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You Are What You Practice – Tim Layton Fine Art Philosophy

“You become what you give your attention to.”


As I continue to dig deeper into my new Wild Horse Handmade Book project, I am putting into practice the wisdom of the ancients.

The actual photography is a very small part of my process. I spend much more time reading, thinking, reflecting, and planning.

The Stoics were all about routine and repetition, and this is a wise lesson that all of us can put into practice in every area of life, including photography.

I am offering a limited-time opportunity for art buyers and collectors that want to support the development and creation of our first limited edition of 100 handmade wild horse fine art books. The book will include at least 12 handmade wild horse fine art prints with acid-free interleaving vellum between each print. Each piece of artwork in the book is embossed with a custom stamp and each artwork is titled, dated, and signed. A final version of the artist statement will be at the front of the book and be hand signed. The book will be made in a lay-flat style, so you can enjoy each piece of artwork with the book lying flat. You will receive a certificate of authenticity hand signed and dated. You will be rewarded as an early supporter because you will save 50% off the final price of this limited edition handmade book. In a world where everything is mass produced and cheaply made, our handmade wild horse fine art book is a rare opportunity to support an artist that is committed to pre-mechanized 19th century handmade processes. You’ll be rewarded with a unique and collectible artwork that you’ll appreciate for the rest of your life.

They talked about fueling the habit bonfire. They would have agreed with Aristotle: we are what we repeatedly do. We become what we repeatedly study and focus on.

Epictetus, in fact, said, “You are what you give your attention to,”

“If you don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will.” Seneca would say that to study philosophy was to annex the past into our own time.

Seneca talked about repeatedly immersing yourself in the great texts of history. “You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works,” he said, “if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.”

I believe the same goes for the legendary photographers that came before us. I have been reading historic photographic texts for decades and the history of photography too.

I encourage you to narrow your focus and explore the “why” behind your photography more than buying new gear or gadgets.

By digging deep, limiting your inputs, and quieting your mind, you will be on a good path that will take your photography to higher levels because it will be coming from your true self.

For me, I am going deep on the ideas of stillness and stoicism for my new book because those ideas deeply resonate with who I am and where my mind is at. Find something that really resonates with you, and then go deep by researching and reading. Find a seminal text on your topic and go over it again and again until the ideas become part of you and your muscle memory. Don’t try and skim various texts because that process is ineffective.

We are trying to create a practice—get the reps—that fuses us with our philosophy. That makes us one with it. That inserts it into our own train of thought.

Make that your goal. It’s not about skimming many different books. It’s not about “getting the gist of it,” as Marcus derided. It’s about making it a part of your life and your mind. It’s about lingering and digesting until it takes firm hold, never to be dislodged. It’s about deciding who you want to become then giving your attention to the thoughts and ideas and master-thinkers who will help you get there.

“If you don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will.”


If you are a photographer or interested in learning about analog photography, we have an Analog Photography Membership Community that is the only community of its kind where you can learn and explore analog photography in depth. I also have an extensive training library of video workshops and guidebooks if you prefer to download the videos and books for offline use.