Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 14


Ok, laffing is not polite and supportive to anyone except the patients in the Loony Bin. Well let me start by saying I have more camera bags in every imaginable configuration as every invented. I’m serious. Ok which one of you admits to NOT having the Perfect camera bag for every occasion syndrome. Damn right no one. So I decide that I wanna have Andre’ the Fuji X100s and Walker the Olympus Pen 5 together and have them in a bag. Now of course this is an impossibility because one of the 2 will be working and either in my hand or around my neck. The other one will be resting and absorbing the input from the street ready to process it into me poor brain.

So, I ask you, does this mean I need a small bag for one camera because I would never have both in the bag at the same time UNLESS! AHAA! unless I carried a 3rd camera. See, it’s confusing and leads to camera bag acquisition syndrome. Luckily I have enough in the closet that I shop in there and usually find what I need. Ya know, I saw this sexi azz bag on eBay….nah… forget, da wifey is home.

Market  Street is a source of life for me. I used to be inspired just walking and looking around. Id make photos at anyplace I saw fit and usually be happy. I used to look at ppl sitting against a wall, standing on a corner, leaning against a fireplug, everything and was always nice to see them. For years I would see guys on the short wall at Burlington Coat Store.

Ya know I used to think, what are these people doing here all the time. Many familiar faces at the same places. I mean it was amazing, year after year I’d see these people. The other day I saw a few guys dealing their stuff and walked by and I recognized them. The been there for years.  One tall guy looked at me and said, “What’s up shooter, peace brother.”  Then I got to 12th street and a guy in a wheel chair said to me….”hey shooter, ya got that buck you said you’d have for me next time?” I walked over and handed him the buck.

I had a realization that hit hard to me. I realized that I am as much a part of the scene as they are. I mean they see me almost every day making photos and I’m just shooter making photos like they are Dennis dealing his stuff. Amazing realization to me.

It was maybe 30 years ago and I met a guy named Jeff. He was connected at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He talked about photographs like I hadn’t heard since Ding McNulty. He had photos of Paul Strand and of Michael Hoffman cleaning Strands feet. He had photos of many famous shooters and I new some but most were from the turn of the century. He asked to see my work and I was excited because he knew what was going on. I never went to school and anytime I got some help I felt that was my education.

….anyway, I brought down many prints and he told me he was surprised because I had a real presentation. So we chatted and he asked me if I trusted him. Dude, Paul Strand trusted you man, fucking A diddly I trust you. (Sorry Tina) So then he took my matted prints that were so perfectly presented and so precious and tore the prints from the matt. (breathing heavy, panting, holding myself back from a place I never want to be again)

Jeff says… Don, you need to focus on this… hands me a print and not this hands me a matt. I said immediately, why can’t I focus on both? Because no one can, it’s impossible. He told me to leave and if I wanted to come back for a session again to call him. I asked him when do we meet again? Tomorrow 6:00pm for dinner, your buying. Ok man, see ya then. he hands me the 30 matts and keeps the prints.



The thing about ART is… Art is the Human. The fact that you created ssomething like photos gives them value maybe just to you but that’s the value that’s most important. The heart and soul live in your work. If others adopt a love of your images, that doesn’t change the value of you and your work, it just adds to the intrinsic value associated to you and your work. The basic core of love and acceptance is and should always be yourself. If this sounds like egotistical so what, fuckit… it’s your stuff and you better love it.

I will tell ya about Jeff and the Gambe’ Game my next post.

Till then…. don’t forget an extra battery and to always format your card… of course get the photos off it first……

Be blessed my friends……………………………………………………………………..




4 thoughts on “Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 14”

  1. Tina, me? If so then no apologies necessary. 😀

    I agree about loving your work. If you’re not satisfied with it then it doesn’t matter how others feel about it. I’ve had pictures that I thought were terrible but others thought were interesting. I tried to see what they saw but I just didn’t think the pictures were all that good. Then there are other pictures which I love but don’t seem to get much commentary, but it doesn’t matter to me because I like them.

    1. Tina, c’mon. I’m a one Tina kinda guy. So the apology does go to you directly. I often get asked to edit and sequence ppl’s work and I must say I do a fine job at it. When it comes to my own work, it’s not as easy. Maybe it’s because it’s a detachment that allows me to SEE someones work, although Ding said that wasn’t true because he felt I was attached to photography period.
      I don’t know exactly what it is but I think it’s like cooking. You make a meal and serve it. Then you watch everyone eat it and see their expressions. Foy you, you tast everything and question every ingredient and every step in the process. The ppl eating just eat but also checking everything out but they aren’t as attached as you. Be blessed Tina, peace to you

Leave a Reply

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