So, here we are. I’m about to spend about 300 words plugging a passion of mine, Stir Them Birds, and you’re already considering swiping back to the warm distracting comfort of your news feed. I understand, I’ve been there – twice today already. I’ve backed out of countless articles and write ups, unwilling to commit more than 15 seconds of my time to something of potential value. It’s more comfortable to just keep scrolling down, occasionally extending a virtual thumbs up before resuming my aimless plummet to the bottom of the social media barrel.
This instinct, to maintain a steady drip feed of distraction and instant gratification, is frankly a shitty instinct. I know it, you know it and the people creating the devices and digital platforms which enable it know it too. What can we collectively do about it? I don’t know. Too much of my mental energy is devoted to memes and cat videos to tackle that issue. What do I personally do about it? I go outside and take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
What started out as a parental urge (“I should take some non-selfie pictures of my kids … where’s that old DSLR?”) has become a consuming obsession. Besides the kids I just mentioned, photography is the primary reason I’m not a full time neckbearded citizen of the internet. This passion, the pursuit of quality images, has taken me on blister inducing hikes and forced me to try rock climbing. It has led me to the base of Ontarian waterfalls and the top of Icelandic mountains. It has woken me up at 3 in the morning to chase a distant sunrise and kept me up ‘til 3 in the morning soaking in the Milky Way.
Now that you know what gets me offline and outside, I hope my images might have the same effect on you.
Find more of my Stir Them Birds work here. Browse away, buy a print, chuckle at my shortcomings while reading a blog post or two. While I recognize the shameful hypocrisy in this plug, please consider following me on the necessary evils of Facebook and Instagram.
Written by Zak Erb
Images by Zak Erb aka Stir Them Birds