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  • Writer's pictureAustin Harter

Disruption to Change

Updated: Aug 31, 2022


Change is good; Change is growth; Change is everything; We fear change.

man wearing t shirt and shorts standing in a fire place under construction
Leica M11 with Elmar-M1 : 1:2.8/50mm © Austin Harter

I've been waking up to various levels of disarray for the last month. It seems to be never-ending. Change happens regardless of how imperfect the timing feels or how often the need for flight pops up. It alters the perception of self, the universe, and everything in it. Somehow, it feels like to be present means facing the past, hoping for the future and realizing there's one choice because you have no control over either - live now. Sounds simple but weirdly complicated. I can hear my mother reminding the younger me that there were less fortunate people than me. I should be so lucky!

That also sounds simple but weirdly complicated.

water dripping from a recessed light in the ceiling
Leica M11 with Elmar-M1 : 1:2.8/50mm © Austin Harter

The disruption of renovating a whole home, moving out of an apartment, and blending a family (my partner's child is moving in with us) has brought unique challenges. It's hard to focus, and when I finally get in the zone, there's nothing but limp ideas and dangling motivation. I feel my luck growing every minute. Little things continue to take a back seat. There are so many Lego sets yet to build and trips to take. There are plenty of restaurants to try and paths to hike. But like most motivational concepts - where the fuck do you connect this fuel line to your sputtering flame?

water hose inside a pool with the sky reflected in the water
Leica M11 with Elmar-M1 : 1:2.8/50mm © Austin Harter

There is drama and love in the drab and lackluster, though. It seems there's a motivation in demotivating. I changed my whole approach to photography. I ditched the fancy new tech for something less, well, technical. My Fuji X-H1 sits on a shelf collecting dust, while my new paintbrush is a Leica M11. The fantastic reviews and some of the not-so-great are all true. All of it. The good and the bad. But does it meet the needs of the user? No camera will ever check off all the boxes. There's beauty in that knowledge. After using the camera for one day, I need nothing else except more Leica. Okay, let me restate: I need nothing else except more Leica after using the camera for one day. There. Perfect.


construction debris piled up in front of a window
Leica M11 with Elmar-M1 : 1:2.8/50mm © Austin Harter

Using this camera forced me to be more thoughtful about what I captured. Shooting without the auto features packed in modern cameras reminded me how to find joy in chasing light again. I began to get a clearer picture (terrible pun) of the work that excited me. It is nothing more than a tool and a hell of a tool at that. However, it is helping me make sense of the disarray inside and around me.

As we leave behind the old and comfortable, we try to embrace the new and unknown. Armed with my tool of choice, I face the fear that kept me landlocked on my private island because I want to live now - knowing the past - while daring to hope for the future. How could I not? Those are the juicy stories worth knowing.

Sounds simple but weirdly complicated.

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