Unheard Voices … Pt 4


….I gotta tellya’s….I thought I was the only one messed up and as it turns out, there could be maybe are others.I know it’s hard to believe and I don’t believe it myself but the writing is on the wall…..

Apparently there exist no real solution to this issue. Maybe we don’t need one anyway. What I propose is a work a round that is not to difficult to live with. I believe that being aware of a problem is more important than solving the problem.  Just think, if you aren’t aware of a problem, than you can’t fix what you don’t know. If you are aware of a problem and even aware of problems that may arise in the future, you at least have the vision to tackle them.


So, we know we have all this baggage and stuff with us when we are working. We have to hold ourselves accountable and find a way to get the baggage away from the front of the lens.

I remember sitting with Minor White and talking. He said that the hardest thing to do is to see something for the first time. I really didn’t understand fully but I wanted to. This was maybe 1972. What he meant was that all that you are up to this point is in front of the lens at the precise moment that you make the photo. I started to think about that and ya know, 44 years later, I’m still thinking about this.

My answer is not the same as Minor’s. If you want his answer, read his photos and all will be illuminated. I see it this way.

1 Maybe we should see things as if seeing them for the first time.

2 Maybe we should see things as if we are seeing them for the last time.

3 I believe that neither is the proper stance. I feel that we should strive to be in the here and now. I talk about this a lot and this entire essay is about the here and now and how to recognize it and how to recognize when you have an intrusion or just fall out of it.

It all comes down to “The Stance”…..

c’mon, wait till tomorrow ok……….


10 thoughts on “Unheard Voices … Pt 4”

  1. Hi Don,

    The ” … here and now … ” is so very important in that if not, say being like a zen archer, the photographers intended goal will never be achieved. By this I mean that this hear and now state does not require deliberate conscious process – both in thought (like an instructive voice in your head) and exercised (like rehearsing movements to metronome) – that it becomes a monster that feeds on concurrent overthinking and drowning in indecision, poor decision, frustration and failure. If what had happened before and what may happen in the future is part of the monster’s diet, then the ” … here and now … ” can and never will be. Just possibly the ” … here and now … ” can only be recognised for what it is upon reflection, and the learning the reflection provides. This does not imply the application of a universal simplistic formula because each photographic opportunity comes with its own context specific circumstances and so, the ” … here and now … ” will have its own flavour. We just need to be infused with the best ” … here and now … ” ingredients to make the most of the situation.

    I’ve said it before: Believe in yourself, trust your instincts and your photography will being to loo after itself.

    Hope I was in the ” … here and now … ” to have written this clearly so that it all makes sense.


    1. C’mon Sean, you know better than to even question the value of your post. Your exactly right. Years ago I was really into archery. I had everything you could desire. My sight was match grade and I could hit a fly in flight and still hit the target 100 yards away. Then a guy named Ray was with us on a shoot and he had a bow and arrows. I watched him shoot and he didn’t hit the target all the time but enought that it made me thinks. The next week when we all went on a shoot, I went with my Compound and arrows.
      Ray told me to see the target, breathe in and just get into the moment. Be present he said. I missed my first few targets and was kinda bummed out.

      The Ray said, see the target, close your eyes and see the arrow hit the target, open your eyes and release.
      The feeling I had doing that with a bow and arrow was like nothing I ever felt before, consciously.

      I can’t do archery anymore cause I tore my archers muscle….

      but that’s how I make photos to this day…….

  2. Hi Don,
    Thanks for the above reply.

    I also, many years ago, engaged myself in archery for a period of 10 years.

    It’s an interesting and rewarding activity – almost zen like at times – because ultimately you come to realise that you are competing against yourself and that bloody voice in your head. Once you quell that voice and educate it, it then allows that ‘in the moment’ stream to shine through, along with the accompanying achievements.

    Back to archery. I never used compound bows, but just the following two: one was a long bow, and the other was a recurve bow.

    Photography is, in my estimation, a lot like archery.


    1. Sean,
      Archery is very similar to photography. It’s that ZEN state that we all strive for. I think the best we can hope for is the absence of intrusions and preconceptions and it seems so easy to accomplish but the truth is, it’s the hardest thing to attempt and the simplest thing to wish for.

  3. I never met Minor, but the first photographic image that told me that this image making thing can be more then what it is was his – “Windowsill Daydreaming”. Still my favorite image of all time. Maybe because she was my first…..

        1. Yeah, another great reason to stay with digital……

          I love printing but I hated spotting. My darkroom is Temp and humidty controlled, virtually dust proof. Still had to spot prints……

  4. It was a beautiful aftrnoon today, I had an hour to shoot, I felt relieved and happy to be shooting here and now. Around there. Around here.

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