Category Archives: Street Photography

April 22nd, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Supporting Vision … in the IUSI

What do I mean by Supporting Vision? Ok, this is it. Walk around and keep your camera in a case or pocket. Don’t use it for 30 minutes. Feel the vision that you have developed and you’ll see photos that you may have made or wanted to. You didn’t or can’t cause it’s not 30 min yet. If you are feeling your vision, you can tune into your photos without a camera. Now the hard part. Breathe the feelings of photos you want to make, but no camera yet. We all do that anyway but now it’s a conscious effort. Feel the feeling of your photos? Sure ya do and if ya don’t pretend ya do, just to humor the ole shooter.

Now, take the camera in hand. Ok, pause for an infomercial. Years ago a friend and fellow Admin, Brian Mosley,  at M43 forum suggested the following hold. Brian suggested to hold the camera in the left hand, (right handed people). Then your right hand is free to use the controls without the burden of the grip. I tried this and low and behold, it works fine. It actually works wonders. It also inspires the brain to rethink the preconceived grip procedure. Remember I talked about being complacent? Well, this is a step for doing so. So, I think you may get a charge out of the “Brian Mosley Left Handed Grip. Ya just need to open your mind. Who knows what treasures you may find there.

The subject matter is a subjective conscious decision. Sometimes we go along in a submissive state and wait to get hit on the head to see a photo. Other times we may be more dominant in the process and we act more directly in subject selection. Both manners work fine and we just need to be tuned into ourselves to know how we are working. Then there is a state that I can’t really define too clearly and authentically. It’s a state some call the Here and Now or maybe Zen.

I kinda feel like inventing a new state. The International United State of Inspiration. (IUSI) This actually describes what I feel like when I’m working. The Ricoh GR III kinda anchors me in this state. Yes, it has a sense of humor and changes EV or position of the AF box, but all in all……it does what I really desire a camera to do. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III keeps me happy in IUSI.

Why is this even mentioned or deemed important? Well, did you ever change a starter in a car? The manufacturers place the starter in a position that when you work on it, you will bang your knuckles. Oh, yeas, pain, aggravation, and words that the devil would shy away from. This task is not exciting or sensual or exciting. Even a paid mechanic doesn’t fall in love with auto parts. So, as shooters, we have the gift of love and sensuality with our work and our camera. We choose to find and support the IUSI in our work. If we are focused, no pun intended, then we can be there.

So, supporting the IUSI of our work is a shared responsibility. We are the human element. The camera is the translator of the language of the photograph. Processing is the alchemy of the sum of all the parts to prepare everything to show in the final image. Each step along the was is prone to gremlins. Our knowledge of each part is what determines what we use in our visual process. Any gremlins in the process will no doubt create negative energy and that could cause things to be not enjoyable.

There’s a guy in my Saturday meetup here in Philly and he always challenges me and my intent. He questions my motivation in photography. He says that I only teach the course so I can make money. Laff’n.

I told him, Brad, you pay for the course, right? Brad says yes. The other 14 people are looking at Brad. I say, Brad, your the only one that pays for this course. The others just come and we exchange ideas and things. He looks at the others, you guys don’t pay? No everyone says, never did. The Brad says, Don, why didn’t you tell me this before? Brad I said, you tease people, you incite negative energ=y and you specifically don’t respect me even tho I respect you. I respect you enough that if your gonna be this way than everyone else and me, will have breakfast and lunch on your expense. If I have to deal with you, I want to be paid.

So, your out making photos and all this stuff is going thru your head. Why am I so insistent about this IUSI situation?

I love and LIVE photography. I hope you all do also. I wish that the inspiration developed triggers your Eye, Heart, and Mind. If you don’t love photography and life with it, well, you can always paint the bathroom.

So, for the track shot…. I was waiting for the train to go home. I looked up the tracks and saw the lights of the approaching train

As I turned back, I spot the doll on the near the tracks, looks like it was hit. I reach in my pocket, grab Andre’ the Ricoh GR III and as I hold him, switch to AF mode… The train is closer, really close

I set the aperture at 2.8, look at the photo and CLICK! The train was here in 10 seconds. ! shot, even with slower AF in low light… I’ll keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

March 31st, 2019 … Daily Shot … Ricoh GR III … For President Trump

Well, Andre’ the Ricoh GR III and the old streetshooter have created a bond that appears to have longevity for the future. It took a few compromises but I am very comfy with the camera.

I was doing a shoot in Northern Liberties here in Philadelphia and came upon Old Glory almost at rest. The wind was so soft as it swirled around me and I watched as it moved in and out of the folds of Old Glory. The clouds were forming and a few droplets of rain lay at rest on my face.

I wanted to make a photo but I worried about Andre’ the Ricoh GR III cause he doesn’t like rain. Pity huh? I looked at Old Glory and the empty space in the sky. The clouds were forming to bring the rain.

I thought, there’s a possibility of a photo and just a possibility. Then a calm took over me and I started to feel that there is always a reason for everything.

I thought about the political mess we have in our country. I thought about how many, many took pleasure in disrespecting Old Glory and her Front Runner, President Trump.

I raised Andre’ and looked at the screen and then as if the angel of photography sent me the missing elements that even I could not know they were missing. I smiled and CLICK!

By the time I lowered Andre’, the birds of the future past vanished into the oblivion of night.

……and our flag was still there. …..

March 30th, 2019 … From The Streets of Philadelphia … Ricoh GR III

There are times in our life that we must surrender to the forces of perfection. This is one of those times.

Andre’ the Ricoh GR III has been on the scene for about a week. I do mean my scene as your scenes may vary timewise. I struggled at first with finding the intuitive way to be together.  I suppose that any means to get intuitive would require an acquired approach. In my mind, I kept comparing the GR III with GR II. Maybe that mindset was holding me back some and I finally surrendered to the GR II and it’s differences to the GR II. So I set sail with the Ricoh GR III and we decided to form a bond and to get acquired information to become intuitive. It’s a fine replacement to the GR II. I can not overemphasize how perfect the SR = Shake Reduction actually is.  I don’t know for sure how Ricoh thinks about the camera but the camera itself is proof that thought went into it. The missing Flash is for sure a conversation many will linger on. I see it this way. If I can hand hold the camera and get a very usable photo at 1/5 sec, why need a flash. See, the majority of street shooters kind wanna be discreet. Not all but the majority. If your out shooting with a flash, your not discreet at all. So I figure Ricoh thought that way also and made the camera very capable of low light shooting. It is!

 

The way I like to use the GR series is like this. I set the exposure for 1/125 f5.6 This a good shade setting and if you like low ISO. I do sometimes especially on bonding with a camera. I set snap focus distance to 2.5m.  My fav is 1/250 f8. Anyway, I work like this until I want to switch to AF. Switching to AF I still work the same exposure because I use Auto ISO. What ya don’t want to do but certainly can change the f-stop. If you decide to go back to snap focus, you are already at the right f-stop for the set Snap Distance. The AF on the GR III is very snappy except if you’re in l o w  l i g h t and then it hunts for good contrast. I don’t use the touch screen and haven’t in any other camera either. My cameras are my family and not tools so no need to be critical or anal about that stuff.

 

So Suzanne asked me why I am posting these 3 photos. Good question. I feel that Andre’ the Ricoh GR III is now a part of my camera family. We have bonded and continue to do so in a rapid and efficient way. The first 3 days together and I was ready to send him packing. Then one night as I lay in bed relaxing, I got a telepathic message from Andre’. He said, ” look, shooter, I will do all that you ask of me within my abilities. In return you need to accept me as a partner and not a slave to your whims. I will adapt to you without fail but you, in turn, must adapt to me. Together we will achieve the ZEN we both seek”.

I thought that Andre’ was being damn ballsy and insistent about a 2-way relationship. I drifted off to sleep and visions of Andre floated around my tired brain.  I ran down to the kitchen and made a fresh cup of Kona. Back up to the office and I looked at Andre’ the Ricoh GR III. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating some but he had a smile on his uuum….lens face. The I knew at once it was time for us to leave the Grasshopper Office. Andre’ was right. I accepted his strengths and weaknesses as my own and we instantly had an intuitive relationship. All the I thought was wrong, (actually 1 single flaw) was in clarity and I am now at one again.

Andre’ told me that we are both responsible for this synergism we have created but…. if the photos suck, it’s my fault, not his….ever.

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

 

 

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

Macro Mode  1/100  f2.8  ISO 100

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

From DNG  1/200  f5.6 ISO 100

JPEG  Standard Same Exposure as above

Monotone

Soft Monotone

Hard Monotone

Hi-Contrast B&W

Positive Film

Bleach Bypass

Retro

HDR Tone

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

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

Be blessed all……

March 23rd, 2019 … Observations and Finding … Ricoh GR III

First off, I am not reviewing the Ricoh GR III. What I am doing is posting my observations and findings.  There are many others around that will post thoughts and photos and dissections of the camera. I can’t be bothered and so, will just post about how the camera works in the field. The first thing for me is…., no not the Unboxing Procedure, but naming the camera. The camera inherits the name, Andre’.

So now the camera is Andre’ the Ricoh GR III.  Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain how I do things. I like to have an intuitive synergism with all my cameras. That means Andre’ the Ricoh GR III at the moment.  This brings to the table the manual and setup. Ricoh provides a battery charger that is a USB to camera type. Of course with me, that won’t be a long lasting procedure. I did use it and it had Andre’ at full charge in less than an hour. I have some aftermarket chargers that are multi and I used that also. The charge rate and strength of charge were identical. So what is the difference? Well, figure you are in your place and the camera is on the USB charger. Then Penelope Cruia comes to see you for a few seconds and she’s in a nice bikini. Penelope says… make a photo of me master photographer. Well, of course, that may happen to you all the time but for most of us, not so. It’s a once in a lifetime happening. OMG! You can’t make the photo because your camera is tethered to the USB Charger. When Penelope comes to visit me, I will have access to Andre’ because I use an independent charger.

OOC

The camera is very intuitive, What exactly does that mean? Well, if you’re a Ricohphile, you have an understanding of how Ricoh’s work. I) like to lear6n the camera from the camera. To make a camera intuitive means that things are working out of habit. I mean, you learn the camera by using it and discovering the menus and features. It becomes intuitive because you went thru the menus and discovered and implemented the findings. That’s an intuitive way to work. When your out in the field and something happens, generally speaking, you can figure it out because you learned from the camera.

OOC

Now, the other way to work. I think of the manual as a spare tire.  Your cruising along making photos and something happens, you open the manual and figure out the solution. You probably don’t have the solution memorized because you don’t have to. You rely on the spare tire to get you back on the road. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong depending on the manual, just saying what becomes intuitive, is opening the manual and not the solution. Ricoh has and always had a very fast learning curve with their cameras, GR III is no exception.

OOC

I wrote that because I charged the battery and sat for about 15 minutes doing the menu and was ready to make my photos. There are more settings than I need. It’s nice to have them but I want the camera to work together with me and not for me or me for it. I made an initial setup and felt comfy. The GR II is a good way to move up although not the only way. If you have an idea about how you need the camera to perform, the GR III will offer you any personalization you could desire. While I was on the first walkabout with Andre’ the Ricoh GR III, I noticed that he was set on +.07 EV. Something like that. Truthfully, I don’t give a hoot about EV on any camera. Once I got home, I pulled out the spare tire and found EV settings and that ended that once it was set to 0EV.

OOC

There’s a lot more to explore on the camera but a basic setup is easy to achieve in a few minutes. The switch from AF to Snap is nice. Same as I have on the II. I have the Snap Distance opposite the Snap switch. See, the left button ISO is set to Snap. The right button Drive is set to Snap Distance. How sweet it is.

The raw files and the JPEGs are excellent. Color is outstanding. The B&W setting I use is Mono Hard. The lens is no doubt an act of love by its makers and is extremely addictive. I mean all of my Ricoh’s are called camera killers. I say that because when you start to work with a Ricoh, it kills the need and desire to use another camera. I switch off only our of guilt. The Ricoh GR III is considerably smaller than it’s parent. What’s nice is, it can stay on your palm and never be seen until you are ready to make a photo. Many want to know if it’s worth upgrading. I must admit, I absolutely say it is. The 24 MP files are nothing short of outstanding. For me, the finest camera making 24MP photos is hands down, the Leica M series. The Ricoh GR III equals if not surpass them easily. I’m not putting down the Leica, just stating that the Ricoh compares to the Leica. That’s a bold statement but truth.

I’ll have more soon but I’m still in the Ricoh GR III dream.

 

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

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

 

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

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

Be blessed

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.

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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?

 

 

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

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

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

That’s it……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 5th, 2019 … Once Upon a Dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… to be cont’d …