Tag Archives: Olympus Pen F

January 9th, 2019 … Blinded With Clear Vision … or … Wake Up the Past to Find the Present


… you miss the point and you miss and abuse the flavor of life. I will not entertain you with an argument, let me just say, you will never connect your heart to your photos. You probably don’t connect anyone with your heart and for that I feel terrible for your friends and family but my friend…not for you. You have the gift of life and take it for granted.

Sorry friends. You caught me off guard as I was in a discussion about the heart of life and the heart of photography. See, there’s many ways to make photos and many uses and or purposes for those photos.

Flashback….we are at base camp near LZ Liz. I’m sitting around with a couple troops and we are talking about the value we feel for life. Some guys are saying, they would fight to the death and die for America. I feel that way also and continue field cleaning my 45ACP. Spud a soldier from Idaho and on his 5th tour says to me, Jingles, you would die for your friends here and die for your country. I bravely and boldly say, damn right


Spud knocks me on the head and looks in my eyes. The other troops are looking and trying to figure out what’s happening. Spud says so all the others can hear, Jingles, it’s easy to die here. It’s a worthy cause to die for your friends and your country. You need to find a reason to live for them and America and not die for them. You need to always fight for life, not death. If you survive, you must fight for life every day until you die. You must never surrender to death and when you die, make sure all the world knows it.


I thought about the dichotomy of life and death. Spuds words resonate in my heart and mind to this very second and I often wonder if he was recognized as a ZEN Master. I asked Spud why he was here so long and he said because here, I am able to feel my life and in the world, I feel I am not worthy and will abuse it.

The thing about photography is, that it is a representation of our life and existence. There is a path to self discovery and for me it has always been with a camera.


On this path to Self Discovery, we must realize that it is a lonely path and ends in our death.  This does not mean that we can’t share time with others but you’ll catch hell trying to get someone to die with you. That Landmark is strictly a lonely one. OK, so we can’t cheat death or life but what we can do and should do and simply put, must do is: Live our life in a manner that brings focus to our hearts and souls and honors those before us.  As photographers, we should make a worthy battle to maintain our integrity and honor our work as if it is our life’s worth..


We need to honor our history. It is said that we should see things as if seeing for the first time. Such a simple virgin excuse. By doing so, we erase our history and neglect any value that the work had or has for us. I rather acknowledge;edge my history and maybe make a new photo of the subject but keep the history alive. You simply can not erase the history of your work. So, then, love it and see things differently and make a new photo of whatever you are doing.

Proof that I am not too crazy. We all do exactly as I said every time we make photos of our friends and family etc. If you make photos of a loved one, do you erase the history or embrace it?

I will write more shortly…. go in peace alls………


December 11th, 2018 … The Intent of Memory

… so Charlie is always walking behind me. He’s just slower than me and that’s cool. It allows me to breathe easier and to make photos as we walk. I met Charlie years ago from a mutual friend, Tom Murtha. Tom was a Ranger and did 2 tours in Korea and 3 tours in Nam. Charlie and Tom did a tour together in Korea. One day on a mission with the Warriors Watch Riders, Tom asked me to look in on his friend Charlie. After the mission, I rode my Harley to the address Tom gave me for Charlie. I had a Canon G9 around my neck and when Charlie answered the door, he saw me and said, no pictures Whitey. Well, that was the way Tom talked and I guess it was better than sugar coating everything. Charlie just as Tom, didn’t use any sugar or have the slightest amount of tact.

Charlie told me that Tom was his only real friend. (imagine that) Charlie asked me if I liked Chinese food. Sure I said. So he went into the kitchen and returned with a plate of noodles and something resembling meat and sauce. Something told me that we should go to the Market and get fresh food. I asked Charlie and he was anxious and said let’s go Whitey. I turned to Charlie and said, are you ready colored boy? His face got like … you don’t need to know. I told Charlie, my name is Don or Shooter. He smiled and said I’m Charlie Don. Now get on and ket’s go eat. I asked Charlie, did you really expect me to eat that stuff at your house? He laffed with that rolling thunder laugh from his heart and belly.  I asked him what’s so funny? He smiled and said, I knew if I showed you that food, you’d take me to lunch.

So Charlie and I established our friendship and the right and responsibility I have to take and buy him lunch. I see him every once in a while and especially when he needs me. Charlie told me about an ambush in Korea. He said Tom was in front of me 10yds. Hell broke out and I fell and was not able to move, My leg was on fire and I was bleeding bad. Tom dropped back and lay next to me. He threw grenades and fired his rifle round after round. Never even breathed, just fought like the Devil was coming at us. He told me to hug him tight and then we rolled over and he continued to unleash death all around. I lay there knowing I would never survive and then there was almost silence. Screaming from both sides of the battle. I told Tom, you saved me, Tom. He said I do it for anyone Charlie. I said you did it for me. Tom said, fuggin right, you’re my friend. I never had a friend before and never in my life like Tom.

I asked Charlie if he had family and he said, you and Tom now. I got a daughter Nespa, someplace in North Carolina but ain’t seen her in over 40 years. She was borne when I was in Nam. Her mom Enesta ran off with that guy and took Nespa with. That was it.

So we are walking up the street to Sang Kee in the Reading Market. I am in front of Charlie, about 10′. He doesn’t like me too close so people don’t get the wrong idea. Makes me laff but I respect the old coot.  I am walking thru the shadows of memories and seeing them on the ground. Shadows holding me and releasing me. Memories being re-born and the birth of new.  It’s like a mystical experience. I guess my life is…. I turn around to see Charlie and ….Click

June 18th, 2017 … Father’s Day … Some Observations … Pen-F


Happy Father’s Day.  I’m an observer. Not just a photography observer but a life observer. What I notice and find most interesting is the search for identity. It seems to that everyone struggles with identity. Brands are all over everyone and everyplace. Racial identity, gender, religious, education, city, state, country, camera, lens…. the list goes on and on. We form groups of like minded people so our search for identity is not a lonely one.


So as photographers, what are we really searching for and how do we know if we find it? Let me say this: I don’t have an identity issue. I know who I am and the others inside my head know me also. So there!

Lets cut the search to bare bones. We all have cameras, lenses, dark rooms, computers etc. We all fit in our gear and lives neatly and perfectly. We have our vision, our stance and everything we as individuals deem necessary to travel our quest. Nice feeling. Nice to be equipped with stuff and more importantly, emotionally stable.


So what in our inventory is missing or worse, there but quiet? What do we have to hold stock of our life and our struggle to find our selves?  What is it that we produce, protect, promote?  Perhaps, maybe just maybe our photographs. Is it even possible that an image we produce has the ability to justify all that we are or hope to be? Is it possible that our images are or could be the catylist for conversation, criticism or self exploration and even self discovery? Well, believe this, it’s totally true. Your identity is visible in your images.


Think about this. No 2 photos can ever be the same. Don’t get cute and think about copies. “No eyes ever will nor ever shall see what I see now”. MBW

So then if we are lost in a world that swallows up our identity, it is the simple fact that our photos are our identity. They are the artifacts and DNA of us as individuals. They are the evidence that we are alive and here and working. So, if it’s just this photograph that is a record of our individual existence, maybe we need to take it more serious than we do. Well, I don’t know about youse but for me, it’s over 50 years as a photographer and my awareness of myself, makes me happy. It’s time to stand tall if you can and be proud and happy with the life you live and the work you produce.


We need to understand that whatever our work does, it represents our existence. If it is a truth and it is that Margaret Bourke White, (I pretty sure this is hers….) “No eyes ever will nor ever shall see what I see now”, then that means that your work is unique and you should be proud of it. You also may feel the need at times to defend it but I wouldn’t. I don’t think anyone serious about photography would give bad words and thoughts to another’s work. The ones the do are obviously lost in the world of confused identity and that is the reason they do such horrible things. Those that love photography must and should bear in mind that when they see your work, they see you.

The only bad photos are the ones that don’t get made………

Peace and be blessed all…………………………………………..

April 13th, 2017 … Philly Streets … Observations with the … Olympus Pen F


Perhaps it’s because I have a love affair with seeing and photography that drives me to continue my journey. One of my companions is Serendipity the Olympus Pen F. There’s something about really fine cameras that not only inspires me but also creates a sort of freedom for my thoughts and emotions. I suppose that thoughts and emotions are the foundation of creativity. When I work the streets, I want to feel free to do as I wish without intrusion from my mind or any source of energy. Maybe that’s why I get attached to cameras. The fact is that the right camera at the right time can be a life raft in the sea of uncertainty. In my life so far, there’s been very few things or people that have allowed me to be as I desire. My cameras do that. So with respect to my process, I name my cameras.


Seeing photos is the first step in making them. For me there’s a few ways that the seeing works. Sometimes I am walking and a scene triggers me and i make a photo.  Sometimes, I feel something inside and I try to find it outside. Sometimes, I see a photo or the basics of a photo in my mind and then I try to make it visible to me. The photo above is just that.

I have been in combat and experienced things that killed me but left Don alive. I kinda got freaked out about the conflict in Sierra and especially the chemical attacks. The the MOAB that was dropped. In my heart and mind, I felt the need to see visually what impact this had on me. One thing is the kids. The Orphans of Love. The Forgotten Innocence. Well this photo conjures the feelings I have and displays it for me.


The detachment of the social being intrigues me to no end. I made selfies like anyone else but in time they started to mean more to me than just a selfie. Above, makes me see that I am the observer and the one that captures the moment. There exist an internal connection that we are harbor but sharing that with others is unlikely. Maybe that’s at the core of my being for being a shooter.  I find it easier to observe than to be a participant.


I was at Independence Hall and I saw this crowd, detached as usual. The this guy and his son came into view and I realized that maybe the detachment is not with everyone. Is it possible that I have created a trigger to seek the detachment? Is that why these two stand out from the crowd?

The reason I made this post is to maybe shed light on a way to develop a vision that becomes personal and even if the photos don’t strike a chord with too many, at least for us, they reverberate inside our being. They could feed the reason to work. They could provide that creative energy to get things flowing.


Photography creates a great illusion of being detached or attached, your choice. The way you feel is not necessarily the way you work. We have options to carve the path for our journey or to go over the steps of those whom went before us. Being an observer doesn’t mean that I am detached  same as being a participant doesn’t mean that I would be attached.

Being in the moment and being aware of the difference is what makes the attentive shooter. I learned years ago that I make my work for me and some others that respond to it. I had many exhibitions, many collectors, galleries and museums and what means the most to me is, having my camera with me and being in the here and now.


I will not be sad to die because photography has been my companion all my life. My cameras have names because they deserve the respect and love that they have given me. I will lay in the ground for all eternity and not be sad. What would make me sad is to be alive without photography. That my friends is a fate worse then death.

……………………………….I’m outta here……………………………

February 19th, 2017 … Not Passing the Passerby’s






Not passing the passerby’s. Maybe that sounds confusing and I am a good source for confusion material. Remember that thing about the Inverse Square Law. Well, here we go again, another round. This round we are dealing with the head mostly and the heart is active but on vacation.  I was always interested in the things I didn’t pay attention to. I mean why do they not interest me. Why is there no connection that gets me hyped? If there is a connection of sorts, why do I not make a photo of it? If there’s a connection and I don’t make a photo, why do I even remember the moment? That’s the thing, remembering the moments NOT recorded.



So I set out with the intent of finding the photos I pass by. I did this many times before but the way you get past hurdles, is not to get over them one time, but to get over them many times and then to recognize them before you have to get over them. I started thinking, shooter I said, what’s the reason you walked pass that photo and if in fact that was a photo, what was missing?

years ago, I taught vision by going to an area and making photos. I would do about 10 and from different points of view. I would take the class there and give them all the photos. Then set them free to find the photo on the print out on the street. This is easier said then done but, very worthwhile. Cultivating vision also means to be aware of what’s not the interest. Like in a garden, there are many beautiful plants growing but all around is weeds, grass etc. We need to WEED out the garden so that the flowers etc grow better.

That is the same as in making photos. We kinda weed out photos so that the photos we desire can bloom. This of course means an act of knowing what we are weeding out. Basically this is editing. So that’s the name they gave this.


What if all the photos you don’t make are more important in some ways then the ones you do make. I don’t think it’s the value system working, I think it’s intentionally not paying attention. So I noticed a long time ago that I would walk past things, people etc and for a fraction of a second, glance at it and then continue on my journey. I get home and process and then sith to relax and let the images burn in my heart and mind. They will live there forever cause without them, I cease to exist.

All the sudden, some images pop into my mind and it’s of something I walked past and didn’t make a photo. Sometimes that image starts to burn and cause an itch in my butt. It gets to the point sometimes that I can’t erase the image at all.

So methinks that maybe, just maybe, these unborn photos are like lost messages that I didn’t get. Oh, I saw them but was to reluctant to make the image. Maybe these things are seemingly trite but to me, very intense. I want to understand my life as a photographer before I am not. I want to make the photos that mean something to me and never be that concerned by the thoughts of others that it shall effect me or detour me from the path I live with my cameras.


We all have a responsibility to ourselves. We need to satisfy the craving of photographic creativity and continue our work. Ya know, there is a duty that we all have, wanted or not, That duty is to support photography and Mother Light the best way we can. We as shooters, for the most part work for other shooters. To deny that fact is to deny yourself the reciprocal energy that your photos may bring.

So perhaps what I am really writing about is that maybe we see the big picture for ourselves and we walk by the things we don’t pay attention to. This kind of stuff makes me nuts and it’s why Olivier and I made the Inspired Eye. What if one of the things or…. that we pass by is a shooter struggling to find his/her way with photography. Perhaps you stop and offer assistance and maybe you think that this means little to you but to the one you helped, it’s a mountain that gets knocked to a dust pile and leads the way to the an open mind and heart.

I’m rambling but not really.

Good Light my friends……………..end transmission……………………



January 10th, 2017 … Who Said Winter Brings New Life? …

I feel winter kills everything or at least freezes it so bad things can’t move. Snow all over the place making streets etc messy, and hard to travel. It’s so cold I wear long johns. Sorry ladies, it ain’t about being handsome and attractive. It’s about staying warm. Susanna is from Japan and she tells me I’m a spoiled man cause I can’t deal with the cold. Well, I can see she’s wearing long Betty’s. Oh yeah, I can tell. Yes, winter has all but killed everything. Susanna has these wool gloves and on the right one, a very small nip cut off the trigger finger. Hmmmm I thought…. very good idea.

So all is at a standstill for work cause winter did a number and will do so for a while too. Well, I’ll tell ya’s this. I am not one to succumb to weather or anything that takes the enjoyment out of life. I fight the good fight and hold my stance even tho I freeze my butt off. I will not fall.


There’s a real beauty in the struggle for life. Not just weather conditions but any struggle for life, by anyone or anything. We think we find a way to overcome weather but we fool ourselves. All we can do is try to find a way to live with what we can’t control. That goes for everything on the planet. Finding compromise with anyone in life is more then a days work. Remember most times that action will be a 2 way or more conversation. Dealing with weather for example, and make that really cold weather, another story. I must admit that it could be a very hard experience. Like, weather will not compromise. It will do what it want’s anytime and anywhere it wants. Now I do know a few folks that will get on a roof and bark at the moon. This happens usually after a bottle of Tequila of J&B or anything the perpetrator deems necessary.  It is a one way conversation to talk to the moon and well, maybe you end up in a house of moon barkers but that remains to be seen.

So, we can’t always compromise with things and that means we must find a way to carry on our work under any conditions.


What weather, other forces, people and everything else should not be able to do is…… destroy our hopes and stamina and most of all, our spirit. It was around 9F when I made the photos. Cold. Very cold. The critters in the yard struggle to find food, lodging etc. The street is covered in ice and I see the irony in the diptych of the first image.

The last photo is of my favorite Rose Bush. She turns out the most Angelic Roses on the planet. They have this beautiful orange color and they form in the most perfect shape. Here, she is all but dead just like so many shooters spirits. The will to survive. The struggle for life. All this presents to me that I need to learn from the garden as it dies but stands as a reminder that life prevails and I must keep that in my heart.

I learned from my dear friend, the beautiful Susanna, to nip a small part of my finger on the glove so I can work intelligently and have a meeting of the mind with Mr Winter.

Be careful out there and in there. Not all threats to the spirit are well seen.

I’ll be back………… shooter out

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


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.


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.


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 22nd, 2016 … In Between Time … 1979 –


Well, I never claimed to be anything more than a collaborator with life and photography. So this way, when things aren’t exactly square, I also get to blame Life for the issues. Smaat huh. Well, I used to go to New York City a lot to make photos. I usually would have $ & 3 with me. (ok, before I found my sanity I still named my cameras. My Black Laq M4 was named 4. My Silver M3 was named 3. It took time for me to find the right names but it worked.) Anyway, 4 was the main shooter and one day I was near St Francis and I raised my camera and made a shot. I heard a familiar sound but not at the right moment. See, I was set to 1/250 f11. I’m using Tri-x rated around 640. Most Leica’s and a very unique sound around 1/15. It’s a ball dropping. Any one familiar with Leica’s knows that sound and also to check the drive train with that sound.

George Butler showed me this stuff. He would take the lens off and close his eyes and put his nose right to the mount. He was sniffing the smells from the camera. Of course I wanted to be like Geo and I smelled the cameras too. Even in Camera Barn, I would look very professional standing there in front of the sales person and closing my eyes and sniffing the camera. Truth be told, I never smelled anything special and Geo told me that’s why I’m a user and will never be a collector. I always thought it had something to do with money, go figure.

So anyway, I am making photos at 1/25 but I think I hear the ball dropping. Smaart as I am, I decide to just overlook it because if I acknowledge the sound, I must accept the fact that 4 is in trouble. I decide to be like so many before me and just say, I ain’t heard nuttin.

I’m on the train heading back to my home. The train does not stop at my home but not far away. I’m coo, I have 4 rolls to develop and the next day, I go to my darkroom in my basement and develop the film. I think I was using Rodinol @ 1:18 with little Sulphite. The idea was to punch contrast and the recoup in printing. So I run the film and hang the negs in the film dryer and the go up and see my wife and the kids.

All the while, I am having awake nightmares because I heard the ball @1/250. I don’t wanna hear it and I don’t wanna accept the fact that I did when I didn’t wanna, really…. shhhh 4 .


Next day I go down to make contacts. Set the printing side up and get everything ready and am excited about a few frames. Ok, The Leica Enlarger is cooking. The bulb is nice and warm, or hot and should be stable. I cut the negs down and sleeve them. I always made 7 strips of 5 frames in the preservers. I think they are Negafile. It’s true with the and Perma Wash. Use them properly and they reach 50 years no contamination. Now I’m really hopped up cause this is the part I love. Foot switch, lights go off, time starts and the enlarger sheds light on the truth.

I take the paper and  hit foot switch 2 and now the room is ready to develop the prints. I was using a formula called the Winchester Developer. I hadn’t altered this yet. I’s great with Bromide paper. So, the paper is in the tray and I am rocking the tray is a very methodical manner. (See, every variable must be accounted for and analyzed and the adapted to the system, even a sound that isn’t at the right time.

So the paper is starting to show the magic. There, there in the tray is a sheet of paper that shows my efforts as a shooter. Paul started me on RC paper and I liked it for Contacts or press prints but not for finished work. I pulled the print ad rinsed it for a few seconds and then squeegee it off. Wow am I excited!


I hit the foot switch and all white is on. I pick up the Schneider 4X Lupe and look thru it as it rest on the paper. At this point I must explain. I am a Viet Nam vet but we aren’t vets yet or humans at the point in time. I seen my share of stuff. I have survived the streets and all kinds of things. My eye looks at a frame and I get this clutching feeling around my chest that is getting tighter and tighter. In my mind I hear the sound of the ball dropping and I know with all my heart and soul that is not a good sound at 1/250. I now have proof that 4 has a virus or something and the Doctor is gonna be expensive. I clean up the darkroom. Then I try to sleep and all the sudden, it’s morning.

I have a number for Leica that Geo gave me and told me to ask for Ernie. Now this is the time that Steve Jobs hadn’t mad a real computer yet. So, I am living in an analog world and I call Leica. I figure I’ll be on the phone till my kids get out of High School. A woman answers and has the voice the is so pleasant that I instantly start to cool down. I explain that I want to talk with Ernie. She ask my name and I figure, that’s it…I’m cooked. Meanwhile 4 is on my lap and not crying but I hear sniffles and he’s not looking good.

The, then out of the world, a man answers with a very strong German Accent, and says, how may I help you sir? 4 could hear the voice on the other end of the phone and I can see, he’s excited. He’s wiggling on my lap and I hear him playing with his shutter speeds.  I explain everything to Ernie and he says, “Ok, send the Camera to me and I’ll fix it. I will have it back to you by Thursday. Now I’m an not a clock watcher usually but it’s Monday around 10:00 am est. Ernie says, anytime you have a problem with your cameras, call this number directly and ask for me.” I said yes sir and 4 was all jumping up and down…. he said to me… wanna go see daddy. Then Ernie said, have a good day Mr Springer and tell George I said hi. I never even mentioned George….hmmmm? I packed 4 really carefully and told him to behave. Sure enough, on Thursday, UPS delivered 4 and an invoice marked paid in full. Thank you for your service.

But this isn’t what the story is about. See I saw this blur across many photos. It was not intentional at all but a freak accident. I started to study photos from other shooters. I remember I had books my Duane Michals and started studying why he was doing this stuff. So, I made prints and in time I felt that these photos are about “In Between Time.” There are many in my catalog and after a while I started seeing deeper in some and that became the “DreamCatcher”.

I’ll do more shortly but this is a basic idea how I think and how the process of discovery is so important to us. It also shows that we need to be open with our heart and minds to move on with our work

Be Blessed all…………. I have been criticized about foul language and thought about it all day. He’s right and I openly apologize to all and will not do that again.


December 13th, 2016 … The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same


Well, the title for the post is true. I have all these I guess ya call them series going on for decades and as much as I like to add something, I can’t. So at the workshop over the weekend, I was asked by a woman about the way things work photographically. I explained that we are subject to the Inverse Square Law. Ears opened and I was again asked to explain the Inverse Square Law.

So, I went on to try to make sense of Mr Inverse’s Law.  Now it will be assumes that everyone reading this understands this law, even without meeting Mr Inverse personally.

It goes something like this. I will demonstrate some examples. With regards to negatives, (these are film things that shooters used to do back in the Pre-Digital age.) The darker something in the Neg is, the lighter in the print. Then, the lighter something is in the Neg, the darker in the print. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s tried and tested and found to be true. Ok ok…. with a lens, the larger the fstop, the less light it transmits and the smaller the fstop the more light it transmits. The shutter speed works in a similar manner. The larger the speed, the less movement and the smaller the speed, the more movement. The less expensive a camera is, the more it does and the more expensive a camera is the less you want it to do.

So, in the natural order of things photographically, if we are aware of the Inverse Square Law, the better of an understanding of being a shooter we have.


See, image wise, I notice that …

the more I pursue stuff for a series, the less I want to work on the series. Now check this out…… if I have a series or no series with low volume, the more I am excited to work on it. It’s stimulating to find new images that I can file away in my catalog  and say goodbye to them as time passes and they become a part of history. The more photos you have for a series, in time will be less stimulating and the less you have in a series, the more stimulating because your excited to fill in the blanks. Why am writing this? Well I get concerned when someone ask me to help define them and their work. I’m very good at it but of course the Inverse Square Law works here too.

The more I see someones work and help them, the less I can see my own work. The less I see of others work, the more I see my own. Here is where I detour from the norm. A looooong time ago back in the age of darkness in a little room, I discovered that I liked sharing what knowledge I had. Of course this is all based on my personal experiences and the data that was input into me. Many people, friends and of course, not wives, would talk with me and THEN, ask my opinions. That for me was so exciting. I felt that maybe my contribution would be worthwhile and needed. Where I felt inept was anytime I met an educator from a college, university etc.


See, the only education I had was what I learned on my own. Then, then one day, then one day when not expected, a friend told me…..”Don, colleges, universities, schools are there for one reason. To build an appreciable audience.”  I started to thinks that what a shame for the teachers and what bigger shame for the  students to be in that cycle but her was right and that’s the nature of Art, regardless of the medium you practice. I felt that I was set free to live my life and to no longer be overwhelmed by educated people that maybe will have the understanding of them selves, mother light and their work.

A lot of what I write changes along the way but for me, I guess I stay the same. As a person for sure but as an artist, I’m not. I don’t declare to be an artist. Unfortunately I’m nothing but a human being on a journey thru life and that has a camera with me. I make photos because they are about the only things from me that I produce that give meaning to my life.

….. end transmission …..



December 6th, 2016 … Reflections of a Shooter … Harry Callahan



What I do have is over 50 years as a shooter. Uh oh, didn’t realize youse alls was here.  Anyway, to get ya’s caught up….we are discussing the reflections of my reflecting inner self. Oh, scuse me again. I should introduce who be having this chat. There’s yours truly, there’s my reflection and we are both reflecting on my inner self that comes out for photography.

It is said and I do believe that every photo is a self portrait of the shooter. It does not imply a selfie only as a self portrait. What i mean is that if we are awake and in touch with ourselves at exposure, then all that we were or all that we are is present at exposure and thus the photo is a reflection of the self. Whatever your thinking or feeling is present in the photo. Of course the old adage of …There are none so blind as those that will not see, applies always.




We were heading to the McDowell Colony to see Harry Callahan. I was invited to make a Portrait of Harry. So Harry & I talked a little and I asked him to sit on the steps leading to the entrance to the  house. I set up my 8×10 Deardorff with the 420mm Red Dot Artar. I frame and focus, lock the camera, put in a film holder and start chatting with Harry. He looks at me and smiles holding fast in position as a shooter would. CLICK! I pull the holder out ant put it in my bag. All the sudden a voice of the Photography Angel, Anne Tucker says, Don your going to make  a few more exposures aren’t you?

Immediately Harry says, He’s got it, he knows what he’s doing. I pack the bag and Harry comes over to me, puts a hand on my shoulder and says, let’s walk and talk a little. We walk a little and Harry says, your a cocky fucker aren’t you? I said, you really think so? He smiles and says, nah… I’m the same fucking way. Harry says, if your not in it 100%, where are ya.

We go back to the porch and harrygoes into rest. In a minute, Barbara comes to me. Don, as you know, Dad always made portraits of Mom and me. He says he’s to old to do it with that camera and ask if you would make it for him?  It’s an honor to meet, chat & do a portrait of Harry. The to make a portrait of Elizabeth and Barbara is beyond comprehension.  Ya see, only Harry ever made a photo of his beloved Elizabeth and daughter Barbara. I make the photo with all that I am, all the attention and spirit I have.

Barbara gives me their address and ask me to send prints. Elizabeth comes to me and holds both my hands between hers. She says thank you. My Harry has never asked anyone to make this photo and please respect his wishes and not send them all over. I looked her in the eyes and said, it was never an issue my lady.

I made some portraits of Anne Tucker, Robin McNeil and some I may not mention. The platinum prints went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

As we were walking, Harry said some things. Don, I watched you work, make the photos, even pack Margaret away. ( My Deardorff is named Margaret) You have a focus that is all of you at once and that’s what’s required. Don, as serious as you are there is a mission you must undertake. Making photos is great but teaching is all the more important. You have to carry on the love and chart of being a photographer.

Harry and I looked at each other and both knew we would never be in each other’s company again. Harry turned around and lowered his head and walked to the house. I got in the car and everyone was excited but I was so sad. I felt I lost my dad again.



Life without photography for me is suicide daily. Life with photography keeps me here. Photography & Life go hand in hand. Without one, the other ceases to exist.