COVID-19 … Acquired vs Intuitive Knowledge

… I know, it’s kinda a sick thing to say that there’s anything good about the virus. But there is I tellya…it might not be a pretty picture, but it’s still a picture. As photographers, we know about photographs but pictures,  ah,  a different thing altogether.  

Time is the measure of life. It’s also the measure of relaxation, not that I understand that. To be honest, I don’t care a bit about COVID for me but I am protective of others, so I wear a mask. Besides, Tanya will beat my ass if I don’t wear one.  So I have never been known to be a patient man. Like, when I get a camera, I charge the battery and hit the street. I figure things out as I go.

For me, there are 2 ways to Grok something. The first is acquired. Like you read a manual or follow a recipe, maybe watch a video to learn, go to a class, there are many ways to acquire knowledge.

The other is intuitive assimilation.  This means that you use a little known part of the body ion conjunction with another. The mind and the heart work together to get an understanding of the situation. If you get a camera and just take it out and start using and learning it, that’s intuitive assimilation.

The key to this is, application and that’s the main issue at hand.  I find I can read a manual many times and never really get in my brain what I am reading and supposedly learning. The application doesn’t work for me so well. I read and read and go over it many times and then take the camera out and low and behold, I need to check the manual in my phone. This works for many many ppl, unfortunately, not my cup of tea.

The intuitive acquired knowledge procedures. I remember many lifetimes ago when I was 12yo. I went to work with my Grandfather installing a hardwood floor. He was using a Cavanough nailing machine. He told me to go easy and any nails that we did not set, to use a punch and hammer to set them. He told me over and over to pay attention and be careful. Well, at 12, I didn’t understand what the meant but I soon learned. I was setting nails and for a fraction of a second, on the downswing of the hammer stroke, I turned my head. I let out a scream that woke the dead. My thumb was pulsing in pain like I never experienced. Pop came to me and hugged me and took me to the car and did first aid in a manly way. I didn’t cry but I used a word Pop used when he was mad. I yelled out F*CK very loud. He laffed. He put Peroxide on my thumb and wrapped a few band-aids on it.

I learned a few lessons that day. He told me the hammer was named Jack, after his brother. He told me that Jack was obedient and if you want him to smash your thumb, he will without feeling on his part. Pop told me that no matter how many times he told me to be careful, I didn’t learn. Just one smash of the thumb and for the rest of your life, you will pay attention to Jack the hammer.

So this is a prime example of Intuitive Acquired Knowledge. When I get a camera, I take it out right away after charging the battery. I set the date and time and Raw & jpeg and other things that are common denominators between cameras.  The thing is, what I learn with this camera, even at my age, I never forget regardless of what another camera I may be using. Pick one up and in seconds, all is clear. It amazes me cause I can’t remember the password for my websites, can’t remember things that happened a few hours ago. I pick up a camera I haven’t used in months and in a few seconds, ready to roll.

They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste. I ain’t wasting mine just watching parts of it slip away…….

 

COVID-19 … The Re-Birth of the Fuji X100V

This story is not for the faint of heart. Please heed this warning.

It was a day of camera infamy. I was ut making photos with my dearest friend, Andre’ the Leica M9. He was hanging around my neck. My Doctors at the VA told me to be careful not to gain too much weight. So, it seemed to me that Andre’ the Leica M9 put weight on. He seemed heavy on me.  I know he has a LIGHT appetite but nonetheless seemed heavy. So, I took him off the neck and put him in my right hand and wrapped the strap around my wrist. We moved on our way and continues looking for the lost photos we set out to find.

It’s usually an enjoyable experience that I have had over 50 years with a Leica. Cameras know when you are at a point of detachment and the time together is coming to an end. Andre’ the Leica M9 is no exception and we worked perhaps for the last time on the streets together.

I feared not having him with me but something happened that I can’t explain.  I was loving the Fuji X100V but the release was always erratic for me. I decided tho sell it on eBay a few months ago. I used the term IT because IT let me down many times and I can’t bond to IT. COVID19 has taught me a few things and one it to slow down and think things out. I waited for the right moment to list the FujiX100V. The time came and I set up to make photos to make an ad.

 

Then the Angel that works for Mother Light, shined her light into me head. She said to me, shooter, it’s very dark and empty in your head. I shine my light in there and only a few things reflect back to me.  I smiled at the Angel and told her, if you were naked, many things would be in my poor head. She didn’t laff and said one more smart ass remark and you’ll be eating out of Barsik the Cat’s food bowl. So, the Angel told me to try the X100V again before making any decisions. She looked around to make sure no one was with us. I wondered, what’s she thinking? Then the Angel that works for mother light took my right hand and kissed it. I felt a tingle, well all over ya know. 70yo and a young Angel kiss my hand…. She said The X100V needs to be named Andre’. Get it!  Then she turned to fly out the window to home with Mother Light. She said, Shooter, I will always be with you in your head causee ain’t much else in there. Your a sexi old shooter.  Well, I mean, I kinda felt some kinda special and decided to just sit for a moment. Smiles all over my body. Parts that I can’t write about. They be really smiling and stuff.

So as the Angel Child of Mother Light told me, I picked up the Fuji X100V. I touched it all over, nit shape, sweet buttons, and a feel of feminity. What! Wait, I named this camera after m,y friend Walt. How can this be? Then I closed my eyes, my fingers felt every mm of the Fuji X100V.

I thought about the feminity of the camera and I was perplexed. Then, … then my finger touched the release. I was ready for the worst experience in human recorded history, the continuing failure of the FujiX100V./I pressed it down. A single shot. My heart was racing, blood flowing to the very tip of my finger. I could feel it pulsing and I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I prayed for the Angel Child of Mother Light to help me. I was in a stat between keep and sell. Then I got an incoming message and it said, ” Shooter, use the force Shooter”. If you name a camera wrong,  it will never work properly.

She was in my head and heart at this very instant and I asked….Angel Child…. what is thy name?  She said, I am the Angel Child of Mother Light and for you, my name is Sara.

So I figured that my Fuji X100V is named Sara. Sara the Angel Child of Mother Light did magic on my Fuji X100v. Now, it works perfectly and the only explanation is that Sara, did magic to my camera, my eye, and my heart.

Still ain’t a whole lot going on in my head but I plan on exploring it all the time and posting my results.  So the continuing saga of shooter the Philly photographer and Sara the Fuji X100V continues.

 

COVID-19 … Discover and Re – Discovering My Vision

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s true I tellya. Many years ago, I was hanging out with Jeff K. He was a good influence on me. A very focused guy and ties to the Phila Museum of Art. He knew Michael Hoffman and Paul Strand. Jeff had photos of both of them and many of Strand that he made. I just loved looking at them. He never once bragged about anything but just told stories about the photos. I can’t repeat them because I feel they were very personal and Jeff shared them with me that way. But I can say that Michael was like a son to Paul Strand.

I mentioned this for a reason. I had been a serious photographer for about 20 years prior to meeting Jeff. I was no novice and very dedicated to my life’s work. He asked me to bring photos for him to look at. He felt if we are to be friends, he wants to know about what I do and feel with my work. This is what many call an analog experience.  So, we met again about a week later and I brought a box of prints to show him. I just piled many in a box and handed it to him.

We sat on a sofa and he started to drop prints on the floor in front of us. He was grouping the photos and I got kinda squeamish. See, years before my 2 friends named Paul, yes both, got on me about being loose and not so organized. I did that for a number of years. I suppose it did offer some kind of freedom and perhaps I needed that. This was different and I felt the change on the horizon.

I trusted Jeff because we were rapidly becoming friends and he had the knowledge I never had. I felt that we filled a void in each other. He with his education and knowledge and my working from the heart. S, these groups started to grow and the box was getting emptier and emptier. Jeff laid out about 30 prints on the floor that were mostly legs and or shadows. It was easy for me to see but I was blind to the idea that there were different series of photos even tho there was a connection.

He coined the term “Gambe’ Game”. I liked the word Gambe’ after he told me what it meant. The game was kinda repulsive to me. I told him, I don’t play games. Jeff said, when you are working a series, it’s like a game, like scrabble. you’re looking for missing parts. I started to awaken to the ideas he was presenting to me. Then he asked me to group the rest of the photos. I was very eager to do that.

I felt for over 20 years that I was not doing things the right way. Both Paul’s put me on a course and it’s good but like a sailor on the sea of life, without the stars above, you’re lost. Your lost even tho you are going someplace. It’s how I felt until this moment. I felt then that the stars were guiding me. They were my stars and like beacons that shined bright to my heart. By becoming fully aware of the variables that were my images, I was liberated and had a sense of well being. I met with Jeff a number of times and then time passed and so did our friendship. The lessons learned are the lessons one needs to pass on.

I’m publishing this short of finished because I need to see WP is being nice. If it is, in a few days I will continue rambling.

For everyone’s info and safety, this post was written wearing an N95 mask.

Covid-19 … Embracing The Unacceptable

8-20--120… water is boiling and I am ready to brew my coffee. I used to use an electric percolator. I did for years. I still do but I have been switching between methods so I have excitement. Gotta tellya, the Melita drip gets work. My favorite method is a Bodum French Press. The problem is that for many years, no many decades I love a French Press but I break the glass every time. So, COVID keeps me in the house. Actually My Russian Czar wife Tanya keeps me in the house and COVID supports her efforts. So, Amazon is my best friend. I started my brain working and it told me to get a French Press. I’m not one to fight with my brain so I figured…it will add excitement. Go for it! I did!

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So, on the Amazon site and I am a regular there, I searched for a French Press. Ya know, all the same, but minor differences. Then, staring at me and all shiny… EUREKA! I see a French Press but it’s made of Stainless Steel. Instantly I order it at 1000pm and Amazon says the will deliver the next day.

Why did I write this? Well, excitement and fresh air and inspiration are few and far between. I’m 70 and it takes away from my enjoyment of life to just watch TV. What does this have to do with photography? Ok, my thoughts. Think of your body as a storage and processing facility. Lots of things enter and things exit. What is the hard part, is filtering input.

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Now what happens is this. We sit around waiting for the magical moment when THE MAN tells us we are safe to go out and start enjoying life again. Not so fast buster. Ideally, we are in tune with our Eye, Heart, and Mind. We absolutely need clarity in order to work but we get bombarded with negative energy, negative thoughts and it sleeps inside us. It’s damn near impossible to work in a respectful manner that represents ourselves.

You really can’t do battle with yourself in a way that is not harmful to your essence. I know because I have internal wars that my shrink says will never end. Making photos for the soul is a spiritual experience. Maybe not for everyone but for me, it certainly is and I am very tuned to every part of the experience. That kinda enforces a clarity of eye, heart, and mind.

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I find that having clarity or a clear clean vision does not mean negative or postive energy is not present. It means that those energitic forces are present but in a benign mode. Many shooters have a bias to thier work and must have it. It’s a method of seperation for the other point of view they try to lesses.

Back to the streets. This bias to the work and vision is may be called a point of view.  Methinks that there are many points of view working but ya know, as far as the eye can see, there’s not much difference in point of view between most street shooters. This is a beautiful thing. Each of us has a different point of view of the street and of life. Hold on, hold on. The street is more than a place to work and more than a place to find our photos. It’s the recognition of our life and life’s work.

So this energy thing going on has a pronounced effect on our creativity. Look at the places you post your work. Check the photos by others. See if you can determine their creativity and emotional state. Many shooters have lowered their output expectations due to the virus and ther things. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. In fact it’s brilliant and it’s better to work than not. Expectations should be a personal process. It should only be adjusted by the shooter on demand and not by any other person or sourse. It’s an act of survival.

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Many years ago I had a woman that I helped with her photography. She was very much in love with all aspects of it. She worked in my darkroom and had a wonderful free vision. One day she called me and told me she was assaulted in South Philly and the guy took everything and her camera. Then she said, “Don, I must go back to Isreal and try to find a life, I lost my camera and will never be a photographer”. She left a book of negatives here and never called me again or asked for her work. I have no idea what happened to her but I know one thing…..

….negative energy will and does kill our creativity and life. Instead of believing she would eventually find a camera and continue, she surrendered and abandoned her work. COVID-19 is very much the same. It draws energy, promotes negativity and drains our creativity. We must not surrender. We must re-evaluate our expectations and make and adjustment for the current period of instability.

We absolutely must continue and make photos. Rememher, our photos are our remnants of our life.  Live it best you can and make your camera a friend and take it with you even if it means another room  where you live.

Bethany & Paul, at Peace

8/4/77 M4 35mm Cron

 

 

 

 

 

Covid-19 … The Never-Ending Story

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Atreyu, Atreyu….. the COVID nothing is almost upon us. We must find the childlike empress of light. Ringy, ring, ring…hello, who is it? Shooter, it’s Atreyu. I’m not allowed out cause the Covid-19 monster will find me. Everyone is hiding from it wearing a mask but I can’t. I am trapped between the pages of the book and the movie.

I feel like Atreyu in a way because time is slipping away and COVID isn’t. I hear tell that there are a few being affected by Mr. COVID. It’s not easy to accept but I stand on the position that we have to believe. Believe in what, I don’t know anymore. I don’t think I want to know anyway. Maybe I never kneww anyway.

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The assault on my creative energy is beyond anything I could ever perceive. I know that’s the case with many but I just want to focus on the facts that engulf me. Most, not all artists are able to work in a studio or something more protected. Street shooters don’t really have that luxury. We are destined to be active in the world. When the world is in such disorder, our drive and energy start to dissipate. It diminishes our ability to rise above the madness and the visual lockdown.

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I suppose the main issue is that we are supposed to be in lockdown and if we venture out of the safety of our confines, to do so with caution. Sure, yeah ok, I get it. What about making photos? What about the interaction with people on the street?  There aren’t many out there anyway but soon enough many will be out. Most but not all will wear a mask and try to keep a social distance. There are those amongst us that don’t care.

Photography requires the joining of the eye, heart, and mind. There is no other way. Once you have those 3 elements in focus, then it’s time to find the subject that you react to in many ways. The inhibition of the COVID Virus has placed a damper on life and on the creative process and energy. Wearing the mask and you absolutely should is a constant reminder that things, as you knew them, are being altered.

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The hard part for me is not being able to work the way I did and want to. I’m 70 and now I find I am not trying to change the world but defend myself from a world-changing me. My friend from my past, Paul, said a long time ago….”People like to look at the world thru rose-colored glasses, I look at a rose thru world colored glasses.”

As the years passed, and my life experiences came and stored in my memory banks, I realize that what Paul said was a very profound set of words. The meaning is still  resonating between my eye, heart and mind. I have talked with many that trust me and depend on me for answers they can absorb and live with.

The idea of Zen in photography is offset and over ridden by the Zen of Life. So, craetively, we must find the solution of our life in photography. Maybe, just maybe, for now, the best solution is to take the pressure of of being with the camera and just breathing your work from the archive. I find that doing this gets me working again and maybe just easees my weary soul.

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I have some things to pose soon but for now, enjoy what you’re doing lest you don’t.

 

Covid-19 … Of Cameras and Photos

 

See, the issue for me is … bonding with a camera. Yeah I know, I know. But on the calendar, it’s COVID something and that means …. we don’t need no isolation, doctors, leave us kids alone. Well, time passed….ohhh, Walt the Fuji X100V has bugged me since we got together in mid-March. C\He’s a great camera but has a sense of humor. If your camera doesn’t have a personality, that’s your problem, not mine. Ya got time now to explore the things in your life, so do it.

Anyway, Walt has been a good camera but he makes it impossible for me to use AFS on the shutter release. I press the release and it just fires a number of shots, on its own. Of course, my tremors are not helping a bit. All my other cameras do not have this issue.  So I decided to list the camera on eBay and sell it. The problem I have is… I name all my cameras and always dod for over 50 years. Because of that, it’s hard for me to let go of any friend. Si I procrastinate to the point that I simply must do it.

I picked up Walt the Fuju X100V and it was the first time in a while. He feels really solid and nice. I decided to make a few last shots before boxing procedures starts. I can feel him looking at me from his lens… kinda sad feeling. He knows its over and his family of camera friends will be gone forever, WE went out to the garden to make a few frames. I started making photos and things feel nice. Then, then slowly my mind woke to the experience and said… shooter Walt is not playing the multi termor release game. I said…shhhh to my mind said… let’s see what’s happening. Listen up ya’ll…my mind has been on vacation for a while and if it is waking up, there be something going on.

I thought, what a lucky camera the Fuji X100V is. 5 months of aggravation and now, now when I’m ready to sell him, he acts perfectly and no issues. I decided to chat with my camera shrink. Oh yeah, I got one. His name is Harry the 8×10 Deardorff. He’s the old man of the group. Shooter, I talked with the camera family and they said you passed the test of love for Walt the Fuji  X100V. See, they figured if I kept in in the family even tho I was not happy and had issues, that means that I love the Fuji X100V without reservations.

So, I was dreaming of being in the Independence Hall Park. The grass was green, nice clouds, kinda fresh air.. the sounds of tourists speaking every language but English. I like that, it’s exciting for me.  Anyway, I’m standing there and then a voice calls out, Yo Don, you ok? I open my eyes and standing there, right there with no social distance because we didn’t need it back then… I recognize Ray Sachs. We start talking and he has the Nikon X70 and i have the Ricoh GRII. That’s not what was exciting.

See Ray had this strap for his camera and it was an ACAM E25R. It’s a strap that adjust almost instantly and in many configurations. As he was showing me the strap, I noticed a camera on it that I was not familiar with. I believe it was a Sony RX1. It was compact with a big lens and then Ray told me it was a 35mm f2 and a full-frame sensor. He told me, no matter what I sell or buy, I will never seel this camera.

Well, that dream manifested in a reality just a wee short time ago. I sold a Nikon F2, 35mm f2, 50mm, 1.4, 105 2.5 outfit that was like new from the mid 70’s I believe. So, I was laying down and letting COVID take me to a place that I don’t give a hoot about. I was having terrible nightmares and woke many times. Cold sweat and I felt I wasn’t long to be above ground. I learned many years ago, when the shit hits the fan, don’t surrender, just turn the fan around.

I did that and recalled the dream of Ray and the Sony. I hadn’t thought about this for years but it pulled me out kinda. So, I hid from Tanya da Russian wifey and started a search on eBay and low and behold, a Sony RX1R in excellent condition and has a Buy It Now and I did. The good thing about staying in during this COVID crap is, I get to spend time learning cameras and things.

Most hate Sony’s menus but I rather like them a lot. They make the menus for ppl with mental issues so that puts me all in. I get the battery charged and start doing the menu. At this point I like the camera, it’s a nice build. It’s also as old as my Leica M9. That’s a plus for me. So I know I have to do some test shots and I bribe Barsik the Cat to sit for me as I make some snaps. Then out to the garden and some snaps. I am not overly excited but I am enjoying the camera. I sat and made so fresh Brita Water. THE BEST WATER, SHOVE YOUR BOTTLED WATER WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE.

Ok, time for LightRoom and the first viewing of what the camera is capable of. I load the card, import as DNG and then… gasp… OMG! I’m really like in shock…

to be cont’d……………

 

Covid-19 … Home is Where the Heart is … and So Are Your Images

Every time I walk past this mirror, there’s that guy again.

My shrink tells me that it’s me in the mirror but I don’t believe it. If I talk to that guy, I see his lips moving but I can’t hear what he’s saying. Ya know, I learned a few things in 70 years. First off is to never be complacent with yourself. Never ever take yourself for granted. Accept your failures and successes with equal intent and passion. If you’re not getting failures, you are not working hard enough. Not everything in life is a success and even if it was, complacency sets in rapidly, and that leads to laziness. The failures are where you learn from because you question why.

I love making photos around the house. Often there are hidden gems that get discovered but then time moves in and I give up the image quest at home for the streets. This time, homework is the work.  Not so easy to navigate around and keep the interest alive.

The Bloodstream of My Work

My photographic history has always fascinated me. It allowed me to see where I have been and what I was doing there. Many of my photos are marks in time where life has allowed me to be in sync with all that I was at that moment. I have been going thru many photos because I have the time, thanks to Covid-19. I started to breathe m,y work. I started to see history as the bloodstream of my work. I then started to see the DNA of my photography. I started to dissect the intent of many photos.  There’s a difference between doing something and being aware of doing something.

I sat back and started looking at my favorite photos from my digital revolution. I went back to around the turn of the century. Then as if life presented itself to me thru the camera, I saw the DNA  of my photographic essence appear in the newer work. The bloodstream has flowed thru my eye, mind, and heart. I started to see that the bloodstream has carried me thru decades and continues to flow feeding my creative soul.

The enemy of life is time. The gift to photography is time. I think that our minds are implanted into an elastic box. We can stretch all around and eventually bounce back to the center. That center is the core of our essence. That core of existence is the signature of our breaths. We can explore and work in many genre’s and yet our efforts and work will read of our existence. That becomes the signature of our life’s work.

Things happen in life that may shine or tarnish the very core of our work. What’s essential is to stand strong against the winds of time and the words of criticism. Now in this time of need and mask, I try to find photos that make me feel alive and around the home. I always loved the option of Homework and it was an option. I could work at home because I chose to and if I got something alive with my essence, I was elated. Then briefly back to the streets where my bloodstream pulls me to the rhythm and cadence of life.

Now, it is clear to me that Homework is essential for my sanity and ability to want to breathe. Homework is now and always was a strong beat to my heart. The difference is that in the bloodstream of my history, there was a choice and now, there exists not that I can apply, any choice.

….shooter out….namaste’

Street Photography Chronicles by Don Springer