Photography

June 24th, 2019 … Finding Your Way Thru The Mist of Your Creativity… Pt1

Did ya’s ever kinda sorta, maybe feel like your out of place? You don’t have to say anything. We can keep it a secret. Myself, I been feeling like that for as long as I can remember and I’m sure it goes back further than that. There’s not much ado to make yourself feel more at ease so, just accept it and get on with things. That’s what I try to do. Ya know, this will apply to your photos also. I know it seems hard to believe, but ye olde shooter knows something about this. What ya can’t do is surrender. There’s an energy that we can tap into that gives us stamina during the down times and we need to feed on that.

To be honest, I never ever felt lost, or even a lack of energy to work. That’s not the point. The point is I know many who have been in this situation or are even in it now. The best advice I could give is to, close the box with your photos or just don’t look at any photos you made. Just don’t keep any images available for viewing. Of course, if your really a shooter, those photos are in your head anyway. Just don’t think of them. It’s not like you can have a fresh start but you can have a start that’s not jaded with your photos.

We are creatures of habit. We get very comfy doing things that work over and over. I have talked about trigger mechanisms many times and If you think about this, your photos are trigger mechanisms. Yeah sure. See, you have these photos you really like and they become platforms for your creative mind. The photos of the past will drive the photos yet to be borne from you.

This is not like breaking a barrier. It’s more like being comfy on this side of the fence and wondering what’s on the other side. Don’t get me wrong. I am not an optimist. Many have told me thru the years that the grass is greener on the other side. Oh yeah, ya know why… cause there more BS there to fertilize. I’m talking about finding your way thru the mist of images you already have and trying to find the ones out there you haven’t discovered yet. Maybe this doesn’t seem important to you. Dunno but sure is to me and many I know.

I’ll do a series of articles and am open to offer my opinion on the comments page. Each post will address a certain are of creativity and the Dreaded BLOCK. Be blessed all and have a sweet photographic experience that lasts your lifetime.

November 30th, 2018 … Watching You Watching Me … Passing Time With Harry Bertoia

I was heading out to Harry Bertoia’s place in Barto Pa, and was anxious to talk with him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Bertoia   Harry had a mind that was limitless in thoughts. He was expecting me and had a cup of coffee ready when I arrived. Harry was sitting and looking at some of his sculptures. I sat in the chair next to him and by the way, the chairs were sculptures by Harry. Harry looked at me and asked, “What do you see”? I know that no matter my answer, it would either be wrong or in adequate. I told Harry that I can only explain what I’m seeing that connects my heart. (If this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right) I said I see the light, textures, shapes and the physical things associated to each piece.

Harry smiled and said, what do you think the pieces are thinking as they look at us? My eyes kinda perked up and I was caught off guard. It’s 1976, my son Paul was born 5 months prior to this event. I hadn’t done any drugs in a long time, no pot, no alcohol either. Clean and sober except for photography. So I felt kinda trippy when Harry asked me that question. I never thought about my works watching me as I watch them. It’a absurd I tellya, totally absurd. That’s not the lesson he was teaching me.

Harry was teaching me about perception and how it applies to others seeing me. Harry said that my work is stronger than any mirror image. Look at your self in a mirror and you may adjust yourself as you see fit. When you look at your work, realize that it is looking at you and can’t be adjusted. You just need to accept the fact that it is you and another way of seeing yourself and being seen.

Minor White had a similar concept about viewing work. He felt that it was a 3 way process. The photographer, The work and the viewer. All 3 are as one and not one part shall be excused from the others. I agree with these Master of course. I also like to add that there are other elements involved and even as the work is created. The idea of money or paid work, regardless of the original intent, will most certainly effect the outcome.

The intent of the photo is now maybe divided upon the shooter and the shooter’s client. The photo that’s looking back at us maybe is in the hands of a client and those eyes are watching us intently. Who or whom is our work satisfying now? I think Harry had a getter grasp on this than Minor. Harry made and sold a lot of work. His Sounds Of Sculpture is an amazing recording. I got to play some of those sculptures in his studio. Harry gave me a small mushroom sculpture and I still have it. In fact I was looking at it a short time ago and it told me to write this blog post, so I did,

 

 

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June 17th, 2018 … Making vs Exhibiting Your Work … Suzanne Part 2

….. Intent ….. that’s part of what we are dealing with Suzanne, See, when your out making photos, you are dealing with them on a one to one basis. Even if your doing a project, your still doing a one on one. When your exhibiting or doing a book or anything that takes the one on one of the photos and joins them collectively, the intent is altered and things are added to it. The end result is entirely different than the result of a single photo. Suzanne looks at me and raises her brow….(it has long been know to all that when a woman raises her brow, you best get clarity and rid any chance of misunderstanding quickly. ) So I start the journey of teaching or passing on what I have learned and  hopefully learn again and more myself. See, knowledge is a wonderful thing to have but if it’s not shared, it’s as close to a sin as any of us need be.

I ask Suzanne what the single most important item is in photography. I will now tell her answers because I care about her and that’s enough. She ask me what. I tell her, nothing is more important than EYE TRAVEL.  This single thing is what determines how long the viewer will engage the photo. Subject matter and color or black and white and anything else is all secondary. This is not a new invention to photography, oh no … not at all. Even as far back as Adam & Eve. Eye travel was crucial. See, Adam and Eve were out frolicking about when Adam noticed Eve and her, ummmm apples. He said, Eve, ya gotz some nice apples. Well in the tree was the snake. The snake said, hee ya, I gotz ya apple right heeer. So Eve being the curious one, looked at Adam and saw Adam didn’t have any apples. Hmmmm she thought, so she took the apple from the snake…. well needless to say, it’s not up to me to convince you or anyone but that Garden of Eden was supposed to be like a paradise. Now look at us….. so, take the apples from your spouse or lover or someone very close but, shun the apple from the snake. Apple Monogamy is essential to healthy life.

Of course Suzanne at this point tells me I lost her and she wonders how that relates to photography.  Ok, youse alls take a minute and think how this applies to your photography. I’ll wait for ya’s a few lines down…………………………………………………………

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Ok, I know youse all figured this out. I will run thru it just so we are all on the same page. When you make photos, mostly you are your own audience. Yeah, yeah, Flickr and 500px and Instagram, all nice places but the real satisfaction should be YOU! I’m not talking about work for clients etc, that’s a post in development.

When you exhibit work, now there’s a new dynamic involved. That dynamic is known as the viewer. The viewer is now an independent partner in your work. Of course you are the source and maybe you think that’s all that matters but your wrong. Just like in viewing single photos, an exhibition has it’s own way of presenting and viewing the work. Suzanne, there are a few ways to do the exhibition and i’ll explain some and then you can decide which is best for you.

One way is: to have the prints hang with some space between them so each photo makes it’s own statement unto itself. The exhibition is like a retrospective in a way. The photos reflect the photographer’s vision and not necessarily connected in a way that  seems obvious. Each as always is an image of the shooters vision. One of the most common mistakes in this way, is to place the photos too close together. What happens is, they seem connected in a way more than from the same shooter. They appear to be connected as in a group or project and this is not the real case. They want to be viewed independent of each other. They are individual statements that together add up to a mark in a photographers life.

Another way it to hang as a project and that means each photo is a part of the whole. It happens in a way different from the previous method. This method makes the sum equal to or greater than the whole. The story or project comes to like because each photo adds to the story or the whole.

So, Suzanne, we need to determine what your work is and how to present it. Maybe time we get into sequencing some. She looked at me with groggy eyes and said, she’s tired and needs to sleep. Good night luv, seeya soon and I left with Andre’ the Leica M240 and headed home.

 

April 28th, 2018 … Making vs Exhibiting Your Work

….just pulled the lens off of Walker the Fuji X-Pro2. Walker needs a good cleaning and it’s his turn so we do it. Ya know, if I was level headed, I’d put him in the sink and wash him the right way. Thing is, if I did that, my doc would send me to the place where messed up patients go and don’t get out too often.  Oh, sorry I forgot….phone rings…. ringy ringy…I answer. On the other end is a voice I know very well. “Don, I need help, I am in a bad way.”  It’s Suzanne and I tell her we can meet in the morning. She want’s to talk NOW! So, I ask her what’s so pressing. She tells me she got word that she has a major exhibition in Japan in October 2018.  I congratulate her and I hear and feel her tears.  She agrees to meet in the morning. Somehow I feel it’s gonna be a long day.

For those new here, a little bit about Suzanne and our relationship. She’s Japanese. Lives in the USA for over 2 decades.  She is a heart doctor and does surgery and stuff. She has been a stufentof mine for about 7 years. Her friend Polly is an Opthomologist and she also studied with me. Suzanne is a very talented photographer.  Her images are exceptional. She’s a lovely woman and means a lot to me.

Suzanne addresses 2 ways. She calls me don when we are, making photos, doing the gear thing or whatever. When she calls me Mr Don, I know it’s serious and it’s business. We are at her home and sh has about 100 photot on the floor. They are all 7×7 prints. This is not what I was taught but it is what I learned and what I teach. She ask me to edit and sequence the photos. I agree and look the room over and tell her we need to move furniture. After about 15 min, we have a reasonable workspace. I ask Suzanne what is the goal of the exhibition.

She looks at me with kinda vague eyes. It’s a similar look I have when Tanya ask me if I put the trash out. She tells me it’s a body of work about immigration and prejudices she encountered in her life. I tell to sit on the floor with me. I say to her, that is the purpose and intent of the work. It is the driving force behind the thoughts and emotions of your photos. It is not the goal of the exhibition.

The goal of the exhibition is to allow and compell the viewers to explore the thoughts and emotions that drove you to make the photos. A few wrong photos or even misplaced photos and  your left with visual chaos. Take a 50 word paragraph and jiggle the words around. Every word is visible and reads as a word. The issue is that even as the words are all there, the story of the paragraph is incoherent as a whole. The thoughts, emotions are all there as a single word but none and all do not support the story. Everything is fragmented.

She says she kinda gets it. She as me if I’m sure about this. Suzanne, your a Heart Doctor. If something happens to me, I don’t wanna be laying on a table with my chest cut open, and have you thinking…son of a bitch messed up my exhibition. 😇

She laff’d and I felt better, she did to.

I think I need to continue this post in a few days.

Be blessed all………🙏

February 28th, 2018 … Vietnam … Lost Souls, Humanity Found and a Leica M4

Chu Lai beach, 112f, the scent of sally joints permeates the hot dry air. I’m lying on my back joint in my lips, the young bloods music playing loud. Most of us are in the water, swimming or surfing or just trying to forget what they remember.

“Hey, I’m looking for jingles” I answer, what for. I open my eyes and this guy looking like Brad Pitt before Brad Pitt looks like himself is leaning over me. I been assigned to 2 squad and I’m to bunk next to you. Says his name is Ken. I’m jingles or Don. I tell Ken to get to his boxers and enjoy free time cause 2 days, we in the shit again. Ken goes to the hooch and comes back in a few minutes and has a Ricoh TLS or something. He ask if it’s okto take pictures. Now I know why they put him next to me.

Some girls are working the guys and one comes over an lays on top of me. I know her well. Ken is looking at her cause she’s French Vietnamese and about as fine a woman as ever was. She whispers in my ear. “he baby”. I smile and tell her I pay. The fee is $5.00 and $2.00 credit fee. The girls know us and trust us to pay later in the day.

She slides over to Ken and climbs on top of him. Slips her hand in Ken’s boxers. I looked at his face and saw the sun in one eye and the moon in the other. It took Ken about 30 sec to release. She hugs him, kissed his neck, kisses his lips, lays close on him and tells him, I love you baby. About 15 min later, she takes her silk dress off and Ken’s boxers. A few guys and me watched as she took his boyhood away and made him feel like a man. She rolled over to me and said 10 dollar baby.

Ken said to me Don, that’s the first time I did it. Ken, in your life you will never find a woman that can be your angel like her. He looked at me like, a lost boy. Ken, we are walking corpses. Our souls are lost, humanity is a word. At 20, I learned there exist things worse than death. That girl makes me feel like I am alive, like I want to be alive.  That girl accepts me no matter who I am or what I do. She is the angel of love and mercy, for all of us.

Ken told me hid dad owned  a few banks. He wanted Ken to come to Nam and be a hero so when he came back to the bank, it would draw a lot of business. Ken made me promise something. He told me that if he didn’t make it to mail the letter in his pocket to his dad. I wonder how he knew he wouldn’t make it and how he knew I would.

A few days later we had to do a sweep of the village. It was just our 2 squad. We at the time were 11. We were looking for activity by VC. So we sitting smoking cigs and breathing. Then we heard a girl crying and screaming.  We all ran to her defense. Then we stopped in our tracks as this girl squatted  and gave birth to a baby. We were all so used to the taste, smell and feelings of death that this miracle took hold of us and unarmed us. Chuck, our medic went to her aide. He also was on his 4th tour and could speak Vietnamese. He talked with the girl and she said she was 14 2 days ago.

She said the VC came to the village an killed her 2 brothers and father. They took her and her sister and 4 of them raped them many times. She never saw her sister again. Her mother told her to leave because she can’t afford to take care of her and a baby. Mother told her to go and never come back. Kissed her good by and that was it. (14, dammit, 14, she delivered at 14, what does that mean?)

Then we heard a shot ring out. We all hit the ground. Chuck covered the girl and the baby. One shot, we knew it was a sniper. Roger had the M79 and looked up in a tree and fired. The canopy exploded and something  fell with the leaves and branches. The partial remains of the sniper. Medic,  Medic….calls out we run over to where the call comes from ….. son of a bitch, first out 10 days in country, first sex with an angel, the sniper chose Ken because no helmet on. East target. I looked at Ken humped over, head and face mangled. We stood around and kinda hurt and maybe saying prayers privately. I reached in Ken’s pocket as he asked me and put the letter in mine. It occurred to me that we found what we were looking for. VC activity, Ken paid the price and the girl, the aftermath of the VC rapes.

We got back to home as we called it an and we put the girl and baby on Ken’s bunk. Chuck said that we should call the girl Gai, meaning sister. For everyone of us, Gai was our sister. We took care of her and the baby and she took care of us. She would come lay with one of us after a while. NO SEX EVER! It was finding humanity and she needed to as much as we did. We got the MPs to give her ID as a civilian worker and she was safe on base. When we came back from a mission, the hooch had flowers all around, was clean, and a real feeling of life.

I sent the letter to Ken’s dad and I wanted to write my letter to him also. I couldn’t, because I had never with all I been thru or would, ever hated anyone as much as Ken’s dad. I wrote a small note that said….. I hope your satisfied that now you have your hero back home.

If you need to ask what these memories have to do with my photography, well……..

….oh, my Leica M4….. no film for  2 weeks.

November16th, 2017 … A Casual Walk With My Intent … or Gone Fishing

Like any serious photographer, I have my moments of discontent. What I mean is that the photos I’m making are ok for me to continue but not the celebrated ones we hope will shine. I wrote about this a few post back. Flashback to around 1973.

I’m sitting on the bank of a creek and fishing with Bill, my father in law and Bob his brother and my 2 brother in laws Dan & Billy. I have all the good stuff. Fenwick ultra lite rod, Penn reel and all the lures and things to make Opening Day of Trout Fishing a great experience. I had my Leica M4 and 35mm Cron in my vest pocket. I will not talk about the financial investment in this undertaking. We are fishing our own styles and I caught a few small ones and put them back in the water.  I said to Bob, what the hecks going on? All these people fishing and not many fish being caught. Bob was laid back against a tree stump like it was an expensive leather chair.

Donald, he said, 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fisherman. 10% of the fish are caught by 90% of the fisherman. I almost stopped breathing. I had an epihany, and it proved Bob right. Oh my I thought. Why am I doing this? Bob said, Donald….I come out here to relax. I love the fresh air, the water all the nuts like you trying to catch fish.  I said your fishing. He reeled his line in and there was just a sinker, no hook, no bait. He’s calling me nuts right.

Bob said. look, it’s very relaxing right now. No kids, no wife, no work just you bugging me, he smiled. I asked him, why no hook or anything? Donald, if I have a hook, then I need bait. Then the hook gets snagged on something so I need to start over. What happens if I catch a fish? I gotta deal with that and …it’s good fishing but it damn sure ain’t relaxing.

Making photos for me is like fishing. I love to catch the big fish but I won’t rule out the ones that are not keepers. I LIVE photography. I love every single aspect of it. If I was to just go for those great shots, what about the energy that goes into that. I mean if you picked up your camera and every time made your masterpiece, well, they wouldn’t be. The inverse square law dictates that in order to survive as a photographer, you need to take the good with the bad and love all equallly.

The ones you feel are not keepers, if you don’t love them you will not learn from them and probably not find the great shots you are capable of. Not every shot is a benchmarm, nor do they need to be. I go out on the streets and I am relaxed. I’m breathing, listening, seeing and processing in my heart abd mind photos I seek to find. You can do things the way you want but trust me, if you slack off because your not getting the work you rhink you want or need, you better open your eye, heart and mind cause your making a mistake.

I’m not saying to get complacent, just saying there’s a lot of fish in the waters. For me, I;m very relaxed and content just being alive with my camera.

….shooter out………………..

November 14th, 2017 … … 40 Minutes in NYC … and In Nam … With Roger

First Meeting

It’s Sunday afternoon around around 3:00pm, or 1500 if you like. The phone rings and Roger says, I need … and he gives me a list of cameras to bring to him in NYC. OK, I forgot, youse don’t know Roger. I’m 13yo in Junior High School and as I walk past the store on Old York Rd, I see 2 kids tormenting a another kid. I don’t know the kids getting his butt kicked but I do know the 2 assailants. So I walk over and say to the 2 kids, what’s up? Mind your business Springer. Quickly I said, (now just cause ya know kids don’t mean they won’t jump ya and kick ass)….So I said, it is my business, he’s my cousin. They looked at me, ok….  They stop and tell the kid, your lucky. They leave and I’m now with this kid that’s a real nerd. He’s tall and over weight and just the kind of kid bullies like to mess with. The kid says, thanks Don. Hmmm, I don’t know him but he knows my name. So I ask him his name and he replies, Roger ….? He hugs me and thanks me.

We walk towards my house and it turns out he lives around the corner from me. We become friends. Y E A RS P A S S………. The war in Viet Nam is brewing and I don’t know what the hell it even is. I get my draft notice. Mom cries. Aunt Ann wants to send me to a safe house in Canada. I tell Roger I was /drafted. He says, yeah, I know.’m going with ya. I say WHAT! Roger says, where’s Vietnam? Who’s fighting there? I answer in my most intellectual manner, dunno?

So…I say, Roger, what did you do? I told dad I wanted to ge with you. I get this chill up and down my back. How did you do this and why? Roger says, dad made a few calls and we are going to be together the whole time. Why, I ask. Look stupid, you don’t know what Vietnam is. Ya don’t know about anything. I’m going to make sure your ok and come home. I felt some kinda way about this and remember, Roger got his ass kicked more than a few times. How’s this guy gonna protect me? See, I never knew Roger’s family was very very wealthy. That’s how his dad got this done. I learned that this was the reason Roger got in fights all the time.

 

Vietnam Payback

115F and must wear  the helmet. We are going thru Chu Lai Village and we never know if it’s hot or not. So we assume it’s hot. Coming out thru the North Side, all 15 of us are feeling kinda safe and most light up a sally. Sally is a Joint that you soak in Liquid Opium and then dry it and smoke it. It’s called a Sally Joint. Oh yeah, I smoked that baby but never inhaled. we get to a clearing and kinda going slow. No small arms fire but all the sudden, out of nowhere…. that whistle sound and then…the sounds of Hell coming up to catch you. The Mortars are coming down quickly. The thing about mortars is that they are mathematical in use. So the tube can be adjusted to get very accurate as to target acquisition. Scary shit man, no joke.

Anyway, we are running to tray to break the rhythm and pattern of the rounds raining on us…….Then….the earth shook, my ears went numb for don’t know how long but, I had this ringing sound in my ears and head and a very loud numbing sound of silence. I’m dizzy and can’t hear and my eyes ayr covered in dirt and I fall to the ground. I try to look around between the rounds falling and I see someones leg in front of me and I just knew this is where I shall be for eternity. I lay still and close my eyes and pray that The LORD ends this Hell fast.

Well, in less then a minute, I feel someone grabbing my legs and pulling me. I can’t move or see who and all[ the sudden, I thought I was captured. I pissed my pants at some point but don’t remember when. Then this person tries to roll me over and I can’t do nothing. I expected to see a VC with an AK47 pointing at me and then as I look up, Roger is pouring water on my face and rinsing my eyes and putting water in my ears and mouth. He bends down and checks my body for blood and holes. I’m still in some kind of shock. Roger is talking to me but I can’t understand a word. He picks me up and carries me to the chopper and puts me on and the n he gets on. We get extracted and there’s no fire after us. I now can start to hear the blades of the chopper. There’s a medic and he spends a minute checking me and looks at me and gives me a thumbs up. Roger is sitting next to the door gunner and in a way I didn’t understand, protecting me with his M16.

 

When the phone rang and I hears Roger’s voice, I knew he needed something. See, him and Mary are traveling all over the world. He’s a International Copyright Attorney.

So I get this list of things he needs as he’s in NYC for 3 days. I go to his home and go into the walk in safe and get the cameras. It’s about 2 hours from Philly to NYC and no traffic and I get there on time. Mary gives me a hug and the Rog says, thanks again, your my hero as always.

When we were 13yo, I stopped a few bullies and then, in Nam, this nerdy overweight kid I helped way back then…. comes to my rescue, carries me out of harms way, gets me to the chopper and saves my eyes, my hearing and my life, and I’m his hero!

What goes around, comes around….better believe that!

October 8th, 2017 … Measure Yourself Against The World … Thoughts On My 68th B’Day

There comes a time when we need to sit and look at our work and try to see where we were, were we are and where we think we are heading. I figured this time, at my 68th birthday was a good time for personal re-evaluation. See, we ALL need to do this because we need to check our stuff so the map of our life going forward has some light on it.

We spend time looking at other shooters photos. A good thing to a degree. We spend time reading books and even studying the masters and famous photographer’s. We watch movies about these people and movies about exhibitions. We go to galleries and museums and get close to original images we admire.

So this is an ongoing romance with everyone and everything but ourselves. We feel inspired by all the works we see and feel from everyone….. wait a second here, I ain’t no coward and I ain’t no dummy. What I mean is, after a time of indulgence in others and their work, is it possible that we do that so we avoid confronting our own work?

See, it’s easy to avoid the truth of one’s self. Oh, it’s easy to lie to yourself but to confront and accept the truth, no way. It’s ok as we all have these issues. Well, I see it this way. Ya know how when ya go and buy a new shirt, that you really like? Then ya wear it and don’t get many nice remarks and ya feel your feelings are hurt? (this does not apply to woman. See, if a woman gets a blouse and even if it’s the blouse from hell, when her man or her woman sees it, it’s gotta be the most beautiful blouse in recorded history. If not, Hell hath no fury…. ya know the rest)

Well, some of the photos you make and not all by any means, are your feelings and thoughts and vision. Others see them and decide for themselves the value of them and how they individually relate to your work and you. This is a very delicate situation. It’s a delicate way because, the viewer may or may not want to comment. If they do, will they post the true feelings and be honest ot just post what they think you want or need to hear.

So we need to be honest with ourselves. This is very hard to do and although it must be done on a regular basis, we probably will find it easier to avoid this. I do for sure. Man, I’ll go out with my camera and shoot and make photos and just be in a state that satisfies me on levels not much else comes close to. Then when I start to process some will come to life and I fall in deeper love. I realize that I am trying to use the photo as a catalyst for my thoughts and emotions.

The hardest part is to abandon the ego. To just accept yourself as a human with a camera and to love what that means. It ain’t about how others see and think of you. It ain’t about how anyone sees and thinks about your work. It’s about truth. The truth that you are your life and your work. To stand strong and be accountable for what and why you do photography.

This approach does not negate the responsibility that we all must assume and utilize for others. It’s just that being in the moment is one thing. I am certainly an advocate for the Eye, Heart and Mind.

When you see the above photos, your seeing me. I stand for them and they stand for me. I feel them and they give me reason to continue.  Some will think that there’s little value to these photos or in fact any I ever made or will make. That’ a fine response. We all hae opinions and I respect all.

At 68 today, these photos are me standing nude in front of you minus my pecker and that ain’t no big deal anymore….

Be blessed my friends…………………

August 13th, 2017 … Memory or The Decisive Moment … Cont’d

Ya know, I gotta tellya’s…. it’s summer time here in Philly and my brain is on vacation. So maybe I am writing about memory for a reason. The thing that I get from photography is the realization that I love the process and I need the catalyst that photos present. Pete and Andrey wrote some very profound comments on my last post and I urge toy to read them. You don’t have to comment but you should read them. I am basically a streetshooter. I used to do other things but for the last 30+ years, mostly street. For me, street = life. So as a life shooter, what is it I am after? I kinda think that it filters down to a residue of intent.

When I’m out shooting, I am not thinking about memories,. Sometimes but not a priority. So, I make photos with the purpose of getting them into Light Room and then making the photo represent my vision. Of course I rely on memory but truthfully, I am totally aware that there is a new reality being borne. This is my intent, well part of it. So I make photos to serve something different than memories. Any memory cast forward from the photo is really from the photo and not so much the scene or subject where I was when I released the shutter. This is very important to grasp.

The memory of the photo or making the photo is secondary to the actual photo. The experience is not as important as the end result. Don’t get me wrong. I adore, no…I breathe photography. It’s not something I do as a pastime or hobby or as an art form. I do it because I have no choice. A heroine junkie has an easier time detoxing from junk then I ever could from making photos. I don’t define photography, it defines me.  Ok, enuff of that.

The Clarity of Intent

Shhhhh, don’t spread this around. I hear tell and I know for a fact that some people are very serious about this photography thing. Seems crazy right? Well, let’s explore this serious side of this photo making thing. There comes a point in time that is marked as a moment of recognition of the self. This moment for the photographer is an awareness of intent. This is the continuing culmination of the gathering of info, thoughts and feelings. This is our supply feed for our work.

Lets assume that we are out working and something kinda captures out attention. At that moment, our supply feed and the exterior catylist join together and present us with the birth or death of the photo.

We are then faced with the option to make the photo or not.  Many things will happen quickly to come to the conclusion of the unborn photo. This is not yet intent but rather the decision to develop intent or not. Things happen and you may or may not make a photo.

You need to be alert and sensitive to this moment. All that you are is present and needs to be at the ready. What if you decide to make the photo? Well, try this for size. If you are aware that all of you is in the moment and you have accepted the responsibility to yourself and the unborn photo, then the intent of all is showing the way.

The moment and the decisive moment are working together but not the same. Being in the moment or the here and now leads to the release of the shutter. The release of the shutter is the decisive moment.

At that exact moment in your life is the realization that you either satisfied your intent or not. If you feel that you got it, then the rest is a very tuned, aware process of giving birth to the photo. If not, then the decision to move on is necessary. Just remember that not every photo is whats considered a keeper. The thing is, even if the photo is not a keeper, does not mean it fails at intent. Lets say that you were doing a street scene. Here’s the thing about The Moment and Memory. In the moment making a street photo, that satisfies your intent, provides a photo that is more about the making and satisfying yourself. This is the dividing factor of the Moment and INTENT.

 

I need another post to get the point across.

I will post in a day or so…………..be blessed my friends……………………………………shooter out…………………………………..

July 12th, 2017 … The Photographer’s Toolbox … Juxtaposition

It’s common knowledge to know that juxtaposition is the most important element in photos. I won’t speak about other art forms, just photography. If you look in the dictionary, you will see a definition stating it’s about contrasting elements.

  1. :  the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect an unusual juxtaposition of colors; also :  the state of being so placed contrasting shapes placed in juxtaposition to each other

In part that is true but in whole, it leaks and desires to be more. Juxtaposition is the single most creative device at our disposal as photographers. In the photo above, we have Jefferson’s face and his riveting eyes and layered behind, people walking in unison. Maybe, just maybe that’s not the only juxtaposition. What if juxtaposition is based on contrast. They say it is. If that’s so, is the contrast of black & white a juxtaposition?

How about the contrast of dark and light and also movement? The shot above has the dark and light and movement but just a faint glimpse of stillness. Then there is the blur and is the fact that there is nothing not blurred an issue. What if we have juxtaposition implied and not stated perfectly in the frame. Is the concept of an image and the reality it comes from, is that also a juxtaposition?

The reason I write about this is, because out there working, we need to understand the devices and trigger mechanisms that we have and then to be aware of them. Oh yeah, then use them. During the course of me teaching workshops, certain questions were brought more than others.  Trigger mechanisms, juxtaposition are just a few. Many say to keep a toolkit. That’s right but the toolkit is not your camera or lens or any gear. That’s your camera. Your toolkit is what you have at the ready in your mind.

Perhaps you won’t want to accept this but it’s right anyway. When you work, your toolkit gets activated and aides you in the making of the photo. This is not the camera etc. That’s your friend. Your toolkit is the knowledge you have acquired and the way you use that. Photography for most of us is a process of inside/outside. What you have inside is what influences you on the outside. Of course, the outside also influences your inside. That’s where your toolkit comes into play.

So this becomes a major juxtaposition. Seeing the inside image and playing it against the outside, is the basis of making photos. Ansel and Minor called this, Pre-visualization. I suppose we should call it that also. The main difference is that with a stand camera, it’s easier to find the image inside you on the outside. Once the camera is planted, it’s a question of framing, light, movement etc. Same as for us with handheld cameras but we move thru life instead of standing in it. Ansel’s juxtapositions were more literal whereas Minor was more cerebral and emotional.

Life is a potpourri of thoughts and feelings. Speaking for myself, I travel thru life and smell the roses even tho most around don’t even see them. Not that I’m special, even tho I read my own writings. I remember being with Harry Bertoia. We were talking about art and photography. I was amazed by his works but what got me was his thoughts and emotions. He told me that he felt that we have a certain amount of energy. We use this energy to do our work. As we get older, the works become that much more special and personal because they see the finality. I asked him why he did his work. He told me…”Because I can”.

I’m not a kid and I don’t get excited about hearing something I have heard a million times. I must tell you. When Harry said that to me, it was like hearing it for the first time. It resonated in the fiber of my being. It still is vibrating. Harry asked me if I understood juxtaposition. Well, cocky ass me said, of course I do but I sure would like to know what it means to you. Harry laff’d with a refrained chuckle. He took me to one of his sculptures for the Sound of Sculpture. Then he said breathe. Harry took his hand and arm and drew it thru the rods. I saw a wave that was magical and I could hear the sounds. I realized immediately that all things are open to each of us to draw our own conclusion.

The beauty of photography is the beauty of life. The toolbox of life fills the toolbox of photography. Our experiences and our thoughts and emotions, installs the tools we need to work and survive. We all she the air and the planet while we are alive on it. What we do with our life is the juxtaposition that we make for ourselves. It may be nice to have a following and make money if that’s your thing. The important concept to realize and use, is that in your toolbox is the makings of your work.

Your toolbox is your tools, your camera is your friend, life is your journey, go make photos and find out there what’s inside you.