Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 45 … Ricoh GRII … Lost in the Familiar (6 pack)


Being lost is probably a shooters dream. Not knowing where you are, what your feeling being in an undiscovered region. Very romantic and actually stimulating, especially visually. Being lost in the familiar surrounding that is familiar to you, well, not so easy and rather unsettling. I’ve heard it taught that photographers are supposed to see as if seeing the subject for the fist time. I always felt that we should see as if it’s the last time. I now question both methods and kinda feel that the shooters truth is someplace in the middle.


We walk the paths of photographers before us and try to find a new way to see the subject matter. We look for the souls of lost photos and hope to be able to breathe new life into ourselves and our work.

If we wander around the familiar and feel as if we are at home base, is that being complacent? If we wander around and feel as if we are lost in the familiar, is that wishful thinking? A famous photographer said to me decades ago, “Life is but a Dream”. Well, I lived by that statement in part and in whole my entire life. So, when do I get to wake up? What do I find when and if I do? Do I get to have a camera handy so I can make photos of the awakening?


Why do I see things and most times they aren’t like seeing the first time or last time, just odd in the here and now. In my case it’s not odd it’s natural for me. Does that make me odd? Do I care? NO! Yes! Of course, I do. I won’t admit that I care but I do even if I don’t.


I wonder if others get thoughts like this. I wonder when I am making a photo and someone is in it and looking directly at me, what is the experience like for them? I know it depends on the person just like it depends on the shooter and I feel there is no common answer to this question. So maybe as I make each photo as an individual, just maybe, as crazy as it seems, each person in the photo is having a unique experience. So let’s assume I’m on to something here. Let’s assume that for once in my life but not the first for once but just this for once, I have it right, not totally in full right because there’s no such thing in the world but right as right can be for me and also for my readers and friends. (My Shrink at the VA too.)



So I am lost in familiar places. Maybe it’s not the streets where I’m lost but in me poor mind. Maybe it’s both and I am having an awakening of sorts. Maybe not and maybe I don’t care enough to figure it out. Maybe I think too much and try to justify what I’m doing. Dunno and don’t really care.

I’ve been on the streets of Philadelphia since the late 60’s making photos. I’m never bored. I am always loving making photos in the familiar places that others get complacent in. I don’t and am happy for that.


For me it’s about the here and now and not beeing lost at all. Maybe the familiar place I’m lost in isn’t the streets abut my mind. Maybe I lost my mind or better yet, maybe I’m lost in my mind. Maybe Garry was right. “It’s all a Dream” and maybe when I have my camera with me, I wake up.

How about you?

……………………………………….end transnission…………………………..


14 thoughts on “Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 45 … Ricoh GRII … Lost in the Familiar (6 pack)”

  1. Why is it we walk the same streets everyday and one day we see something that we never saw before? And later we realize that this was always there. Is the light? The time of day? Our frame of mind?

    And I, like you Don, don’t really care, because, there it is. When we face someone through the camera, it is a shared recognition, a shared experience. It is like an exclamation, “I am, we are here!”

    At least that is how I feel it. I hope I’m not lost…..

  2. I also find myself going to the same places when I go out to take pictures. Its familiarity is comforting but it also challenges us more as photographers when we are forced to see something differently that we know so well. Great article as always!

    1. Thanks Tina. It’s comforting to me to know that you feel this too. Many others might also but won’t post it.

      My shrink has hours open if you need an appt. Nah…just kidding, I’ll take the hit for both of us…….
      thanks, don

  3. Thanks for a great set of photos Don and sharing your philosophical meanderings. They really do go hand-in-hand. It really is good for all of us as street shooters to think about how we are engaged within ourselves as we are out there pursuing what we love about street photography.Take care out there!

    1. Thanks Dave. Sometimes when I’m out there, I think about this stuff. If I think about what I’m doing in the here and now, then I get distracted. I’d rather work on an emotionally level. I’m not saying I can always do it but sometimes I do.
      Thanks again my friend and stay warm……

  4. Nice pictures as always Don! How do you like your GRII? I have both GR and GRII and find the B&W conversion different somehow: The GR’s are like more “magical”. I find the GRII to be harsher in colors and sharpness; idem in B&W.

    1. Talia,
      Thanks. I do raw and convert in LR to find what I feel is locked in the file. What are you doing and how are you doing it?

      1. Well raw as well, developed with inspired eye presets. True a preset is just a beginning, but I feel like the GR has more may be transitions from white to black, and look richer as a consequence? I know it sound silly, most likely the two cameras have the exact same sensor, but may be the ACR profile is not the same, as Ming Thein suggested. A good way to compare would be to use in both GR and GRII the hue light camera profiles. Had one for a Canon 60D, liked it a lot. Thanks Don! I’m still wondering whether or not I’ll see you in the streets of Philly before I move to Los Angeles… Two months to go!

        1. Ming is way to technical for me. It’s good for him but not me. I want my cameras to each have their own personality. I am not looking for the same in each.
          If you want to meet in town, let me know and we can….

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