Category Archives: Philosophy of Street

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 23rd, 2019 … Take It To Another Place … The Spirit, Not … The Religion of Photography

… ok, ok I know I’m a bad student and a bad disciple of anything. I have taught or suggested for years about the here and now.  I still believe that and still live, practice and teach that.

It was early in 1970, Chu Lai … Vietnam. We were working with some ARVN’s … The Army Republic of Vietnam. I became friends with an older man named Chin. He was a photographer for his Army and I was a grunt with a camera. We had photography in common.  When we were taking a break or just downtime, Chin would lay on the ground and close his eyes.

He wouldn’t move a muscle. I sometimes watched him and wondered what he was doing. One day I asked him and he said he was meditating. I asked, What is meditating? Chin asked me to sit and he explained. He said for him, he would meditate to leave the state of being he is in and place his heat and mind in a more tranquil place. To take it to another place. 

Chin died in October 1970. I took a photo from his pocket and it was a photo of his wife and son. That photo took Chin to another place. I still have it, bloodstained and all.

A few years later, my Brother took me to Lorimer Park. We climbed up the hill made of boulders and when we reached the top, we sat. He wanted to teach me meditation. I felt that he knew my soul was tormented and needed a way to escape. I didn’t press the issue but was very suicidal and maybe he sensed that. Maybe he still does.

Jerry had me close my eyes and breathe deep but natural. He told me to listen to the sounds around me. Well, there are many people doing many things and I can hear most. Then he said, listen to the water trailing down behind us. I didn’t hear any water. Lots of things but not, water. We left and just relaxed on the way home. A few days later, we went back and Jerry told me to just filter. I tried to grasp the concept but try as I may, I could not hear the water. I wasn’t frustrated as I also knew I lost a good percentage of my hearing in Nam. To this day, I still have not found anything lost in Nam, nothing.

I thought back about Chin. The way he tried to teach me a way to escape the moment and take it to another place. Was meditation with my brother the same or similar thing?

Ding McNulty had a way with me that is still working. He presented things and concepts to me and had a manner that got them in my head and heart, without realizing I ever adopted it. Chin, my brother Jerry, Ding all had a way to get me to take things to another place. It’s all a good way to escape the moment.

Well, for me, it’s all nice and I appreciate it all but it’s not how I live my life. My photography dictates that I be aware in the Here and Now. The reason for naming my camera is to have it be a catalyst for my work.  If I’m working with Mom the Ricoh GRII, I am in the here and now. I don’t want to take anything to another place. I want to deal with what’s going on in and around me first hand. Photography is my meditation. It is the single device that connects me with the here and now. I walk, I see a scene and make an exposure. I saw in 3-dimensional reality the trigger for the transformation that I search for in 2-dimensional reality, or called LightRoom.  The finished photo becomes a statement of my experience in that here and now. It’s a metaphor for my emotions and thoughts. It does not take me to another place nor do I want it to. It keeps me focused and aware and aware of my existence with a camera. Perhaps for me, photography is the greatest meditation in my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Life becomes a beautiful mystery. We as photographers have the gift to see and make photos of the little mysteries. Meditation is not where you go or what you do. True meditation is how you live and how you reflect upon the life you live. It’s not where you try to go or place thoughts and emotions to another place. The gift is to be able to be aware and accept the mysteries of your life and live and love it in your here and now.

For men, the greatest mystery of all is…. how does your wife like your cooking?

 

 

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…..

November 12th, 2018 … Long Time Since I Been On This Street Before

….it’s 1976 summertime at night, about 7:30 pm. Bill and I are at the Polynesian bar on Walnut at 18th Streets.  We are each drinking a beer talking about photography. Bill says, Don, I can’t keep up with you in photography. You are too serious and you understand more than I dream of. I was flattered because, in a way, Bill saved my life and got me focused on the very thing he says he can’t keep up on. He mentored me on art, presentation, curating, editing, seeing and introduced me to Ding McNulty. I really felt good. Bill told me, Don, I went to RIT for 4 years and you know and understand more than my professors and never finished High School. Now I was uneasy. I mean I knew that this was meant with an intent but not know what that was.

….back to the bar. These 2 older guys are eyeing Bill and me up. They are very obviously a couple and appear very loving. The taller guy walks over to me and says, M3, nice. He says, 35mm Cron, great lens. What do you take pictures of? I replied, Life. Hmm, he says. Does Ya have anything against death? I said no, I spent a year in Nam and death.  He told us that he was a Grunt in Korea and made many photos for the Corp.

We start talking about the military and war and all the shit in between. I asked him if he still made photos and he said he has nothing to say anymore. I said I can’t imagine having that situation.

2 days later, Bill came to my house and shook my hand and said, Take Care.  I never saw or heard from Bill again. I believe he went to his sisters in California.

I can see myself sliding into the abyss of silence.  It’s not like tall man so many years ago, it’s more intense. I feel that I have something to say, no I need to say things but don’t have the energy and heart to do so.  Maybe it’s not even that. I hope that it’s external stimuli that affect me to the point of drowning in my own negativity. That I believe I can manage somehow and even muster up the gumption to fight the good fight. What if it’s not external at all? What if it’s internal, my eye, heart, and mind that are lacking the energy and more? What if I realize that I don’t have anything to say. What of the lost words that speak my thoughts and memories? What of those thoughts? Where will they live or will they as me die?

 

I think about this stuff because it matters. I’m told by others, that it matters to them also. Maybe that’s the most important issue at hand. See, if I am self-destructive, mainly it’s caused by me and to me. I don’t know, my shrink at the VA keeps things focused for me but it’s me that’s out of focus. Maybe I’m not out of focus. Even with the Leica, I have more photos zone focused than precisely focused. I think here, I’m in the zone of reasonable thought train even if not precisely focused. The point is like this. If you learn something from someone, there exists an inherent responsibility to share that knowledge.  The other responsibility is to take that knowledge further than when you found it. This is not a mandatory thing. Most won’t want to explore those thoughts and all the work that comes with them.

So I accept the burden of being my own source of energy and inspiration. Not that I don’t get these things from others, I certainly do but mine is embedded in my soul. That means I now assume what I always did, the accountability of my work. This applies to me and you. Oh yeah, you don’t get off the hook that easy. I’ll do the grunt work like posting photos which includes time out on the street making them etc. See, not easy. It also means I will post my thoughts in text.  I’m gonna make it easy for each and every one of you. If you like, just read and see the photos. I have to state, the photos mostly are not made to work with the word. The thing is that both photo and words are from me, so maybe that means something. Linda of the Legend of The Girl Child Linda tells me that my words are my work as well as my photos. It’s a novel idea and I will consider thinking about that. So, if’n you have the need to express yourself, please feel free to do so on the blog.

So, I will do my job but not only self-appointed for you but for me. I can’t stop making photos. It’s an addiction for many, many photographers. I don’t suffer from that addiction. For me it’s life.

Peace all…. seeya’s soon, I promise

 

September 14th, 2018 … Foundation … Pt 2 … Ongoing Lessons of the Girl Child Linda

….ringy, ringy, youse all know now that’s the phone. Hi Don, it’s me, Linda, I’m ready so let’s meet at the Magee bus stop. Okie Dokie I say. After a few minutes, we are both there. I have Garry the Olympus Pen-F and Linda has the still unnamed Leica M10+. We sit and all around us are school kids. They are standing, sitting, squatting, laying, climbing and things I dare not mention. If Arlo was here, there’d be a new song. Anyway, the bus gets to the terminal and we walk to the Elevated train and get seats in the back so we can talk. Many kids storm the train and there are no less than 14,000 standing right near us. Linda says it was 13,471 but I won’t argue with a lady. One thing they all have in common, the use of profanity.  Oh yeah, I hear many profanity type words and now I understand what they learn in school. I myself, hardly ever use profanity. I mean why the hell would I talk in such a shitty way?

The train continues on its journey and then, then we reach the land of Oz and almost all the kids, all 13,471 -14,000 do the deboarding procedures. Linda looks me dead in the eye and says, I’m proud of you for not giving the kids a hard time. We deboard the train at 15th Street and start walking to the diner on 18th. Linda has her M10+ in her hand and is taking snaps as we walk. She’s a taker at this point and not a maker yet.

She asked me to define my thoughts on the foundation of work. I told her I really did in the last post but she said she didn’t read that post but just lived it. Ok, so I explain that when we work, there are triggers that make us release the exposure. I’m not talking about the exposure equivalent, I mean the location of the eye, heart, and mind at the time of exposure. Let’s assume that we all have certain subject matters that we let into our heart and mind. When we go to work, our eyes seek to realize what the heart and mind have accepted as fit for photographic pursuit.  The foundation is essentially the roots of our body of work.

There are common denominators that define what we do with our work. For example, Icons, Street, Social Seen, Juxtaposition, The Light and The Dark. These are some of the stones of my foundation. When I work, maybe one or another pop-up and direct me so explore it. Without a recognition of your foundation, you will never feel satisfied and worse yet, kinda lost with your camera. Always looking for “What, Where”.

There are a few ways to live this journey. One is to wander around and hope that you find a photo that equals your intent, eye, heart, and mind. The other is to have a map to explore but always aware that you live this map. Of course, you can wander around all you like but with a map, you know when you are exploring either new territory or, the path that you know well.  The map is the foundation and the foundation is the very essence of your life.

August 20th, 2018 … A Walk Thru The Shadows in the Valley of Death

…. I know, it’s bloody hot and I’m sweating my ba…back off. I look at Polly and she’s in shorts, a crop top, and Asian flats. Her long hair is bone dry. Meanwhile, I’m hot and sweating and wearing shorts and a Vet Tee Shirt, all cotton. We both have our Leica’s and I’m with Andre’ the M240. Polly has the unnamed M10, pity. We are walking to the Art Museum and we see a dead cat on the street. She looks like yuch. I start thinking, here’s a woman that can cut a person open and hold their heart and life in her hand and not even think yuch. A dead cat and she has tears. We sit on a bench cause we are tired and need a rest. we all know that I could go on for hours walking but Polly being younger needs a break. So not to make her feel some kinda way, I start breathing heavier and ask for a break…

I asked her why she was so upset about the cat and fully understood that I would get a proper answer. Polly tells me that, “every single cell of life ever born is a part of us. We are attached to all things living. When someone or something dies, we have a loss within us. We don’t always feel that loss because at the very instant death presents itself, life grants a new being to be borne. We don’t always pay attention to this phenomenon, but we live it nonetheless.” I put my arm around Polly’s shoulder and asked her…  Polly, do you really believe all that? She said no Don, not at all…….I live it. She asked me, you have a wealth of knowledge about photography, and life….do you believe it? I looked her straight in the eyes, no luv, I live it. She grabbed my hand and said, let’s go, old man, we still have a ways to go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Polly told me her younger, 28,  brother was coming to the USA because he wants to be a TransGender. She told me that he wants to stay here and of course get the money from Polly for the transition. She wanted my opinion. Well, Polly, ya know each one of us gets one life. The choices we make in life set the course of our journey. It also sets in motion how we and our life affects the others we come in contact with. We are responsible for all that we touch in the world. I know that many TransGenders commit suicide. Many Vets do the same, like 22 a day, every day always. It is said that PTSD moves a soldier to that direction. The Soldier needs help to discover a single reason to stay alive. Not many reasons, but 1 single reason and with help, that may turn to 2 reasons. Believe me, 1 reason is a lot. 2, is a gift.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wonder if a son says to his dad, I want to be a transgender. I imagine that the dad would be freaked out. His on with tits and a girls ass, etc. What would his family and friends think? Dad prolly thinks, what did I do wrong. So the son walks around feeling like something is missing in his heart. He joins the service cause that’s a manly thing to do. The son wants to be the man his dad will be proud of and becomes a grunt. Maybe he gets deployed to Afghanistan. Maybe after some time, he gets wounded, or his legs off or maybe he dies defending his teammates and his country. His dad gets a Flag and a letter explaining how proud the country is of his son’s service and how he’s a hero and dad should be proud of his son. After the funeral and dad is sitting in his favorite chair, where he used to hold his son and make him feel loved, and special, I wonder if being a TransGender would be so terrible. I wonder if there’s anything in existence that dad wouldn’t do to hold his son in his lap again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprob

To me, this seems like a waste of lives. The son dies for what he believes in but not everything he believes in or what believes in him. Dad gets to think and feel about the loss of his son for the rest of his life. Probably looks at me and squeezes my hand and says,” thanks”. I don’t want my brother to die but he will never see my family again. He will be forbidden. I look at her intently and ask, and you, how will you deal with him? She says she loves her brother and will do all to support him. She asks is that right Don? Polly, maybe he will need help with woman’s clothes. Polly pushed me and laffs out of control. That might be fun. My sisters and I always dressed him in our clothes and made him our living doll.

 

People have the right to be whom they feel they are and even to change. I’m a firm believer of that. I’m also a believer that if you’re a pedophile., murderer, rapist etc, maybe you have the right to be that but we as a society have the right to terminate your existence.

You may be any member of the LGBT community and the society that criticizes and condemns you also has the responsibility to respect you. What does this have to do with photography? Well, I’ll speak for me. Photography is about life and life is about photography. They call the mainstream photography “Street”. It is, no doubt but the true definition of street is “Life.” Acceptance of someone or something that is not agreeable to us is difficult and many can’t do it or fathom another that can. Polly’s brother will no doubt have a nice life here in the USA. His sister is the purest heart I have ever experienced in my life. She obviously will nurture him and make his life mean something. The sad part is, his brothers and sisters and parents and family and friends in Japan, will only ever see him thru Polly’s photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I went to the course of this blog because Polly is a dear friend. She needs me to help her find the peace that she wants and her brother also. A lot of youse will say, shooter, what’s up with all this gender stuff? I’ll tell ya what. Many of you are soldiers, photographers, teachers, friends whatever. If my heart ever decides it’s had enough, I want Polly to be the one that is at my rescue.

June 10th, 2018 … Thoughts on Seeing … Inside and Out … Lesson from Minor White

There are a few ways to see photographically. I’m just gonna touch on a few of the most important that I know.  So shall we break this down to:

Seeing the reality in front of us … or seeing the reality in our mind. They are not one and the same and no camera ever invented can join or translate the two and get the desired result.  So, what becomes the issue for us as shooters? I can speak for me and I see things kinda like this.

If I get an idea in my mind and wish to make it come to birth as a print, (I use that term loosely) … it could be said that I had a pre-visualization.  Ansel had a method of pre-visualization that back in the 60’s and 70’s served to isolate most large format shooters from small camera shooters. The idea was to tune everything you know at the precise moment of exposure, how the end result would be. You could see  the image in your mind’s eye and you worked methodically to make the image as visualized in the mind. I did all that. I got everything so precise that it became routine for me to make photos. Remember that song, “Along comes Mary”?

Well along comes Minor. I went to a workshop with a friend and ya know, it was cool. I was still under the mental and emotional influence of Nam. At that point in my life, I didn’t really care about too much. Minor was leaning back on a tree and a few gutsy people sat around him. He had a presence about him that was very spiritual. I am pre-visualizing about photos of Minor and just letting my mind take hold of the situation. A young woman came over and told everyone that a class was getting ready to start. Everyone but Minor went to the class. Minor leaned back against the tree and I stood there just looking around. It was just the 2 of us there. I looked at Minor with respect and a kind of reverence but no fear. I would never no fear my entire life to this very moment. I remember Ding showing me Minor’s works and he had a kind of stillness about him. It was like Ding felt he was in the presence of something otherworldly and he passed that on to me. Ding asked me how I felt about Minor’s works and I said, it’s like Minor’s images are from a place inside him that he taps into. He has a resevour of energy and love and is capable of making the images with that source instilled in them. Ding patted  me on the back and I immediately understood that the sourse was Minor’s heart.

Minor asked me to sit and we started to talk. He asked me”How’s life”? I told him I left it in Nam. That was a gateway answer. We started talking about the military and he wanted to know about every second of my experience in Nam. His eyes peirced my soul with intensity. Then I directed the conversation to photography. I said, Minor, I’d really like to talk just about photography. He said I thought that’s what we were doing. (ya ever see a dog look at you and tilt his head from side to side? that’s what was happening to my mind.) Minor said, what do you think photography is? I couldn’t answer. He told me, from this moment on, photography is about your life. It’s about some people that read you and understand you. You have to find the photos that you believe in. Many won’t cut the grade but regardless, they are all from your heart. In time, hopefully, you will learn to see from the heart and see from the mind and then to understand the difference. Minor said Ansel made photos that were representative of the subject matter. This is natural because he captured the beauty of the natural landscape. Steiglitz made photos that were representational and also that were as he called them, equivalents. I see making photographs as making them for their own value. For me, the photograph is it’s own life, separate from the subject matter. It is it’s own personal reality.

I told him I was an advocate for Ansel’s Zone System. He smiled. He asked me if I liked working so methodically and pre-planned. I said I didn’t really know another way to think and work. He looked at me like I imagine an Angel would look at me. Really seeing my heart and total worth as a human. Then he grabbed my head and shook it and said dump all that shit in there down the toilet. I was at a loss. He then placed his hand on my chest over my heart and told me, that is all that matters. I told him I didn’t really understand. Minor said you can think your way thru life and maybe find a rewarding end. You can FEEL your way thru life and then, there is no question. The answer you seek will be in the images that you Felt with your heart. That I understood. I never saw Minor again but he’s got a space in my heart and mind for all time.

Interlude, The Portrait

I asked Minor if I could make a portrait of him. He agreed but said he had one stipulation. That was that, I never show the photo to anyone, ever. I took that lightly and made the portrait. I used a 4×5 and processed the negative. When it was dry, I showed it to him. He loved it and said, you caught me. I was proud. Then he said, we have a pact together correct? I looked him in the eyes and immediately understood the intent, in a way I never did before.  I told him I will never ever show the portrait to anyone. As I was bgetting ready to drive back to Philly, Minor took my hand in his and grasped it between both his hands. He said, I hope you find peace in this world. My dad died when I was 6 years old. I kinda felt that Minor had some of him inside him. It was like I had tears fom my heart and Minor found a way to let me cry without anyone else knowing. We did our farewells and the last words he said to me was…”The Pact”.

The reason I told ya’s about this is: I became acutely aware of the word INTENT and some intrusions on it. In my mind, there exists a difference between B&W and Color. Not just in the spelling of the words but the real meaning associated with each. I suppose I have adopted and implemented the B&W in my work. I was never really attracted to color and maybe there are some reasons not entirely my own. None the less, I have lived other shooters ideas about things and made some of that my own. Remember Minor telling me about the HEART? Well, I didn’t always pay attention but something was brewing inside It wasn’t a craft beer either. I started to wonder about the photos from my mind’s eye and the photos from my heart. The real issue I wanted to discover was the actual combination photos of the mind and heart. Was I perceptive enough to spot anything remotely associated with either? I asked that question over 45 years and never understood the answer clearly. What I taught in class was…..when viewing your photos, can you recall the precise moment of release and all that was there with you at that time? See, there are many things to confuse the intent of your heart and or mind. See how I went right into color vs b&w, without notice? Well, that’s how it works. Exterior stimulus with effect the inner workings of out heart and mind. We need to have the knowledge that something is happening here, what it is isn’t exactly clear.

Ya know about those pre-conceptions I mentioned? Well, they don’t come from you, they come to you. They instill their rubbish into your heart and your work. They are the poison that others send to you and … us, without the ability to stand for and with our work, will fall prey to the effects of those preconceptions. Is this heavy doo doo? sure it it so get your camera and get your butt out there and make photos. Just stay focused on the 2 main ways of seeing, The Heart and The Mind.

Ya know, maybe it’s also about working for you or for them…hmmmm

… with an open heart and an open mind. I always believed and taught this concept. It’s actually the sword to carry thru life. Afterall, basically, it covers any situation you may come across.

June 9th, 2018 … Work vs Work … Living With some of the Inverse Square Law

…. no, sorry I disagree and it’s my class. Listen, the more you do for your self, the less acceptable images you’ll really love. The more you do for work, or business whatever, the less rejections you accept and the less satisfaction you get. The reason is, the photos represent money and other things. So you become more attuned to the client and perhaps less attuned to your own feelings about what your doing.  This is natural and in no way lessens the intent of what you apply yourself to. The real question I have struggled with is, the difference between work and work. Meaning, work for myself for esthetic and joyful reasons and work for clients. I’m told by many pro shooters that they actually make no distinction between the 2. La dee da, good.  For me there is a marked difference. Olivier calls it mindset. Maybe he’s right and I mean sometimes he’s right about things we do for Inspired Eye. Let’s not give him too many props cause he’s young and it will go to his head and I will never hear the end of it.

I tend to think it’s INTENT. I know I know, I’m always talking about intent. Maybe my intent on this is to get clarity on the intent of work and work. shooter flashback…. a safe one and approved by the VA. Decades ago I was doing weddings and events. I made out ok because it wasn’t my principle source of income, altho, it was nice to have extra money and know that it was extra.  The thing is, that after about a year of doing this stuff, I started to feel a lack of love and JOY for photography. Really, I also felt a lack of joy for my life. Now that’s a common feeling for Vets and I damn sure don’t take it lightly and neither should the Gov’t. Luckilly I knew the difference between my dis satisfaction of life and from my photgraphy.  It was PTSD before they invented it.

Be forwarned and enlightened…..in the USA there are about 22 Veteran suicides daily. These are the ones that succeeded and not the ones that didn’t. So now the number climbs to a number our politicians should be ashamed of. The disgrace is that they don’t feel ashamed.

….back to the wedding stuff. I was shooting 2 Leica’s, one with color and one with B&W. The stress of working an event with film is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, even a senator, well not all but some. I noticed rapidly over the course of time that I was WORKing and making money but my personal WORK was falling to the wayside. The crazy thing was, that I was doing basically the same things as my personal work. Darkroom work, the same cameras, my same eye and vision, so what was eating at me? I decided to simplify this in a way. I started to do B&W only and make the negatives in my darkroom and then contact sheets. I would give them all to the client. This was a relief because I wasn’t bogged down. I was getting around $1500.00 per event and that was in the early 80’s. Funny thing was that I was getting the same money and I started to just shoot the event and hand the client film. Wallah, done, finito.

I was anylizing the situation very closely. I mean the event stuff was financially satisfying. My personal work was satisfying to my heart and soul.  I started to want to stop the event work because money damn sure ain’t everything. There was a lack of feeling of life in me doing that stuff. Look, I speak for me knowing others are covered in this but I ain’t naming names. I haven’t felt connected to anyone since I came home from Nam. I am detached with my heart and soul. I like to believe myself that I love my kids and family and friends etc. I can say it but mostly, inside, I don’t understand the feelings. Maybe they are normal but to me, it’s all messed up cause I’m destroyed emotionally and mentally.

Knowing this back in the day forced me to stop event work and all money shoots. Quickly I started to do my personal work and I started to feel alive again. Alive means that I started to feel value as a human being. Maybe not to others but to me and I knew that I am alone even around others. I know I will exit stage left and be alone. It’s ok, not afraid to die for real, living scares the shit out of me. So what does this all have to do with WORK vs WORK? I kinda feel that if your reading this, I don’t need to explain.

The beauty of life is in the intent of living. The beauty of living is in the assisting and helping of others. If we can be a beacon of light for others and to guide where and when we can, perhaps this is the key to a healthy life and a healthy mind. What does this have to do with photography? Well, if you get this then you understand, bless you. If you don’t really understand, then I will try to explain if you reach out. Others will help if need be.

So, the moral of this story, the moral of this song, is that one should never be where one does not belong. (Dylan) So I think Linda is right. Maybe I have made my personal work into work work. Maybe others have also. Maybe that’s good and maybe not. All I know is that there is something missing from my photography. Linda thinks it’s the acceptance of JOY. Maybe she’s right. I mean I need to listen to youth because they haven’t been shattered as us oldens.

If you go out to do anything at all and you have a focused intent, doesn’t matter if you accomplish what you set out to do or not. What matters is the realization of the JOY of doing.

I know I went off here but maybe I had too.  Just remember my friends, go where you want and do what you want, just don’t forget to smell the flowers along the way and make sure you feel your heart beating.

 

May 18th, 2018 Rain Dancing With Walker the Fuji X-Pro2 … The 2 Button Rule For Street

There is a camera strap called the ARTISAN AND ARTIST ACAM-E25R. I use it with some cameras and especially Walker the Fuji X-Pro2. Great strap and great camera. The thing is, the 2 together have a sense of humor. Oh yeah, they do. See, I have Walker on the strap around my neck. It’s raining out and Walker is a trooper for the bad weather. So we be waking and a shooting and then all the sudden, I look at the screen and it’s in multiple shot mode. This is a post coffee incident. So the freak out point is reached quickly. I’m panting and losing my cool, don’t have much to start with but what I have is boiling over. I like my screen to be b&W. I’ll explain some reasons later but Walker and the un named camera strap have had another laff because i see the screen is in color and also I’m shooting in jpeg because the camera is now in multiple-exposure mode.

Now we all know that a camera strap can’t really talk to us but surely can communicate. You ever have a neck ache or shoulder ache from a camera on a strap? Well, that ache and pressure is from the strap, not the camera. If you communicate with things other than living matter, you know that the strap is saying…. damn dude, this camera is heavy and I’m not digging to have to have it on me. So, because you think less of me because I’m a strap, I’m gonna pass along some pain to you. See that guy down there at the end of your arm?   He’s the hand guy and he can hold your camera named or unnamed with or without a strap. Do it and I’ll stop hurting your dumb ass.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand ummm, errrr  issue hanging around. See, the buttons on the back of Walker the Fuji X-Pro2  will change as you walk or whatever. It doesn’t take much of a press to get a nice intrusion in the groove of working.  TWO THINGS THAT ARE A MUST DO WITH THE FUJI CAMERAS.

First, set the camera up the way you want to work. Then set the AF box where you want it. Ok, good….now carefully and paying full attention to the screen….press the joystick in straight and then you will see it is locked in position. The AF box will not move against your side or chest whatever. Press again and it releases the lock.

Second, press and hold the OK button until you see the LOCK on the screen.  Now most buttons with a sense of humor are locked.  The ones that are nice don’t need the lock so you can still access them. You can work without much aggrevation. Press and hold the OK button again and the UNLOCK is shown.

This info is available all over by many photographers. I post this because most here are shooters and have no time to get technical with cameras. They just want to work. (pre button lock experience) Walker decided to change my vision from B&W to Color. I did not ask him to do this. I think he felt I needed to analyze my intent. Oh, before I go any further, I have been known as a Camera Whisperer for some time. How else do ya’s think I can name my cameras and talk with them? Walker is not only one of my partners in photography, he’s also one of my patients and I his.

I’m standing on 10th Street and Market and just breathing. See, Walker decided I need to do color and he changed himself to make me do and see color. I see the screen in color and, well decided, maybe he’s right. Besides, I just wanted to work and knew I could have a chat with him when we got home.

station break but not commercial……. Walker and many cameras can make me think about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and why I’m doing it. That’s exciting, or is it? Andre’ the Leica M240 is the opposite. I can take him out day after day and never ever see any changes on the camera. If i make a change, ok but Andre’ never ever does, or does he? Perhaps Andre the Leica M240 makes the changes in the most important manner. They seemingly go unnoticed.

See, the Inverse square law, (invented by my great great grandfather, cobble street shooter) says that more is less and less is more. So, he noticed that the digital cameras of the time, I think 1492 cause he documented the arrival of Columbus, had so many features that he needed to think less cause the camera did more. He met a young lad named Oscak Barnack and asked him, Oscar, can you make a camera with less functions that need to be changed and just let the camera work with the HEART of the shooter and not just the mind.

So, Oscar thought what a novel idea and set forth to make a camera to Cobble Street Shooters ideas. Oscar made the camera. No, not just a camera. He made a camera that for all time would place the heart of the shooter in the foreground and always make sure that the process of vision and feeling would override every other intrusion.

 

The reason that this story is not widely known is because even tho my Great Great Grandfather had great cameras, there was no film invented yet or sd cards. Unfortunately, we dont’t have any records of his work but he sure enough inspired Leica.

Little know tale….. I need to write more about the idea and application of Color vs B&W and i will start that post now and send it before the weekend is over.

April11th, 2018 Ownership

Kevin

Do we really ever own anything? I don’t think so. We don’t even get to own our mindset. My mind tells me that I may leash a pet. It might obey me and like me and want to serve me. I am the owner and as such I decide what the pet will do to serve me. I will not set it free because I own it. I have ownership rights.

Many years ago when I was young my grandfather gave me an Estwing 16oz nail hammer. The metal was tarnished and the head was shiney from all the nails Pop banged down. I could feel and smell pop’s sweat on the leather. Years passed by and a Pop died but I still had his hammer. I loved this hammer and became very attached to it. I owned my grandfathers hammer. When I retired I put my tools in the garage and the hammer, I threw it into a drawer where it rest after a long life of hard work. That tool and others served me faithfully for most of my adult life. Yup,that tool was great.

 

I often wondered why with all the meaning and use that hammer and I worked, why is it in a drawer in the garage. Well, it’s a tool. Maybe it has a name it’d it’s functional but it’s a tool. It’s a tool because I own it and say it’s a tool.

Ok, so what’s with this ownership thing shooter. Aight, here’s my thoughts and they are my thoughts and I own them. There’s a musician that’s kinda well known. He sang a song and part of it is kinda like this….”If you love someone, set them free”. I think his name is Sting, maybe.

I think on the path to becoming a human we need to set our heart and mind and eye free. Sure we can attempt to control it all but that would mean the brain is running the show. The brain is  the translator and distributor of everything that comes into the body. We could say that the brain has the rights of control of everything in our body. If the eye, heart and mind are not free than all we see from our work will be the results of brain ownership.


I need to continue this in the next day or two. I just got a message from shooter central processing that my brain is taking the rest of the day off.

Ill be back fast with the work vs work thoughts, have a blessed day everyone ………..

……….end transmission……….