Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lessons from an Apple

Apple by Wayne-K
Apple, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I learned of Steve Jobs’ passing last week while having dinner with customers in Plano, Texas. In the days that followed, there were a lot of things published about Mr. Jobs, including his accomplishments and his life. I learned a lot about him and many of these themes apply directly to my own life….and my photography.

Apple was about simplicity. Macintosh wasn’t the first personal computer, but it had a more intuitive graphical user interface. Most people today probably didn’t have the “pleasure” of using the DOS command line interface. The Mac (and Microsoft’s copy…AKA, Windows) made computers more user-friendly. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 music player, but coupled with iTunes, it made it easy for people to access and organize digital music. I’m not a huge Apple user, but I think I understand….I get it. It’s not about the fastest processor, the smallest size, or the lowest price. It’s all about the simplicity and elegance in the product.

As it relates to my photography, cameras have become overly complicated and feature laden, and I now seek an elegant and simple solution. I yearn for a camera that gets out of my way. Remove the video capabilities, fly by wire focus rings, electronic viewfinders, and complicated menu systems. Just give me a simple camera that allows me to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO…nothing more. For the last few weeks, I’ve been looking for a small, “everyday,” digital camera. Unfortunately, most small cameras today are too fiddly. I don’t want to scroll through menus to change my camera settings. I don’t want to touch a screen to focus the lens. I wish Apple would design a camera. It would be a major hit with pure photographers….clean, simple, and user-friendly.

Another article was about his authorized biography, written by Walter Isaacson. During a visit with Jobs at his residence, Mr. Isaacson asked why Steve Jobs would “open up so much for a book when he was usually so private?” Jobs responded, “I wanted my kids to know me, I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did."

That really struck a chord with me. I experienced a life-changing event in 2009 and since then have reprioritized things in my own life, spending more time with the family and less time in the office. I’m not rich and famous, I’m not a CEO….and I’m not planning on writing a book for my children. I think we can also simplify our lives, removing the clutter of unimportant things. Let’s focus less on material things and keeping up with the Jones’; let’s remove “poisonous” people from our lives and spend more time with loved ones and real, genuine friends; and let’s shut off the garbage programming on TV and spend quality time around the dinner table.

BTW, Happy Columbus Day (traditional) and Happy Birthday Bryan!

1 comment:

  1. So well written, Wayne, and I agree! I love the clarity of photo's from the new D7000 but the menu system is laborious and there are so many unnecessary functions on it. I find myself thinking similar thoughts about why can't they just produce something for the purist photographer that doesn't cost upwards of $3000?

    Simplicity, back to the most important things, keeping first things first are all crucial to having a life well lived and you're spot on here.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.