squeeze tight. Terrified, he opened his eyes and she was there in front of him surrounded in pure white. Her eyes were filled with tears that began to drip down into an uncontrollable smile as the white began to dim into the color and shape of a city.

The bus pulled into an empty stop as the sun set over a field where they stood hand in hand, confused, terrified, but ready for whatever was to come next.

(Written earlier today out of the blue while sitting down to work on a separate post meant to be the first one of the new year here on 50ft. The other post, not yet finished was about perspective and its importance in our lives but somehow, this story was waiting in my mind instead. I tied up loose ends and did my best to polish it up so I could share it. Hope some of you enjoyed it!)

(Desktop of the image posted along with it now available below. It is a film scan and was upscaled to fit the high resolutions of modern screens FYI.)


Tis The Season

The chill is settling back in, albeit slowly, the trees have mostly shaken off their leaves for their poetic yearly run as the living dead, and thousands of little lightbulbs are starting to light up around town. It could only mean one thing; Christmas is near. Like a candy cane stripped boulder blocking out the sun, its hard to ignore. I had written a long few paragraphs about the way I have seen this holiday evolve through my life but it ended up feeling a bit too dark so I’m going to keep my musing short and to the point.

Don’t feel burdened by this time of year, life is way to short for that. If all you are going to buy for some distant relative is a random Sharper Image disposable novelty then maybe just consider a card instead. Expectations and obligation should not enter into the equation. Maybe listen to the words of the endless holiday songs you will inevitably hear and remember that this time of year can be truly joyful if we focus on the love and happiness of family and those close to us rather than the pressure to buy anything and everything that’s cheap or on sale because you think you have to. Balance.

Rhetoric out of the way, I have made a few gift idea posts in the past and people have always seemed to enjoy them so let me take a moment and point you back to my previous entries here, here, and here, because as far as I know many of the things on those lists still exist and they are still great ideas in my book.

I took some time to add to that growing collection again this year. Not an extensive list and some items may seem old hat, but there are a number of things I have considered writing whole posts about here so this has been a good excuse to share some cool stuff I use every day and think others could find handy as well. Anyways, I do hope everyone is entering the season in good spirits, have fun out there! Follow the link to see the list. (more…)


Three Years In

Life is constant. It breathes in deep and exhales long winded sighs of lucid relief. A warm, understated fluidity flows forward and we drift along doing our best to guide ourselves safely along. Because of this, we need ways to slow the movement, we need anchors to tie off to along the way. What are your anchors? Where do you seek comfort as the night moves in?

Me? For the longest time I left myself to drift, untethered. I let life carry me along as I slipped through blindfolded, that is, until I decided to open my eyes and allow myself to understand things about this flow that I had not let myself fully understand.

Joy is love and love is gravity. This is my anchor and I found that love, warm, heavy, and with a resonance that keeps me grounded in happiness. With it I am learning to balance myself and see things with a clarity that I only thought was possible in my imagination.

Three years ago today I married YoungDoo Moon and with a throat sticky with nerves and the newfound weight of an abundance of love I read the following to her during our wedding as a way to try to communicate how I felt with words:

Life brings us to unexpected places. It is infinitely complex yet unwaveringly simple. In this life I have felt so much and experienced a myriad of emotions and curiosities. I have seen the rise and fall of hope and love within me skip widely about the surface of my time here on earth and I have done so with open arms and a great, un-censored vulnerability that led me to both to moments of great happiness and of unbearable darkness.

As fate would have it, along this path, as transient and unpredictable as it has been, I have discovered something that has not only pushed me beyond my own self doubt and reservations, but has also given me the strength to transcend what I thought I was capable of within my lifetime. That discovery is you and the love you give to me.

Never have I felt so confident and capable as when you are by my side. You give me pride and a wholeness I never thought possible within myself, and for this, I love you.

For you, YoungDoo, my love is absolute.

It is, without question, the greatest feeling I have ever been blessed with and without it I would be incomplete.

There has never been a feeling locked away inside me that has been more pure, honest, and true as this love that I have for you. It feels as transparent and essential as the air I breathe.

You are my light.

The light by which I live and breathe and find happiness in all things. Together I feel anything in this life is possible and darkness will never again find me. I love you YoungDoo. You are my everything.

Of course, this is just as true today as it was when I wrote it 3 years ago while riding along in a busy subway train in Seoul a few days before the wedding. Struck with an exciting rush of inspiration the words flowed out without hesitation as though they were there waiting for me to pick them from the air. Happy anniversary YoungDoo, here’s to the years of joy we have yet to share.



Arriving at the tail end of dusk we managed to get onto the temple grounds at a discounted rate. We slowly wandered up into the darkness as a large single bell started to chime in the distance. Methodically it rang, growing louder as we approached. Large and deep, the notes it struck contained harmonics that I could feel deep in my chest as it rung and faded into the dark night.

Not long after, from behind the closed doors of a temple nearby, a gentle light glowing from inside, the tap of a wooden percussion instrument and the chime of another bell crept out from the walls and filled the courtyard. A voice inside started to chant followed by a few others, slowly and to an unknown rhythm. The wooden taps continued, one, two, three… Louder at first and steady then trailing off as if a marble was dropped onto a cement floor; tap… tap… tap.. tap.. tap.tap.

The only other sound was the chatter of those I came with as they wandered further onto the grounds ahead of me leaving behind a stillness that caused my heart to feel as though it would break. The delicate ring of a nameless emotion resonated deep in my chest and left me feeling venerable and alone. Truth be told, I love moments like these and the way they create feelings unknown to description and fill me with a peace so absolute that I fear once they fade, nothing else will be able to compare to the impossible standards they set in place.

It’s rare to come across moments like these and I feel it’s important to hold onto their memory any way I can. In this case, with a photo and a frantic attempt to describe the cause and effect in words just after we left that night. When I came across the photo in my library this morning I thought it would be nice to share what I had written that night along with one of two photos I managed to snap in near darkness by setting the camera on the ground to steady it during a long exposure.


All The Things

Here we are in a brand new year and what do you know, we are the same people as we were a few days ago. Always the same story with a slight variation. I may have no resolutions this year, but I do have resolve. Every new year is a reminder that time never waits for us to make up our minds, it just keeps on ticking. If anything, the new year is an excuse to reflect on how far we have come and imagine how much further we have yet to go. One step forward, a glance back, and we are on our way to any other day.

When I think back on 2014 as a whole I find myself lingering a couple of broad observations which are probably more relevant to my own personal viewpoint than that of your own.

One involves the wider spread popularity of a bespoke lifestyle. Discovering the best of the best has become commonplace for many of us. Sites and bloggers who feature their favorite affiliate links started to pop up right and left. Not that this did not exist before, I just feel as though it has reached a tipping point. The amount of ‘my favorite thing’ lists and ‘best of everything’ sites has given me pause coming into the new year as my eyes gloss over any best of lists I come across.

I once had a lot of fun seeking out cool new things all the time. Gadgets, tools, applications, clothing, accessories, anything and everything, it’s nice having the best of any one idea because you know it will last, and work well over time. Over the years I have refined my taste in every obscure corner of my life and I am well aware of what I like and why. A connoisseur of virtually every random menial task in my life.

The only caveat within the sustainability of this trend toward niche product categories is that by living a life surrounded by only the best things for any one need then eventually we will have enough of what we need and clever ideas start to seem redundant once we give ourselves permission to feel satisfied with things we already own. When we surround ourselves by want it’s natural to buy into it, even if on a subconscious level. The thrill of the hunt and staying hip and relevant is a carrot that will forever be just out of reach.

Lately the more I browse through cool new things online, the more it all blurs together. So, while I will admit am still a sucker for the latest and greatest I have caught myself becoming less and less interested in sites that constantly feature new products because it is starting to make me feel as though I will never catch up.

There is one other subject that I have been thinking about coming into the new year. I feel as though, in 2014, photography reached another period of convergence. Not unlike when digital cameras first started to be accepted as a viable replacement to our trusty old film cameras, there is no longer much of any distinction between photographers who choose to shoot with a “proper” camera versus those using ones attached to a mobile phone. The same goes for those of us who still choose to shoot and develop film, it is all a means to reach an end and in the face of digital post processing presets becoming what is more or less “digital film,” there is little reason to criticize any photographer for their choice of format. The only real difference can be found at the end goal of any photographers output whether that be a magazine cover, on a gallery wall, or simply posted to Instagram.

We are moving into a post format era of photography where what we shoot with is irrelevant in the face of ones personal vision. An interesting side effect to this has me thinking as well. There is such a huge amount of brilliant photography coming from all corners of the world that when I glance through highlights on VSCO, flickr, or Instagram It has become difficult to tell the difference between photographers.

I remember discovering interesting new photographers based on their distinct styles yet now we are so heavily influenced by one another and the tools we use are so similar that it’s getting increasingly hard to find such distinction between shooters. Maybe you’re thinking I have a jaded point of view, but you have to admit, it is getting harder to find photographers with a unique output. I admire artists who take chances. Those who find ways to express themselves by exploring what photography is able to help them learn about themselves and the world around them then share their findings with the rest of us. A thirst for curiosity, a gravitation toward wit,  a sense of awe for the beauty hiding in light and shadow; attributes such as these are easy to romanticize but surprisingly difficult to harness.

Moving into the new year, I look forward to exploring what it means to be a photographer in todays world and what it takes to stand out among literal floods of images that consume our minds from day to day. Is it possible to break free of the double tap instant like lifestyle and find honesty, curiosity, and awe in photography again? I have a couple of ideas that may finally see the light of day this year that I’m hoping will bring back a sense of connection between myself as a photographer and those who support my efforts and its an exciting prospect to see them through after endless planning and second guessing.

Sitting here a few days into the new year, finishing up editing these loose ideas together I already feel as though 2014 is an abstract thought, lost in the obscurity of photographs, stories, and hazy memories, heres hoping for a great set of new ones in 2015. Cheers.

(The image above can be found as a wallpaper using the links below.)

To whom it may concern,



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


• Post desktops elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics. (send a quick email to ask, I’m pretty easy going about this with permission.)
• 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


By downloading any content from you agree to the following terms:

All of the images contained within this website,, 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.

I ask that you refrain from using any images found on to create physically printed material of any kind. This includes posters, photographic prints, fliers, etc. Under no circumstances may you make a physical reproduction without written permission.

These rules also apply for any artwork or imagery submitted and shown within this site which was created by an artist aside from myself. Any images submitted and shared as wallpapers are the property of the artist who created them and in the same manner as my images, you are asked to receive permission before using them in any way aside from their intended use. Any use of these images outside of for your own personal use as a desktop wallpaper image is prohibited without permission from the author of the image. Commercial licensing is available upon request. Please write with any inquiries.

When sharing images via your personal blogs I kindly ask that you link back directly to either the post the image was taken from or the base of the website at and give a credit to Do not re-post full resolution desktop images anywhere without permission. If you would like to use an image for your blog background or something of the sort simply write to ask first. Support the artwork you admire! Also, it is greatly appreciated if you do NOT link directly to the zip files. This is more or less the same as re-posting them as it circumvents the tiny bit of support I ask of you which is to simply link back to the original post for others to enjoy the site.

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)