Tag Archives: Inspired Eye

Old Dog … New Tricks


Well, after weeks of aggravation and grief, I called the plumber to fix the blog.  There’s a knock at the cyber door and when I open it, this Olivier guy says whats the problem dude? I explain to him what is going on and he brings out a cyber toolkit and says, dude, go make photos, ya bother me and your old and ask too many questions.

So the he says, dude, I am supposed to be doing the Pokemon hunt and now I gotta fix pipes and unclog the blogs cyber drain from all the uh….uh…stuff you put in it. So, I went out and made some photos.

When I get back, this Olivier fella says, “it’s all good now, so get to work, there are millions and millions of shooters need your daily bread.



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So there’s a new look and a new way of working the blog. It ain’t gonna be easy for me but if all youse come to read, I’ll do my part. Maybe, just maybe we can figure this out together.

seeya’s soon… peace and sure nuff, we all need that.

A Lesson I Really Learned From Minor White


Sometimes I wonder what on The Lords Green Earth am I thinking about. Maybe that’s a problem we all share.. yeah, damn right …you too. See, I kinda get on auto pilot and let my feelings and eyes do the work. Of course they are not independent of my whole, but I let them have guidance on the creative end. Also, nothing get’s the camera to work unless the mind is in it too. See, that’s the Eye, heart and mind I learned from Minor White.

From what I could take in, it was….don’t work looking for answers, but just be content with the questions your work presents to you. If you do this and don’t expect anything but more questions, you will live with your work as one and have peace thru it. If you force the issue of discovery and fight the battle for answers, you will live in turmoil and never be content with your work because you don’t know what it means to have peace.


Now I ain’t saying Minor was always right but I don’t think he was ever wrong. He further explained that there is contrast in everything we do. (later expressed as the inverse square law by me) He went on to explain that every single photo has the right to life. Every single photo is unique and it’s existence is justified by the fact that you created it. So, of course we all want and seek that special photo that we consider a Self Masterpiece. The point is, like children, not all are that special above the others. We strive for the special i,age but many are just a fragment of our life as it was when we made the photo.



I remember Seeing Paul Strand’s work countless time at the Museum. I think I mentioned this before, Ding showed me a box of Strand’s unseen works. Stuff he made but didn’t push or feel was worthy of exhibiting. Ding vowed to respect Strand’s request to never show the work to anyone. Luckily, I am no one so I saw the photos a few times. I realized back then that photography was not a labor of love as is taught. It is a way of life.




What echoed in my soul was that Paul made photos just like everyone and his well known masterpieces were what was always see. The fact that he made regular snaps, made me feel the connection to him stronger then I ever could have hoped for.

It’s like this, you go to a restaurant in Paris. Nice place, good wine excellent food. The you have to use the toilet, (I think that’s what it’s called, fee free to correct me)…you walk in and you see feet sticking out of a stall where someone is sitting doing his business.

You are taking a leak and you hear the familiar sound of gas escaping…(NE Philly it’s called a fart)… the stall door opens and out comes, in front of you a hero beyond all heroes the enigma that we call Henri’ Cartier Bresson.

You are in panic mode, I mean it’s true Bresson is a man, a man amongst shooters but a man. You think, wow, I can sit on the toilet like Bresson did…. your right.

Let me tell you something, all the world and all the planet recycles energy and love and hate. Don’t let anyone every tell you that you can’t do what Bresson did.

Do you see the hunger people have for heroes?  Vivian, Bresson, Strand, Winogrand. It’s up to you what you do with you work and your life. If in fact energy recycles over and over, maybe you are the next Hero. Maybe just maybe, you might know the next hero. Maybe just maybe you will buy a book by that hero or maybe name your camera after that hero…..

see you all tomorrow…….oh… if in fact some of youse become the next here, I want a discount on your stuff….

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


In Search Of Pt 1

In life, I think that we search for things to complete our identity. What I mean is, we gather and assemble things that we feel will add to us as a person. In photography, we search for the best camera we can get, maybe not afford but the best we can get. We want the best way to process our work and get the best results from it. All these things are important to our identity and we are all Brand conscious.

There are paths along the way to becoming at one with yourself that will either guide you on the journey or detract you from it. How do we know which to take, well sometimes we listen to others and maybe that’s good and maybe it’s not so good. At some point, we get confronted with ourselves and we stand naked in front of ourself and just see the gist of who and what we are or strive to be.


We can hide behind our PC’s, behind our cameras, lenses, locations, thoughts, experiences but in the end, we look at OUR work and the’s the truth of us. It seems like it should be the easiest part of being but in fact, it’s the most challenging. Checking our work is the one part of the process that we don’t get to hide behind.

Our work is our brand. Our brand is created by everything we assemble and put into the image.


There is a process of activation. We do all these things to make the photo but the most important are a few things not everyone recognizes. Eye, heart, and mind. When you  look at your work, maybe you think, Leica M9 50mm, or Ricoh GRII, or Olympus Pen F 14mm etc. Maybe you think, Light Room and Nik, many, many combinations.

What does the viewer see? Well, many will search for the Brands that are in the photo. The most sensitive viewer will seek to see and feel YOU!


The real Brand of your work, is you. Once you accept this, you stand maybe by yourself but in an uncomfortable position by yourself but, with the knowledge that you are and will continue to produce your Brand.

I have have to hit the street but will keep things going, I hope. Have a blessed day regardless of where you are….

shooter out………………………………………………………………………

The Truth of the Lie


When I was younger and a real photographer I had all kinds of tools. I had a Color Meter and still have it but don’t use it. I would look at a scene and determine the color temperature with my meter and then what filter to use and how to expose the film. Color was a very mechanical process for me  and the aesthetics was secondary. Sad huh. Yup and the reason I stopped for my personal work.


Now that I’m older it’s not that I can still take color temp, it’s that I don’t care anymore I care about my work and love but as far as tweaking exposures, I’ll leave that to the younger crowd. I just wanna make photos. For me it’s aesthetics first and my interpretation of them that matters. So, what I’m dealing with is that B&W and Color are the same language. They are the same because they are photography. That gives them a common ground. So if the language is the same, where then are the differences? I believe it’s the syntax of each. Each has it’s rules and you choose to either except, reject, challenge or ignore those rules. Then when you decide what to do, you need not be stuck in the rut of repeatability. That’s right. You have the right to keep everything as flexible as you wish.


How long does an illusion have to exist and work before it becomes real? Here’s what I mean. We all know and accept that a photograph is 2 dimensional. What we perceive as depth in the image is merely an illusion. It is a mind game that we all love and feel connected too and apply freely.

Well, I wonder how long this illusion of depth has to be, before it’s not an illusion anymore? When does the illusion of depth get accepted as truth? In fact, when does a photograph get accepted as truth? We all now that a photo is a lie. So if in fact it is, where is the truth of that lie? The truth of the photo is the photo itself. There is no illusion, no link to 3 dimensions, no escaping that the photo is, it’s own lie and it’s own truth.

I don’t care to guess how many photos have been made so far up to this point. I do state that the illusion of depth is now an accepted part of the syntax that is used, now silently, in making and viewing photos. The same holds true for color vs B&W.

So, what does the shooter have to deal with in terms of doing Color vs B&W?

Stay tuned for the next post and I will share the thoughts brewing in me poor head.


Unheard Voices … The Stance


How we do battle with the demons inside us and even the ones waiting to get in, determines how well we adjust and carry on with our work.  I call this, “The Stance”. Why? Well, we are bogged down with baggage that we generate and we pick up from others. So we need to adjust our stance to make due with the battles ahead. It is battles because these things intrude on our process and have an effect on the print and there’s no way of preventing it. No way of preventing it from happening over and over again.

I remember way back when the sky was a real blue, I would bring prints to Ding and he would look carefully at them and most times say something like…. “Nice, keep going.”

I mean after all, the prints he had all over the place was very intimidating to me. In a short time I was reluctant to bring any to him.

Then he said  something to me that I try to live by….”When you feel that you are present in the photo, enough to want to stand by it under any and all conditions, let me see it.” Easier said than done and time went buy and I didn’t bring him anything at all. In fact, I didn’t want to go to him anymore cause I was intimidated.


After a time, I made some prints I really cared about. It’s not that I didn’t care about the others, it’s that I felt I was in these new prints. I took them to Ding and he sat patiently and looked at them. I had 6. That’s right, 6 prints and it took me maybe 4 months to get them. Ding had this look on him that is like scrutinizing the very fiber of the paper. It’s like he was sniffing the Thiosulfate and Perma Wash. Then he looked at me and said, as he held up a print….”this is beautiful, you nailed it”….I looked at him with an innocence of a young boy looking at his father for approval.

The he held up the other 5 and said, ” Don, I don’t have words for these but I would love to have them in my personal collection.”

Now, I’m not really the one at a loss for words. I may not always have polite words but I have words I tell ya…..I just sat there and had a complete realization that I WAS a PHOTOGRAPHER, for real. What Ding did for me at that moment has never been equaled in any manner. I’ve had over 50 One Man shows, countless group shows, sold many prints, works in collections, museums, collectors and yet, I was born with those words Ding said to me.


I felt an energy come into me, not over me but into me. What was born back then was not just me as a photographer but a photographer with a stance. I mean it gave birth to a realization of my own self worth. I don’t mean ego cause I keep that away from me as much as possible.

I felt that I should trust my instincts on all manners and without wavering from outside input.I knew that I knew my craft and I was ready for a lifetime of doing it. I don’t practice photography, I live it. I don’t just make photos, my photos define me as well.

So the STANCE is a frame of mind that overcomes all forms of input and energy that tries to enter your SPIRIT. We will never rid ourselves of all the crap that attacks us but we can develop a STANCE that overpowers it all. It requires being strong enough to take cuts and abuse and lack of interest in your work. It requires a firm appreciation of the whole that we are and a total committed love of what we do and why we do it and how we do it.

We are shooters after all…. what could be better…..?


Unheard Voices


Well, apparently I’m not the only one thinking about my work. I got some nice emails from readers here and even some post about the situation. Oh yeah. it’s a situation alright. It’s bi-partisan also.

I happen to really like the above photo. No matter what others think and or feel….I like it, I feel it and glad that I made it. Enter the Flickr crowd. No I am a Flickr-ite so it’s ok for me to comment about the madness there cause, I’m maybe the most madneser guy there.

It’s not easy to stand up for yourself amongst the crowd. We all want to be accepted and appreciated.To let that influence what and how and why we do things is a problem. Actually it’s many problems on a multitude of levels.

Ok ok… check this stuff out…… your looking at someones work. You check the meta data out and see that person is working with a Fuji X100T You don’t have that camera BUT YOU KNOW YOU NEED IT!

That shooter was in Paris and you can’t walk there….BUT YOU HAVE TO GET THERE! That shooter is very sensitive to the darkness and you always do bright sunny or overcast light…BUT YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO SHOOT IN THE DARKNESS.

C’mon, I’m the worst of the lot of us. I have 1400 cameras, airline tickets to every city in the world and a guide in each city to show me the streets cause I’m too fucked up to know ANYTHING ANYMORE!


Ok, so here’s something for youse to chew on. In my interviews for the Inspired Eye Magazine, I ask a question about going out to work alone of with others.

99% of the interviewed answer, alone. Now I find that a very interesting question and the answer seems so simple but it’s the most crucial question you will ever be asked. Your answer to that  determines how in touch with what your doing you are.

Here’s what I mean. Photography is a 2 dimensional art form. I rather think it’s really a 3 dimensional art form and the 3rd dimension is not space but the mind. Of course those with a spaced out mind, are ok and this applies to them also.

When you go out to work and your alone, just you and your NAMED camera and your in a place you like to work, are you alone? Most of course will say yeah, I like to work alone.

You are not alone. You are out there with all the things people say about your work, all the things you see in other peoples work, all the stuff that you want to improve upon, all the energy that is churning around in your mind and much of it is placed there by others.

It’s the unheard voices in your head that will overcome you and make you surrender your self to them. Those voices dictate what you see and how you see and why you see it and what you use to capture it.. They do not have your best interest at heart.  They are there and they force their will upon us in many ways, location, camera, processing, everything.

Ever hear the expression….”Misery loves company.” It’s true. Why do you think we all get married?

It’s the weekend. Olivier and I have the presses going strong to get the new issue out to everybody. I will seeya all very soon…

chew on this stuff and don’t be afraid to let me know your thoughts…..

….to be cont’d………

Streets Of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 65 … Fuji X100T … Explaining Making A Photo



………. well, I don’t think that’s the case all the time. I mean….ohhh, scuse me, folks didn’t realize you were here, hang on a min plz….. Doc, I gotta go, my friends are here and I have to pay attention to them.

Sorry all youse fine people, I was chatting with my Doc about my trigger mechanisms. Yeah, you know, those things inside you that are activated by the things out there when youin’s are making photos. Well, Doc wanted me to explore these trigger mechanisms and show him visual examples of what they are.

I mean, look at the photo above. I kinda think that it’s related to Depression. It’s true, it’s true but that’s not the trigger, that’s the subject. See, I saw this guy at the terminal and didn’t want to bother him by asking to make a photo of him cause I rarely ever did that and still rarely don’t do that. For me, it’s about elements and the way they fall together either in Harmony or Disharmony. Sometimes it can be both together. No set rules in Shooter world except seeing and feeling and responding.

Anyway, I looked at this guy and I was on my way to see my Shrink at the VA Hospital. It was the start of an interesting image and I guess maybe many would click on sight but I kinda wanted something more. So, I made a call to my mind and asked it what it thought about this. Well, there was a meeting between the eye, heart and mind about said subject matter and then called me and said….”wait for the juxtaposition”. Big friggin help guys, WTF does that mean.

“wait for the juxtaposition shooter, see the light”. Big friggin help guys, WTF does that mean.

Big friggin help guys, WTF does that mean.

Turns out, Central CommandCenter, commonly known as Shooters essence and brain decided to bypass ME and send the message to Andre’ the Fuji X100T. So, I’m in the middle of all this shit going on….the meeting between, eye, heart and mind, the camera, known as, Andre’ the Fuji X100T and the subject and waiting for WHAT? WTF am I waiting for…. 47 million shooters would have made the photo already,….WTF am I waiting for…..

……….then, very softly in me poor brain…a few words……. wait for the trigger mechanism……

well, all this above happened in about…..  1/1000 of a sec. then, then with theGrace of Mother Light, then when all was just about in place, then I saw and felt the darkness get darker and the depression grow for my guy in the photo and for me and all the sudden,

the most magnificent thing in all the world, MOTHERLIGHT shined her beacon of  brightness and hope and made the separation between hope and despair and her light, with royalty and love and compassion shined so bright and showed me the way to the photo finish.

I got a kick in the brain as the eye, heart and mind said MAKE THE FRIGGIN PHOTO STUPID………CLICK!




Now that was an exercise….

I walked a little while downtown and saw this and Click!

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 61 … Observations of Lost Innocence


Tacony Flea Market, Phila. 2005

We are a product of our environment and our work is a product of us. Now that may seem like a generalization and maybe it is but it’s true nonetheless. I was looking at Amira Issmail’s work again and I thought how innocent she is and her work. Now obviously, she’s an adult and a beautiful lady but she presents her work in a way that is pure joy.

What I mean is, Amira has a way of working that is void of attitude and jaded from the environment of the human condition. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5iotgw9USPLu5gKfxrw82A I find it interesting in this day and age that someone could be almost clean of attitude and their presence in their work. You can see her work on the Inspired Eye FB page and others places. Just look and see what I’m talking about.

So I was wondering when and where I lost my photographic innocence and I realized, I can’t lose what I never had.  Muddy said that and he’s right. I’m kinda envious becaue everything I do is , I guess jaded for lack of a better word and this effects what and how and why I do it.

I never got to see the world with starry eyes and glitter all arround. I’m not saying Amira does either. What I’m saying is, Amira and I’m sure many others have the ability to work in any environment and see the joy of living. The simple but delicious things around and that others don’t even think or feel or even care about. This is a very precise meaning for making images.

To share with others how and why  you see what you see.

Anyway, Serendipity comes home tomorrow and the guys on the camera shelf are excited and so am I.

Have a blessed weekend……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 59 … Olympus TG-4 … The Bars That Bind



To start, I have not been able to shake the sick feeling inside me of not Having Andre’ the Fuji X100s in my life. Olivier fell in love with him when he was here a few weeks ago and I didn’t pay attention cause I had Serendipity the Olympus Pen F.

It’s about your Natural Field of View, well, mine in this case but you get the idear. My NFoV is 35mm. Of course I can see any FOV but whenI’m on a walk-a-bout and see something that interest my eye, heart and mind, I am seeing the frame in my mind as 35mm. This has been happening since way back in the last century.

So, I got the Fuji X100 then the X100s and now, well, Serendipity and all her lenses are sold off. I don’t miss her. I bought a new Silver Fuji X100T and will name it Andre’.

I love the Olympus Pen F and it’s an amazing camera but for me, too many options. Those options are of course the lenses or FOV. I don’t want that option, never did. I have my stance in the world. I’m content with that stance. The Oly and lenses are not politically correct for me. Now with the Fuji X100T and the Ricoh GR II, I’m all good to go.

Sometimes in life, we need constraints and have them impose themselves on us even if we are unaware that we have or need them. I need them. My vision and thoughts run rampid and go all over the place because I have to decide what lens I want t use.

So, It’s a done deal and by tomorrow at 10:00am, all the lenses will be sold off. I will continue my journey and love my vision again because I’m not clouded any more. The photo above kinda tells the story in my mond. I mean it’s a photo but I made it from the thoughts and feeligs inside me.

Tomorrow, Andre’ and I start our life together, again. I’m excited and he’s on the shelf flirting with Penelope the GRD4.

Seeya all tomowwor and till then, be blessed on your journey.

………. shooter out ……….

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 52 … Olivier Duong … Observations …Farewell Andre’


Well, thet time has arisen for Olivier and I to meet at our NE Philly Offices, formally known as my rear bedroom. First off the git-go, Olivier, here-after known as”The Kid”, has a voracious appetite for Photo Books and Cameras. Oh yeah, he consumed years and years of photography knowledge hidden in the volumes of books here in our international office and digested a lot of info. We decided to trade info but our brain links were off line and not working properly. Imagine the horror of having to openly chat and openly see what each is looking at. Then, then we decided to have an analog visit and just do work digitally.



There is a certain safety in beingjust digital and here’s what I mean. Olivier was sitting on a chair close to the Camera and Len’s Cabinet. He heard a voice call out to him….”Olivier”, take me home. Shooter doesn’t pay attention to me anymore. I heard the voice too and was very upset. See, ever since Serendipity came to the cabinet, I haven’t used anyone else for my walk-a-bouts. So I reached in and took Andre’ the Fuji X100s and placed him on the desk. Oliver’s eyes lit up and Andre’ seemed to be feeling alive again. Olivier picked Andre’ up and in a few minutes both him and Andre’ told me they had something to say.

Andre’ said to me, “Shooter, I’m not jealous of the Oly Pen F named Serendipity but I feel kinda unloved and just sitting here on the shelf is counter productive to my essence. I need to go to work and your not going to do that with me again.” It was with a heavy hand and heart that I handed Andre’ the Fuji X100s to Olivier and said, “Take care of my friend, friend.” He smiled and graciously  accepted the task of working with and caring for Andre’.


Olivier was like a kid in the candy store with all my books and stuff all around. Then, as the air calmed and the stars settled into the evening sky, as the ships out on the sea harboured it’s sailors to keep them safe in the night breeze and from the waves of uncertainity…..there, there was the words all digital shooters long to hear…..out of the fog of the past I said… Let’s go see the darkroom. Now a digital shooter without a firm grasp on all reality may have succombed to the fears of a dark room. There, deep in the shallows of my basement, nestled away from the living present, lives my darkroom. I opened the door and the black curtain and we enteren the room. I flipped on the white light and I could hear all the things in there yell out, yes, yes…. we are alive. Let there be light!

My Leica enlarger looked at tme with a tear in her eye…. you have foresaken me for the digital process. Olivier lookedallaround and asked me what things were and their purpose. I explained proudly about the processes and procedures. I showed him my chemical collection dating back 150 years. I showed him my bottles of Gennert’s Amidol and explained how Cole Weston had the same.


So now the time is here for Olivier to head back to his family. He will take with him some books and my beloved Andre’. Go to the light my friend…but get the hell out of my darkroom……

…………………………………………………………end transmission………………………………………………………