Who are you and what do you do?


FUJI BEW ORIG W - digionbew VIII O-06-02-15 - At The Orangerie Amstelpark together with an uncommon moorhen ACID edit - Copy

Me and a coot


I am Mabel Amber, photographer from Amsterdam. Mainly shooting the street scene, wandering around town for hours in the summertime, but only on warm sunny days, shooting under cloudy skies makes me feel totally hopeless and depressed.  My evenings are spent uploading the day’s winnings and editing. I’ve been doing this for many years.  I refrain from posting a link to my photos, they are practially all private, for Flickr Friends & Family only. Here is a link to my Flickr profile, as public as public can be.

What hardware do you use?

I use cameras to get stuff done. Analogue cameras  which involved moving around in the dark, putting paper in huge equipment and in the wet. In 2007 I chucked all that and switched to digital, no more wet darkness and heavy apparatus. I started out with an Ixus, went to a CanonG9 and via a Panasonic Lumix to my Nikon D90 with whom I  have this secret love affair. Usually my relationship with gear is sort of personal. Update: since 7February 2018 I am in the possession of… a full frame Nikon D750. And also I had a ball and got myself a tele photo lens.
To get the picture in the third phase, making it visible ( focusing is 1, pressing the shutter is 2),  I use an MSI gaming computer, according to description fitted out with super new snazzy features, as well as super high speed. A good thing, slowness in a computer can make me consider doing evil things to it..

For communicating with people not within hearing distance,  I use a Nokia 1100, bought it on December 21st 2005  – makes some folks really smile – makes me smile too – I love my sturdy little Nokia and can’t think of a reason to exchange it for a smartphone – I check my email at home – whatever could Facebook tell me every hour …? And besides, I can’t shoot the people and check my email, one of the two will need to go. Two years ago I treated myself to an iPad, version 1 that is. Regrettably. One more redundant thing lying around the house. May give it to my new boyfriend, IF he doesn’t gracefully decline….as by now a vintage model, the iPad I mean, the guy is fairly new.
Two external hard discs sitting on the table,  my treasure chests, containing ALL my work, photographs, writing, notes, anything and everything. Holy. Don’t touch, look at them with serious and averted eyes.

And what software ?

For getting the picture in good shape I do need more stuff; straight from the camera is rarely mind boggling,  meaning content-wise no problem but my originals are often erratic to say the least. I do not use Photoshop.Instead I have some editing program for free through an offer, something with “Picture” and “8”, it’s just fine. For the rest I am a grateful user of PicMonkey, an online editor tremendously looked down on by professionals and other so called “real” photographers. Gosh, am I glad I don’t call myself a “real” photographer, ha! I would have to drop PicMonkey and that would be a calamity. It is so good, so friendly, so easy, just the thing for folks like me, sailing under the flag of  Keep It Simple Stupid. My pal Pete regularly sends me all kinds of stuff, like ebooks about photography and editing software. Update, March 5, 2018: I now do indeed use Photoshop, in the simplest stupidest way.
I use WordPress for my blog, my Twitter account has become a remote thing, I only log in to participate in a radio game which requires Twitter.  Flickr is my all time favorite online photo exhibition, as well  as online storage of high res originals. Facebook used to be a nightmare, but made a fresh start with new rules I put up for myself to stick to. Word comes in handy for pasting my blog entries.
Would physical books be considered software? In that case: here’s to my heroes, filling two shelves of a bookcase – whenever in doubt about my work, and the validity of living in the streets behind a cam, I leaf through Garry Winogrand’s photos, take a deep look at Diane Arbus, pore over Robert Frank and others and there is the peace back in my mind.

What would be your dream setup?

Immodest. Dreaming of a spacious apartment in one of those Amsterdam canal houses, all wood, the *blond* kind, pine is the word I think, wooden floors, some thick rugs, a sprawling work space, huge table, super fast desktop, super-fast laptop – and, this is where the immodest bit comes in, a not at all cramped penthouse in New York City on the side, all wood, the *blond* kind, pine… wooden floors etc (repeat the previous). Hope dreams are meant to come true.


I was inspired by this site to sit down and account for my own tools of the trade –  a cool clean way of reporting without getting lost in a maze of irrelevant details – a surprising collection of interviews making computers and phones so much more than just gadgets.  Dan Bogan, inspiring online presence in the Flickr Help Forum, as one of Flickr’s paid nerds, put me in the line up.