Category Archives: Philosophy of Street

The Camera’s Intent “Memory” for the Eye, Heart & Mind

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All photographs since the very first to the last one that will ever be made, by Master and Student alike share one thing in common….”MEMORY”.

The intent of the camera is memory. This is the foundation of photography that all images are made. No matter what your subject matter is or where it is you, when you press the shutter, capture a memory. This happens every time. Quite an amazing experience.

The camera records your choice of subject matter and displays it’s place in the here and now at that moment of time. The genius of photography is that it does this process more than other genre’s of a clearer rendition of what represents the truth, as we perceive it.

Therein lies the problem. I’ll assume that all readers here know about Susan Sontag’s “On Photography.” Of course the mandatory reading for any Human Being using a camera is “Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes. If not, please read them now and we’ll wait it out until you get caught up…….

So now we can move past this and get into making photos. 08-13-0362

Here’s how I live it:

The elements of photography are as follows….

1. Eye

2. Heart

3. Mind

All 3 elements are tied into memory.

Eye:

When we work, the eye seems to be the first in order to get the info to make an image.Well, not really…not all the time. The shooter that’s aware of all 3 elements knows that paying attention to all three, will lead to a better understanding of what we are looking for out there. When I say out there…anytime you have a camera and are ready to use it…that’s out there.

The eye usually responds to trigger mechanisms faster and first. It sends the signal that something is about to happen or that we can make something happen. If you raise the camera and it does anything at all besides show you the subject matter, it’s intruding on your vision and or process. The camera can suggest settings, framing, FOV etc but not when it’s raised to the work position. All those things should be addressed before the camera is at the eye.

I like a screen on the rear of the camera because it shows me what’s out there and in two dimensions. The screen floats easy in our three dimension reality. It moves in and out, up and down, side to side etc. All the time it’s sending the image on itself, framing until the eye says yes. CLICK.

Bear with me here…… We are in a 3 dimensional reality. Photographs are a 2 dimensional reality. So, using the screen is the best representation we can get while working with the camera. We can frame with 2 eyes if we are so blessed. We see the photograph on the screen as it will appear in 2 dimensions. This is a very magical experience and at age hitting 64, still excites me as if I’m just seeing it for the first time.

The eye works very fast with the finger to seek and record the image. The finger is a very important part of the process and must be addressed in a very serious manner. We’ll get into that later.

The thing about artist and if your reading this….you are an artist …. is that most assemble their images in many different ways. Like so:

The Family Album. The humble snapshot takes on many meanings for the family as the shooter records those moments that should not ever be forgotten. You may shoot the streets for as long as you like, publish your work, maybe sell it and create a name that follows you all over the world. You did it…your a pillar of the photographic community.

You make family snaps and unfortunately someone has passed. You reach for the photos you made of that person and what value can now be placed upon the snapshots of them? The lowly snapshot now takes on an entirely different roll. It becomes the lasting memory of that persons existence and the memories you shared with them.

The point it, always treat every image with the respect above what you think it deserves. There is a teaching method as old as the hills….it states that a shooter should see things as if seeing them for the first time.

I believe that a shooter should see things as if seeing them for the last time……

More later or tomorrow……don

Tis a Sad Day Due to Technology & Word Press!

When I was younger I felt that the most important thing I could do was to make photos. I cherished the moments I was with a camera in hand or by my side. Even when I was on the streets with my M4’s I felt connected to the Street and Myself and ultimately, the images we made together.

I had a few light meters but it was a rare occasion that I would actually use one. I actually had a Gossen Luna Pro in the bag for a few years and when I opened it to change the battery, it was corroded. Geeze, I felt panic because my trusted meter was dead and not I couldn’t use it if I wanted to. I felt betrayed by technology.

This was a funny way for me to think because once I went to the darkroom, I was a very perfect technical worker. Of course I didn’t abandon my natural abilities for the technical ones but I managed to merge the two.

Years passed and I gave up more natural freedom and let the new technology take hold of my passions. When the Digital Revolution hit home, meaning photography, I dove in with abandon to all that I was as a natural photographer. I saw the cameras as a convenient way to make photos and then the Alpha on LR and I was good to go.

The circuit breaker panel is in the darkroom and sometimes we blow one. So I get to go into the sad darkroom that misses me and the work we did together. The smell of those lovely chemicals has long since faded.

Lets get to the present. I am well into Digigraphy. I love the process of making images. I love the cameras, the software etc. I even started to like my blog on Word Press. Well, for some time and in the present also, I can’t log into my WP account if I want to post on a friends blog.

Today is the last straw. I will no longer maintain my blog at WP and ptobably not use this one either. I’ll be on Flickr but otherwise, I’ll be out working.

Ya know…..when I go out now, I have to check my batteries, the iPhone 5 charge level, all this technology. It’s made me sick for the last time.

If I can’t feel like things are working with me, then they won’t…anymore….

Peace….don

The Ricoh GR … Defining Your Vision Part 2

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Don’t get me wrong on this stuff, ok…. I just want to show how I open my Eye, Heart and Mind. The constant in your work will be the eye, heart and mind. It’s what makes you unique in the world. So, if in fact…that’s true and it is….all of us who are street warriors should strive to keep those 3 elements as healthy as possible. We should also keep those elements working together in the here and now, especially while making photos.

Enter the camera. Enter the Ricoh GR. The GR operates at a very heightened state of awareness. It is most intuitive and extremely easy to float in the here and now. When it’s in your hand on a wrist strap, your eye, heart and mind are free to gaze upon the scene and move in and out without fear of the camera causing an intrusion. You concentrate on the subject matter in a way that most other camera strive to reach but mostly fail. When your trigger mechanism is activated, the GR immediately captures what you saw, the way you saw it. Your not struggling for focusing rings, settings etc because the camera is now a part of the process of Making the image, not outside of the process.

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My definition of a Street Warrior is something like this. Most shooters, (I want to keep this related to photography)… will look at the world as a place to make photos. They count on the next photo to be better than the last. They move forward in time chasing the elusive butterfly, know as the great photos.

The Street Warrior moves forward thru time but sees the world as a passing journey. The street warrior is in tune with himself and seeks the next image not because it’s the elusive butterfly but because he counts back in time. Knowing that each and every image recorded may be the last or even close to the last, he is prepared to make the NEXT IMAGE the one that marks his place in time.

Keeping focused on the here and now with the eye, heart and mind does not allow a camera that will cause intrusion on the moment. I know this is crazy stuff because not many will read this and that’s a shame. If I wrote about GAS or a camera review, well……I won’t.

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I hope youse understand what I just wrote. If you do, you’ll never have a camera issue again. If not, DPR has good reviews……

Gd’ nite……