May 14th, 2019 … Thinking vs Not Thinking … Are They The Same?

Accountability is the course for me. When I’m making photos, I am inspired by the simple fact that I was awake in the here and now making the photo. It gives me satisfaction and proof when I view the photos now and later. I’m not implying that anyone needs to follow in this manner. I can’t promise I will myself, and stay subject to change if needed or not needed. But on the issue of conscious accountability, this is it for me.

Giovanni stated in a chat we had, that he prefers to not think at all. I get that for real but I wonder if, in fact, that nonthinking state of working is any different than a thinking state of working? The old saying of “The proof is in the pudding” and it’s perfectly true. The thing is, there are many flavors and textures and taste of the pudding. So we all have the given right to choose and use the pudding of our choice. Do we taste our pudding as well as look at it and find it appealing? How about the scent? All these things and more come into play but are they conscious things or unconscious things and perhaps, crazy as it seems… a combination of all things.

What I find inspiring and exciting is, viewing my photos and that they in a way, draw me back to the experience of life. The experience of the moment of exposure. I think it’s more than the Decisive Moment, it’s more something of reinforcing the memory of life. Proof that I was there. So on the one hand that is very sweet and loving. On the other hand, it goes against the very essence of photography as I live it.  The photograph should live on its own merit and not have to draw upon the 3-dimensional reality for its value and existence. Perhaps this is not the only truth of photography. I mean, of course, memories are crucial to life and the validation of photography but the fact is, the photograph really is just a catalyst or tool to conjure up the lost memory or is it?

What about when you just want to work for the sake of saving your soul. I mean as art artform, (Stieglitz not so happy now) … Is the process the same for making photos as an extension of your soul as it is as a keeper of the memory. seems to me that making a conscious memory is a very important process. I never thought about just having a lackadaisical approach in making a memory.   I always tried to capture the best version of what or whom I was working with. We need to be awake and aware of the process and all of it’s intent before, during and after the exposure. We should desire to make the photo memory be all that it can be without the intrusion of anything in the way.


This has mostly been the Professional approach to making photos. It certainly requires attention and the absolute awareness of the shooter’s presence. There is a nobility in the very act of making photos. The usual situation of working for someone, money or not, requires a 100% concentration and awareness of being in the here and now. You need to satisfy the needs of your client, This is first and foremost. So that approach can and is applied to working for yourself. ultimately, working for ourselves is the step to working for a client. The pro shooter commits his/her vision to the project and makes the photos for the intent of the project.  (I am going to use a suggestive word and it applies to my thoughts even if it’s a stretch. The Personal Shooter.) The personal shooter has him/herself as a client. The photos made are for individual intent.

So in this stance, perhaps it’s ok to adopt a few ways of working. As Giovanni stated, he doesn’t want to think about things, just make his photos. I agree that this is a noble way to work and very fulfilling.  Maybe working that way has defined accountability but I like clarity. I’m not saying Giovanni does not like clarity, I’m merely stating that I like clarity during the process.  For me, there is elegant freedom walking around with my camera friend making photos and being in the here and now, regardless of where it is.

I believe in the principle of the Inverse Square Law. More is less and less is more. I see it like this. The more awareness I have the greater the freedom is born. I have very few intrusions.

The less aware I am of process, the more intrusions present themselves.  I don’t know anything as a landmark for reality. This I do know cause I live it.

When I was young, I was taught that a photograph speaks 1000 words. As I grew older, not so much wiser, I found that a photo spoke less than 1000 words. As time passed, I realize that my photos maybe speak a half dozen words and that’s given a stretch. I guess it’s that Inverse Square Law that has haunted my very essence for all my life. I view my photos and words lose meaning and become cloudy as the photos are borne.

There is a saying by a Doctor Murray Banks, It goes like this. “As you go through your life brother, whatever be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.

Be Blessed one and all.  Namaste’






6 thoughts on “May 14th, 2019 … Thinking vs Not Thinking … Are They The Same?”

    1. Thanks, Michael. This stuff is inside me and as I get older, harder to get it out. It’s also more important for me to do so.

  1. Hi Don, I guess I’m the Giovanni you’re talking about… 🙂 So I hope you don’t mind my interjecting here, as I’m not sure I recognize the Giovanni that transpires from your post.
    What I was referring to durning our exchange is that I am most comfortable when I’m so used to a camera’s way of working that I don’t have to focus on the camera while I’m focusing on (paying attention to) the subject. Which should not be a license to shoot with random camera settings, but rather adapting one’s settings to the situation without much though (like you don’t overthink a stick shift drive!). A bit of a zen archer concept, I guess. Which does not mean I always hit the target, I’m not zen enough! 🙂
    It’s also true that most times the subject itself works best if it is not ‘overthought’: instinctive appeal and emotional attraction need not be questioned there and then. We shoot what resonates with us, it’s abundantly clear in your images and that’s what makes them stronger than most. I sometime say, we shoot self-portraits all the time…

    1. Giovanni, oh yeah… your the one and only Giovanni I was talking about. I talk about Zen a lot but I’m as far from Zen as possible. Instead of being in a certain defined Zen state on the street, I like the intrusions and distractions of life in the mix. The smell of the ladies, drunks, junkies, traffic noises, shouting, quiet, shadows and shadow lurkers, the sunlight blasting thru the darkness….the cracks in the curb that make me want to fall, so much more to life than this I wrote. The thing I don’t feel an intrusion with is my camera and my mind. I think about life and what it means to others and what it doesn’t mean at all.

      The beauty of life is not in living but in the awareness of being alive.
      good light my friend….. email coming your way

      1. Oh, but a zen archer is all about forgetting the bow and just think of the target, right? Then if your heart and mind tell you that the target / subject is that lady or this drunk, bathed in light or lurking in the shadow, bless your heart and let the eye point you there! and let the camera be your eye’s extension without even having to think it’s there…

        1. Giovanni, of course, your right. I agree completely. I guess that’s why I name my camera. Not because I talk to them or because they are a tool, but because I like all things on the same wavelength when I’m working. The stimulus for my creative energy comes from the subject matter at hand and that breaks the energy of the wavelength I am in. Now that I’m older, I don’t like to relinquish the awareness of working reality and much prefer being in the here and now and as aware of that working reality that I can be. Not sure if you know about pasta, (kidding) but there are many ways to prepare it just like many ways to be in ZEN.

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