Eye

June 10th, 2018 … Thoughts on Seeing … Inside and Out … Lesson from Minor White

There are a few ways to see photographically. I’m just gonna touch on a few of the most important that I know.  So shall we break this down to:

Seeing the reality in front of us … or seeing the reality in our mind. They are not one and the same and no camera ever invented can join or translate the two and get the desired result.  So, what becomes the issue for us as shooters? I can speak for me and I see things kinda like this.

If I get an idea in my mind and wish to make it come to birth as a print, (I use that term loosely) … it could be said that I had a pre-visualization.  Ansel had a method of pre-visualization that back in the 60’s and 70’s served to isolate most large format shooters from small camera shooters. The idea was to tune everything you know at the precise moment of exposure, how the end result would be. You could see  the image in your mind’s eye and you worked methodically to make the image as visualized in the mind. I did all that. I got everything so precise that it became routine for me to make photos. Remember that song, “Along comes Mary”?

Well along comes Minor. I went to a workshop with a friend and ya know, it was cool. I was still under the mental and emotional influence of Nam. At that point in my life, I didn’t really care about too much. Minor was leaning back on a tree and a few gutsy people sat around him. He had a presence about him that was very spiritual. I am pre-visualizing about photos of Minor and just letting my mind take hold of the situation. A young woman came over and told everyone that a class was getting ready to start. Everyone but Minor went to the class. Minor leaned back against the tree and I stood there just looking around. It was just the 2 of us there. I looked at Minor with respect and a kind of reverence but no fear. I would never no fear my entire life to this very moment. I remember Ding showing me Minor’s works and he had a kind of stillness about him. It was like Ding felt he was in the presence of something otherworldly and he passed that on to me. Ding asked me how I felt about Minor’s works and I said, it’s like Minor’s images are from a place inside him that he taps into. He has a resevour of energy and love and is capable of making the images with that source instilled in them. Ding patted  me on the back and I immediately understood that the sourse was Minor’s heart.

Minor asked me to sit and we started to talk. He asked me”How’s life”? I told him I left it in Nam. That was a gateway answer. We started talking about the military and he wanted to know about every second of my experience in Nam. His eyes peirced my soul with intensity. Then I directed the conversation to photography. I said, Minor, I’d really like to talk just about photography. He said I thought that’s what we were doing. (ya ever see a dog look at you and tilt his head from side to side? that’s what was happening to my mind.) Minor said, what do you think photography is? I couldn’t answer. He told me, from this moment on, photography is about your life. It’s about some people that read you and understand you. You have to find the photos that you believe in. Many won’t cut the grade but regardless, they are all from your heart. In time, hopefully, you will learn to see from the heart and see from the mind and then to understand the difference. Minor said Ansel made photos that were representative of the subject matter. This is natural because he captured the beauty of the natural landscape. Steiglitz made photos that were representational and also that were as he called them, equivalents. I see making photographs as making them for their own value. For me, the photograph is it’s own life, separate from the subject matter. It is it’s own personal reality.

I told him I was an advocate for Ansel’s Zone System. He smiled. He asked me if I liked working so methodically and pre-planned. I said I didn’t really know another way to think and work. He looked at me like I imagine an Angel would look at me. Really seeing my heart and total worth as a human. Then he grabbed my head and shook it and said dump all that shit in there down the toilet. I was at a loss. He then placed his hand on my chest over my heart and told me, that is all that matters. I told him I didn’t really understand. Minor said you can think your way thru life and maybe find a rewarding end. You can FEEL your way thru life and then, there is no question. The answer you seek will be in the images that you Felt with your heart. That I understood. I never saw Minor again but he’s got a space in my heart and mind for all time.

Interlude, The Portrait

I asked Minor if I could make a portrait of him. He agreed but said he had one stipulation. That was that, I never show the photo to anyone, ever. I took that lightly and made the portrait. I used a 4×5 and processed the negative. When it was dry, I showed it to him. He loved it and said, you caught me. I was proud. Then he said, we have a pact together correct? I looked him in the eyes and immediately understood the intent, in a way I never did before.  I told him I will never ever show the portrait to anyone. As I was bgetting ready to drive back to Philly, Minor took my hand in his and grasped it between both his hands. He said, I hope you find peace in this world. My dad died when I was 6 years old. I kinda felt that Minor had some of him inside him. It was like I had tears fom my heart and Minor found a way to let me cry without anyone else knowing. We did our farewells and the last words he said to me was…”The Pact”.

The reason I told ya’s about this is: I became acutely aware of the word INTENT and some intrusions on it. In my mind, there exists a difference between B&W and Color. Not just in the spelling of the words but the real meaning associated with each. I suppose I have adopted and implemented the B&W in my work. I was never really attracted to color and maybe there are some reasons not entirely my own. None the less, I have lived other shooters ideas about things and made some of that my own. Remember Minor telling me about the HEART? Well, I didn’t always pay attention but something was brewing inside It wasn’t a craft beer either. I started to wonder about the photos from my mind’s eye and the photos from my heart. The real issue I wanted to discover was the actual combination photos of the mind and heart. Was I perceptive enough to spot anything remotely associated with either? I asked that question over 45 years and never understood the answer clearly. What I taught in class was…..when viewing your photos, can you recall the precise moment of release and all that was there with you at that time? See, there are many things to confuse the intent of your heart and or mind. See how I went right into color vs b&w, without notice? Well, that’s how it works. Exterior stimulus with effect the inner workings of out heart and mind. We need to have the knowledge that something is happening here, what it is isn’t exactly clear.

Ya know about those pre-conceptions I mentioned? Well, they don’t come from you, they come to you. They instill their rubbish into your heart and your work. They are the poison that others send to you and … us, without the ability to stand for and with our work, will fall prey to the effects of those preconceptions. Is this heavy doo doo? sure it it so get your camera and get your butt out there and make photos. Just stay focused on the 2 main ways of seeing, The Heart and The Mind.

Ya know, maybe it’s also about working for you or for them…hmmmm

… with an open heart and an open mind. I always believed and taught this concept. It’s actually the sword to carry thru life. Afterall, basically, it covers any situation you may come across.

April 28th, 2018 … Making vs Exhibiting Your Work

….just pulled the lens off of Walker the Fuji X-Pro2. Walker needs a good cleaning and it’s his turn so we do it. Ya know, if I was level headed, I’d put him in the sink and wash him the right way. Thing is, if I did that, my doc would send me to the place where messed up patients go and don’t get out too often.  Oh, sorry I forgot….phone rings…. ringy ringy…I answer. On the other end is a voice I know very well. “Don, I need help, I am in a bad way.”  It’s Suzanne and I tell her we can meet in the morning. She want’s to talk NOW! So, I ask her what’s so pressing. She tells me she got word that she has a major exhibition in Japan in October 2018.  I congratulate her and I hear and feel her tears.  She agrees to meet in the morning. Somehow I feel it’s gonna be a long day.

For those new here, a little bit about Suzanne and our relationship. She’s Japanese. Lives in the USA for over 2 decades.  She is a heart doctor and does surgery and stuff. She has been a stufentof mine for about 7 years. Her friend Polly is an Opthomologist and she also studied with me. Suzanne is a very talented photographer.  Her images are exceptional. She’s a lovely woman and means a lot to me.

Suzanne addresses 2 ways. She calls me don when we are, making photos, doing the gear thing or whatever. When she calls me Mr Don, I know it’s serious and it’s business. We are at her home and sh has about 100 photot on the floor. They are all 7×7 prints. This is not what I was taught but it is what I learned and what I teach. She ask me to edit and sequence the photos. I agree and look the room over and tell her we need to move furniture. After about 15 min, we have a reasonable workspace. I ask Suzanne what is the goal of the exhibition.

She looks at me with kinda vague eyes. It’s a similar look I have when Tanya ask me if I put the trash out. She tells me it’s a body of work about immigration and prejudices she encountered in her life. I tell to sit on the floor with me. I say to her, that is the purpose and intent of the work. It is the driving force behind the thoughts and emotions of your photos. It is not the goal of the exhibition.

The goal of the exhibition is to allow and compell the viewers to explore the thoughts and emotions that drove you to make the photos. A few wrong photos or even misplaced photos and  your left with visual chaos. Take a 50 word paragraph and jiggle the words around. Every word is visible and reads as a word. The issue is that even as the words are all there, the story of the paragraph is incoherent as a whole. The thoughts, emotions are all there as a single word but none and all do not support the story. Everything is fragmented.

She says she kinda gets it. She as me if I’m sure about this. Suzanne, your a Heart Doctor. If something happens to me, I don’t wanna be laying on a table with my chest cut open, and have you thinking…son of a bitch messed up my exhibition. 😇

She laff’d and I felt better, she did to.

I think I need to continue this post in a few days.

Be blessed all………🙏

April11th, 2018 Ownership

Kevin

Do we really ever own anything? I don’t think so. We don’t even get to own our mindset. My mind tells me that I may leash a pet. It might obey me and like me and want to serve me. I am the owner and as such I decide what the pet will do to serve me. I will not set it free because I own it. I have ownership rights.

Many years ago when I was young my grandfather gave me an Estwing 16oz nail hammer. The metal was tarnished and the head was shiney from all the nails Pop banged down. I could feel and smell pop’s sweat on the leather. Years passed by and a Pop died but I still had his hammer. I loved this hammer and became very attached to it. I owned my grandfathers hammer. When I retired I put my tools in the garage and the hammer, I threw it into a drawer where it rest after a long life of hard work. That tool and others served me faithfully for most of my adult life. Yup,that tool was great.

 

I often wondered why with all the meaning and use that hammer and I worked, why is it in a drawer in the garage. Well, it’s a tool. Maybe it has a name it’d it’s functional but it’s a tool. It’s a tool because I own it and say it’s a tool.

Ok, so what’s with this ownership thing shooter. Aight, here’s my thoughts and they are my thoughts and I own them. There’s a musician that’s kinda well known. He sang a song and part of it is kinda like this….”If you love someone, set them free”. I think his name is Sting, maybe.

I think on the path to becoming a human we need to set our heart and mind and eye free. Sure we can attempt to control it all but that would mean the brain is running the show. The brain is  the translator and distributor of everything that comes into the body. We could say that the brain has the rights of control of everything in our body. If the eye, heart and mind are not free than all we see from our work will be the results of brain ownership.


I need to continue this in the next day or two. I just got a message from shooter central processing that my brain is taking the rest of the day off.

Ill be back fast with the work vs work thoughts, have a blessed day everyone ………..

……….end transmission……….

 

January 16th, 2018 … The Eye, Heart & Mind … and something else but I forget

Suzanne called me and wanted to meet. That’s always a pleasurable experience for me, well both of us., and I was anxious to see her.  So I went to her home on Spruce Street and  we sat and had coffee. Now. Suzanne is a Starbucky kinda lady and has a few of their rot gut dead burnt beans in the house. She also has Pure Natural Organic Kona beans cause I gave it to her for when I am there. She makes me a cup of kona and  she makes herself a cup of rotgut starbucky crapola.  Then she says….Mr Don…at tihs point I know I’m there to work cause when she addresses me as Mr Don, it’s work. She ask me to sit at the dining room table and brings over a box of prints.  So the box has around 120 prints with sizes from 8×10 to 16×20. She looks me in the eyes and says, “your my mentor, my friend and my teacher, make sense of all this”. Ain’t enuff Kona in my cup to get me into doing this, but I have to.

So, I tell Suzanne that we need to re-experience the frame of heart and mind from exposure to now.  Now THE LORD blessed Suzanne with aa amazing heart, brilliant mind and a very clinical way to look at things. She’s a Heart Doctor and excellent at that. This causes her to look at photos more as her patients than the new reality that they are.

We start going thru the prints and I’m curating as I go. I know her and she’s a gentle lady with the heart of a Tiger. I also know that I don’t want to hurt her feelings in a ny manner. If I do the edit hard, she maybe gets upset cause photo’s she cares about are not selected. If I go to easy she will know and thinks I was just doing this to satisfy her. So I decide to just be myself and edit the way I feel it should be.

I pull the 4 16×20’s and look closely. I tell her that the size is wrong for the image. We don’t make large prints cause we can. We make the print to preserve the intimacy and content of the image. We are going deep into the box of prints. They are calling to me for attention. Suzanne sees me diving into her heart and mind and ask me if I’m hungry. My ears perk up and I calmly tell her, of course. See Suzanne makes amazing sushi and it’s better than any restaurant I ever been too. So she’s making sushi and maki and I”m being diligent with her work going thru it very carefully. There are like 10 photos on the third pass thru that continually call attention. We stop to eat and sip some saki at exactly 105F because she’s true Japanesse and insist on tradition.

Now is the moment of reckoning. It’s the moment that she has commissioned to me and the moment of truth for me that shines if I flatter her or get real.  We sit together on the floor. We are looking at prints. I lay 10 in a pile next to her. She looks at me and has that Suzanne loves don as long as don is kind and doesn’t hurt her feelings. That’s not exactly true, more like I have a fathers look to his daughter and just wants her happy.

That’s really the issue here. Do I just paint a pretty picture or do I stand my ground and as a friend, explain my real thoughts? I opt for the 2nd scenario.  She ask me which pile of prints is really worthwhile to represent her. I  point to the 10 and she kinda gets set aback but not visually upset. She ask why just 10 and what do they posess that the others don’t? I explain that when anyone looks a a photo, if you see the scene or whatever is in it, then it may be a great photo but not representative of the eye, heart and mind.

If you look at a photo and see and feel the shooter in the photo, that’s it! She gets quiet for a few moments. Then she says, Don I remember these 10 specifically and how present I was in the moment. It’s like I was in a state of consciousness that was heightened. In my country and my family, we would call this Zen. When this happens to me, I feel like BUDDHA is with me. Well, that is an amazing observation and experience.

I told her that was the reason I selected those 10 prints. She smiled and said she understood completely. I knew that she did. She mentioned to me that she wanted to work how I work. I said she is too young and too refined and elegant to do anything like me. Not in the visual elements but in the intent. My intent is that I am me, I work for me, I show photos because I like to. I am not trying to impress anyone. I am a photographer all my life because I have to.

Suzanne is a fine photographer, 28 years my younger so I feel she needs to experience all that her life will bring to her. The experience was very rewarding to both of us. I love to learn what I teach and I love to gteach what I learn. Most of all, her sushi is amazing……

Peace all, be blessed and never, ever doubt yourself.

August 13th, 2017 … Memory or The Decisive Moment … Cont’d

Ya know, I gotta tellya’s…. it’s summer time here in Philly and my brain is on vacation. So maybe I am writing about memory for a reason. The thing that I get from photography is the realization that I love the process and I need the catalyst that photos present. Pete and Andrey wrote some very profound comments on my last post and I urge toy to read them. You don’t have to comment but you should read them. I am basically a streetshooter. I used to do other things but for the last 30+ years, mostly street. For me, street = life. So as a life shooter, what is it I am after? I kinda think that it filters down to a residue of intent.

When I’m out shooting, I am not thinking about memories,. Sometimes but not a priority. So, I make photos with the purpose of getting them into Light Room and then making the photo represent my vision. Of course I rely on memory but truthfully, I am totally aware that there is a new reality being borne. This is my intent, well part of it. So I make photos to serve something different than memories. Any memory cast forward from the photo is really from the photo and not so much the scene or subject where I was when I released the shutter. This is very important to grasp.

The memory of the photo or making the photo is secondary to the actual photo. The experience is not as important as the end result. Don’t get me wrong. I adore, no…I breathe photography. It’s not something I do as a pastime or hobby or as an art form. I do it because I have no choice. A heroine junkie has an easier time detoxing from junk then I ever could from making photos. I don’t define photography, it defines me.  Ok, enuff of that.

The Clarity of Intent

Shhhhh, don’t spread this around. I hear tell and I know for a fact that some people are very serious about this photography thing. Seems crazy right? Well, let’s explore this serious side of this photo making thing. There comes a point in time that is marked as a moment of recognition of the self. This moment for the photographer is an awareness of intent. This is the continuing culmination of the gathering of info, thoughts and feelings. This is our supply feed for our work.

Lets assume that we are out working and something kinda captures out attention. At that moment, our supply feed and the exterior catylist join together and present us with the birth or death of the photo.

We are then faced with the option to make the photo or not.  Many things will happen quickly to come to the conclusion of the unborn photo. This is not yet intent but rather the decision to develop intent or not. Things happen and you may or may not make a photo.

You need to be alert and sensitive to this moment. All that you are is present and needs to be at the ready. What if you decide to make the photo? Well, try this for size. If you are aware that all of you is in the moment and you have accepted the responsibility to yourself and the unborn photo, then the intent of all is showing the way.

The moment and the decisive moment are working together but not the same. Being in the moment or the here and now leads to the release of the shutter. The release of the shutter is the decisive moment.

At that exact moment in your life is the realization that you either satisfied your intent or not. If you feel that you got it, then the rest is a very tuned, aware process of giving birth to the photo. If not, then the decision to move on is necessary. Just remember that not every photo is whats considered a keeper. The thing is, even if the photo is not a keeper, does not mean it fails at intent. Lets say that you were doing a street scene. Here’s the thing about The Moment and Memory. In the moment making a street photo, that satisfies your intent, provides a photo that is more about the making and satisfying yourself. This is the dividing factor of the Moment and INTENT.

 

I need another post to get the point across.

I will post in a day or so…………..be blessed my friends……………………………………shooter out…………………………………..

June 2nd, 2017 … a Matter of Perspective … True Confession … Fuji X-Pro2

Ok, first off I will explain that I do things in a semi deliberate manner. That also means that I do things in a semi un-deliberate manner.

Flashback to 1970. I have my M-4 with a 35mm Cron on it. My M-16 at the ready. WE are going thru a small village near Chu Lai and I’m snapping away making photos. There’s some press corp guys with us cause they wanna see where theB52’s dropped their load and how close it was to the village. Click, click….yup, I’m working. Jock is about 25′ away from me. Jock is a tall guy thin stature and from OZ. OZ = Australia. He works for the Press Corp for France and OZ. We became friends and I looked forward to him being around because it gave me the illusion that I might survive this shit hole.

Jock comes over to me and  says “Jingles, why don’t you use your 50mm more?” Eureka! I replied that I wasn’t comfortable with the compression and the crop of the frame. I wanted to portray the scene the best I could and a 35mm was perfect. … it dawned on me at that moment that I should try the 50mm and be serious with it. With all the film I shot over there, I don’t think I used 2 rolls with the 50mm. It just didn’t click with me.

Inside me, I had this nagging feeling that Jock was implanting in me to use the 50mm. Flash forward to the mid 70’s and I shooting the street with my 35mm Cron and of course my trusty 50mm Cron in the waste pack. it’s been years since Jock mentioned the 50mm to me. I still have that nagging feeling that I need to get the 50mm and use it.

Yeah sure, sometimes I’d use the 50mm just to do it and prove to myself I can. Then another year would pass and I’d have it with me but not use it. If I did use it, I didn’t have a sense of being with it.

So, the issue for me is to adapt my aspect and frame to the 50mm FOV. Let’s get something straight from the get go. PERSPECTIVE.  There are 2 perspectives that we deal with in photography. The first is, stance. Where you stand sets your perspective….but really the position of the camer is setting perspective. Set your camera on a tripod and then move all around but leave the camera where it is and the perspective changes for you but not the camera. When the camera moves, the perspective changes. If you hold your stance and then change the lens on the camera, the perspective stays the same but the Field of View changes. If you change aspect ratio, perspective stays the same.

So, the reason for me to wrestle with the 50mm is not perspective but the FOV crop. I guess most take it for granted that just changing lenses is an easy thing and requires not much thought or practice. Lucky for them, for me it’s like a new set of eyes and a new way to think. It challenges me to see the world thru different eyes and to think and work differently all the while protecting my 35mm FOV.

So I’ve had many cameras and many lenses that wore the 50mm crop. I was not comfy with any of them until the Fuji X-Pro2. When my lady friends gave me the camera and the 35mm = 50mm lens, they knew what they were doing. They knew I would love working with the camera and they also knew that at last, I’d be able to use the long lost love, 50mm FOV.

So, it seems that it took decades for me to find mt stance with this lens and I did. I have to telly youse that for me, the Fuji X-Pro2 is the finest camera I could ever with to work with.

Whenever I get a brain fart, I can always use the Fuji X100F.

seeyas after the weekend my friends…… peace

February 28th, 2017 … Wants vs Needs … Fuji X100F

Thanks everyone for reading the blog and posting comments. I am honored and humbled that you would do that. The reason I’m doing the blog and now writing about the Fuji X100f is not about recognition. I know Fuji would never choose me as an X shooter. I also am not doing this for money or fame and fortune. I do it for love.  L O V E.  That’s a big word and even bigger feelings and thoughts. So where most approach writing about the camera from a work ethic or financial standpoint or a step to a higher level of fame, I am doing it because I love photography and I adore this camera.

So, let’s cut the crap out the X100F and get it out of the way. Dang it…. why didn’t Fuji put a tilt screen on it? Duh… it don’t need it. It’s not just a street camera but a camera that guides us in a way to think and a method of discovery of our subject. What I mean is, regardless of the task you are doing, the X100F becomes an ally or maybe it just bonds with you and forms a synergism that magically adds to the experience of making photos. Here in NE Philly on Montour Street, it’s called Mojo.

See, the idea about making photos is to always be in touch with yourself while working. Just being able to see, think and feel is the ZEN of life that is required to give life to your work. I’m not saying I can do it, I’m saying I understand it and try to maintain the stance so that it can happen at times and I can write about it. So, having the awareness that you are a part of something wonderful means you have to accept the mechanical things that get used in your work.

I was out for a walk with Andre’ the Fuji X100F and I bumped into Dude. Dude has a unnamed Silver Fuji X100F. We start talking and I’m feeling almost comfy because we share the streets together and we have the same camera and then…..OHHHH! Dud is complaining about the lack of a tilt screen. He doesn’t like the way the camera fits his hand. I’m starting to get fidgity.  Andre is in my hand and I feel him burning up. His battery is getting hot because Dude is basically insulting Andre’s sibling. Anyway Dude tells me about 7 things that he feels should be on the camera. Inside I need my shrink cause I’m laffin’ and afraid o let it come to the surface. So I said I had to go because life was calling me and I can’t stop life.

As I walked away, I had a kinda sick feeling in my gut. I mean, I’m feeling this camera perfectly as is and would rather go with positive energy. I realized that things are never perfect and I don’t want it perfect. I want to learn myself with this camera and see what we can find mutually.

Photography is about being an observer or a participant. I like to live as an observer most times and that means having a camera that will not intrude on my vision. That’s an absolute must. I know I’m crazy and I get random racing thoughts. I know that Andre’ is like my partner on a journey that I choose to live and must do to breath. So, here’s a few things I did. Mind you, normally I have the camera and an extra battery and a lens pen when I work.

Andre’ the Fuji X100F is sporting a neck strap, a soft release and a lens hood and a B&W UV filter. I have an ACMAXX on the screen for protection. I never use a hood. I never use a filter. I never use a soft release. I am in testing phase and bond so I will go crazy. Oh my, a lens hood.

This photo up top is worked on in LR. The idea was to see what the JPEGs can handle. It’s amazing how much I blew the highs and mids because that’s how I feel and see it. So I’m seriously considering not doing raw for a while. The JPEGs from this camera are the finest I’ve seen from any, bar none. It amazes me … look at the whites and they are not wasted. Even the shadows are holding details. Yeah, yeah, the original file is very nice but I want to see how far I can push the envelope.

I am getting a slew of emails etc and will answer each one as quick as possible.

Ok ya’ll….. seeya tomorrow. They are calling for rain here but I might get out anyway. Peace and be blessed…………………………………….

January 1st, 2017 … Dazed and Confused … Camera-a-Phobia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Back in early September I started thinking about how I would work the Fall and Winter thru next Spring. I guess I’m kinda nutty going thru these motions but I always did and will do. The issue mainly is the I have some cameras that I really care about. I name them so that should speak somewhat. Unfortunately from my Leica Daze, I still am natural with the 35mm FOV. Not having any other lenses with me is an asset because it limits some variables of finding photos. So Andre’ the Fuji X100T is like the perfect camera for me. He’s responsive like an M camera but the added advantage of AF and I need that due to essential tremors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enter the camera gremlin. It’s been proved that once the gremlin gets a hold of you, it’s over. Never have to many cameras but worse, never have enough either.   Enter Serendipity the Olympus Pen F. See, she’s a fine lady that surprised even me and many others. Problem: She gives the so called advantage of different focal lengths. Just what I need, right….NO! Anyway thanks to Ray Sachs a while ago, I now love the 12mm on her. He had the 12mm on his unnamed camera and I looked thru it and that was it. I also love the 20mm or the 14mm and even th 25mm. Not an easy camera to handle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then of course there is Mom the Ricoh GRII. In all honesty, there exist no finer camera for the street then the GRII. I do call her the Camera Killer. Once you take it out for a spin, she won’t let you go easy.

Did I mention a camera bag. I have more them my wife has pocket books. The main one for out there is the Cosyspeed Streetomatic. I’m not trying to sell anything, recommend anything, just laying out the variables in my quest to get out the door and work. This is a hip bag and I can get Serenity with the 12mm in and Andre’ in the other pocket. I added a velcro flap and the lets me put the Oly 25mm under it and the Serendipity slips in nice. I now have 3 lenses and for events, perfect. For my regular life, too much but I feel guilty not taking the kids out so I do at the expense of my comfort.

So it’s confusing but I wouldn’t have it any other way. By having variables to tackle, one gets to focus more clearly. It’s that inverse square law again. I’ts the first day of 2017 and I feel good already. I hope you all find focus in your efforts and continue to grow as humans and shooters. I try hard to follow that but I figure, if youse all are doing that, I can slack off and just relax.

Happy New Years to All and Be blessed on Your Journey.

…..end transmission……………………….

December 29th, 2016 … Finding Your Place Amongst The Masses

When we look over our work, it starts to become obvious about how we approach photography. I think it’s maybe time to rip into what we did for the year and seek a solution for our spot in the grand scheme of things. The masses I’m referring to are the masses of photos you made and fell in love with. I suppose this could be thought of as a way to organize ones work. Years ago I used to lay out my work and get answers to the riddle of my photography.

I would lay out about 12 prints on the floor in a horizontal line. Then try to make sense of what they were saying to me. Maybe take one out, add one whatever. The scrabble system. I would look at photos and try to find a belonging to one on the line. Then add this photo horizontally up or down in line where they fit together.after a while, it starts to become clear where my efforts were at.

We can’t do that digitally unless you make many prints. There is no software that does this either. So I needed to find another method. Ok, this is the hard core method and if you need less of  strong result, by all means change the numbers I lay out.

Here we go. Look in your catalog for the year and very carefully, select the very best images and just 1 per week. If you worked every week, you should have between 48-52 photos. If you worked less, just take one from every week as long as you feel it’s your best work. Open a collection in LR or whatever you use. Move the photos around to get them in a sequence that makes you happy and it makes sense. What you are looking for is the common denominator between photos. It may at first seem very random but trust me, and trust yourself, it’s not random at all.

Don’t remove anything from the catalog yet. In fact, go back over everything and pull one shot from each month and work them on the collection. By now you should be seeing photos that work together or look like a series, group, no matter hat you call it, just look and feel the photos.

Lets say you have 8 photos of the rain and umbrellas etc. Gather them together and open a new collection named “Rain” and put them in there. Ohhh you just discovered 9 photos of low light, so make a collection “Low Light” and put them in there. You get the idea. Now go back again and pull 1 photo for every other month. Sort them and place them in a collection.

After you feel you have all the really good photos that resonate with your eye, heart and mind…….close LR or whatever and forget about the stuff for at least a week. Go make photos and do not look at your collections. The reason is that the collections are looking at you.

After a week or so passes, open LR and look at the collections, 1 at a time. Do not edit anything out. Every image has the potential to push you against yourself and lead to a new direction or lay a solid foundation with what your doing now. When you study this work, you are studying all that you are as a human with a camera. Your thoughts, feelings, sensitivities and everything you are is here in front of you. It is said that every photo is part of a mosaic of the portrait of yourself. So, your looking at yourself. You also can see what attracts you, what trigger mechanisms etc are working with you.

Life is a passing dream but it doesn’t mean you have o be asleep to dream. The best dreams are the ones we have while we are awake in the here and now.

The point here for this method is to get you organized in the here and now and to understand how and why you work.

Be Blessed Everybody and have a Lovely Romantic Happy New Years.

shooter out……………………………………………………………………..

November 27th, 2016 … Dancing In The Moment With Andre’ the Fuji X100T

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We talk of “Being in the Moment” as if it was some metaphysical esoteric place to be. Well I suppose it is. For me it’s the coming together of the Here and Now and being aware of my place in it. Then feeling and breathing photography. I talked before about intrusions and we all agree that we don’t need them. I suppose the only ones we should and have to deal with are the ones out there where our subject matter is. Those are the only ones we need to be concerned with.

Well, ain’t I the lucky one, I have those intrusions all the time. When I taught workshops, I made it a point to make sure the members, (I don’t like students because I’m not a teacher) understood the importance of timing and the need to anticipate it. The shot above called me to be present with the Airstream. I was framing and moving around and I could sense something but not sure what. Andre’ the Fuji X100T as always is at the ready….I held my stance and ….CLICK!

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I have mentored, taught, guided many people about photography. There is one lady that still calls me to go out and work. Polly, the Japanese Heart Surgeon. She told me a few years ago that I don’t walk thru life with a camera but I dance thru life with a camera. That is one of the most special statements anyone has ever said to me. The photo above is me doing exactly that.

When I was a young lad, my mother used to put movies on and we would watch them with little interest but she was happy we were spending time together. There were many actors and actresses (proper term back then, considered politically correct) that I enjoyed watching. Gene Kelly. Singing In The Rain. That’s what I thought of when Polly told me I danced thru life. I was Gene Kelly with Andre’ the Fuji X100T.

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Ya know, I will miss Philly and the people and my family and my cameras and especially Andre’ the Fuji X100T when I’m dead. But I ain’t going anyplace yet my friends and I’m gonna make my photos my way and stand for them and not think about much else when I’m out there making photos.

At any rate, time for me to rest my weary legs and back cause tomorrow is a shoot day again and I’m excited.

………. end transmission…………..shooter out……….