Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 54 … Olympus Pen F … The Dream Catcher


It’s the time of the season for being attuned and focused with vision. It’s also the time for me to get back to my vision of the world. We are all in the same boat and we are all travelling to the same place. That’s a given. The thing is, to appreciate the journey and take the time along the way to make photos of what we see. With all this political garbage going on, I feel that people are lost in the mix and detached from things and each other. So, feeling things like this drives the creative energy and we need to go with it and let it steer us. It’s like a ride on a ship. Someone other then us is in control and we get to enjoy the journey.



Photography lends itself to feelings and things that distract feelings. We see the world and get to translate it into a visual language and make images. There is no truth in photography. There is no honest photograph. There is only the truth of INTENT and the realization of that INTENT.  I remember my friend Joe before he died. We were out and I was pushing him in the wheel chair. He lost vision in one eye and the other was to go soon. We stopped for a break and he looked at me with a heavy heart and said….”Don, for the first time in my life, I can see photographically.” What he meant was that with his one eye, he saw things like a photograph. No depth with one eye. I was quickly saddened because he made photos for over 40 years and for the first time, he could see photographically. What took so long, I wondered. Did he actually have to be blind in one eye to see photos. To understand the language and syntax of photos?


In the photo above, if the guy against the left side, didn’t have his eyes closed, it wouldn’t mean much. The dream state of the scene is magnified by the thought of him actually dreaming this. Just like dreams, they are personal, so are the photos we make and made. They are personal records of time past, of the time we were alive and had our camera with us. For me, it’s the magic of life. My life has been that of a Dream Catcher. When I was in Nam I met a guy named Joe. That wasn’t his real name cause he was Native American Indian. I showed him my photos many times and he called me Dream Catcher. He told me that I didn’t make pictures of the reality in front of me but of the Dream of Life inside me. I never understood that fully. I hope Joe made it home to his reservation. I hope Joe has a good life and lives the way of the Eagle. He told me he was the Eagle Spirit.

I never knew what happened to him but for me, the Eagle Spirit lives in my dreams. The Dream Catcher has a home for the Spirit,

10 thoughts on “Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 54 … Olympus Pen F … The Dream Catcher”

  1. Great shots – great thoughts. Your musings always remind me that I need to slow down and ponder how I should be approaching/seeing whatever it is that I am trying to capture on the street. Because it really is so much more than simply clicking. Thanks for sharing and take care out there Don.

  2. These are brilliant insights. They capture the spirit of Eugene Smith, although SMith could never quite articulate in spoken words what it was that he was trying to do. The photography is equal, but it is Smith with an edge. Bravo!

    1. Thank’s Bill. After reading this, my wife might not give me a hard time about cameras. Good case. Smith more than most photographers of his time was immersed in his work in a more personal way. Even his money shoots were very personal to him. Of course, the bosses don’t care about that and thus gave him a hard time. He was a visionary and ahead of his time. Unfortunately, he’s ahead of our time also.
      I feel respectable that you compare me to him. Coming from you, it’s about as high a compliment as I will ever get.
      Thank you my friend….

  3. That was a very touching story about your friend. It’s the experiences that we have in life that shape our photography. A friend of mine is a pretty upbeat person and his pictures reflect that. He always manages to get pictures of people smiling. I, on the other hand, tend to be more pessimistic and my photos usually are of unsmiling, and often times grumpy looking, people.

    1. Tina, both are reality as we know it. I think we should try to just feel our way thru the day and let that decide how we make photos.

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