Mind Clearing …Ricoh GRII


So, the thing about mind cleaning is that it’s never a finished job. Even when you think you really got it all nice and spiffy, well don’t bank on it. There’s residue that you really should investigate.

I have a guy I work with, kinda the way my shrink works with me. It’s just that I’m an old shooter and my shrink is an old shrink. Any way, he is always taking workshops and then contacts me to help him make sense of it all. He has to show 20 images and then the teacher goes at them in class. He said there was 8 people in the class and he felt uneasy because like other classes he attended, there was a definition placed upon him by the teacher that was to define the value of the work. This to me is a scary thought.

I mean, maybe we should make a photo that the teacher says is good and then give it to every shooter in the world so that allabody knows the idea of a good shot. What do we need individuality for? We should elect 1 single head of photographic curation for the entire world. This person will decide if a shot is good or not. If it’s good, walk tall amongst the few that have been graced by the premier curator of the world.   And if it’s not valued as good but frowned upon because you failed to duplicate the exact thoughts and feelings of the successful shooters, well then… off with your damn head cause you don’t need it anymore.


Look, I don’t think anyone has the right to judge another’s work. Doing so, devalues the persons soul that you are commenting on. I will stand tall and say this. I have the ability to look at a Paul Strand and next to it a snapshot from aunt Mary’s Birthday Party and see equal value in the images. Collectors and buyers can make all the value they want and claim this and that but in the end, it’s the love of people and photography that stands tall even when we are gone.

So really, what do you think is more important, no… what is more satisfying? Doing work that satisfies you on a level that you are willing to die for, and we all will, or doing it to meet the standards others place upon us?

I remember Ding showing me prints and of course I wanted to breathe the Strands and Walker Evans etc. I did too. Then we were talking and he wanted to show me some portraits. He opened a box and pulled out about 20 not very big prints.

I held them cautiously and gently along the edges, very carefully. Not everybody processed archival prints and the oil from your fingers will attack the paper even years later.Anyway, after looking at Strands, there’s not much to be said about anyone else’s work. That’s the truth and I may believe it but I never practiced it.

I held these portraits in my hand and Ding watched carefully, wondering what I would say and anticipating my thoughts. Them he broke the silence and asked what I thought. I replied, these  are really great snapshots at first look. Most people would not get past the snapshot. Ding agreed. Then i said, I feel the photographers presence and that response by the subject. It’s like he’s doing what many others do but he’s just insistent on doing it his way.

Mike Disfarmer died in 1958 and his work became collectible and regarded as fine art years after his death.

There’s a major point I made and if your getting it, great and if not… maybe we just don’t click and that’s also ok.


9 thoughts on “Mind Clearing …Ricoh GRII”

    1. Thank you Sharon.
      I plan on continuing this discussion because I want to and there are those amongst us that need reinforcement of thier intent. If youhit the plateu of being an amatuer and liking what you do, you could prolly mentor many. Stay tuned, another episode on the way.

  1. I understand. My thoughts were there some time ago, when I read an old blog post by Martin Parr. He said similar things…”The Fine Art and Documentary photographers take great pride in thinking themselves superior to the other main genres of photography, such as the family snap shooter or the amateur photographer, as personified by camera club imagery.”

    A photo from aunt Marry birthday party has no less value…. it has a value of itself (discovered or undiscovered).

    I used to look at those “standards” a lot. I valued and liked those photos. When I stopped thinking this way, I suddenly realized the photos and authors I admired has absolutely no value to my eyes any more.

    By the way, I didn’t know these name – Paul Strand and Mike Disfarmer.

    1. Pavel, I’m hanging your balls on the clothesline. Look up Paul Strand and check his photos. I don’t mean 5 min, really look at them and try to feel. Do the same for Disfarmer. I’ll make another post tomorrow and we can continue there.

      go on now…..someday, someone will say, “Go look at Pavel’s work and then get back to me”….

  2. Some great thoughts here. I attended a well known street photographers workshop last year and saw the same thing. We spent more time hanging out in coffee shops and talking gear than we did shooting. Then when we did shoot, it was more street portraits with permission than it was candid shots of what was really going on. You keep it real in both shooting and writing. Who cares what anyone thinks about our work, if we care that’s what’s real.

    1. “Who cares what anyone thinks about our work, if we care that’s what’s real.”

      That’s a very profound statement and the cause for much discussion. I agree whole heartidly and support that in my daily life. As far as workkshops go, there’s no magic bullet to build your intent. That must come from within us or it’s not pure.

    1. Pavel,
      Vivian was not the first unknown shooter to be discovered after the lights went out. I will look into Miroslav Tichy, thanks for that….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.