Philly

August 3rd, 2019 …Circumnavigating Photos and Then Some

Ya know one of the best things about getting old, ya can say crazy things and most will accept it from you. If you try it when you’re younger, well they have places for you where others say things like that and ya fit in. so Suzanne and I went to get sushi and talk photography. You know me, I’ mall in for being seen in public with her. Got Ding the Leica M9 on my neck and Suzanne on my arm. Dat’s right G, I be da man. So we walk and finally get to the sushi shop on Walnut near 7th. We go in and like 5 people come to her and say high in Japanese. Then they say hi to me in Philly English. I didn’t expect a group and she never mentioned this to me. So they all sit and I seat Suzanna and slide her and her chair to the table. A few of the ladies there looked with a kind longing approval. I mean obviously I’m the only gentleman in the group and unfortunately, probably all around. They all start talking Japanese and Suzanne puts her hands to her ears and says, Don. Now the language switches to English and I kind have that down some. maybe not perfect but good enough. I didn’t know why I was here and would have appreciated Suzanne letting me in on things  but I just went with the flow.

So Suzannz tells everyone to start asking questions. If it was anyone else, I would have been offended but Suzanne, I’d fight my way back from hell for her. So a guy ask me, “How do you maintain the visual quality and continuity in your photos thru all the years? The great thing about questions and answers especially is, not to have canned answers. I like to open me poor brain and my warriors heart sand construct an answer that fits me.

It’s not the easiest thing to do. You need to have the knowledge and the means of presentation to make it work. I like to get an answer started with a thought train and then quickly open the valve from the heart and then answer. In the old daze, we called it winging it but now I am much more sophisticated and more a proper adult so I like things to work for the questionnaire. So I started talking and first things first, I said. Plan your work and work your plan and don’t be afraid to improvise along the way. There are different starting points to a photo but mostly, all will go thru this cycle.

Example: An idea for a photo forms in your brain and or mind. You can kinda visualize it but no clarity. Then go out to make photos and breathe in the light and the scenes and people. Take them to your heart and mind. Keep reflecting on the image planted in your idea. Don’t be afraid to let someone or something distract you. Go for it but try to come back to your initial idea. Of course your camera is your partner and friend and you have no issues because you are on the same train together. In time hopefully you will see something that stirs up the thoughts, ideas, emotions of the idea and now you just frame and wait for the trigger. Then, CLICK.

Keep working but you will feel a kinda excitement because you know your satisfying the inner thoughts and idea of your photography. At this point it’s time to see what you captured. When you get into Lightroom, the image should spark excitement, questions and answers and generally you want to work on it. Start processing the photo and keep an open mind but recall the initial idea and emotions. You do not have to stick with that but you absolutely need to know where you started so you can venture into the unknown. Now you hopefully can look at the photo and have a mental map of where you started and now where you are.

This is circumnavigating a photo. We go around the world of the photo and then of course photography and always remember and apply, the heart as the compass. So the guy asked me, “do you do this all the time?” I answered, how else would I do this, I don’t know another way I can live with and there ain’t a better way to die.

They all but one had Leica’s. The one not Leica was a Fuji XT-30. So the questions turned to gear and settings and all the stuff that feeds the emptiness of creativity. We are drinking Saki @ 105f and sushi and maki, just a great meal. S Suzanne ask me, when do my private workshops start again? Yes, when they said. Hmmm me thinks, that M10p is looking real nice… nah not me at all. Anyway, they as a group want to do sessions. I really ain’t feeling it and the Suzanne says, “I will let you know when Don will start”. Wwe all get up and Suzanne and I leave and start walking uptown to Center City. The as she has our arms linked, says… I forgot here.. she hands me a white envelope and I look in it and there’s $500.00 cash. What’s this and she says, the first session. I told her I didn’t want the money and she said they would all be deeply offended and feel they are not worthy. They may all commit hari kari.  Ya know, I adore this woman but sometimes she’s full of craap and this is one of those times.

So I will start a series of sessions and Suzanne will be my trusty assistant. The sushi and saki were great, The company of her 5 friends was enlightening. Suzanne has my heart and is my angel of love and mercy and acceptance of an old warrior.

ya know, the $500.00 was a welcome gift I never thought about. Be blessed all and remember this….. wait.. dang it… I forgot

April 22nd, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Supporting Vision … in the IUSI

What do I mean by Supporting Vision? Ok, this is it. Walk around and keep your camera in a case or pocket. Don’t use it for 30 minutes. Feel the vision that you have developed and you’ll see photos that you may have made or wanted to. You didn’t or can’t cause it’s not 30 min yet. If you are feeling your vision, you can tune into your photos without a camera. Now the hard part. Breathe the feelings of photos you want to make, but no camera yet. We all do that anyway but now it’s a conscious effort. Feel the feeling of your photos? Sure ya do and if ya don’t pretend ya do, just to humor the ole shooter.

Now, take the camera in hand. Ok, pause for an infomercial. Years ago a friend and fellow Admin, Brian Mosley,  at M43 forum suggested the following hold. Brian suggested to hold the camera in the left hand, (right handed people). Then your right hand is free to use the controls without the burden of the grip. I tried this and low and behold, it works fine. It actually works wonders. It also inspires the brain to rethink the preconceived grip procedure. Remember I talked about being complacent? Well, this is a step for doing so. So, I think you may get a charge out of the “Brian Mosley Left Handed Grip. Ya just need to open your mind. Who knows what treasures you may find there.

The subject matter is a subjective conscious decision. Sometimes we go along in a submissive state and wait to get hit on the head to see a photo. Other times we may be more dominant in the process and we act more directly in subject selection. Both manners work fine and we just need to be tuned into ourselves to know how we are working. Then there is a state that I can’t really define too clearly and authentically. It’s a state some call the Here and Now or maybe Zen.

I kinda feel like inventing a new state. The International United State of Inspiration. (IUSI) This actually describes what I feel like when I’m working. The Ricoh GR III kinda anchors me in this state. Yes, it has a sense of humor and changes EV or position of the AF box, but all in all……it does what I really desire a camera to do. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III keeps me happy in IUSI.

Why is this even mentioned or deemed important? Well, did you ever change a starter in a car? The manufacturers place the starter in a position that when you work on it, you will bang your knuckles. Oh, yeas, pain, aggravation, and words that the devil would shy away from. This task is not exciting or sensual or exciting. Even a paid mechanic doesn’t fall in love with auto parts. So, as shooters, we have the gift of love and sensuality with our work and our camera. We choose to find and support the IUSI in our work. If we are focused, no pun intended, then we can be there.

So, supporting the IUSI of our work is a shared responsibility. We are the human element. The camera is the translator of the language of the photograph. Processing is the alchemy of the sum of all the parts to prepare everything to show in the final image. Each step along the was is prone to gremlins. Our knowledge of each part is what determines what we use in our visual process. Any gremlins in the process will no doubt create negative energy and that could cause things to be not enjoyable.

There’s a guy in my Saturday meetup here in Philly and he always challenges me and my intent. He questions my motivation in photography. He says that I only teach the course so I can make money. Laff’n.

I told him, Brad, you pay for the course, right? Brad says yes. The other 14 people are looking at Brad. I say, Brad, your the only one that pays for this course. The others just come and we exchange ideas and things. He looks at the others, you guys don’t pay? No everyone says, never did. The Brad says, Don, why didn’t you tell me this before? Brad I said, you tease people, you incite negative energ=y and you specifically don’t respect me even tho I respect you. I respect you enough that if your gonna be this way than everyone else and me, will have breakfast and lunch on your expense. If I have to deal with you, I want to be paid.

So, your out making photos and all this stuff is going thru your head. Why am I so insistent about this IUSI situation?

I love and LIVE photography. I hope you all do also. I wish that the inspiration developed triggers your Eye, Heart, and Mind. If you don’t love photography and life with it, well, you can always paint the bathroom.

So, for the track shot…. I was waiting for the train to go home. I looked up the tracks and saw the lights of the approaching train

As I turned back, I spot the doll on the near the tracks, looks like it was hit. I reach in my pocket, grab Andre’ the Ricoh GR III and as I hold him, switch to AF mode… The train is closer, really close

I set the aperture at 2.8, look at the photo and CLICK! The train was here in 10 seconds. ! shot, even with slower AF in low light… I’ll keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

April 10th, 2019 … More Than A Shot … More Than a Day … Ricoh GR III … Fuji X-Pro2

The day came and went and I was Minus my Leica M240 and a few Zeiss lenses. The camera is, of course, joy and actually a great camera to slow down and FEEL what you are doing. See, it’s that feel thing that got me. Great camera, no issues but too damn heavy for me. I could not use a neck strap. I could not use my ACAM 25 in any mode. You would think that cross shoulder would work but nada.  So I sold it to a camera store and got a fair price. What does this have to do with anything shooter? Get to the point old man.

I mean for me my cameras are friends with names. I can’t deal with nor have I ever had tolerance for camera intrusion. The intrusion in Leica is the weight. Ohhhh, wait, wait…. Leica isn’t the only camera that intrudes. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III intrudes with his stupid OK button. What happens is, hit the ok button by accident and you could move the AF point. Yes, if you’re in the right mode, you can hold down the OK button and the AF Point centers home. Fuji has that and on my X-Pro2, it can be and is locked. Can’t be locked on the Ricoh GR III that I know of. Maybe it seems trite but when you’re out working and the AF Point is dow lower left and you’re making a photo, your focus point is wrong. Nice huh. The Ricoh Engineers bumbled this big time.

Also, the wheel has a sense of humor and you can change EV unknowingly. Here’s the thing. I’m talking about a camera becoming a friend and getting a name and not intruding in our vision we share together. Unacceptable for me.

If your fiddling with a camera, how ya gonna find and make your photos?  Not easy.

The most important thing I discovered as a photographer, and perhaps as a human, is Complacency.  See the photo above. I have worked these posters etc and never tire of them. So what does this really mean? It is a fact that the habits of all sorts are easy to get hooked into. Usually, we don’t even notice we have a habit. As a shooter, it’s very easy to get a habit going. Does that make the work complacent? I think it could, depending on one’s outlook and approach. The battle in your work and mine too is to enjoy a particular scene and then to deal with it. For this means to be non-complacent. I enjoy revisiting a scene and then getting my juices to accept an alternative outcome from what I already have. It’s great to travel around the world and see new sites and meet new people all the time. I’m sure most of you do that on a regular basis. Well, here in NE Philly I don’t get to do that. What I do get to do is work areas that I have worked many many times.

 

Here’s where the battle of complacency takes place. Let me tell ya something. What to watch out for is what you don’t pay attention to. Did ya’s ever heard the expression “The little things are what get’s ya”? It’s true and even more so with us shooters. Those little things get ya cause ya don’t even know they are with ya.  Our mind seems to create a buffering system to either negate or just disregard the little things. That don’t mean they aren’t there.

Most definitely it means not to get complacent with the little things. Ya know, I think we shouldn’t get complacent with the big things either and for all that matters with anything. Remember this … Ya can’t see something as new if ya have seen it before. Maybe if your good, and I know a few of ya’s are that good but mostly just not as good but trying to be good…. ya can try to see things differently. This is where your creative talent and or energy comes to play.

 

 

There are times when I’m working that I feel like a Zen has formed an invisible cloak around me and tries to keep me inside this cloak and be focused. I know this is meant as a great thing but maybe sometimes I get complacent with Zen. I mean doing something over and over and allowing it to go to a state of being and feeling all is right, this can get complacent also.

I like to stretch my envelope but not get crazy with it. I’m too old and they all told me years ago ya can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So, now as an old dog, I am pre-programmed to not try new thing easily.

 

 

So, for me the inspiring energy has always been, to work where you live. See, I been the Philly Streetshooter since  1070″s. I want to say that it has been a struggle for me to make photos. I want to say that I get bored and need to be in an exotic location to get my juices flowing.  If I said all that and more, it could not be true no matter how convincing I was. See, I have never known a day that I was not hungry to make photos. I have never been bored or even complacent with any part of the process.

The way to maintain this attitude is to spend $1000.00 every month on a new camera. Don’t use any other camera for a month and then buy another one in a month. Wait, wait…. that’s bulldinky shooter. Get real again.

Ok, my flight is landing and I’m adjusting to being partially sane again.  Look, here it is in a nutshell. You can buy all the cameras and gear and everything you desire. You’ll be happy for a brief period of time.. The wondrous thing in life is LOVE. I love photography and everything about it. I suppose that’s what keeps it all interesting and keeps it vitally alive for me. I love it all.

Some shooters asked me about the Ricoh GR III. Ok, I have an ACMAXX screen saver on the screen. I have a Tamrac 5217 case that has a strap I cut off and just use it on my belt. Small. I got two Kastar batteries from, eBay and the price was $9.00 for both including shipping. They work like OEM.

I’ll get more focused in the next few dazes and do mostly Ricoh GR III. work.

 

 

March 30th, 2019 … From The Streets of Philadelphia … Ricoh GR III

There are times in our life that we must surrender to the forces of perfection. This is one of those times.

Andre’ the Ricoh GR III has been on the scene for about a week. I do mean my scene as your scenes may vary timewise. I struggled at first with finding the intuitive way to be together.  I suppose that any means to get intuitive would require an acquired approach. In my mind, I kept comparing the GR III with GR II. Maybe that mindset was holding me back some and I finally surrendered to the GR II and it’s differences to the GR II. So I set sail with the Ricoh GR III and we decided to form a bond and to get acquired information to become intuitive. It’s a fine replacement to the GR II. I can not overemphasize how perfect the SR = Shake Reduction actually is.  I don’t know for sure how Ricoh thinks about the camera but the camera itself is proof that thought went into it. The missing Flash is for sure a conversation many will linger on. I see it this way. If I can hand hold the camera and get a very usable photo at 1/5 sec, why need a flash. See, the majority of street shooters kind wanna be discreet. Not all but the majority. If your out shooting with a flash, your not discreet at all. So I figure Ricoh thought that way also and made the camera very capable of low light shooting. It is!

 

The way I like to use the GR series is like this. I set the exposure for 1/125 f5.6 This a good shade setting and if you like low ISO. I do sometimes especially on bonding with a camera. I set snap focus distance to 2.5m.  My fav is 1/250 f8. Anyway, I work like this until I want to switch to AF. Switching to AF I still work the same exposure because I use Auto ISO. What ya don’t want to do but certainly can change the f-stop. If you decide to go back to snap focus, you are already at the right f-stop for the set Snap Distance. The AF on the GR III is very snappy except if you’re in l o w  l i g h t and then it hunts for good contrast. I don’t use the touch screen and haven’t in any other camera either. My cameras are my family and not tools so no need to be critical or anal about that stuff.

 

So Suzanne asked me why I am posting these 3 photos. Good question. I feel that Andre’ the Ricoh GR III is now a part of my camera family. We have bonded and continue to do so in a rapid and efficient way. The first 3 days together and I was ready to send him packing. Then one night as I lay in bed relaxing, I got a telepathic message from Andre’. He said, ” look, shooter, I will do all that you ask of me within my abilities. In return you need to accept me as a partner and not a slave to your whims. I will adapt to you without fail but you, in turn, must adapt to me. Together we will achieve the ZEN we both seek”.

I thought that Andre’ was being damn ballsy and insistent about a 2-way relationship. I drifted off to sleep and visions of Andre floated around my tired brain.  I ran down to the kitchen and made a fresh cup of Kona. Back up to the office and I looked at Andre’ the Ricoh GR III. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating some but he had a smile on his uuum….lens face. The I knew at once it was time for us to leave the Grasshopper Office. Andre’ was right. I accepted his strengths and weaknesses as my own and we instantly had an intuitive relationship. All the I thought was wrong, (actually 1 single flaw) was in clarity and I am now at one again.

Andre’ told me that we are both responsible for this synergism we have created but…. if the photos suck, it’s my fault, not his….ever.

March, 21st, 2019 … Spring Hath Sprung … Ricoh GR III Arrives today

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I will be soooo glad when Spring arrives in town. Well, today is March 20th, 2019 and here in Philly, it’s the first day of Springer…oppps, Spring.

 

The Ricoh GR III arrives by USPS today. I am excited as Ricoh makes a camera the way I think and feel. Anyway, I’m not writing too much cause I need to save the words for posting about the GR III.

If Tanya sees that photo above, all bets are off and I’ll be homeless like people I help on the streets I guess tomorrow starts the GR III posting.

Be blessed

November 12th, 2018 … Long Time Since I Been On This Street Before

….it’s 1976 summertime at night, about 7:30 pm. Bill and I are at the Polynesian bar on Walnut at 18th Streets.  We are each drinking a beer talking about photography. Bill says, Don, I can’t keep up with you in photography. You are too serious and you understand more than I dream of. I was flattered because, in a way, Bill saved my life and got me focused on the very thing he says he can’t keep up on. He mentored me on art, presentation, curating, editing, seeing and introduced me to Ding McNulty. I really felt good. Bill told me, Don, I went to RIT for 4 years and you know and understand more than my professors and never finished High School. Now I was uneasy. I mean I knew that this was meant with an intent but not know what that was.

….back to the bar. These 2 older guys are eyeing Bill and me up. They are very obviously a couple and appear very loving. The taller guy walks over to me and says, M3, nice. He says, 35mm Cron, great lens. What do you take pictures of? I replied, Life. Hmm, he says. Does Ya have anything against death? I said no, I spent a year in Nam and death.  He told us that he was a Grunt in Korea and made many photos for the Corp.

We start talking about the military and war and all the shit in between. I asked him if he still made photos and he said he has nothing to say anymore. I said I can’t imagine having that situation.

2 days later, Bill came to my house and shook my hand and said, Take Care.  I never saw or heard from Bill again. I believe he went to his sisters in California.

I can see myself sliding into the abyss of silence.  It’s not like tall man so many years ago, it’s more intense. I feel that I have something to say, no I need to say things but don’t have the energy and heart to do so.  Maybe it’s not even that. I hope that it’s external stimuli that affect me to the point of drowning in my own negativity. That I believe I can manage somehow and even muster up the gumption to fight the good fight. What if it’s not external at all? What if it’s internal, my eye, heart, and mind that are lacking the energy and more? What if I realize that I don’t have anything to say. What of the lost words that speak my thoughts and memories? What of those thoughts? Where will they live or will they as me die?

 

I think about this stuff because it matters. I’m told by others, that it matters to them also. Maybe that’s the most important issue at hand. See, if I am self-destructive, mainly it’s caused by me and to me. I don’t know, my shrink at the VA keeps things focused for me but it’s me that’s out of focus. Maybe I’m not out of focus. Even with the Leica, I have more photos zone focused than precisely focused. I think here, I’m in the zone of reasonable thought train even if not precisely focused. The point is like this. If you learn something from someone, there exists an inherent responsibility to share that knowledge.  The other responsibility is to take that knowledge further than when you found it. This is not a mandatory thing. Most won’t want to explore those thoughts and all the work that comes with them.

So I accept the burden of being my own source of energy and inspiration. Not that I don’t get these things from others, I certainly do but mine is embedded in my soul. That means I now assume what I always did, the accountability of my work. This applies to me and you. Oh yeah, you don’t get off the hook that easy. I’ll do the grunt work like posting photos which includes time out on the street making them etc. See, not easy. It also means I will post my thoughts in text.  I’m gonna make it easy for each and every one of you. If you like, just read and see the photos. I have to state, the photos mostly are not made to work with the word. The thing is that both photo and words are from me, so maybe that means something. Linda of the Legend of The Girl Child Linda tells me that my words are my work as well as my photos. It’s a novel idea and I will consider thinking about that. So, if’n you have the need to express yourself, please feel free to do so on the blog.

So, I will do my job but not only self-appointed for you but for me. I can’t stop making photos. It’s an addiction for many, many photographers. I don’t suffer from that addiction. For me it’s life.

Peace all…. seeya’s soon, I promise

 

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.

January 23rd, 2018 … Finding the Un-lost … or … (put your title here)

….. don’t start that crap. It’s real easy to go out there and look for new places to work. It’s stimulating and exciting for sure. It’s like everything is seducing your senses and all you can do is see the magic in front of you. We are like virgins in front of Mother Light. Standing proud and tuned into the oneness of it all. The photos come to us as we become more and more aware of the newness of seeing and feeling. The camera, (you do name your camera, don’t you) ready to make the exposures just as perfect and articulate as can be.

Your a street shooter, there ain’t nothing better in the world. After a walk around, you breathe deep knowing that there, there on the card in the camera, lives the images you saw. made and are excited about to bring to life. Maybe Frankenstein felt this way making his creation come to life. You did it, be proud of yourself, you made photos of the easy side of the street.

What shooter? You best explain yerself old man. What’s this easy side of the street? Well, we all have mental blocks to deal with. Everyone. Maybe you don’t like to address it, or allow others to know you have a block, or maybe be in denial, but we all fall to the cutting edge of the executioner of our creative self.

I remember being 13yo and working with my Grandfather doing hardwood floors. We would come home for lunch and pop would sit in his big chair with 2 arms so he could rest. I’d sit across from him on the sofa and pop would say as he watched television, look at this Donald, it’s like being in Hawaii and in 10 min we will be in Japan, and never have too leave the chair.  Now I’m 68 and I often wonder what I would have done in Hawaii, which I have been too, and Japan and a number of other places that I visit thru other shooters and television etc. I often wondered if I would have made a great body of work and been happy enough to die for.

Then, my mind wakes up and my feelings stir and that itch in my eye gets going and my finger longs for Andre’ or on other other family members…… to be close by. My feet kinda vibrate, it’s not the tremors but the energy that is building. I sit resisting the call and trying to stop myself from succumbing to the call of the streets. My heart rate raises some and my breathing is getting rapid. My thoughts of Hawaii and Japan leave my mind. I start to get peace and tranquility in the knowledge that soon, in just a little while, the exhaust of the traffic, the junkies and the working people, the young men walking around talking together, the woman, seemingly frustrated and inside abused somehow, still radiate the beauty Mother Nature has instilled in them. The homeless that most know me by now as I share what funds I have so we all can eat a little. They trust me because I respect them and don’t care if they respect me.

I am home on the streets. I am home in Philly. I am a tourist thru life, we all are tourist thru life. No one gets a permanent visa. I make photos because otherwise I’d be watching the world go by and not even know I was a part of it.

I admire tourist. They come to Philly and most follow the beaten path set before them for many decades. They find the photos that keeps the memory alive for them when they leave and move on.

I wonder how many photos have been made of the Liberty Bell. I wonder how many variations on a theme there is. I wonder how it’s possible to think that anyplace but home could be better to live and work. Even if you move, in time the new place becomes home.

I guess in my own silly way, I wear ruby slippers. When I go to work, I just have to tap them 3xs and say,

There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home, ……….. it’s not about saying it, it’s about living it with a camera in my hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2nd, 2018 … The Journey To The Land of Inspiration … Thanks to Marie Laigneau

Happy New Years everyone, may you be blessed and have good light.

It started around mid December last. I was kinda just going along but not really inspired and not really caring either. The weather is changing and it’s bitter cold. I hate the cold but love to work in it. Go figure, My elder friends call this an elder moment. That’s a good excuse as any and I seek not to improve that. Anyway, when I get this winter doldrum going, even in warm weather, I kinda have a bug up my butt.  That’s the get your lazy ass out and go work bug.  So the issue is, not that I am aware that I am having a dry season but that I can’t dock in the slip of complacency. The boat of fruitful, emotional, and productive travels, will not rest nor will it ever seek port at the island of lazy and discontent.

So the journey for personal inspiration was under way. I suppose youse alls noticed my absence. I have been on a journey with no destination or goals. I know enough at my age to realize that any journey really is within oneself. I traveled thru the land of lost creativity, the land of sorrows of forgotten images. As I moved forward on my journey for inspiration, I came across the vallet of tears. Here, in the valley, the cliffs on either side are covered with the photos that have escaped the moment of capture. I saw a shadow of Andre’ the Leica M240 in between the boulders. I felt sad. He was just there with no love, no use and he cried out to me….”Shooter, we all love you, we all miss you”..and he faded into the unknown. I needed the guidance and the sheer strength of heart of Atreyu….but alas, he was busy fighting the nothing. I thought I was on my own.

I ventured into the library of forgotten thoughts. It had been a sourse of nourishment for my heart and soul for decades. I felt empty and untrusting of what could be.  I sat back and thought about how to solve the riddle of inpriration. I started to look at the Inspired Eye magizines. See. as co-publisher of the mag, I have every issue. Yes, it’s made to inspire and it was doing that with me.

Now get this straight. It matters not where your inspiration comes from, just that you recognize it and activate it. I saw an interview that I did with a woman shooter. I realized she was my….

Childlike Empress (Moon Child). There was a time when this woman was unjustly juudged by some shooters. I was enraged and came to her defense immediately. This was some time ago. I am not saying she is a hero of mine just a woman that makes photos I relate to. In fact, at this time I related to her work more than my own. That’s inspiration. Her name is and I hope she doesn’t get upset with me is Marie Laigneau marielaigneau.com The nice thing about being old is that I am not uptight about giving credit to others. Anyway, I saw some recent photos she made and the there was one like a selfie with her Leica in the reflection. Don’t ask wy but all the sudden, I felt a weight lifted that was bearing down on me for weeks.

 

The point is that regardless of what we feel or believe, we really are not alone. In this time of isolation and dispair, Marie came to my rescue and she never even knew. We need to keep an open mind, heart and eye so that we continue to evolve as humans with a camera. We all, well we all that are real with things have down times. I even teach this in my private workshops. I find it delicious that a person I never really met and have had little web contact with can throw a life raft to me in the sea of sorrows and lost inspiration and not even know she did it. That is poetry of living.

So I thank you all for being here and wish everyone a Blessed Happy New Year. Marie, maybe you will never know how you saved me but I wish you all the best and a safe journey thru your life.

Take care my friends and if you get lost or bored or even tired, someplace is your inspiration and you need not go to far to find it.

September 6th, 2017 … One Shot Per Shoot … Leica M

So Andre’ the Leica M 240 and I decided to hit the streets and make some photos. We are walking all over and making a few snaps. See, I wrote about one shot per shoot and it seems I am misunderstood by some. I do not mean to just make 1 frame for the day or shoot. The idea is to concentrate on the here and now and allow the eye, heart and mind to come together and make the photo that makes you happy.

See, if you go out there and just blast away without conscious intent, then the majority of the frames will just be so so. Listen, I love making photos. I need it like air. I love using my camera, cameras. So many times I make photos just to make photos because I love it and because I can. I am old enough that I don’t answer to anyone and that’s comforting. This may not apply to you so just get what I’m saying.

The act of making photos for me and I hope many, is like an experience that equals breathing and feeding life. It is also a highly educational and experimental process. So I urge you to do it as much as you can but!!!!!!! …..absolutely without a doubt, you must be aware of your intent. See, that’s the connecting life line between you and your work. If you ignore, use, abuse, shatter, or any other thing to or against your intent, it’s over.

So back to one shot per shoot. Make as many as you want but your intent should be to get ONE SHOT PER SHOOT that makes you realize the reasons you are a shooter. This process should get you to be more focused and aware of your self as a photographer. This is not one shot per day. You may have some shoots that nothing stirs you, so what. Look at the work and the ones you were on with, check and learn what is going on. Learn, learn, focus, breathe and mak your photos.

Ya know how ya see something and you instantly know there’s a photo there waiting for you…. well…..the photo above…..I walked past, looked at here and lost my breath. I have not seen an Angel since Sau in Vietnam in 1970. (tear in eyes…. heart cracked still) Well I saw this woman and just gazed upon the glow of the angel. I swear she danced for me and then………Andre’ said…..click