February 1st, 2014 ….. Defining The Self Thru Your Photos ….. Part 1

02-14-0043I’ve been asked recently by a few shooters why I make the photos I make. They are talking about the Dreamcatcher series. I can explain my almost rationale behind this.

Basically we all live in a shared reality. Well some of us don’t get to share in reality to well and then some of us have altered reality. That’s all cool as no one person should have power over another’s perception. Who’s in a different reality now Shooter? Ok, I don’t want to go off on this too much and I also have been prompted to explain what and why I do with photography. So the month of February will be dedicated to my thoughts and actions. If you find this interesting, great if not…well…there’s plenty of gear related forums and blogs around. I will talk about gear but basically, it’s photography as my life’s work.

I see photographs and making them as a means of personal expression. I see viewing other shooters photos as their personal expression. Viewing photos on Flickr for me is the same as finding my own out there…..> When I post a comment on someones photo, I do so fully aware that it will have value to the maker. It has value because the comment is a mark of approval, acceptance, understanding etc from maker to viewer. There are times when I get Flickr burnout and I delete 100’s of emails with my friends photos in them. I do so because I maybe am burned out. The same thing happens on the street. At times I just don’t want to see out there. So the visual pert of seeing others and making my own shares certain aspects with each other.

02-14-0047One of the long term series I work on is called the Dreamcatcher. I call it that because it sounds like I feel the photos. The idea is that, if we all work in a shared reality, then how does one find one’s own photos out there?

I’m asking you……! Ok, I’ll give it a shot. If your out there working and so is many other shooters, what makes you different from them? NO! It’s not camera and lenses. It’s probably not location either. What it is, is the fact that the shooter could find a way to relate to him/herself and dig deep into the core of their being and try to get some of the crux out and make photos of/with it.

My father was killed in an auto accident when I was 6 years old. I remember like yesterday the State Troopers coming to the house and standing there telling my pregnant mother that her husband was dead. The in an hour, my Grandparents arrived. They are my Dads parents. My Grandmother put me on her knee and told me that my dad was on his way to heaven and it was a one way journey. She pointed up to the ceiling but she meant the sky. She was a strong woman and her concern at the time was for me to understand and not for her to mourn her lost son.

The reason I mention this is because at a very young age, I was introduced to the other side, or at least the dream of the other side.

Go to the light! Go to the light!  The light will show you the way…. Follow the light….. that concept has lived and grown inside me for over 50 years.

02-14-0025So I am forever on the search of the LIGHT. The transition of dark and light and the haze, glow all intoxicates me. It enters my mind and when it does, I’m always at the ready for another Dreamcatcher image. I have developed presets for Light Room that are imbedded in my brains firmware. I get periodical firmware updates as I develop more presets.

So, as a street shooter, I have to deal with many attractions/detractions when I’m working. Here’s something…… If photography has the captivating magic of showing one person what another person saw and made a photo of, are we in fact limited to the shared reality we all take for granted?  No, of course not.  I don’t chase the Dreamcatcher because I want to be different, I do it because I want to THINK and SEE things differently for myself.

In 50 years, I dare say I have never been bored and I tried never to be complacent about my photographic journey. I have always felt like a child that has lost his dad and wondered where he may be. I have always cherished the journey and always, always try to find another path to travel with my camera. What this means to anyone reading this, is to seek your own vision and find your own path for your journey.

There’s an old saying”It’s all been done before”…HORSE TURDS! What you are doing and going to do has never been done before. It’s an adventure that you and you alone take by yourself and the result is unknown. If it were any other way, life would be way too predicable and boring. So why would you settle for less in your images.


So lets look at it in a more realistic approach. (This term is used loosely as I may not be the best at reality) When you go out to shoot, what your looking for is images. Your looking for photos that in the end, partly define you. These photos are a part of the definition of what others and even yourself see to define YOU. So, if your out there trying to find Bresson, Krause, Kertesz, Winogrand, Friedlander photos, you have my sympathy. Sure they are all masters but I promise, they were not out looking for YOUR photos, why the hell would you seek theirs? If that’s what your INTENT is, it’s better served in a library or collection some place. There you don’t have to work and you can try to grasp what they were feeling and thinking at release. Good luck!

02-14-0023You do not have to be a Bresson to make photos. (I heard that there were around 15 shooters worldwide that never even heard of him.)  It could be more but I can’t know about that stuff. So, what we try to do out there is find parts of us that help define what we are and how we do things. In the course of our photography, we have to come to terms of what OUR PHOTOS look like. This is entirely up to you and if your happy to have things look like everyone else, that’s great as it’s much less work.

02-14-0029I’m not saying that you have to intentional find a way to LOOK different but I am suggesting you take the time to try to discover some things that start to define you. It’s a journey we as shooters take and hopefully share on the way to the self. The interesting thing about photography is that we get to share our vision with others but I think it’s all important to make sure that vision is starting to define the shooter. Then, the next time you share work, people look forward to seeing what you see……


I’m keeping this series going until my brain goes on vacation. Any questions, comments…please speak up….till part 2….

shooter out………………..

4 thoughts on “February 1st, 2014 ….. Defining The Self Thru Your Photos ….. Part 1”

  1. Interesting as always. I like the Dreamcatcher style photos you have shared. I look forward to the rest of the series.

    1. Thanks Dan, no not for the comment but those amazing cookies. I’ve been working hard to lose a few pounds as per my Dr’s orders but, well chocolate chip tames even the wild beast, just ask my wife.
      Thanks to you and yours….. Have a blessed future…

  2. Thanks for this very interesting read. I totally agree with your view always looking forward for new work. Thanks.

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