Category Archives: Inspired Eye

June 11th, 2019 … Analyzing Intent … Soul Shooter … Pt 1

…. aight, so then what about intent? Who the heck invented that anyway … and then makes everyone, well many everyone’s but not all everyone’s but enough= everyone’s to question the intent of the intent makers intent. I ain’t one to rock the boat, too much. Been married way too long and too many divorces to do that. So, I know how to escape and get outside and go make photos by myself. Ahhh, so maybe, just maybe it’s crazy but maybe that there being by myself is the issue of intent.

One of the residents in my mind talks about the here and now. I tried to find him but he’s hiding and watching me make a fool of myself. I know this. If you’re being a fool and being that unknowingly, you’re a fool. If you’re being a fool and your fool intent is working, you may appear to be a fool but your not.

Here’s what it has to do with photography.

I say it applies to photography but actually, it’s a life lesson. Let’s just deal with the photography part and maybe address the other parts later.

We all know about the here and now. If you’re just joining us, go back and find the there and then. Study it and when you feel you are ready, join us in the here and now. What exactly is in the here and now? I know, I know we all been taught that if you’re there in the here and now, your in tune with life within and without you. (GH) But what exactly is this element that we become aware of? It’s not the camera unless you connect to it in a most elegant manner. Your clothes are present, the air you breathe, etc. the YOUR is part of the key.

We might say it;’s our persona or perhaps it’s like awareness of all and also forgetting that all. I’m sure all that counts in the total of our life’s existence. Go to a funeral or flashback to the one you went to and remember the words….” May his soul rest in peace, this could also be, May her soul rest in peace.” That’s it, not kidding… it’s that soul guy I’m chasing after. Soul woman whatever.

THE SOUL

I think most get it wrong. We figure that a camera is a tool I never felt that way. I always felt my camera was a partner in my work and maybe a soul mate. I name my cameras. It keeps me in touch with what I am responsibly doing. The real tools are not the camera by any means, it’s the eye, heart, and mind. See those 3 tools are keeping you alive and able to continue. So then, if we all accept that and I’m sure you will, what becomes the driving factor of those tools. Two things. The medical profession sucking all your money to keep those tool working and the other is, your soul to use and love those tools.

 

So, my belief is kinda distorted because life always has it’s own opinions and sets them to my mind.  Perhaps, I’m talking about religion and spirituality.  Religion equates to the camera brand you use. It’s the part of you to operate within a guideline of life experience, past and yet to be realized. We may all differ on brands. Spirituality is the source of commonality between us all. It’s the SOUL of living and the SOUL of photography. This is an inescapable truth.

The essence of your images is a direct result of the experiences of living and making photos.

 

The reason I write this stuff is partly that I find that there needs to be a connect with the world. We are apart. like it or not and that very statement conjures up the notion that we are responsible and accountable for our photos. We are not politicians that get to keep the buck and not be accountable for any wrong doing. We are humans with a camera and that means we are accountable to our selves, our work, and our subject matter.

Getting tired again. I need to rest but will continue this tomorrow.

Be blessed, my friends

 

 

 

 

 

The Weeds and the Flowers

 

April 10th, 2019 … More Than A Shot … More Than a Day … Ricoh GR III … Fuji X-Pro2

The day came and went and I was Minus my Leica M240 and a few Zeiss lenses. The camera is, of course, joy and actually a great camera to slow down and FEEL what you are doing. See, it’s that feel thing that got me. Great camera, no issues but too damn heavy for me. I could not use a neck strap. I could not use my ACAM 25 in any mode. You would think that cross shoulder would work but nada.  So I sold it to a camera store and got a fair price. What does this have to do with anything shooter? Get to the point old man.

I mean for me my cameras are friends with names. I can’t deal with nor have I ever had tolerance for camera intrusion. The intrusion in Leica is the weight. Ohhhh, wait, wait…. Leica isn’t the only camera that intrudes. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III intrudes with his stupid OK button. What happens is, hit the ok button by accident and you could move the AF point. Yes, if you’re in the right mode, you can hold down the OK button and the AF Point centers home. Fuji has that and on my X-Pro2, it can be and is locked. Can’t be locked on the Ricoh GR III that I know of. Maybe it seems trite but when you’re out working and the AF Point is dow lower left and you’re making a photo, your focus point is wrong. Nice huh. The Ricoh Engineers bumbled this big time.

Also, the wheel has a sense of humor and you can change EV unknowingly. Here’s the thing. I’m talking about a camera becoming a friend and getting a name and not intruding in our vision we share together. Unacceptable for me.

If your fiddling with a camera, how ya gonna find and make your photos?  Not easy.

The most important thing I discovered as a photographer, and perhaps as a human, is Complacency.  See the photo above. I have worked these posters etc and never tire of them. So what does this really mean? It is a fact that the habits of all sorts are easy to get hooked into. Usually, we don’t even notice we have a habit. As a shooter, it’s very easy to get a habit going. Does that make the work complacent? I think it could, depending on one’s outlook and approach. The battle in your work and mine too is to enjoy a particular scene and then to deal with it. For this means to be non-complacent. I enjoy revisiting a scene and then getting my juices to accept an alternative outcome from what I already have. It’s great to travel around the world and see new sites and meet new people all the time. I’m sure most of you do that on a regular basis. Well, here in NE Philly I don’t get to do that. What I do get to do is work areas that I have worked many many times.

 

Here’s where the battle of complacency takes place. Let me tell ya something. What to watch out for is what you don’t pay attention to. Did ya’s ever heard the expression “The little things are what get’s ya”? It’s true and even more so with us shooters. Those little things get ya cause ya don’t even know they are with ya.  Our mind seems to create a buffering system to either negate or just disregard the little things. That don’t mean they aren’t there.

Most definitely it means not to get complacent with the little things. Ya know, I think we shouldn’t get complacent with the big things either and for all that matters with anything. Remember this … Ya can’t see something as new if ya have seen it before. Maybe if your good, and I know a few of ya’s are that good but mostly just not as good but trying to be good…. ya can try to see things differently. This is where your creative talent and or energy comes to play.

 

 

There are times when I’m working that I feel like a Zen has formed an invisible cloak around me and tries to keep me inside this cloak and be focused. I know this is meant as a great thing but maybe sometimes I get complacent with Zen. I mean doing something over and over and allowing it to go to a state of being and feeling all is right, this can get complacent also.

I like to stretch my envelope but not get crazy with it. I’m too old and they all told me years ago ya can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So, now as an old dog, I am pre-programmed to not try new thing easily.

 

 

So, for me the inspiring energy has always been, to work where you live. See, I been the Philly Streetshooter since  1070″s. I want to say that it has been a struggle for me to make photos. I want to say that I get bored and need to be in an exotic location to get my juices flowing.  If I said all that and more, it could not be true no matter how convincing I was. See, I have never known a day that I was not hungry to make photos. I have never been bored or even complacent with any part of the process.

The way to maintain this attitude is to spend $1000.00 every month on a new camera. Don’t use any other camera for a month and then buy another one in a month. Wait, wait…. that’s bulldinky shooter. Get real again.

Ok, my flight is landing and I’m adjusting to being partially sane again.  Look, here it is in a nutshell. You can buy all the cameras and gear and everything you desire. You’ll be happy for a brief period of time.. The wondrous thing in life is LOVE. I love photography and everything about it. I suppose that’s what keeps it all interesting and keeps it vitally alive for me. I love it all.

Some shooters asked me about the Ricoh GR III. Ok, I have an ACMAXX screen saver on the screen. I have a Tamrac 5217 case that has a strap I cut off and just use it on my belt. Small. I got two Kastar batteries from, eBay and the price was $9.00 for both including shipping. They work like OEM.

I’ll get more focused in the next few dazes and do mostly Ricoh GR III. work.

 

 

March 28th, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … JPEG Comparison

 

 

Just got back from my Doctor. She asked me what’s wrong and I looked around and whispered…. this is shot indoors, ISO 100 f2.8 and ummm… worried the funny guys will try to catch me…. it’s ummmm…. 1/5sec doc… it’s sharp and you know I have tremors but Andre’ the Ricoh GR III tells me not to worry.  Doc sits on her chair and leans back, I see Mr. Springer. She puts her hand to her chin and says, what else can this Ricoh camera things do?

Macro Mode  1/100  f2.8  ISO 100

So I started to tell Doc that I did a test and here are the first results. She looks at me….hmmm she says, please continue. So I looked at her cause’s my Doc and altho she takes care of my health issue, I was a seasoned shooter have the responsibility to show her some photos as a test.

From DNG  1/200  f5.6 ISO 100

JPEG  Standard Same Exposure as above

Monotone

Soft Monotone

Hard Monotone

Hi-Contrast B&W

Positive Film

Bleach Bypass

Retro

HDR Tone

All the outdoor photos are in the same settings. What changed is the JPEG in the camera. I won’t be using any of these not because I don’t like them but because I use DNG. I will have Standard color or Monotone B&W on the camera because I like to get a feel for the image I am making. I alter a lot in LightRoom because I want to feel my photos and not be responsible to answer to anyone.   If for no other reason than the Shake Reduction, it’s the best camera. I mean the sofa shot is in LOOOOOW light and I did it at 1/5 sec handheld and it’s very passable.  I have tremors and am confident that they no longer pose a threat to my work because of this camera.

The first few days I struggled with the EV and AF Focus box. I’m not entirely relieved of this but it’s now my fault if they activate or at least a shared mess up. Ricoh did a lot of work on the GR and produced a very fine camera. I’ll have more thoughts and findings over the weekend.

Be blessed all……

March 24th, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Gaining an Understanding

ISO 250   1/125  f2.8

While I may not be the most scientific person around, what I am is a Lifer in Photography.  When  I get a new camera, before it is accepted into my workflow or camera family, I need to understand it. The GR III is of course grandfathered in because of its heritage with me.

There are a few things I’ll write about in this post. First off, the EV is adjusted by the rear 4-way wheel. I have tremors and even if I didn’t, the thumb will sometimes hit the wheel. When that happens, the EV changes. I don’t like or need or want EV on my cameras. The only person that needs EV adjustment is Ray Sachs. Ray showed me how he used it and I also did for a day. Then I wanted to be rid of it. The GR III seems to have some silly fixes that I can’t find. There must be a way to lock EV where you desire it to be locked. If this is on the camera, I can’s find it. If it’s not, a firmware is absolutely essential to address this issue.

The second thing and it’s directly related to the rear wheel is, the wheel controls the movement of the AF Target Box. If you are in the shooting window, If you press the OK button you are able to move the box. Press again and it locks the position. The issue is, that if you accidentally press the OK button, then the AF Target Box can move unexpectedly. So there must be a Lock like in other cameras, I will not name them but you all know about them.

These are not major issues and certainly no reason to not get the camera. My intention is to just show things that bug me and it’s only these 2, so… order it now. I gotta tell ya, the stabilization system is the finest I’ve ever used in any camera. When I was younger I used Leica’s and could hand hold at 1/15 sec and have a very useable image. I’m not that young anymore and I have essential tremors. That means even at 1/125 sec I could have camera movement. To the GR III. I have SR = Shake Reduction on always. I now can get photos at almost any speed and be satisfied.

1/10  f4.0 ISO 2000

Much to my delighted surprise, Andre’ the Ricoh GR III did an excellent job at a 1/10 and ISO 2000. I could feel the camera stabilizing in my hand. I couldn’s hear it but sure can feel it working.

1/4  f4.0 ISO 600

Here’s where GR III blew me away. I was holding him and can feel my tremor kinda stabilize and even when I pressed the shutter, there was minimal camera shake. This is handheld at a 1/4 sec. Unreal Ricoh, by Jove you’ve done it!  I can only write about what I believe is the truth as I live and believe it. So Andre the Ricoh GR III said, let’s get outside for a few shots. I may work differently than most others. I try to find photos out there and get my interpretation of them to where I can live them. Ok, here’s some more….

1/30  f5.0 ISO 6400

I don’t think I need to say too much here. I remember years ago, maybe many years ago a dream was to have ISO 1600. When I was a Super Moderator at the Ricoh forum, we had a vision of ISO 3200. We felt that in time that would get working. Well, it’s around on other cameras but ISO 6400, is more than we even thought about. Now Ricoh has surpassed themselves and made ISO 6400 not possible but standard for High ISO.  Photography is about a personal journey to find photos that are waiting for you. The camera and everything in your process become very personal. So, this shot for me exceeds anything I want from high ISO. Maybe for you, it doesn’t but you have to accept the fact that it’s pretty dang good.

1/30  f8.0 ISO 6400

This is probably a standard night setting for me. I will say that in B&W it’s outstanding. That’s where I’m at anyway. Plenty of details, no breakup or real pixelation, no falloff at the edges. Just a pleasure….. Oh wait, wait…..

1/30  f16  ISO 65535

Ok, well, I don’t even recognize the ISO number. I think it comes from Planet Ricoh and I am seeing it for the first time, but not the last. Notice the noise. Of course, ya have to have it but they seemed to get is very much acceptable. very small cute dots. Well, I’ll write more in a day or so but…. looks around… Doc says I am not allowed to get to ISO 512000 or something. She says for me, it would keep me in my shrink’s office a long time. My old brain can’t accept that. So I depend on you youngin’s to work the real high ISO but don’t tell me.

A few personal using thoughts. I need to get the EV and AF box set. I know it’s in the camera but I haven’t found it. The GR III is sweet, kinda smaller than the gR II but not enough to bother anyone. We waited a long time for this upgrade from Ricoh. It’s well worth the wait as there are many features that just get right to the heart of things. Tomorrow I’m on the streets and will post something.

 

Be blessed all,. oh and… if you get the camera, get an extra battery.

PS… Giovanni, these are right from the camera

March, 21st, 2019 … Spring Hath Sprung … Ricoh GR III Arrives today

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I will be soooo glad when Spring arrives in town. Well, today is March 20th, 2019 and here in Philly, it’s the first day of Springer…oppps, Spring.

 

The Ricoh GR III arrives by USPS today. I am excited as Ricoh makes a camera the way I think and feel. Anyway, I’m not writing too much cause I need to save the words for posting about the GR III.

If Tanya sees that photo above, all bets are off and I’ll be homeless like people I help on the streets I guess tomorrow starts the GR III posting.

Be blessed

March 9th, 2019 …. Observations … Things Are Not Always As They Appear … Dissecting Some Photos

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ok ok, I’m letting youse all have access to my inner self. Lately and many times before, I find myself observing myself observing. Let me clarify from the git-go…. I have a shrink. Why is this important? I don’t really know or even care about it. What I do care about is my photos and the driving inspiration for them. I’m walking around with Garry the Olympus Pen-F 20mm. Let me tell ya, not easy to top this outfit for the streets. I see these two in the window and they have a kinda snickering look about them. Some girls walk by, nadaa…a few guys walk by nada…. then as if the fairy from Mother Light sends her magic to the scene. Now, this may seem crazy but my instincts tell me, if nothing is on the right side of the frame, it’s a dead frame. Then, oh yeah, then a woman walks into the frame. She’s the complete opposite of the ladies in the window.

Now the next few seconds are extremely important to the life of the photo is made. The graphic elements (yes Olivier) are of course crucial and then the emotional aspects are also important. I’ll attempt to explain. The woman is moving from the right to the left side of the frame. The window gals are on the left side. This creates a very left weighted photo. Then as if MAGIC is happening, the guy in the reflection comes from the right and anchors that section…… but wait, oh yeah,,,, we need to breathe, See, if the walking woman reaches the black window divider, it’s all crapola. I  need the visual tension from her face to the black divider. That’s about the dynamics of the frame and the mechanics of the photo

Now, the emotional part. Our window ladies seem to be having a ball. So that creates a stance for the photo. Perhaps this will not be an easy juxtaposition. Sure, we could have anyone in the frame but the emotional impact needs to be very strong and obvious. Some things maintain their strength but just being. Oxymoron, Juxtaposition are 2 that happen to come to this photo. Ya know, maybe CONTRAST is very obvious too. So all these things and more are banging around my head and heart. This all happens in a fraction of a second… she’s walking, the window ladies are behaving themselves, or reflecting guy is happy and ….CLICK!

 

 

Mom, the Ricoh GRII and I are on our way to the VA Hospital. We are coming to the steps of the parking lot at the Frankford Transportation Terminal. As we walk down the steps, I see a woman hunched over and her leg on the angle. The light is really nice and creates a somber mood. I stick Mom the Ricoh GRII thru the fence to get the photo. As I do that, I take a deep breath and then realize that the fence is coming from inside her.  Most Mental Health issues, including PTSD, are felt by the person alone. There’s a feeling of not being able to escape the situation that is internalized. Then those feelings seem to manifest into the reality that takes over the mind. It feels like there’s no escape. The main issue is, the person going thru these episodes, gets to a point of no return and then doesn’t even care anymore. I’m looking with Mom and then, I see the frame and the fence and the woman….CLICK!

 

There’s a beauty in life as well as death. Suzanne asked me why I am attracted to posters and things of that nature. The beauty of photography is its ability to compress and abstract7 3-dimensional objects, people etc to a 2-dimensional state. We as photographers all know that but yet it’s not widely understood. What I am fascinated by the way photos to compress 3 dimensions into but more, I love the way 2-dimensional objects come to the photo. They are natural to photos and work well with 3-dimensional things.

For me, it’s magic and I work it constantly. Then when it’s ion my head as to the abstraction, I need the emotional content. This woman is the same as the guy is. Borth 2 dimensions and yet the emotional content, for me, makes the shot.

Mom and I walk around a lot together. I see this woman in the window and she captures me instantly…. there’s no reason to make a photo. Then, as I am flirting with her and she’s making that face…. this guy walks in front of the camera….I wait and he moves just a wee bit left and then looks at me dead on to the eyes. The photo is not working, I need her eyes, …then as if Hertzog directed him, he turns left as if on cue. I see the headphones and it immediately brings the relationship of the loneliness a woman has when she’s there and her man is listening to music and ignoring her….CLICK!

I will do this format for a while because some shooters have asked me to. I hope youse alls find this worth your time and it’s interesting.

Be Blessed, one and all…………. shooter out…………..

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?

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

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.

August 1st, 2018 … How to See a Horse

Ya know that rule about eye contact, being most important? Well, I was never one to follow rules too closely. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but sometimes I like my photos to just be observed. See the girl up above, yeah, the one in the white dress? Well, if I waited a fraction of a second, we would be locked in the eyes. I anticipated that and released before that happened. Why? Well, she’s got that mask thing on, she’s all alone in her world and I just observed her and made the photo. I suppose it’s not really like a detachment. I mean if she’s in her world and I’m in mine and I make a photo of her, am I intruding on and in her world.  Stuff like this haunts me all the time because i never really get an answer that fully answers the question once and for all.

Did you ever analyze your subject matter?  Did ya ever question why certain things turn you on and other things, ya don’t give a hoot about? Sounds like childs play and maybe ya think it is but I tellya, these are life altering questions. I think the way to work this is to anylize your images and find a common denometer that inks them.  OK, shhhhhhh… we are all serious about photography and our lives, granted. If you haphazzardly spread this stuff around, next thing ya know, the one you kinda donr’t really care about,  well that one will end up in a Museum and you’ll have to pay to see the work. So we keep this under wraps and even Mueller can’t figure this out.

The novice would think we are talking about trigger mechanisms. We are in a way but it don’t weigh enuff. We all know that the trigger mechanism lives inside the photo and perhaps that made us click the shutter. Hold on folks, just a min….I am losing myself. da da la de da… there I am…  See, the difference is this….subject matter is already a choice that sleeps in your eye, heart and mind. Your job and the job of your Named camera, is to respond to outside stimulus and then and only then let the trigger set the shutter for the photo.  So I think where we need to get clarity, and I speak, no…sorry I write about this because there seems to be a bit of confusion on the area of photography.

Probably most of us can anaylize our intent ansd subject matter.  It’s like this. If we look at a horse long enough, we still see a horse. Walk around like those blind Priest and the elephant. No matter what you do, you will see a horse. Partially because we are programed to see things and apply tags to them quickly. So, a horse is a horse of course a horse will always be a horse, of course. If you don’t believe me ask Mr Ed. Ya don’t trust a horse, ask Wilber. See, our mind as powerful as it is, has preconceptions and other things in there to boggle it. If we look at a horse and see a horse, we fit in to the mass of society and we never need think any different. We are in the safety zone of no questions and need no answers. It’s acceptable and down right proper. What’s my point? ok…..

As a photographer, wait… as an inhabitant of this planet we all love and destroy together it’s socially and photographically to see a horse as a horse. BUTT!

When I see a horse, I want to know it’s name. I love the brown coat and the way he stands, so proud, even while making a dumping. I love the white patch that he has between the eyes. I wonder if he’s married and even has kids. I wonder what the horse is thinking about as he looks at me. I think his name is Ralph, Ralph the horse. So noble. Why on earth would anyone just see a horse? Hold on now. This might be crazy and from me, youse know it could be. Wait a darn minute. I just had a brain, ummm well… thought. Not very often but i learned to pay attention.

What if and I know this is a stretch, what would happen if we all looked at our subject matter and didn’t just see a horse?  What if we really tried to feel our subject matter from our Eye, Heart and Mind? What if Edmund Bacon was right? What if we looked at our scenes on the streets and the people being affected and affecting the environment. What if we didn’t see a horse at all and we just saw Ralph the horse that is smarter than I?

If we get bold enough, nah… what if I get bold enough and go out with Andre’ the Leica M240 and look for photos and break the patterns of thoughts and emotions and seek to find out there what dwells in me.