Tag Archives: Street

March 16th, 2017 … Re-kindling the Light of Inspiration … Fuji X100F

I get kinda edgy when I read or hear about someone saying they need to go to exotic places to make photos. For me it’s always been in the heart and mind that feeds the eye. Of course I like to travel to erotic places….ummmm errr exotic places but not doing that requires a temperament and a drive to work under all circumstances. When I was actively teaching work shops, I made a few procedures to reinstate the inspiration to work. I feel it is critical to vision to be able to uncover thoughts and find the photos in areas where on is constantly working.

Many get what writers call The Block. It’s not a sweet thing to deal with be we can over come it with diligence and patience. The first step in overcoming any kind of block is to recognize and accept that you are in a block. This is not for the light hear-ted. Many will tell you to take a break, put the camera down. Others will say to do something other then what you do. For instance, if you do street, do garden, or portraits etc. Others might say, eat pizza and drink beer.

Well, I see all those methods as a justification for not addressing your real love, photography. What I mean is, if you love something and it starts to have issues, you need to work those issues out and find a path to productivity again. You need to find “The Light of Inspiration” once again.

I always listened to the people I respected and still do. I may have been a bad boy because listening and doing what they say was always different to me. My mom was a Frank Sinatra fan and always played his music. I started to like it at a young age. The one day, when all things in the universe started to come together, I mean the clouds got dark and the ground warm, the flowers pointed upwards, dogs stopped barking, parents too… and then, then coming from the record player, Frank was singing…”I did it my way”. Well, in my mind Frank was telling me to do it my way, mom didn’t agree and told me he was not singing to me directly and that I was responsible to still do it her way.

So, I came up with a method of re-kindling the light of inspiration.

Here it is in a nutshell but it’s a good one.

Day 1 …. Go into a room that is quiet and do not do anything but sit and look around for 1 hour. No camera, radio, cellphone television, nada. Nothing but your self. In about 15 minutes you might start to get bored. In 30 minutes you will send a hit squad out to get me. No books, mag etc. Just you and the room. After maybe 30 or so minutes, you might start to look at things more closely and maybe even make photos in your head. Do it. Frame, look at everything and relax. No input other then your eye, heart and mind and muster up. If you have a partner and kids etc, you may want to stay longer and it’s ok.

Day 2 …. Go back into the room with your camera. Sit and relax and repeat the Day 1 1 hour exercise but this time, use the camera to frame and stuff. No photos to be made. Just use the camera to see but not to record even if your next masterpiece is there. Just see and enjoy that on it’s own.

Day 3 …. Go back in to sanctuary as you now know it and spend the hour seeing like Day 2. This time, make 1 photo, just one and now you should be hungry but just 1 photo. You can process this 1 photo and nothing else.

Day 4 …. Go to sanctuary and have your camera, (best if it’s named but not required) …. Now breathe and make 6 photos not of the same thing but 6 what you feel are keepers. Make this last an hour. Not less. Process the photos.

Day 5 …. Sit in sanctuary with your photos and study them. Try to feel the experiences of the days and how you reacted to time and the energy of the room and how it effected you and you it. At what level do these photos work? How would others see them? Do you feel right about them? Do they represent you and your life during the experience?

Make sure that you do not make any photos other then the exercise. So for like 5 days, don’t do anything but this project. If you do this and need to talk to some one about it and your results, Im available.

I’m not dropping Paul Strand’s name here cause that’s tacky maybe, nah…. Strand sometimes made a series of photos of dishes, fruit etc. He saw each individual photo as a life of it’s own. Maybe the photos were grouped in a series but as like people, each is an individual and we need to deal with it as such. I’m not putting anything else about the visual exercise because I don’t want to set up preconceptions for those that may use it.

You will know who did this because you will see The Light of Inspiration in their work.

Peace all…………..


January 20th, 2017 … Thoughts on Inauguration Day … Fuji X100T

I woke this morning for very big important changes about to set in. This is not something that happens often but when it does, the world changes. I see that there is a changing of the guard in the near future. I am excited for the new generation and feel sad about the generation about to leave.

C’mon, youse all know me, I couldn’t care about politics. The change I’m talking about is the new Fuji X100F being released in February. The old generation is Andre’ the Fuji X100T and his days are numbered. That in itself really saddens me. Andre’ has about 1000 shots on him in 10 months. He’s still like new and performs flawlessly. His replacement has some new features that I am anxious to experience. I started the X100 series on release of the 1st model, the X100. I was completely blown away by that camera and named him Andre’. At this time I was still doing some work with my Leica M6 and was noticing focus issues. Essential tremors were starting to take their toll on me and I knew shortly I would need AF. When the Fuji X100 came out I was relieved to say the least. I was an Admin at M43.com and using the Pen and Lumix cameras. I loved them, still love M43.

The X100 gave me the Leica experience again but with AF. Time went on and the X100s was released and once again, I was blown away. Andre’ did Astral Projection and moved into the new Fuji X100s. We worked together for a long time. I use other cameras and get deep with them but I am aware that Andre’ is the top dude. My young business partner Olivier came to my place March of last year. When he left, Andre the Fuji X100s went with him. Well, actually, the nameless Fuji X100s went, as Andre” is my companion. Within a week, I had the Fuji X100T and of course, Andre’ found his way home in there.

Why do I tell you all this? Well, for me it’s extremely important and emotional. I do love my cameras. My cameras are a pure metaphor for photography and my love of it. So I get attached to them. I have a synergism with my cameras which means I have a synergism with photography. I wish I had that with LIFE but I don’t. Life is a struggle for me but photography is a natural course of being and it moves thru me like a wave of fresh air. It doesn’t move me or stir anything, it just guides me from one breath to the next.

My cameras are the transport mechanism that I share the experience with. So, having to make a change soon is an emotional experience and not just for me but for my camera also. (I didn’t say his name now because I don’t want to shake him up).

I had a session about 16 months ago and a new guy came on board. We were 7 total and sitting at a table for a very early breakfast. I’m won’t mention names because most read my blog and contact me on a regular basis and I don’t want to embarrass anyone. So, I asked who named their camera and 5 said they did after understanding the connection. New Guy, herein called NG smiled and said I was nuts and he felt he was at the wrong place. So I told him, I’d gladly give him his money back and wanted to because I didn’t want him disrupting the energy of the group. He looked at me like a lost puppy. He completely turned around with just a few words I said to him.

So it’s time to pull prints out. I ask for this session, 10 of the best. We are going thru prints and everyone has an equal say and is to respect each other. Comments are going around and then nervously, NG pulls his prints out. Now, this group is no way a group of accomplished shooters but they have the desire, passion and knowledge to move forward and know the path. Susanna starts the comment flow and she states that NG is not connected to his work. NG is looking at his photos and wondering what everyone is talking about.

I ask him abruptly what the name of his camera is and he says that it’s crazy to name a camera and he doesn’t. I try to explain. The idea of naming your camera is to create a relationship with all of photography. It is a way of establishing the love that you have and the love you give and the love you get from photography. That love connects every step from thought to execution to print and maybe even exhibition etc. There exist not 1 inch of space to wander off from your passion. You need to focus on every single facet of your photographic life.

I told him that I can see he has an eye for making photos but no eye for the frame. Like many, he is center weighted like a light meter. He is not seeing the frame in the camera. He sees it as a box and makes everything nice and tidy in that box. I explained that he needs to see the frame in the camera as a window and not to confine his photo in the box but capture what he wants thru the window. We decided to meet again in a month and I wanted a head count and NG was eager to say he would be there. I gave him my phone number and told him to feel free to call. He was to name his camera and feel every thing he does and the connection that exist with or without him. That connection has no name and he was to do that.

A month later we meet and have coffee and I ask all to show current prints. NG brings his to the table and all are ohhhhhs and ahhhs.  I gotta say, NG is a really talented shooter with all the right things and I was hoping he was connected now. I asked him the name of his Camera and he said Robert after Robert Frank. He said, ya know, when I go to work, I can not only visualize the photo I am making but the process all the way thru. I feel different processing styles and It’s all a part of me.

I wrote this because if your not seeing out there what you want, maybe it’s because you don’t know where it will end up and thus, lost.

All this is important to me and that’s why upgrading my camera is such an emotional experience. Andre’ the Fuji X100T is a great partner and I look forward to upgrading him into the new Fuji X100F body. Sounds nice huh…. Andre’ the Fuji X100F.

January 7th, 2017 … Burst The Bubble … Ricoh GRII


There exist a comfort zone in life that keeps us nice and safe thinking and feeling like we are all together with ourselves. This zone of living comes from our experiences of life and the thoughts shared with others in their comfort zone. This comfort zone is really the bubble. We all have one and even if you don’t accept the bubble, you still have it and live in it. Ever hear the expression, “don’t burst my bubble”? Well that is proof enough for me. So, how does this apply to photography? Well, just like everything else, we get accustomed and used to and addicted to gear, software, the need for positive reinforcement on our work and much more. So we create the bubble and it surrounds us and maybe it’s to keep us safe or, maybe to keep others out or, maybe it’s an efficient way to gather and keep things organized for ourselves. I bet there are many ways to use the bubble and all have the right to do so as they please.

I think it’s normal to have a bubble. I think it’s healthy to want to protect it and to keep close to it and thrive inside it. So maybe this bubble not only protects us and our thoughts and out life but it also keeps us confined to the inside of it and maybe we need to consciously get outside of it. The thing is, getting out may mean bursting our bubble. THE HORROR! What happens if we burst our bubble and can’t get back in? Well….I think we should all find a way to just install a door or crack or something to get out and allow us to get back in. How this manifest into trouble for shooters and others too but I concentrate on  shooters…..is we love doing our work but it could come to a time that we are getting stagnant. I knew a very famous photographer, he died recently but he would work in spurts and produce a lot of work. Then he would look at everything and try to see how it fit into his body of work. This of course makes sense but I wonder how one burst the bubble to see what’s on the other side. I mean the bubble is a comfort zone and thus we are comfy in there. The idea of someone bursting it is not pretty.

My bubble gets burst all the time and if I don’t do it, my shrink does. I like to do things opposite from what I just wrote. Yeah, I’m serious. See, I take all the stuff out there that creates problems and stick it in the bubble. So if I have a bad day or a good day or do something boring or interesting, I blame myself cause I’m not in the safety net of my bubble.

I think our vision is like a bubble. I mean we get out there and work and we feel safe when we are working on series or a body of work or whatever we do. It’s not being complacent, it’s being comfortable, big difference. Only you know the safety and confines of your bubble. I kinda think that’s a safe bet but many can burst your bubble. So how does that even happen. If we have our safety net in the bubble then how can anyone burst it? Perhaps the fabric of the bubble allows others to see inside and to be able to rattle our cage and burst the bubble.

I know this all sounds tedious and maybe it is but maybe, just maybe it’s a very important life lesson. When you can apply a life lesson to what your doing, that’s a beacon for standing tall on your work and not letting anyone get inside your bubble.


Perhaps the bubble isn’t a bubble at all. Maybe the bubble is just inside our head. Sounds like it could very well be. I mean if we stand on what we believe and what we think about things, we should be able to take criticism and even abuse about ourselves and our work. Perhaps what we do for ourselves gets misguided onto a track of trying to please others. That’s normal and acceptance is much more desirable then rejection.

So, I care what people think about what I do. I am deeply concerned with helping others in any way i can. I love doing my photography and learning how it relates to my life and my essence as a Human Being.      I know one thing after all this tedious stuff. No one is bursting my bubble, well except for Dr G my shrink.

Be blessed…………………………………………………………..

September 23rd 2016 .. Happy Birthday John Coltrane


John Coltrane  September 23rd, 1926 – July 17th, 1967 (90)

When I was young, I was into music that was outside the perimeter of my family. I loved jazz and bluez, especially. I would be playing records in my room and listening to Trane and Pharaoh Sanders etc. My brother was an amazing drummer and he listened to similar music and could play it but in the bands, mostly Rock.

For me, light and shadow and space and the absence of space is like music. The framing of the scene is like a piece of music. If you don’t believe this, it’s fine, turn your ears on and listen to Trane. If you do believe this but don’t practice it, go find another blog cause you don’t belong here. No, stay here and open your heart and mind and then close your eyes, turn on Trane and let him turn you on.  When you finally open your eyes, go make photos and maybe you will hear them as well as see them. If you don’t see or feel changes, listen to more music then go out again.

Now I’m not only diggin’ Jazz, I really love some Classical. Ottorino Respighi and his Pines of Rome, will put me down in a heartbeat. Obviously I like the darker side of the arts. Hmmmm, maybe that’s where my feelings for light/shadow comes from or is inspired from. The point is that we can’t control the stimuli that comes from the streets or any outside source.  So, by pre-programming our selves we can get a frame of heart and mind started. We don’t live in a vacuum but maybe we can plant some seeds that will nurture what we do while working.

When I’m working, with my camera…see, I’m always working even sleeping. Well, I see thoughts in my head. Not always images but sometimes, thoughts  that dance in my mind. My shrink tells me that it’s probably not normal but maybe for me so he lets me out and doesn’t keep me inside. So the way I see it, well sometimes the way I see it but not always the way I see it I’m on the street and kinda walking thru a song.


There’s a mystery inside the mind. I guess most seek the mystery of life outside of themselves. I kinda learned that I like to find the mystery inside me outside of me. The difference is in the approach and the stance you take.

Not every  photo we make is exciting but you made it for a reason. It is it’s own reality and we need to examine each one and find the secrets locked inside of it.


I’m tired and my meds are kicking in. I’ll post this and do another over the weekend.

…………………………………………………………………end transmission…………………………………………………….



August 21st, 2016 … Dealing With Rejection & Acceptance … The MUSE & The Mentor … Ricoh GR II


Again, I have been asked why I name my cameras and also suggest others to do likewise. Here’s the best reason I know. I hope you understand this and accept what maybe appear to be crazy delusional thoughts. I’m not waiting for a Greek Goddess to come to me and provide inspiration. They are all busy battling politicians around the world.

My thoughts altho many are shared amongst others. The Muse is a source of inspiration. Some think without a Muse, there is no creativity. Others believe that if you don’t provide a Muse with gifts, the Muse will stop inspiring you. So, there are millions of artist, painters, writers, poets, photographers etc all around the world. I thing the Muse support service is full and backed up so we need to find a way to inspire our efforts.

The Mentor is a source of information and energy that helps you handle what The Muse gives you. They are not the same. When you have an issue, you seek advice or support from the Mentor. So, really, the Muse is the Inspiration and the Mentor is the way to following the energy The Muse gives you.  A mentor can offer feelings, words, whatever and help you get a grip on what you are doing. We can have a friend or whatever as a Mentor and it is very rewarding. The Mentor can help you edit work, suggest paths to follow, how to spend money on gear and a million other things.

Ding McNulty was a mentor for me. I mentor some people and we have a strong bond. So find someone with a good mind and understanding about your work and efforts and talk about them being a Mentor for you.

I have a very strong suggestion for a Muse. I feel that inspiration best comes from the internal energy in us. You can ask your Mentor about a group of images or exposures etc. The Inspiration, should be for the source of you. It’s not crazy. This demands that you see the work you do and that the Muse you need and have is your Camera.

I go out with Andre’ the Fuji X100T and work and he is the source of inspiration. I don’t want it any other way. I am accountable for my work and my energy I put into it. So, by naming my camera, I have placed my energy and the wonder of it all, into my camera. What this means is, when I go out to work, I am in touch with everything I need to be able to work. Essentially, my camera is a trigger mechanism when I work that is independent of any exterior forces.  When I hold the camera, my psyche is linked to the creative forces and I get focused on the here and now.

Here’s the thing, we all do this even if unconsciously unaware of it. So, the sweetness of all this is, the reward of making your photos and being conscious of the magic you are living. When you view your work, you are connected because you were and are present during the process…..

Sure you can go out and hold a dead cold piece of metal in your hand and work, but for me, I’m holding Andre’ the Fuji X100T and I feel inspired because we are one with the process and the world while we are in it.

Tomorrow, back about Rejection & Acceptance.

Peace to all…………….

August 18th, 2016 … Dealing With Rejection & Acceptance … Fuji X100T


To start, I am not a know – it-all. If anything, I am a know – it- partly – all. One of the things I know is how to accept myself even at times of punishing adversity. It’s very easy to cave in and do all that others expect of you or worse, what you think others expect of you. That is being punished and also, punishing yourself. It’s like you show some photos to some people and they look and comment like, “Your a master, the maestro, lovely, beautiful, so talented” and you eat that shit up until you get home and sit and think. Geeze, it’s nice people like my work, I just wish that I liked that selection better then my favorites. You think, people like my stuff and that’s great. Unfortunately, maybe they are greasing you up, or patronizing you or maybe they really like the work.


So to me, it looks like that way of thinking is the way to punishment from others and yourself. The question on hand is, who do you trust and who do you allow to guide you.? See, it’s easy to have others call the shots for you and we all do that at times. If there are issues, the hell with it, blame the people that guided you. Certainly easier then to accept the blame for yourself. Let them be the scapegoat for the failure of love you need and want for your work.


The recognition that we seek, doesn’t come from others, it’s born inside us.  I’m not saying it’s not nice or important to have recognition. I’m saying that if you allow that to guide you and not your heart, your doomed to failure and you let failure be the benchmark for your photos of the future. This happens to many and they can’t see that they have a problem because the ones they seek help from are the ones that they allow to perpetuate the problem. This may not be an intentional act but the effect is the same.


I remember years ago, around 1979, that I hadn’t shown any work to anyone in a bout a year. I was nervous because I was busting my butt to get a body of work together. I was already Streetshooter at this time. My friend Paul was coming down and I was excited cause he was also a photographer. He was and is an excellent shooter but he has a gift for seeing other shooters photos and getting it right away. When he arrived, we sat back and I showed him a box of prints. I had maybe 80 6×9 photos on 8×10 paper. Well, I knew the ones that reall meant something to me. Paul looked at the photos and he would say… Don, this is great. I felt relieved especially if it was one of my chosen.


Then, then when everything was going well… Paul would say, tilting his head back slight;y….”Ya know….” I knew that was the kiss of death. I mean, I’m selling my figgin cameras…..well, I didn’t and really, this is what I needed at the time. After we did the “Edit”, I would have a box of prints that was the selection we did together.



After a period of time, Paul would head home and I would lay out the photos as I saw groups, or things like that. I can not tell you the value of this experience. We did the countless times thru the years, editing each others work. It gave me confidence and a sense of visual direction. In time I learned how to relate to my work and how to defend myself against negative energy.

See, negative energy isn’t about acceptance of the work, it’s about a bad critique, or getting hammered by someone, or feeling bad because you think your work isn’t up to par. This is all common and we all suffer from it but there is a way to deal with this and my next post will be about that.


Be blessed my friends and remember, … sorry I forgot what I was supposed to remember……….

August 13th, 2016 … Seen & Unseen … Fuji X100T


Sometimes I feel like a hawk out there and I just move thru life and capture the fleeting moment. Then there are the moments when all grace and poise just falls to the toilet. The photo above is one of those times. I was walking up 11th Street as I have done many more times than I can remember. I love the windows and doors on this side of the street. As I approached, not planning on a photo, this man moves to the closest point of the window and is gazing all around. I have Andre’ the Fuji X100T and he’s always ready to work. Andre’ and I are at the ready and I’ see the guy looking at the young girl’s legs just ahead of me. Then I am ready and he looks dead at me…CLICK!

No, hell no, we ain’t over this yet. He comes out the the foyer and approaches me, says….”Man, WTF you taking a picture of?” I said, Dude, I’m working for your wife and I made a photo of you looking at that young girl’s legs. Well, he starts laff’n beyond his capacity to breathe. He said, “Man, if da bitch divorce me, I’ll buy you a new car”. Ya know, in a way, i understood him, not that there’s anything wrong with that. So after we did the Philly hug, I continued on my way and her went back in the foyer to look at pretty girls.

So this a prime Philly style example of being seen and making a photo. There is another Philly style of making a photo and that’s just down below… see it…yup, that’s it….


This is the Unseen Philly style of making a photo. Well, perhaps it’s an seen, unseen photo. I have to write this because a number of people have been wanting my views about different types of shooting. I promised I would start to address this and here we have the start. First off is INTENT. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

Anyway, there seems to be a time and space when I’m out that something clicks and I know to make a photo. All these things go floating thru me and it’s an energy feeling that charges my instinct and vision. At this precise moment, I want to be as clean as possible. I want to be the virgin shooter. He, we all have our wants right. Anyway, recognizing my photos is important to me. I’m not making these for anyone or any recognition. I’m making these as my last will and testament. The residue of my life and what I held to with love, trust and accountability. There is no standard that has to be met, no goal that has to be achieved, nothing but to be answered to by myself and for myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an island or egomaniac. I am just placing the importance where I feel it needs to be and allow it to expand and regenerate if it has the will by me or others.


I gotta tellya….I been doing photography since I was 13 and I’m 67 and there’s never been 1 moment of regret being a shooter. I know and know of many shooters that make photos but I don’t feel the passion from them. The work might be great but the person is kinda professional if you get that. Shooting for a purpose they feel is more important then photography or themselves for that matter. That’s fine for them but not me. I have a quest or lust or passion that will not extinguish no matter what happens. The spark reignites and I am all over it again.

When Olivier and I met, I wanted to instill this passion into him and our project. I think we have managed to keep the love and energy in what we produce. This also is important to me.

Anyway, I’m rambling again and need to regroup and will continue on Monday.

Have a blessed journey my friends and remember, where your going maybe beautiful but where you are now….. see it as all the beauty there is because that’s all there is….



Aug 9th, 2016 Birth of the Dreamcatcher


It is that feelings and or thoughts awaken inside me and sometimes without warning. When this happens, and it happens more in recent days, I get to a place where I am content and feel that I am ready. I mentioned before about being clean and working without influence from anyone but yourself. Let me clarify. There exist nothing CLEAN. So what we as shooters need to do is to recognize the dirt that permeates our heart and our vision. There will always be residue left over and that is where we need to address our state of awareness and self being. If we recognize the dirt, we need not go crazy trying to CLEAN ourselves, just accept the dirt and work around it. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with having a reference point to check on with what and why we do what we do.  If you are working and when you see your work you think, wow, so close to Bresson…well, my friend, you have a problem. If when you see your work and you feel that it’s a …wow, I really like this, exactly what I feel, well… you got it. If like me, many times, I see my stuff and think, this is strange and I don’t fully recognize it, but it turns me on. That’s really ideal sometimes.

If you have that all the time, well, Dr G can fit you in for some sessions. Please bring all the people in your head with you.


My biggest collection of the most satisfying work, for me is my Dreamcatcher series. I first discovered it in the early 70’s and I was reluctant to work that way. Remember, that was Leica Film daze. So I had a roll that I shot in NYC and my shutter speed was like 1/30. I would go up or down as required. No meter, just breathing the light. The film was Tri-X 640, developed by me. So in a week later, I had more film to run and I processed 5 rolls. When I made contacts, I looked at everything and then the roll under discussion came to the top. I looked thru my Loupe and at first I was upset because there was so much movement in the frames. A few days later I went down to the darkroom and looked at the contacts again. There were certain photos, no images, if you please, that were etched in my mind. I couldn’t delete them as they were bouncing around like crazy in my head. I didn’t say my crazy head.

After a undetermined amount of time, I notice the same thing happening but different images and what seemed to be a different vision. This has repeated over and over again thru my 50 years of being a shooter. The importance of this, is to be able to see your vision with some clarity.

See, what we shooters do is to search for our photographic identity on a daily basis. This search drives us to do things normal humans dare not attempt. We search for the best film/developer combo, the best software, camera. lenses and most importantly, the search for the best excuse to the wife for buying that new camera. Don’t laff, if you have a wife, if you are a wife, if you are just a couple together or any combination of the above and/or more, a great excuse is always handy.

So, the lessons we learn and adopt from our life, are the lessons that can save us in many more ways then anticipated. Those lessons are the lessons of our life and if we maintain a thread of humanity, we might share some of that knowledge with others.

Ultimately, we each are accountable for the life we live. We each are accountable for the photos we make and what they do. We don’t get to go to the marble Slab and bullshit our way out with THE LORD. So, maybe dealing with our history is enough to keep us going. Maybe not. We get one life to live. We can waste it trying to be Bresson or anyone else or we can stand tall and strong and make our work, then stand and say, I am the author of this work. You decide if you like or understand it, I will make more because I have to.

Be blessed my friends and remember, Bresson never tried to make photos like you………



August 6th, 2016 … Fuji X100T … READ THIS … INTENT


The streets are different now and I don’t really have an answer why. It’s almost like everyone is walking around and feeling the difference between Dems & Reps. It’s like I get looked at and maybe the person thinks I’m a member of that other party, you know the one that is backing that person for the election. The there’s the smug person on the corner waiting for the traffic light and we all know that person is an Indy. They couldn’t care about the him or her running cause they got their own Hymn to deal with.

What does this have to do with photography? Well, life shapes the street. We want to capture the essence of the street as we see it. So when things are in an unstable way, so is our images.


I had a chat with a few shooters, of different ages and skill levels. They wanted to direct the conversation to Bresson, Winogrand, Kertesz and all the famous shooters from back in the day. Well, that raises a flag for me about the size of Philly. I was asked who my Favorite shooters were. I replied, anyone contemporary turns me on. Then I said, let me explain.

I feel it’s best to divorce from the past and use your own work as a guide to what you should be doing. Going after Kertesz for example, and expecting to get it as your own, is insanity. Lithium will not help. If you need a reference point, maybe pick someone you like alive and working in a similar genre’ as you are.  You will be cleaner, more relaxed and certainly much more inspired.

One of the dangerous things is, when someone or you, comment on someone’s photos and say something like, reminds me of Bresson, very dangerous. What will happen is that the shooter at first is delighted to hear that. Now they are stimulated cause you say they made a photo that was like Bresson’s and everyone read the comment and that shooter gets a shot in the ego.

The, the shooter realizes that they aren’t like Bresson and there is a Gold Ring they have been chasing and it’s all stored away and done with mirrors. They simply can’t continue to keep up with the illusion and or pressure that they have had planted on them.


If that shooter gets comments like, really like this dude or dudess….I check your stuff a lot and I relate to it.

Let me tellya, that will do more for both, than any Kertesz or Bresson or any, dare I say…yes yes…. I dare any master before us. The reason is, we are programmable. We can’t stop that procedure. All we can do is to Give Peace a Chance….opppps sorry John…..

We need to filter as much garbage entering our minds and brains as possible. Then we need to determine what garbage we allow to influence us while we are here on the planet.

If you wanna make photos and rest assured that what you are doing, regardless of what the asses of the masses are doing, heed my warning and advice, if you wanna run around with a camera and pretend to be some Master, then be alone at the end because you lived as someone else and not true to you…..well, that’s cool but…well you’ll find out…

next post Monday…. well, hopefully……



42 Years of … Slipping … In and Out


What bugs me, to this day when I shoot in a working environment is having to slip in and out of my frame of mind. What I mean is, I do my thing in life and making photos of it. I answer to me for the most part, yes I’m married and that’s where I have to answer the most. Now the DNC is here in Philly and I find myself doing shots that are press worthy. I also find I do my own work for me. 

Many years ago and I do mean many, like about 42 years ago, I did freelance work for the Bulletin Newspaper here in Philly. The assignment editor was named Jack. He called me in to the shop and explained about a soot and how he wanted it to be and how I could make like $2000.00. Well, I was all in as I was out of work, wife, kids, mortgage and Leica’s.

Jack wanted me to live and work in the Bowery. That area is no longer here and to tell the truth, I miss it and all the folks I met there…. soooo….I of course took the assignment. Jack wanted me to find the human element and the way people lived there. So, I set course to go and live there and see what I could learn. I had a green trench coat on, jeans, work boots, denim shirt. Small waist pack that held the M4, 35 Cron and a 50 Cron. I had a dozen rolls of Tri-X in my coat pocket. I learned in about 20 minutes why Jack offered me the assignment. It’s a rough area and the people living there don’t have anything to lose by waisting you and taking your shit.


When I was working on the assignment, I knew I had to get the Bacon for the paper. I also knew that I wanted to choose the bacon before I shot. My personal thoughts and emotions and everything were running on course but were also taking control of what I was to accomplish. After 3 days, I went to the shop and gave some film to Jack. He told my I smelled pretty ripe and I was kinda insulted but let it slide. about 35 minutes later we went to the light table and looked at the negs, It was like 4 or 5 rolls. Jack patted me on the back and said, great work. Now I felt super charged and as I left the office, I mentioned to Jack, look, I haven’t had a shower in 4 days. I’m sleeping n an abandoned bldg and I eat what they eat ate the mission.

One of the darkroom techs came to me and asked me if I needed anything special. I said look… there is one thing that keeps homeless people feeling like a human being and it ain’t food and it ain’t help from anyone…. it’s fucking Toilet Paper. So Adolpho gave me like a dozen rolls.


So I went back and worked and worked. I met people that amazed me. One older man way very clean kinda looking but he talked very educated. I was told his name was Doc. Turns out, he really was a doctor. Has a nice house in the suburbs, nice wife, 3 kids…all the things we are programmed to seek. Doc told me that he had an affair with a nurse and his wifes lawyer wanted to wipe him out. He went to the streets to be rid of his life and just be left alone. So I made portraits and got permission from some to use the photos and stories.


I’ll get to my point in a sec. Nah, let me get to it now. See, Jack knew better then me that when I did assignment work, I would connect to the essence of myself and the life I’m living and not distinguish between Work and Self Work.

So, now that this DNC is here, I’m making photos like I always do but there’s a clutter in my head as to what and why. I know that being in the here and now is essential and being there with an open hear and mind is also essential. Then to be there with a focused, awake intent, well…. it doesn’t get better then that.

So, regardless of the subject matter you choose, or cheeses you and regardless of the intent you impose on your work or allow the intent to impose on you…the important thing is just doing and feeling. The results need only matter to you. If your an assignment shooter, the same holds true.

Being aware and able to Slip in an out of your self and the frame is a gift that not everyone can tackle. The rewards are not just the pay you get or the amount of more work, or even the fame that comes with it all.

The reward is being in bed at night and drifting to sleep and being excited to be able to go out tomorrow and find photos that satisfy you. The gift is having the peace of mind and the knowledge that above all else in the universe, your a photographer  and you know your doing the right thing for your life’s work.



Have a blessed evening and I’ll be back tomorrow if I’m supposed to be. If I don’t make it, there’s a shitload of stuff to read here…..

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