January 12th, 2017 … Magic of the Street … Being a Visual Alchemist
Maybe I’m just to sensitive to things but the mood on the street at this time, in Philly is one of confused mixed emotions. I don’t mean politics or work, or financial issues, it’s more about the magic that is missing. Yeah, I know I’m crazy. See, life is a beautiful things and it’s good to live it. The thing for me is to have the magic and that makes living more special. Photography is based on visual magic. Seeing a scene and making a photo is magic. The idea of seeing, the idea of making a photo….nothing short of magic. When I was doing my darkroom for 40+ years, the alchemy turned me on to a high that no drug could ever match. For me, making the negs was the most exciting part of the processing part.
I mean, going out and working and then coming home to my darkroom, making negs, that proves that all went well so far. So if in fact that photography is magic then it seems to me that when I make a photo, and that is magic, how about the people in the photo? Do they see or feel magic? Do they even believe anymore in magic? Is the magic contagious? Where does the magic get it’s energy from?
Is it possible to share the magic? Does magic need to have people convinced that it exist? Don’t they know that just the fact that they exist means they live with and in magic? So, if we as shooters seek and fine magic and make a photo that has magic in it, does that mean we are magicians? Well, we are alchemist in the darkroom, much like Merlin, so perhaps we are magicians in a world that has lost the magic. I name all my cameras like I named my guitars. I don’t really talk to my cameras but if I did my Shrink needs to know about it.
We are given choices in life. One of the choices is how we see the world. I mean as shooters, how do we see the world. Do we just walk around aimlessly and wait for photos to find us and we can TAKE them? That’s a way many seem to work. Then there is the shooters that walk around and they are visual alchemist and they seek and find material to MAKE photos. It’s like there is a passive/aggressive method of working. I see it as either an observer or a participant. You can even be both at the same time. So really I suppose it’s a matter of stance again. How we feel about ourselves and our subject matter.
Harry Bertoia told me that I need to dance thru life. Life is a dance he said. As you dance thru it, sometimes the music is not to your liking but you just dance anyway because in time, the music of life will change to your liking. Just the very concept of what Harry said is magic. The magic in the dance of life, tat’s what I want to see and experience and make photos of.
So when we look at our work, we see the magic of life thru our lens. We experience life in a way that not everyone gets to do. We have a gift and we get to share it with other like minded people. The beauty of that experience is beyond words. For me, life with a camera is magic and life without the camera is almost unbearable….not almost, it is! I am at the age that I make my photos and the real magic for me now is that I need no reinforcement from anyone to make me feel better. My photos do that for me.
Enjoy my friends and love the magic and if you can’t find it, look at your photos and then you should see it.