Category Archives: Dreamcatcher

February 12th, 2019 … Some Photos and a Mild Discussion … The Prunes of Photography??

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…damn right it’s cold. oh, sorry folks, I didn’t know youse all were here. See, I was talking with a Police Officer and we decided it’s cold. He works for the Transit Authority, better know as Septa. I see him many times as I travel by public transportation as much as I can. I love it. I know most hate it but for me, it’s the mix of the people, the buses, trains and whatever. I’m not going to tell you the officers name because he said if I do he’s locked me up in a cell with my wife for 10 years. Let me tell ya if that doesn’t scare the doo doo out if ya, nothing will. Anyway, I have Mom the Ricoh GRII with me. Youin’s all know I name my cameras. I do that because they all have a way of seeing that’s different from each other. That translated to how they work differently with me.

I was just asked by one of youse to briefly explain the reason for naming my cameras. Ok, short and sweet. Let’s assume we all love photography. We all love making photos.  So if this a fact, and it is…. this love is directly related to time and life. The naming of a camera makes it personal for you and also makes a tangible connection with the camera and the art of making photos. It’ forms a closeness or a bond.

That’s it……

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…..anyway back to the unnamed police officer. I’ve seen him many a time and he sometimes goes to the Dunkin Donuts and has a box of a dozen and a large container of hot coffee, He goes around to some homeless people and gives them a donut and a cup of hot Joe, as he calls it.  He told me that his superiors told him he wasn’t allowed to do this coffee thing.

….and then the statement from him that matters to all. Yes, every human and subhuman like politicians etc needs this lesson. “If we abandon our humanity, what is left? It’s a small thing I do but it keeps me human and lets the people I help know they have some dignity and humanity left.” Wow!

Many years ago, my Grandmother told me, “What goes in has to come out.” Sree, I was a young teenager and had eaten much junk food. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Junk food wasn’t invented yet. My grandmother was aa pre-junk food advisor. Anyway, I was bloated with, um food. She walked to the cabinet, forbidden to all but her. I could hear the music of the Ride of the Valkyries in my head. No speakers, or digital; versions. It was music to scare the do do out of me. I knew instantly her intention was to clear my bowels. I was horrified that she would reach for the dreaded enema bottle. My butt cheeks locked in anticipation. Then, then out of the cabinet, my nerves settled to a lower point of the guard. In her hand, small wrinkled and slightly shaking, was a bag with black things in it. She handed me 4 of these wrinkled black things. She said, eat the Prunes one at a time but get all 4 eaten in a few minutes. In the HOLY SCRIPTURES, no matter what religion you follow, there is a law that is the 11th Commandant. “THOU SHALL NOT EVER DISOBEY YOUR GRANDMOTHER”  Whit all due respect, I ate the prunes as instructed. Nana told me to sit and relax in Pop Pop’s chair. This was a high honor bestowed upon me by an act of love.

After about 15 minutes, but who’s counting, I felt the Valkyries rumbling in my poor belly. I ran upstairs to the bathroom. Quickly dropping my drawers and sat on the almighty toilet. The prunes immediately without hesitation, battled the Valkyries and won the battle. The rest of the toilet procedure is better left alone.

I learned a few things in this episode. One was that above all people on the earth, no one will ever love you like a grandparent. This of course in adaptable to anyone you love or loves you. I made that statement so when Nana reads it in Heaven, she won’t have bad feelings.

What does this have to do with photography? I know if your reading this, you have a complete understanding,  That goes without thought. Please bear with me cause there are some new people here and they don’t really get my style of writing.  So I’ll explain to them and youse regulars don’t have to read this.

See, we are making photos of things we find interesting. My brain is a Capco, model 256a, 1949 issue. It’s slower than the new models and doesn’t have the features that newer models have, What my brain (mind) does, it connects my optical sensors (eyes) with my emotions stemming from my blood pumping station, (heart).

So, if what goes in has to come out, why do we need to be concerned anyway. When we work, we essentially process info that has been put into us. The output usually is a result of input and the mix with what we add to that input.

There is no photo ever made or will be made that is PURITY. what we need do as photographers, is to recognize the results of our photos. Recognize the source of inspiration. Is it an overload of info coming into us from outside sources? What part of the photos is our contribution to stimuli?

Essentially what I’m saying is to try to locate and define the stimuli entering your mind and to acknowledge that it’s impossible to escape it. Stieglitz had a body of work called, “Equivalent”, Part of it was, a cloud in the sky and it equaled the torso of a body.

I am not saying to do that. I was sitting with Ding at the museum and he showed me some Stieglitz photos. I saw and held some Equivalents.  I understood what the intention was and the emotional impact they had on me. My heart changed its pattern of beating. Ding took the prints and placed them in their box.  Then he handed me a print I was very well in love with. It was The Steerage. 

Let me tell ya.  I held that photo from the edges, the way he taught me. I had all kinds of emotional feelings. I studied every small part of the photo. The faces embedded in me before embedding was invented. Ding smiled and asked me, “What do you feel about this image?” I immediately understood “Equivalent.”

This is the key to the life of a photographer is. Each photo you make is equivalent to the experience of living at the time of exposure. So, you owe it to yourself to determine how much of the images are from the part that needs prunes or how much is actually your creative input. We are not alone in the world, We are not alone in life. We are not alone in our photos. We just should strive to recognize what’s in them and then to understand all the facets of the photo.

Do you SEE your photos? Do you see YOU in the photos?

February 5th, 2019 … Once Upon a Dream

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I often talk about being in the moment. Ya know how the Inverse Square Law works. Less is More and More is Less. Well, I discovered that there is depth to the law. See, usually, I am deep inside things and that means it’s more complicated to be free of things. I like being deep in the stuff but there are times in my life that I want to just flow with the current and let it take me where it shall. This is one of those times.

Think about the contrast of life. Let’s just keep our eye, heart, and mind on the Inverse Square Law. If in fact, less is more and more is less, maybe we need heed the warning of Opposite Attraction. Photographically, it works like a magnet. They say opposites attract. Do they really and what does that mean to our shooters. If it’s always warm where you live, then a cold front or snap carries a lot of weight. It’s the living contrast that effects us.

Maybe you’re in the Southern States of The USA. You have beautiful sunny weather. You are walking around in shorts and a tee shirt. In a flash of a second, a Tornado or Hurricane comes and you don’t have a home anymore. Yout little dog is up there with Dorothy and her Red Slippers. I may be making light of the situation but it’s real and not at all funny. It’s the Opposite Attraction that is working.

We as shooters have similar situations. Think about Oxymorons in your work. Opposites. So, we go on in our comfort zone making photos. We even get people that like what we are doing. We feel safe and secure in our Eye, Hear and Mind. We don’t think about the hurricanes that disturb our vision and work. Just because we don’t think about those hurricanes, does not mean they aren’t resting and building energy to awake and add chaos to our sanity and vision.  Do we need to prepare for the approaching storm? I think not. It generated for us and generally is not as destructive and other things in our life.

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Well, Like finding our little dog up there with Dorothy. That’s an exercise in futility. We are creatures of habit. We are comfortable in repetition and strive to repeat results by working towards them. This means that perhaps, we carve out a set of guidelines or rules that we assume will give the desired result, that we are comfy with. Generally speaking, the satisfaction of producing acceptable work to others and to ourselves.

I think part of the human condition is, taking things for granted. I’m not a religious man. I mean, I lost my religion in Vietnam in 1970. I feel I have violated the WORD of the LORD and am not worthy of the benefits of being religious. Decades ago, I went to a Catholic Priest for guidance. We chatted a few times and I felt like a man he was understanding. He never passed judgment on me. A short time later, I went to see a Rabbi. His father lived in the home also.  His father was also a Rabbi and was about 86 when I met him. I asked simply if I could deal with the father. It was agreed upon. As the 3rd session was ending I felt some relief but still this feeling of guilt and aloneness. The old Rabbi told me, “Don, there are many ways to live your life. You should just be Spiritual and not worry about the Dogma of Religion. Don’t take this guilt with you to your death bed. Go with a clean heart and soul. Life has passed judgment on you, not GOD. You can’t control what happens with your death but you can with your life.”

So, it’s important to be in the here and now, we all agree on that. But if you’re always in the here and now, then how to appreciate it and how not to become complacent? We need the contrast in life to appreciate what we have and what we don’t have. To be in the here and now, does that imply being not in the here and now is the opposite?

Let’s say that we are working on a series of photos of reflections. What seems to take place, is….when a shot develops and it’s a reflection, we think it suites our series. It’s a nice filling feeling. Self-accomplishment. What of the photos that are not reflections. What happens to the series and what7 about the anti-series photos.

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Decades ago, I used to lay out photos like a scrabble board. Visualize the horizontal line of photos and it’s about 8 images.  Of course, the photos need to be related, not just related by nature but by intent. Now you bring photos to the layout and then you see, that there is a photo that relates well to one image but not really to the series laid out. You place that on the line going horizontally to the photo it relates too. After doing this, you see this like a scrabble board and your photos are the tiles.

If you try this, you’ll see that opposites really do attract. The series is well defined and the photos spawned off the main line leads to new directions. They appear to be opposite of the main series but are they really?

As photographers, we depend on sets of constants. It’s difficult to work off the normal comfy places in our hear and hearts. As creatures of habit, we tend to dismiss anything out of our norm. I am told by my mind, that I haven’t finished this exercise. I will write more thoughts shortly

… to be cont’d …

January 30th, 2019 …. Re-Experiencing the Experience … Other Thoughts Too

There are times that I make a photo and it does more than the others. what I mean is, there’s certain energy the photos pass on and shares with me. Sometimes this energy is subdued and not calling out for attention. Other times, there’s a reverberation inside that conjures up memories and just keeps resurfacing over and over. We all do self-portraits in one manner or another. But there are some photos that conjure up messages that we may or may not want to deal with.

It was 1978 and I was in our bedroom and wanted to make a self-portrait. I was wearing boxer shorts and that’s it. I was using a 50mm Cron, early version. Anyway, I was framing the photo, similar to the one above. As I raised the camera to my eye, on the ready….my son2 years old popped his head up from behind the bed. I did not see him. I framed and made the exposure. 3-4 days later the roll was filled and time to make negatives. My fav part of the darkroom. I processed the film and decided to print a few negs. I put the self-portrait in the enlarger and looked at the image on the easel. I decided that an 8″ x 12″ was the right size. I slipped in a sheet of strips to get a basic exposure and then put in a sheet of Portriga Rapid. I made the exposure and developed it and when it was in the fix, I noticed my son Paul’s head on the corner of the bed, peering out to me. I thought the photo was funny and move to another negative. When I took the strip of negs out of the Leica Enlarger, it fell out of my hand onto the floor.

I couldn’t see it so moved around and got safe for white light. I looked down for the strip and low and behold, I had accidentally stood on it. I picked it up and it was destroyed beyond repair. I knew at that instant that this was the only print to ever be born from this negative.

I took Andre’ the Leica M240 and went into the bedroom. I saw the light come thru the curtains and the frame starts to form. I looked around and realized I made a similar photo 41 years ago. I had the feeling of energy reverberating and memories gallop thru my mind. I raised Andre and got ready and made the photo.

I miss my son Paul.

So I often wonder what the trigger is for the inspiration in making photos. I_ mean of course I know most of my triggers but the thing is, where do they come from and why? See, I believe making photos is more than pointing the camera and clicking. There’s an internal release and an external release. They each have a target of intent. Together, they make the moment of the experience happen. Apart and you’re just taking pictures. There are a time and place or making and talking and it’s only important if you understand the difference. If not, maybe you’re the lucky one, just go about freely and take as many pictures as you feel. Not a whole lot of accountability but some need to be that way. Looks around the room carefully and makes sure none of those people are here. Actually, anyone that does photography that way, won’t be here with us anyway.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. It means that if you developed a trigger mechanism many years ago, it’s still inside you and in working order. It also means that if you made a photo that you really respond to and love, you’re probably gonna have that photo in your heart and mind and maybe subconsciously hunt for it again. There’s nothing wrong with this process as long as you are aware of what you are doing. So there are many things in the tangled web of thoughts and emotions that we need to try and sift thru to make the experience of the next photo and rewarding as any before it.

look, of course you can always go on and just find things and hope for the best. It’s natural and acceptable and a proven way to work.

Back in the 1970s, I read a series of books by Carlos Castaneda. Some say he made the entire series up and discounted the entire thing. The thing is, if you read or do anything to give you input, good, bad or indifferent, it affects the way and what you think. Castaneda said that death lives on your left shoulder. As you go thru life, you need to pay attention to your death. He also said that when you do something, do it as if it’s worth dying for. That’s all heavy stuff but the fact is, you can’t escape that. What does all this have to do with photography? Perhaps you figure that out. I may, in fact, have it all wrong. I just know that there isn’t too much in my life that comes close to my photography. Maybe that’s not so great, but I focused on everything and saw most.

So, I have a thing for backgrounds. Funny thing. See, those posters etc are made for you to absorb a product or some kinda info. Oh yeah, I know it’s a hard thing to grasp but they are really advertisements.  So, by making them a background, I am in fact maybe kinda responding to the ad. There is a communication going on and I find it very interesting. We are bombarded by images, media and info, and more every second. How we respond to it all is what I find interesting.

When I look at shooters photos, I like to find the trigger or stimulus for the photo. Not always easy and interesting to see what others see. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to wonder why they made the photo and not so much how they made the photo.  If you wonder how they made the photo, you might end up in a camera store. If you wonder why they made the photo, you’ll more than likely end up looking for your own photos.

Look Y’all, I believe if your not thinking about stuff like this, before, during and after making photos…. you ain’t thinking. Ya probably ain’t feeling either. Not a good thing I tell’ya. If we don’t challenge ourselves to try and find the light, then we just see the light others shine on us. One of the techniques I used to get info into my student’s heads was….. tell them to bring 5 questions about why the others made a photo. See, we look at photos from all members. Then I instruct each member to choose 3 photos. 1 was to be their own and the other 2 from someone else. Now they have till next session to come up with questions and reasons for those questions about the photos. You would be surprised how difficult this really is. The learning experience was to read the questions for others and then the question and answer for their own work.

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I got a message from my Eye, Heart, and Mind. The message states that I am not done writing and expressing myself. It also states the I need to go to the toilet so I need to end this post now. Not my choice but bodily functions rule.

I will do more over the coming weekend. As always my friends, be Blessed on your journey.

…..end transmission…..shooter out…….

January 9th, 2019 … Blinded With Clear Vision … or … Wake Up the Past to Find the Present

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… you miss the point and you miss and abuse the flavor of life. I will not entertain you with an argument, let me just say, you will never connect your heart to your photos. You probably don’t connect anyone with your heart and for that I feel terrible for your friends and family but my friend…not for you. You have the gift of life and take it for granted.

Sorry friends. You caught me off guard as I was in a discussion about the heart of life and the heart of photography. See, there’s many ways to make photos and many uses and or purposes for those photos.

Flashback….we are at base camp near LZ Liz. I’m sitting around with a couple troops and we are talking about the value we feel for life. Some guys are saying, they would fight to the death and die for America. I feel that way also and continue field cleaning my 45ACP. Spud a soldier from Idaho and on his 5th tour says to me, Jingles, you would die for your friends here and die for your country. I bravely and boldly say, damn right

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Spud knocks me on the head and looks in my eyes. The other troops are looking and trying to figure out what’s happening. Spud says so all the others can hear, Jingles, it’s easy to die here. It’s a worthy cause to die for your friends and your country. You need to find a reason to live for them and America and not die for them. You need to always fight for life, not death. If you survive, you must fight for life every day until you die. You must never surrender to death and when you die, make sure all the world knows it.

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I thought about the dichotomy of life and death. Spuds words resonate in my heart and mind to this very second and I often wonder if he was recognized as a ZEN Master. I asked Spud why he was here so long and he said because here, I am able to feel my life and in the world, I feel I am not worthy and will abuse it.

The thing about photography is, that it is a representation of our life and existence. There is a path to self discovery and for me it has always been with a camera.

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On this path to Self Discovery, we must realize that it is a lonely path and ends in our death.  This does not mean that we can’t share time with others but you’ll catch hell trying to get someone to die with you. That Landmark is strictly a lonely one. OK, so we can’t cheat death or life but what we can do and should do and simply put, must do is: Live our life in a manner that brings focus to our hearts and souls and honors those before us.  As photographers, we should make a worthy battle to maintain our integrity and honor our work as if it is our life’s worth..

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We need to honor our history. It is said that we should see things as if seeing for the first time. Such a simple virgin excuse. By doing so, we erase our history and neglect any value that the work had or has for us. I rather acknowledge;edge my history and maybe make a new photo of the subject but keep the history alive. You simply can not erase the history of your work. So, then, love it and see things differently and make a new photo of whatever you are doing.

Proof that I am not too crazy. We all do exactly as I said every time we make photos of our friends and family etc. If you make photos of a loved one, do you erase the history or embrace it?

I will write more shortly…. go in peace alls………

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January 1st, 2019 … Mummers Day … Ricoh GRII-21mm

Happy New Years to one and all and this mean YOU. The Girl Child Linda called and wanted to go to the Mummers Parade and said to meet at Suzanne’s home. Okie, so I get downtown and head to Suzanne’s home. Inside, there are about 7 people and all younger than me. Most have cameras and they are showing each other what they have.  Linda and Suzanne come to me and hug me and each kisses my cheek. I look at the Heaven’s above and my heart sings… I don’t know what I did to deserve this LORD but I if this is the end of the journey for me, I’m all good to go.

As it turns out, it wasn’t the end of my journey and I have my two young shooters to hang out with. We sit for a few and Linda brings me a cup of coffee. Low and behold, fresh roasted Kona, light cream and alls right in shooter world. So, then Suzanna says to Linda, hun, can you grab my Leica from the bedroom? Linda replies, sure babe. Neither of them ever called me hun or babe. I’m feeling some kinda way. So I ask is Polly going to join us? Suzanne replies, Polly is back in Japan and may not be coming back here. Awww, okie, she is a lovely person I said.

We finish our coffee and head out the door. Linda and Suzanne and myself. Linda asks what I’m working with and I reply, Mom, the Ricoh GRII with the 21mm adapter. I have Andre’ the Leica M240 but I’m not feeling him too much lately. Linda is using the unnamed Leica M10 and Suzanne is using the unnamed Fuji Xpro-2 and the unnamed Leica M10P. I think they were kinda put off cause I was using the GRII but I was embarrassed to be seen with all the unnamed cameras. I mean, after all, this IS 2019. Unnamed cameras, The Horror! We get to walking around and the ladies stay close to me. Cameras start clicking, and smiles get to happen. I make a few frames and quickly realize I don’t need the company even tho these ladies are like my daughters.

I walk to Suzanne and tell her I need to be alone and work. She smiles, gives me a major hug and kisses me softly. Don, I want to thank you for everything you do for me. I guess you know, Linda and I are a couple.  Well, (my chance to get in a shot) you mean a couple like um,,, kissing and holding. A couple like sexin and being in bed together. Her brow raises…(see, when a woman’s brow raises, it means, 1 wrong word and you’ll reap the wrath of a woman scorned, and HELL won’t go there) Okie Suz… as long as youin’s don’t be gettin nawty. I smile and hug her and tell her, I love you both and I am happy if I was instrumental in forming your bond. I tell Suz and Lin to be careful and we will meet in a short time.

Now I vanish in the crowd. I start to feel some energy and breathe in the scent of my photos. There’s a lot of people all around me. I have Mom the Ricoh GRII-21mm at the ready. people are everywhere and yet we are all nowhere. I feel the loneliness cast upon us and then, this woman appears and I see her and she turns to try to find herself…..CLICK!

I love how the Mummers get so engulfed n the energy of the parade. This energy is never-ending. I’m not usually seen on the streets. I kind vanish and appear when it’s time to release. Anyway, the mummers are in front of WAWA and the guy to my right, with his back turned, is stuffing a hoagie in his mouth. I kinda didn’t want to disrespect anyone so I waited….He slowly turns his back to me and then the other guy….CLICK!

There are no illusions in my head about seen/unseen as a photographer. See, there are a few ways to work. Here are my thoughts on 2 of them. We work as an observer and ideally, we are not seen or a part of the photo. The other way is to be a participant and your actions, regardless of how subtle, may influence the outcome of the photo. There exist no proper right way and also no proper wrong way. There just is. The important thing is to be aware of the differences. That is a quality of work that creates the bond between you and your photos. We are supposed to be aware of our environment when making photos. Perhaps this emotional and mental landscape is equal if not more important than actually working. It’s called intent and as fine as a word and meaning that it is, with the practice of the definition, well, no pretty photos will be born.

So much for being unseen….CLICK

There are people that are not in the Mummers Parade but yet Stars in the Parade of Life. This young woman is drawing attention from anyone around her. I’m smiling inside and just observing and then…. she takes her jacket off and is wearing a sports bra. Youse all know me, I have no interest in that sorta stuff. I guess I’m not the target of her attractions, Dude comes over and stands next to her. He’s checking ever art of her with intent. Oh yeah, people that are not shooters may have intent also. I’m watching him as her studies her. She’s comfy and she turns to me and makes a face like, what’s up with dude? Out of the corner of his eye, he’s perving her and then looks slightly away…. CLICK!

Suz called and invites me to have lunch with her, Linda and some friends. I pass and tell her I need to get home. Tanya is alone with Barsik and I want to be with them.

If you’re looking for the traditional Mummers Parade shots, you’re in the wrong place. Be blessed everyone…..

Happy New Years…………….. end transmission…..

December 17th, 2018 … One Shot Per Shoot …

 

 

Today is December 17th. The above photo is frame 17 for the month of December. Been sick and can’t get out. Luckily I need to go see my Primary at the VA Hospital. I figured that I might as well take a camera with as always. So, Mom the Ricoh GRII and I headed out to do the journey to the hospital. As we are on the train to center city, Mom is telling me that there is an updated version of her and I shouldn’t get any ideas about updating the new camera with a new name. Mom will suffice she said. I agreed. I argued enough with mom when she was alive and on the planet and I don’t want to argue with her now that she’s my camera. Ya know that Jewish Guilt Trip? Well, it’s real and always working. See, I think if I just agree with Mom the Ricoh GRII, then Mom in the grave won’t be inside my head so much. I tell youse about this cause I’m older than most but not all. That means you can feel comfy knowing others live inside your head. It’s best if it’s family and even your mom but might not be. Now ya can feel comfy knowing that your not the only one with issues. The old shooter, gotz goodies.

It felt good to be able to breathe the exhaust from the cars and trucks. I still coughed some but not terrible. The noise from the school kids yelling and horns honking. Beethoven doesn’t have anything on that. The hustle and bustle and the people bumping into me and not saying excuse me, wow, what a great feeling. The young guys busting bad with their eyes, right at me and of course, I stare them down. Mom the Ricoh GRII in my pocket keeping warm. She’s on the ready but not turned on. Lens extension procedures never in the pocket. The sky is bright gray-blue. You know that color of exhaust mixed with baby blue, well that’s it. Oh, don’t forget the clouds that look more like released tokes of pot, not medical, from the guys on the corner, only these dissipate slower. yeah man, life in Philly. How good does it get? So the A Train is rolling along the track and I look out the window to the junkies and prostitutes on the streets. It’s like 46F so the streets are loaded. Of course, people are shopping for their Xmas gifts and groceries. Kisa that are cutting school, riding their bikes and hopping around. Cigarettes are burning all over and the blunts are like a wildfire. Even on the train, I can smell the fresh scent of HIGH.

A Train is making the approach to 11th Street, my stop and I need to wiggle past to young girls to get by. I bumped into one’s little butt and said thanks luv. They both giggle……I smile back. Walk up the steps and hit the street.

Mom the Ricoh GRII  comes out of the pocket and mounts to my hand by the Sony Wrist Strap. I have many straps of very good quality. The best wrist strap is the Sony Wii. It’s on eBay all the time for about $1.00. You will be hard pressed to find a better strap. Anyway, we start walking and this older couple are in front of me. I know I need to make some photos and I watch them walk. Then we approach the Fashion signs and I see a photo. I move forward and watch the elegance of age creep along the street thru the crowd of people. Mom starts wiggling in my hand….My Shrink says this is an illusion but the camera is shaking I tell Ya…. they get to catching up to me and ……CLICK!

 

December 14th, 2018 … Still Crazy After All These Years

….. it’s the early 80’s and I’ bringing 40 framed prints to a gallery in Olde City for a  solo exhibition. It’s been 2 months in the works to get to this day, The Day of Hanging. I liked to hang shows and am actually very good and precise. I actually was a member of a gallery with the mixed artist. Most were faculty from universities and schools etc. So when I curated and hung the shows, i never had anyone complain. Mixing mixed media and having the show read well, is no easy task. Pat on my back and I needed it. This was different and it’s not my first solo show. It’s just the first for this gallery.

So I park in front of the gallery and P…says we are all ready. He has some young cute assistant and I hmmmmm, Okie. We get all the frames inside and drink coffee. The girl starts moving things around. She feels she has a talent for sequencing work. I’m quiet. P… says Andy is an expert at this. I’m thinking, she’s 21 and an expert….okie. She may very well be but I understand sequencing and she and P…haven’t a clue. i know by the way they placed the frames. So, I said to Andy,m ok… let me give it a shot. I start moving frames and after 15 minutes, I’m happy with the sequence. Andy moves in closer and then turns to me and ask….Do you make all these with a camera? Well, now I am 69 and if she asked me that question, I would poop my pants. oh yeah. This was a long time ago and I was younger and could hold, um… things better. To tell the truth, when Andy asked me that question, I almost did poop my pants. C’mon, what kinda question is that to ask?  Andy says you must be really crazy with all these dark pictures. P…says, yeah, Don makes lots of crazy pictures.

Well, I deal with criticism very well. If a viewer or many viewers have things to say, fine. I don’t take it to heart. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a lower body part where they can shove their opinions. The thing is, the gallery owner and director make statements like that, I got pissed. We are supposed to be in a synergistic relationship that feeds each other. My prints sell in his gallery and he gets 40% of the sales. So we get it all set up and ready. The 3 of us are sitting around and Andy apologizes for saying my work and I are crazy. P… has to leave and will be back in an hour.

Andy asks me if I can explain some of my photos so she will have a better understanding. Sure I said. She starts questioning me and much to my surprise, the questions were very thoughtful. I’m about 32yo and going on 80. I start telling Andy that I make photos that are a part of my life. See Andy, I was a soldier in Vietnam and that affected me for life. I will never fully get out of Nam. The dark tones, the highlights and the way I present the subject matter, all the aftermath of Nam. I can’t make photos of pretty flowers, or nice buildings and not even make photos of pretty girls,. wait, wait, let’s not get carried away. I can make photos of pretty girls….I’m not stupid.

I explained to Andy that my work is my life and my life is my work. I can’t be what others want me to be. I can’t make photos for anyone except my own soul. I like when someone responds to my work and even like it more if they buy some, but it’s not the motive for my persistence on discovering the world that lives within me and without me.

Opening night P and Andy greet me. I have jeans on and Docksiders, a whiter Tee shirt and a herringbone jacket. People start coming in and I greet them and answer questions. Many are people I know and it’s very comfy. Andy is walking a small group around and explaining my photos. I was so interested in hearing the conversations. She was very heartwarming and captivating. P…comes to me and says, You see why I have Andy here. Andy comes to me and wraps my arm in hers.  < i have a strong heart and won’t let myself fall in love or like or anything. I have a smile on my face and we walk to some people and she introduces me.

There’s an older couple whom I have seen many times at First Friday’s. Andy says Dave and Maria would like to buy 7 photos. I have the list. Andy and I walk to P… and explain that 7 prints are sold. P…says he sold 4 already. I explain to P…. I wish Andy to get 20% from my cut. So, P…you get, 40%, I get 40% and Andy gets 20%. We all agree and Andy is like in heaven. The end of the night we sold 19 prints. The shows up for a month with openings every Friday night. Andy sold more prints and she became a great gallery director. Now she’s one of my finest collectors and takes good care of me. Andy became very wealthy and very informed. She’s well known and a sharp buyer.

I guess the moral of this story, the moral of this song is….. she judged me as crazy and my work. I judged her as a young girl like a butterfly. I learned that Andy had the flair to be a gallery director. She had an instinct for the viewers and how to motivate them to buy. She knew how to stir me and get me thinking and not be complacent with myself just cause I was working over and over in a similar vein.

What did I learn about me?  I’m Still Crazy After All These Years

….as shooters, usually first impressions don’t mean much, we need further investigation of our subject and ourselves to be worthy of Mother Light

December 11th, 2018 … The Intent of Memory

… so Charlie is always walking behind me. He’s just slower than me and that’s cool. It allows me to breathe easier and to make photos as we walk. I met Charlie years ago from a mutual friend, Tom Murtha. Tom was a Ranger and did 2 tours in Korea and 3 tours in Nam. Charlie and Tom did a tour together in Korea. One day on a mission with the Warriors Watch Riders, Tom asked me to look in on his friend Charlie. After the mission, I rode my Harley to the address Tom gave me for Charlie. I had a Canon G9 around my neck and when Charlie answered the door, he saw me and said, no pictures Whitey. Well, that was the way Tom talked and I guess it was better than sugar coating everything. Charlie just as Tom, didn’t use any sugar or have the slightest amount of tact.

Charlie told me that Tom was his only real friend. (imagine that) Charlie asked me if I liked Chinese food. Sure I said. So he went into the kitchen and returned with a plate of noodles and something resembling meat and sauce. Something told me that we should go to the Market and get fresh food. I asked Charlie and he was anxious and said let’s go Whitey. I turned to Charlie and said, are you ready colored boy? His face got like … you don’t need to know. I told Charlie, my name is Don or Shooter. He smiled and said I’m Charlie Don. Now get on and ket’s go eat. I asked Charlie, did you really expect me to eat that stuff at your house? He laffed with that rolling thunder laugh from his heart and belly.  I asked him what’s so funny? He smiled and said, I knew if I showed you that food, you’d take me to lunch.

So Charlie and I established our friendship and the right and responsibility I have to take and buy him lunch. I see him every once in a while and especially when he needs me. Charlie told me about an ambush in Korea. He said Tom was in front of me 10yds. Hell broke out and I fell and was not able to move, My leg was on fire and I was bleeding bad. Tom dropped back and lay next to me. He threw grenades and fired his rifle round after round. Never even breathed, just fought like the Devil was coming at us. He told me to hug him tight and then we rolled over and he continued to unleash death all around. I lay there knowing I would never survive and then there was almost silence. Screaming from both sides of the battle. I told Tom, you saved me, Tom. He said I do it for anyone Charlie. I said you did it for me. Tom said, fuggin right, you’re my friend. I never had a friend before and never in my life like Tom.

I asked Charlie if he had family and he said, you and Tom now. I got a daughter Nespa, someplace in North Carolina but ain’t seen her in over 40 years. She was borne when I was in Nam. Her mom Enesta ran off with that guy and took Nespa with. That was it.

So we are walking up the street to Sang Kee in the Reading Market. I am in front of Charlie, about 10′. He doesn’t like me too close so people don’t get the wrong idea. Makes me laff but I respect the old coot.  I am walking thru the shadows of memories and seeing them on the ground. Shadows holding me and releasing me. Memories being re-born and the birth of new.  It’s like a mystical experience. I guess my life is…. I turn around to see Charlie and ….Click

December 7th, 2018 … The Day Of Infamy … and the … I’m Sick and Can’t Get Out Post

… coughing … sneezing … I have been sick since before Thanksgiving. The worst part is not being able to hit the streets. My cameras are pissed and I dare not go near the cabinet. Nah, that’s not the worst part…. hold on a sec…. looks around, hmmm the coast is clear. The worst part is being under Tanya’s rule and medical supervision. Oh yeah, my Russian home remedies doctor. I will admit freely … as she stands over my back … that the remedies actually work. So, I make a tent with a towel and cover my head and on the table, she puts a bowl of cut onions. I get close and breathe in and out, the best way to breathe, and the vapor goes where it’s needed and it’s done for 10 minutes. That’s step 1, oh yeah more coming. So the towel tent also lets her put potatoes in a bowl. She takes 2 potatoes… 1 potato, 2 potato and boils then for 20 min. Then she cuts into pieces and puts them in a bowl and I breathe them in for the 10 minutes.

She’s in the kitchen so I can unveil another Russian Medical Secret. If the politicians find out about this, I’ll be charged with Russian Collusion for Potato and Onion conspiracy. Stinky stuff huh. Anyway … a well-guarded secret is the coveted, Black Radish and Honey procedure. She hand picks a Black Radish at the International grocery store. Not very scientific but I want her to feel special as a Russian Home Remedy Doctor. So I watch in awe like I’m captivated by her skills at the selection. Once we get home, she cuts the black radish into pieces. Like 6 parts. They go into a small bowl and then she pours some honey over the pieces. Then covers the bowl with Russian American approved cellophane. In a few hours, she will take a tsp and put the residue from the honey radish that collects at the bottom of the bowl.

I take the tsp of honey radish and swallow it. Ok, Black Radish and Honey concoction are ready for more processing by the American sick photographer, publisher husband. That brings us to the multi-international but mainly Russian American banana stops the coughing  and eases the mucus special medicine. This is a well guarded, highly sought after remedy. From what I could uncover, it’s cooked banana and some sugar. There’s something else in it and I believe it’s lemon. It is lemon I watched her make it secretly. Anyway, this cooks down and the banana you take 2 tablespoons and swallow. It’s warm but not hot.

This immediately soothes the throat but only the throat. See, as a professional Russian American Home Remedy Doctor, she targets specific sections of the sickness That’s why there are so many remedies. They all work and work well but for specific areas. So for about 2 weeks, I’m under Tanya’s care and it’s nice but as for photography, not so good. This gives me lots of thinking time. So me poor mind is working on some issues and a few I never wanted to address……..

I have been using Leica’s for over 45 years. Anyway, now I use the M240. Great camera and love what it does and more importantly, what it does to me and how it works with me. The problem is, it’s heavy. Oh yeah, I’m not in great shape anymore and I tried many straps and configurations. I have been using the ACAM 25 and it’s a quickly reconfigure strap. Great, actually the very best. Goes from neck to shoulder to cross chest in a second. Cross-chest is best for weight but now, at this point, even that doesn’t work. I get pains in my neck, shoulder, and upper back. So, I need to think about the Leica in a different light. Obviously, that means a wrist strap. Ok, so I have many and many nice ones. I put Andre’ the Leica M240 on a wrist strap… no what? Huh, open for ideas. A shoulder bag is off the list. I have too many and can’t use them anymore. So the obvious alternative is a waist pack. I have the Camslinger Streetomatic bag. It’s great, does more than I need.

So, I am undecided about Andre’ the Leica M240. My instincts tell me to sell him to someone that can use and enjoy him. Our daze together is coming to an end and we both know it. The thing about having more than one camera is, you feel compelled to use them, What the hell, ya got em, use em. My thing is I get into phases where I want to have maybe 2 cameras with me.m No, switching lenses is not the same. I can’t keep this going but I hate to sell off my friends. So I switch around and beings that any camera I have is a trusted friend and we work well together, of course except Andre’ the Leica M240…..bummer

I can’t get out to shoot so I re-photographed from my collection.  Anyways, the remedies really work, don’t lose them, trust me. I think all these are from the Ricoh Gr or GRII. To be honest, I can’t wait for the Ricoh GRIII. Have a blessed weekend my friends. Seeya as soon as I can escape my mad Russian American Home Remedy Doctor.

Please remember that today, December 7th is the Day Of Infamy. Pray for all of us that we never experience another one.

…………………………………..end transmission………………………………………

 

November 24th, 2018 … Sometimes I get it right

When looking for photographs, find them in your heart, then bring them to your camera. The rest is photography. 

 

Simple words but to live by them is a lifetime of work. I taught myself many years ago to trust my heart above my mind. I mean we need to trust our mind and I do but there is a stronger satisfaction from images from the heart than from the mind. See, I spend a lot of time working and always did. I can remember some photos that I thought about and made. I remember photos that I felt and made. I know many will say I am missing the boat cause ideally, the photos should come from the Mind and Heart. Well, for me there is a distinct difference between the two. I like the split because I analyze my work in a way the lets me separate and join together the mind and heart. I suppose it’s ideal to have both work together but I like to think that the difference between the two makes for a strong understanding of the images.

Way back in the early 1970s, I did an experiment. I spent time making photos of my wife and kids. I felt these photos very strong and I was very excited by the photos. Then I went to the streets and made photos that I thought about. What I mean is, I had ideas of photos and wanted to make them so I could see my ideas come to fruit. Many of the photos from both groups we very exciting and satisfied my curiosity.  But the experiment was more intense. I wanted, no needed to see which if any of the photos rang truer than others. The net result of this experiment was actually learning to accept the images and how they affect my work and how they affect my future work.

Editing and curating your own work is a lesson in ego washing. Ideally, you put a lot of images in the mix and then doing the job of editing to get the final residue and gist of your work. Sounds easy enough but we need to realize that what we are doing is bringing others to the life of our work. They become a part of our mix. I have edited many photos from many people for the Inspired Eye and other duties for the images. There is a manner of approach to viewing and even making photos. The “WHY” and the “HOW” are essential and understanding the difference is crucial to success. The key factor of the how and why is to get how the shooter thinks and or feels. Years ago going to exhibitions and gallery openings, I would look at the photos and try to feel them as if the shooter made them for me. I loved when I connected to an image. Made me feel like I knew something. Secretly inside and never brought to the surface, I asked how the shooter made the photos. I was interested in what camera, what lens, what film, how they processed, everything about the blood and veins of the photo. I was not an academic and had little or no training in photography. I felt often like an outsider but my lust for life with my camera superseded any feelings of self-worth.

 

I’m not being self-indulgent here. I had to figure this stuff out mainly by myself and then let it grow inside me so it was a part and is a part of my existence. If I was an academic then this stuff would be in me and be proper. So I try to explain how I think and feel about things best I can at the moment. I’m editing and curating an exhibition for a woman shooter. She is very talented and yet I feel something missing from the photos. Emotionally they are very strong but they lack interesting eye travel. Her heart is intact and she makes the subject appear with the viewer. The photos lack a sense of environmental presence. Even Avedon with his corner portraits has a very strong sense of environment. The lack of environmental info is also the presence of environmental info.

I am caught in a conundrum about her exhibition. If I say anything at this time about the photos having an emotional stance but lacking in the rest of the frame, she will be very upset and well she should be. If I just let this go and she does the exhibition, some viewers will feel the lack of supporting energy and she will be upset because I didn’t express my thoughts before she was hanging naked on the wall.

So it appears the life force of the Heart and Mind exist in a very strong manner, and we must deal with it even if we don’t’ understand or accept it.