Sometimes I Just Want To Make Photos

I know I’m a little crazy or out there. I mean enough people in my life have told me that on a number of occasions.  Look, I’m a dead serious shooter. Photography grabbed me at a young age, 13 or so and never let me go. So I’ve always been very serious about my image making or work as I call it. Flickr has helped me loosen up a lot thru the past years. I mean I can post stuff that isn’t what I feel is my best work and feel ok about it. My Flickr friends are the best. I love looking at their work as much as my own. I love the comments, both ways. And….I really get off on helping some people out if I can. I do a fair amount of editing, C&C, organizing for those that ask me to help. I love that maybe more then anything else.

What am I missing?





I sometimes just want to make photos. I mean I always want, maybe need to make photos but I sometimes just want to make photos because I can and I want to.






There is a certain spontaneity that drives me and even tho most times I question myself before release…..sometimes I don’t pay attention to my own questions. I just shoot.






It’s like all this energy builds up inside me and my poor brain…. and a release is needed. The feeling of working without working is a very special feeling. It can be a very satisfying experience, providing one doesn’t get caught up in the trap of outside approval.








So, if your like me and your real serious about what your doing with photography……sometimes just let go of the rules you set for yourself, let the pure enjoyment of the freedom of making photos rise to the surface. You never know what will happen, you just want to make photos because you want to make photos.

If your gutsy…you can even do the proverbial cat picture.




The Esoteric Photographer



This applies to all genre’s of photography but of course my concerns will be Street. The world has many people in it. Many of those people are photographers. A good amount of those photographers are very serious about what they do. Some of those photographers are Street Shooters and some of those Street Shooters are very serious and some are not as serious.




So my point is, that a very serious street shooter is part of an esoteric community of  like minded individuals. These shooters are an international group with different cultures, speaking different language but….that share a common goal of working the street….wherever that may be.  There exist a strong satisfaction when another shooter praises your photo or likes it….




The street is loaded with mystery, intrigue, history and history yet to be forged. There is life out there. There are images yet to be found. There are shooters that are called poets of society, the street shooters. Street Shooters are Citizens of the world that record what the world looked like while they were on it…..

……..if that makes them esoteric….so be it….I’m guilty as charged….




This post is dedicated to my friend from Moscow Russia………..

All In a Dream, All In a Dream

New Years Day, or as we say it here in Philly…Mummers Day 1971. I got home from Nam Dec 23rd 1970. This is the first shoot I did to start the new year. After the day, I went back in my bedroom for a few months.

Mummers Day

I hate visiting my old photos. Sure I love them but each one marks a period of time that I’d probably like to forget. I’d rather leave those forgotten moments in the history of the dream world.

Someday I’ll click the shutter one last time. Then I’ll be a part of the Dream World and maybe I can find my Brothers from Nam that didn’t get a chance to be in this world….we have a lot to talk about…..

click….not yet……..!


Bottom Line….Make it Personal, Make it Count.

Don’t get lost out there. Remember what your doing and for whom your doing it for. Y O U !

There are many good shooters out there and many have a strong cult following. Sure, it’s nice to see the work but don’t ever let it get inside you. Don’t ever let it control what you are thinking or doing. If you feel that you are loosing the self, step back and regroup. Make images that are personal and make them count. Bunk to anyone else.

Once you are strong and find your way, you can deal with the pollutants others bring to your eyes. As good as another shooter is, he/she can never make a more personal image for you. That is inside you and it’s yours.

Now go out and find it………oh…take your camera too……!



It’s Not What Your Work Does For You, It’s How It Inspires Others.

Today is a marked day for me. Since 2004 I have been saving emails from web friends that I have helped in some way. Today in my Email I received #1000.

Look, I seriously live for photography. I love my work and feel blessed in a way I don’t feel I deserve. But there has always been 1 thing that excited me as much if not more sometimes……when I get to help someone and create inspiration. This recent note was from a female shooter, very good shooter that has amassed a beautiful body of work. She can’t see where the work is taking her and she can’t see the path she has traveled to get here.

We did a Skype thing and after a hour, she had a completely new look at her work. I’m not saying I’m a miracle worker, a teacher or anything other then a dead serious shooter that works from the eye, heart and mind.

The feeling I have now for helping her see the light is a feeling that I wish many could experience but won’t.


I made 2 photos for her to show how I think on the run….






You either get these or you don’t but the important thing to me is….she gets them and can now see the light….

I feel blessed for a minute………..

Staying Focused on the Unfocused.


Some of my favorite photos are unfocused. I’m talking like the Bar Shot of Robert Frank. I’m not posting his photo here because you should know it and if you don’t, go learn it.

What’s interesting is the lack of fine detail and what remains is just the needed detail and info to view. Does this mean that the photo has bad IQ? Maybe what it means is to be aware of the inverse square law that governs photography….life also but photography for us. The lack of detail in the image draws us in to investigate the meaning without interference.



So perhaps the critics that always know best and force the guilt of freedom upon us could in fact be right……NAH!  This comes down to INTENT again. The next time you look at a photo and see that it’s not as focused as you may like…..ask yourself if the DOF was wrong or the camera had shake or maybe, just maybe….

That was the shooters intent…..fancy that!



In Search Of: Intent



The way photography works for me when I’m really on it is….. I see something that would make an interesting image. Then with the image in my head, I frame and then release the shutter. Looking at the screen on the camera shows me a general idea of what will develop. When I get to the computer and open the file in LR…that’s where the magic is. The image will either be borne in LR or it won’t.




As the image is being processed, same as in my darkroom, I start to FEEL something emotional happening. I see the image that I feel. I hope you get that. It’s always been that way for me, hopefully always will be.

When I see the finished photo, I don’t care who likes it, who wants to buy it, who comments on it…..all I know is that the image has achieved my INTENT and that in the end is all that will ever matter to me.



We can all hide on forums, web hosting sites etc. It’s nice to get response from our efforts. We feel that we are reaching out to others with acceptance.

At  the end of the day my friend, it’s you and your work. Nothing can strip you down and make you stand naked in front of your intent like the work you produce.

I hope you like what you see and if not seek out the method to find your intent, because what someone else does is nice for them but you……….click!



The Olympus EP-3 is on the job.



It’s been some time since I used a Pen Camera. I’ve had both, the EP-1 & the EP-2. I must admit, the EP-1 was and still is my favorite digital camera…until now! All the things I wanted to see improved are installed in the EP-3. This is not a review. This is not a sales pitch. This is the lost and found of feelings for a camera and how it helped me work. I know, youse don’t care about feelings about your camera. I know, you don’t name your cameras either. I feel for you, I really do.




I got very attached to the Pen 1 because it never let me down. It always brought satisfaction when I processed my work. Nah it ain’t no high tech fancy schmancy camera. What it is, is a very elegant extension of your vision. The EP-3 is an updated version of a camera that worked great as it was. So you figure out what that means. I know!





I’m not saying the EP-3 is the camera for you but I am saying….when I stopped using the Pen 1 & 2…something got lost in the mix. No, not a case, not a battery, nothing tangible. That’s the problem….I couldn’t find what I was looking for because I couldn’t touch what I was looking for.


I set the EP-3 up last night. The menu confused me a little but I got thru it. After a few hours I felt comfortable that I was good to go. I dreamt of being on the street and below also. I could see myself using the camera making images….. I awoke knowing that the camera and I were on the same page and The Pen 3 was up to the task and also to carry on the heritage of it’s forefathers.



So I made these images today in 24f weather. I forgot one important thing about the Pens….. Metal cameras get cold as fast as hands…..



There exist little doubt about the Pen 3 and me. We traveled a long way together. Maybe different versions of a real camera but we were together for many a good images that will become part of  my history.


Looking out into the light………?



Enjoying Your Vision


There is such pressure to produce quality work that one may feel stifled. Lets face it, like it or not we like to have people LIKE our photos, FAVORITE our photos etc. It makes the reward of others equally or even more gratifying then our own. Don’t feel bad, just remember that photography is a personal journey and we answer to our own self…when we realize that.

The above photo could be seen as “Contrived”. Of course it is. That was my INTENT but I don’t care because I like the image and it reflects how I felt at that very moment. I set it up in a flash of a second and needed to make it look just as it does. I used Andre’ and made the photo knowing what it looked like before release. Oh’ sorry…Andre’ is my white GRD4. Of course you name your cameras also…..right?



Photographic INTENT is the single most important piece of the shooters LIFE. What I mean is….you must be in the HERE and NOW at the time of exposure. Bresson called this the Decisive Moment. We call it Awareness of Intent. It’s not exactly the same but it’s not exactly different either.

The above photo was next in the shoot that I was aware of my intent. The file number shows not far apart. I’m not explaining why I made the photo, only that my INTENT is realized by it.



This is for Alan Barr. He posted a photo the other day of this escalator and I asked him with a comment if it was from Snyder or Oregon Ave. Her replied quickly that it was in fact at 15th and Market. Talk about Visual Perception…..I have been on this escalator a million times…yes, I counted. I know it back and forth and have made countless images of it and it’s faithful riders.

When Alan posted the location to my question I felt like I was forgetful or better yet….stupid. How could I not recognize that escalator? That my friends is the concept of photography in a single image. It totally proves the separation of the 3 dimensional reality from the 2 dimensional reality.

Thank You Alan…your a gentleman shooter and I’m lucky to share the same streets as you.




With all this being said….sometimes ya just get lucky……

Till next time….


The GRD4, The Natural Choice For Street


As many cameras as I have had and tested and used, the GRD4 stands above and beyond the rest. I do a 30 day test period with any new camera and I don’t use anything but the test camera.



I have been testing and using the Fuji X10 and it’s a very nice camera. It’s great for street with a learned intuitive interface. I passed the 30 test date a few days ago and I longed for my GRD4.



The Ricoh has such a NATURAL feel to that it’s almost an organic feeling. Funny, an organic digital experience.


I’m not going on and on about this camera but…..well….later….


Street Photography Chronicles by Don Springer