Aug 9th, 2016 Birth of the Dreamcatcher


It is that feelings and or thoughts awaken inside me and sometimes without warning. When this happens, and it happens more in recent days, I get to a place where I am content and feel that I am ready. I mentioned before about being clean and working without influence from anyone but yourself. Let me clarify. There exist nothing CLEAN. So what we as shooters need to do is to recognize the dirt that permeates our heart and our vision. There will always be residue left over and that is where we need to address our state of awareness and self being. If we recognize the dirt, we need not go crazy trying to CLEAN ourselves, just accept the dirt and work around it. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with having a reference point to check on with what and why we do what we do.  If you are working and when you see your work you think, wow, so close to Bresson…well, my friend, you have a problem. If when you see your work and you feel that it’s a …wow, I really like this, exactly what I feel, well… you got it. If like me, many times, I see my stuff and think, this is strange and I don’t fully recognize it, but it turns me on. That’s really ideal sometimes.

If you have that all the time, well, Dr G can fit you in for some sessions. Please bring all the people in your head with you.


My biggest collection of the most satisfying work, for me is my Dreamcatcher series. I first discovered it in the early 70’s and I was reluctant to work that way. Remember, that was Leica Film daze. So I had a roll that I shot in NYC and my shutter speed was like 1/30. I would go up or down as required. No meter, just breathing the light. The film was Tri-X 640, developed by me. So in a week later, I had more film to run and I processed 5 rolls. When I made contacts, I looked at everything and then the roll under discussion came to the top. I looked thru my Loupe and at first I was upset because there was so much movement in the frames. A few days later I went down to the darkroom and looked at the contacts again. There were certain photos, no images, if you please, that were etched in my mind. I couldn’t delete them as they were bouncing around like crazy in my head. I didn’t say my crazy head.

After a undetermined amount of time, I notice the same thing happening but different images and what seemed to be a different vision. This has repeated over and over again thru my 50 years of being a shooter. The importance of this, is to be able to see your vision with some clarity.

See, what we shooters do is to search for our photographic identity on a daily basis. This search drives us to do things normal humans dare not attempt. We search for the best film/developer combo, the best software, camera. lenses and most importantly, the search for the best excuse to the wife for buying that new camera. Don’t laff, if you have a wife, if you are a wife, if you are just a couple together or any combination of the above and/or more, a great excuse is always handy.

So, the lessons we learn and adopt from our life, are the lessons that can save us in many more ways then anticipated. Those lessons are the lessons of our life and if we maintain a thread of humanity, we might share some of that knowledge with others.

Ultimately, we each are accountable for the life we live. We each are accountable for the photos we make and what they do. We don’t get to go to the marble Slab and bullshit our way out with THE LORD. So, maybe dealing with our history is enough to keep us going. Maybe not. We get one life to live. We can waste it trying to be Bresson or anyone else or we can stand tall and strong and make our work, then stand and say, I am the author of this work. You decide if you like or understand it, I will make more because I have to.

Be blessed my friends and remember, Bresson never tried to make photos like you………



12 thoughts on “Aug 9th, 2016 Birth of the Dreamcatcher”

  1. Hi Don,
    An excellent thought provoking message sent in your ‘Dream Catcher’ monologue.

    One, one level, an aspiring photographer can admire other past time photographers and their work. There can also be an element of influence, for example, by other photographers such as Cartier Bresson, Gary Winogrand, Sebastião Salgado, Saul Leiter, Edward Weston, William Eggleston, Sergio Larrain, Minor White, Andre Kertesz, etc. I’m sure these photographers had corner stones of influence too, that even may have been photographers but masters in other artistic endeavours. The ‘but’ to all this is that the aspiring photographer cannot copy because it’s false economy in every way. The act of copying will just waste the photographers time and effort faffing about deluding them self that they’re someone they’re not.

    Just as easily, a photographer can be influenced by any real time stimuli, simply, for example, by looking out of, or into, a window, or by the act of exiting or entering a doorway, or even being in a certain state or frame of mind. These stimuli and their mix is endless, but the result, in every instance, is unique and never to be repeated – because in sum, that end result is you at particular time and how you used that place in time to craft that image.

    A photographer may legitimately use other photographers work as reference points, but in the end, the proof positive result is when you as a photographer have come to realise that you can “Believe in yourself. Trust your instincts, and [then see that] your photography will look after itself.” because your own recognisable and unique style, shine on through for others to admire and appreciate.


    1. Sean, I just replied to Pavel but I think the answer from me is the same but almost maybe different.
      It’s not about history and the masters or anything you bring with you on your journey but rather, INTENT.
      To apply facets from history is ok in your work as long as you can credit the concepts and images properly. Intent will be the iron gavel on all of us, like it or not.

      We answer to our selves and have to do so in a way that means we are as ourself with the history we adopted but we know we did that and we know when we didn’t.
      Peace my friend

      1. Thanks Don,

        Possibly Steve Jobs has it summed up, in his own way, too; and I quote “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

        1. Sean, the feelings and thoughts are the same, the words may be different but it’s all the same in the end. Truth is truth

  2. I would make photos and I think they are awesome. Than I look again and think…. don’t they look like this shooter? I mean, in style and processing they might look similar. They are my moments, my photos, but still I sometimes have this impressions. And I still like them a lot.

    Never been shooting film (more or less..), but I have always admired classic documents in mono as long as I remember. Maybe it is silly to try to achieve this film look.But I don’t think this wa y consciously… I just tried many styles and this is what I always loved.

    It is not a classic dilemma… bw vs color or film vs digital…. just looking at possibilities and choosing one I prefer.

    I don’t care about masters. I might get infected unconscioslly (by anybody), thought. I would see this….I would forget it…and months later I might use similar idea when shooting….at that particular moment I would think it was my idea, but later I would realize it was influenced…. Dirty.

    I know where I got dirty. Never thought about beeing clean or dirty, but I must admit it. 

    On vaccation now…the idea that is circling in my head on and on is….”it isn’t about anything, it is about what you plug your eyes into”….

    1. Pavel,
      I guess we never unload baggage or dirt and I’m not suggesting anyone try to do that.
      It’s an impossible task to say the least.

      What I do suggest is to understand the baggage and recognize it so that you don’t fool yourself into believing your 100% clean. Dirt is fine as long as you know it’s dirt. Not a problem. If you think the dirt is yours, well, that’s a potential problem.

  3. Thanks for the conversations. My small bit. Ultimately, there is no point in working any other way but yours…………….s

    1. Sally, there are 2 important ways to uses a recipe. First, take it for what it is and explore all the ingredients.
      Second, take it and add your own taste bud s and make it your own.

      You did the first one already, now… take it and make it your own. Be blessed my friend….

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