Tag Archives: Lumix GX8

January 17th, 2017 … Getting What’s Inside to the Outside … Compromise With the World … Lesson from Ansel Adams

Many times I have mentioned that I name my cameras. Some say it’s crazy and some just shrug it off. Well, I am if nothing, a very dedicated shooter. So, how things work are what interest me. Then I like to know why things work the way they do. I am alway testing myself and my reasons for anything I do or attempt to do. Life is a struggle and it is said that without the struggle, there is no fruits of the efforts you go after. Well, no one told me anything would be easy but I never expected so hard.

When it comes to photography, I don’t struggle as much. Sure I wrestle with my heart and mind but I am always able to find resolution. So when I met some people for breakfast  and we were doing our probing and trying to understand each other’s motives, when the question came up about visualization, of course I was put on the spot.

I tried to explain that Pre-visualization was similar but not the same as Ansel Adams taught. Ansel practiced a method of subject acquisition and print finalization. It was early 1973 when I grokked Ansel’s method. I understood the methodology and adopted it and breathed it. It was great for sheet film and for rolls, kinda limiting. I asked Ansel about roll film and the Zone System and he told me how to do it but he thought any serious Photographer was using Large Format. My daughter was borne August 17th, 1973 and we named her Bethany Ansel. When Ansel came back to Philly in March of 1974, I took a print to him I made when he was here in “73” and told him I named my daughter after him. He was very honored and happy and all was well.

By this time, I was steady on my Leica’s again doing the streets. I had worked out the Zone system for roll film but decided I’d rather develop according to how I felt and not to the method that could control me.



So visualization has circumnavigated for me from silver/platinum to now digital. Digital, long time here already. So what I believe as the truth of one’s vision, is the culmination of subject awareness all the way to final image. This may be the path to self satisfaction but it’s also the path that is easy to get lost on.

I always worked in a manner that was, awareness of the subject, capture and then processing. There are basically 2 phases to processing,. The first being negatives that supports positive energy because the awareness of the healthy negative is very comforting. The second is printing. Things kinda change in the digital realm of photography but not necessarily a very dramatic change.  I tend to keep things separate but together. Get to the street and work. Hunt for photos and then let photos find me. Great feeling to be alive with a camera in my hand. At the very moment of exposure I can have an idea of what the print will feel like.

Well for me, it has never really been about trying to capture a slice of reality and preserving it so that it resembles the reality that gave birth to it. Of course for work stuff, I do things that way but for my personal work, I don’t give a hoot about 3 dimensional reality. I make the image the way mother light and I want it to be. Life is a collaboration with a million things and photography is really the only collaboration with life I am concerned about. I’m sure family and friends etc sense a disconnect from me and always did. It’s true. Photography and I have a collaboration that I can’t live without and won’t.

So all these things run thru my heart and mind and camera. They feed the PC and LR and the hard drives. At the moment of exposure I am at last connected again. No, not to friends and family, but to the world and my life. It’s not about fame or fortune, it’s about finding a way to live with your heart. My photos are the culmination of everything I am at the precise moment of exposure.

I have found a way to communicate with the world and myself. My photos are out there and to be honest, it’s me naked to the world and I can’t succumb to the inspection, judging or anythings even positive reinforcement.

I make photos because I have to.

January 12th, 2017 … Magic of the Street … Being a Visual Alchemist

Maybe I’m just to sensitive to things but the mood on the street at this time, in Philly is one of confused mixed emotions. I don’t mean politics or work, or financial issues, it’s more about the magic that is missing. Yeah, I know I’m crazy. See, life is a beautiful things and it’s good to live it. The thing for me is to have the magic and that makes living more special. Photography is based on visual magic. Seeing a scene and making a photo is magic. The idea of seeing, the idea of making a photo….nothing short of magic. When I was doing my darkroom for 40+ years, the alchemy turned me on to a high that no drug could ever match. For me, making the negs was the most exciting part of the processing part.

I mean, going out and working and then coming home to my darkroom, making negs, that proves that all went well so far. So if in fact that photography is magic then it seems to me that when I make a photo, and that is magic, how about the people in the photo? Do they see or feel magic? Do they even believe anymore in magic? Is the magic contagious? Where does the magic get it’s energy from?

Is it possible to share the magic? Does magic need to have people convinced that it exist? Don’t they know that just the fact that they exist means they live with and in magic? So, if we as shooters seek and fine magic and make a photo that has magic in it, does that mean we are magicians? Well, we are alchemist in the darkroom, much like Merlin, so perhaps we are magicians in a world that has lost the magic. I name all my cameras like I named my guitars. I don’t really talk to my cameras but if I did my Shrink needs to know about it.

We are given choices in life. One of the choices is how we see the world. I mean as shooters, how do we see the world. Do we just walk around aimlessly and wait for photos to find us and we can TAKE them? That’s a way many seem to work. Then there is the shooters that walk around and they are visual alchemist and they seek and find material to MAKE photos. It’s like there is a passive/aggressive method of working. I see it as either an observer or a participant. You can even be both at the same time. So really I suppose it’s a matter of stance again. How we feel about ourselves and our subject matter.

Harry Bertoia told me that I need to dance thru life. Life is a dance he said. As you dance thru it, sometimes the music is not to your liking but you just dance anyway because in time, the music of life will change to your liking. Just the very concept of what Harry said is magic. The magic in the dance of life, tat’s what I want to see and experience and make photos of.

So when we look at our work, we see the magic of life thru our lens. We experience life in a way that not everyone gets to do. We have a gift and we get to share it with other like minded people. The beauty of that experience is beyond words. For me, life with a camera is magic and life without the camera is almost unbearable….not almost, it is! I am at the age that I make my photos and the real magic for me now is that I need no reinforcement from anyone to make me feel better. My photos do that for me.

Enjoy my friends and love the magic and if you can’t find it, look at your photos and then you should see it.