… water is boiling and I am ready to brew my coffee. I used to use an electric percolator. I did for years. I still do but I have been switching between methods so I have excitement. Gotta tellya, the Melita drip gets work. My favorite method is a Bodum French Press. The problem is that for many years, no many decades I love a French Press but I break the glass every time. So, COVID keeps me in the house. Actually My Russian Czar wife Tanya keeps me in the house and COVID supports her efforts. So, Amazon is my best friend. I started my brain working and it told me to get a French Press. I’m not one to fight with my brain so I figured…it will add excitement. Go for it! I did!
So, on the Amazon site and I am a regular there, I searched for a French Press. Ya know, all the same, but minor differences. Then, staring at me and all shiny… EUREKA! I see a French Press but it’s made of Stainless Steel. Instantly I order it at 1000pm and Amazon says the will deliver the next day.
Why did I write this? Well, excitement and fresh air and inspiration are few and far between. I’m 70 and it takes away from my enjoyment of life to just watch TV. What does this have to do with photography? Ok, my thoughts. Think of your body as a storage and processing facility. Lots of things enter and things exit. What is the hard part, is filtering input.
Now what happens is this. We sit around waiting for the magical moment when THE MAN tells us we are safe to go out and start enjoying life again. Not so fast buster. Ideally, we are in tune with our Eye, Heart, and Mind. We absolutely need clarity in order to work but we get bombarded with negative energy, negative thoughts and it sleeps inside us. It’s damn near impossible to work in a respectful manner that represents ourselves.
You really can’t do battle with yourself in a way that is not harmful to your essence. I know because I have internal wars that my shrink says will never end. Making photos for the soul is a spiritual experience. Maybe not for everyone but for me, it certainly is and I am very tuned to every part of the experience. That kinda enforces a clarity of eye, heart, and mind.
I find that having clarity or a clear clean vision does not mean negative or postive energy is not present. It means that those energitic forces are present but in a benign mode. Many shooters have a bias to thier work and must have it. It’s a method of seperation for the other point of view they try to lesses.
Back to the streets. This bias to the work and vision is may be called a point of view. Methinks that there are many points of view working but ya know, as far as the eye can see, there’s not much difference in point of view between most street shooters. This is a beautiful thing. Each of us has a different point of view of the street and of life. Hold on, hold on. The street is more than a place to work and more than a place to find our photos. It’s the recognition of our life and life’s work.
So this energy thing going on has a pronounced effect on our creativity. Look at the places you post your work. Check the photos by others. See if you can determine their creativity and emotional state. Many shooters have lowered their output expectations due to the virus and ther things. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. In fact it’s brilliant and it’s better to work than not. Expectations should be a personal process. It should only be adjusted by the shooter on demand and not by any other person or sourse. It’s an act of survival.
Many years ago I had a woman that I helped with her photography. She was very much in love with all aspects of it. She worked in my darkroom and had a wonderful free vision. One day she called me and told me she was assaulted in South Philly and the guy took everything and her camera. Then she said, “Don, I must go back to Isreal and try to find a life, I lost my camera and will never be a photographer”. She left a book of negatives here and never called me again or asked for her work. I have no idea what happened to her but I know one thing…..
….negative energy will and does kill our creativity and life. Instead of believing she would eventually find a camera and continue, she surrendered and abandoned her work. COVID-19 is very much the same. It draws energy, promotes negativity and drains our creativity. We must not surrender. We must re-evaluate our expectations and make and adjustment for the current period of instability.
We absolutely must continue and make photos. Rememher, our photos are our remnants of our life. Live it best you can and make your camera a friend and take it with you even if it means another room where you live.
8/4/77 M4 35mm Cron