Tell About It

I'm all in favor of faith but when it comes right down to it, we can't really know from whence we came nor what comes after. We have this life. We have this body and mind and spirit and we definitely know that it occurs this once. Don't we have a responsibility to respond to it and manifest that somehow? I don't know which Mary Oliver poem it was but she said: "Instructions for a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." This camera stuff is one way I like to tell about it. Black cherry, bitten, on linen.


We've all done our share of exploring and when it's a site of long history all the better. But I never fail to come back with many images I'm not particularly moved by. Part of it is context. Everywhere is interesting if you are present. And so recording examples of where you are photographically, may later be of far more interest to you than to one that wasn't there. If there's time, I try to spend as much of it as I can contemplating a potential subject. I walked around this crucifix many times and went back more than once at different lights. It became a matter of a millimeter to get it. I love this shot because it's what can happen if you really go after an angle that excites the eye but


I am drawn to so many things photographically that I have tended not to try and name them all. Upon review, many themes emerge. Sometimes they are immediately identifiable, sometimes not. There is usually a focus on something physical, the form or light or arrangement of elements, but it often surprises me to discover images I have taken that make me wonder why I took them in the first place. Enlarging often brings back the intention although it may have been something purely emotional. I realize through this review that I am drawn to stillness a lot. I was tantalized in a huge way to the still life work of Joel Meyerowitz in his Cape Light series. Of course, it helps to be using an 8X10 vie


There's a rule in composition: Never arrange in halves. I get it. Dividing down the middle is ironically out of balance. Ironic. I find myself doing just that a lot. There is a tension that gets set up, a vibration. It's not always right nor is it always wrong. Sometimes, to understand the rules it's necessary to break them. Do your homework! Because, then, you are entitled to go against what is taught. I see great writers doing it all the time. In "The Road", Cormack McCarthy uses sentence fragments all the time. Taking risks often leads to magic. Here, I was shooting way above Eagle Creek from a footbridge and I found the fern strewn embankment equally interesting as the tree shadow-dapple

Placement and Accounts

Since this post is about mystery (again), I'll give it's a bowling ball used to play croquet with sledgehammers on the playa of the Alvord desert. After the abuse of play, it looked like a planet resting on a celestially enormous desert. A bowling ball. I have come to love placing objects in the frame in this manner. Weighted lower thirds, vertical orientation formal symmetry. Now, for you chaos freaks, go ahead, get crazy. I like this recording approach where I am documenting chaos in the manner of a presentation. For some reason, this theme has emerged in many of my works that didn't really present itself until I reviewed many pictures together. This is another aspect I love abou

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em.

Looking, looking, always looking. Breakfast at my friend Jrdn's. Cooking a big ol' slab of ham. For some reason I want a shot of that sizzling fry pan of meat. I go directly overhead, camera set to macro, snap. Steam. Damn. Wait a second...what's this? Can't quite make it out but yet, there's a clue...An excellent accident. The fogged lens. Usually, it's an immediate reject, but in this case another mystery. A conundrum from the most basic, the most common sight. Frying meat. And yet, it is transformed into another guessing game. Go with it. This is a lesson from years of videography. You have a problem, maybe with the light or contrast? Not enough of it? Too flat? You can beat your head ag


We just returned from Seattle where we saw the Alexander Calder show at the Seattle Art Museum. We are all familiar with one of the 20th century's greatest children and his invention of the mobile. And the stabile. Have you seen his jewelry? Or his paintings? And his circus? Invention comes from necessity they say, but it also comes from pure playtime. There's that open heartedness thing again. There are no mistakes. There are no rules. Just play. I got bored once and for some reason had this circuit board on my desk from the dismantling of something or other and it looked like it might be interesting to photograph. My finger inadvertently pressed the shutter completely out of focus and voil


I have always loved architecture. In fact, I have always loved that imposing feeling from proximity to a large scale object. Scale is very difficult to capture photographically, or at least the feeling of immensity. After all, photographs aren't generally that big when viewing. And it's also fun when the reverse occurs- when massive objects become small. I love this distortion of scale. I am also on the lookout for irregularities in the time/space continuum which often reveals itself in reflections. Scale confusion and distortion are definitely on my radar.


In the movie Little Big Man, Dustin Hoffman's character learns to draw and fire a gun. He was taught to use "snake eyes" right before pulling the trigger. I laughed out loud because it's exactly what I do when I make a photograph. It goes like this: I wander with my eyes wide open until something interests me. I'll size it up, try it on, decide on a point of view, figure out whether there are any technical difficulties and whether they can be overcome. Then I'll frame it up. Now, all of this can happen in two or three seconds, but it's the last bit that's evolved into the critical instant. Once I have it framed, I almost defocus my eyes, taking everything in the frame in, all at once, checki


What's seeing without light? Tropism is the reaction, in a definite manner, to stimuli. I respond to light. I won't even begin to get into the different kinds of light here but when it works, it works. These examples are from a walk in an industrial area under a bridge ramp between two buildings. The late afternoon light was slotted between the ramp and a north facing wall. The rays were parallel to the surface casting these gorgeous shadows from some terribly beautiful protest posters. Each 1/4" peel threw a dramatic shadow down the wall. There was a moving feeling of vulnerability and fragility to these robust declarations to the world. It was late summer and I have been back many times si

Moments and Millimeters

The best photographs tell a story. I adore texture and pattern and color and composition, but the best images tell a story. In this case, I was shaking like my dog on the way to the park because I was at a dog show with my camera. Opportunities for a story were everywhere. Then I saw the chair. As I started to frame up the macramé avatar, here comes the real thing in the background. Later, I realized that table back there repeated the four-legged motif. In all my years as a tv news cameraman, anticipation was drilled into me. One eye to the viewfinder and one eye to the rest of the world at all times prepared the photographer for anything. Anticipating action was important but having an ope


With all the manipulation going on out there, isn't it nice just to look at a straight image? But what if the thing is confusing and gorgeous at the same time? No reference to scale, suspiciously familiar yet elusive and alien- these are my targets. In this case, an ice cream scoop. Well, a used, classic form, diffusely lit, but out of context. When I saw it, it had strange flecks of yellow(apparently used to dispense brewer's yeast to the cat) and it made me think of some unearthly instrument of God-only- knows-what. So my goals were met: common, everyday object, out of context, beautiful form, gorgeous light, voila. Snap.

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