Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015

What is your attitude toward image making?

What are you demanding from the scene that doesn't allow you to get close to the subject?

What is inhibiting your connection to your subject?

These questions need to be answered given the proliferation of images that overwhelm the senses and look and feel like so many others.  Originality is lost through the marketing of corporate media the billions of images now rushing into cyber space to catch a few eyes.

Our lives now seem to go up or down with likes and dislikes.  We are becoming Bi-Polar in our acceptance of outside forces messing with our confidence and purpose in manifesting our inner vision.

Praise easily given.  Not the purpose of the image.  How the photographer made a conscious choice to examine the scene and look for a composition and light that would express his feeling toward the subject and give the viewer a look at another perspective they didn't see.

We must tame the beast, this nature that surrounds us, making us fearful to live our lives independent of the recognition game.  This obsession with celebrity and the quick viral image of likes. We are caught up in the media spin of celebrity and flesh.

Now it seems, we must document every moment taking place within our own ego.  As if our disconnect from the outer world is confining us into an internal drama.  And we feel compelled to expose ourselves to the world of greedy eyes.

We are at a transformative stage in human evolution.  We see the coming annihilation of the earth and this makes us more intense to document our lives for others to witness.  It makes us feel like we are somebody in this human train wreck and thus we feel acknowledged by others.

We exploit the external for a visible extension of our presence in this ever exploding world of eye candy.  All of it distractions, slight of hands, cliches to suppress the masses,
drawing our attention away from experiencing the world as an I and not an object in time and space to be viewed by someone on a social media page.

We substitute images now for the loss of community, of eroding cultural values, of human decency gone awry.

A picture now stands for an active and involved life.

The new mantra is, at least I have been noticed, looked out and perceived for good or bad by a simple click of a mouse.  Not by my own standards of behavior.  But instead, relying on the judgement from an anonymous other.

Our images are like any product made that can be exploited.  In nature, redundancy, doing the same thing over and over again,  leads to an end of that species.  You must adapt in order to survive.

As photographers we must bring to the internet table a feast of personal work that stands out from the proliferation of image fatigue.  That weariness we get when we see the same repetitive images over and over again.  This has to effect the psyche of photographers to join the masses but resist this impulsive behavior, stand your ground and create images worthy of your effort.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 15, 2015

Susan Sontag, "Photography is a mass art form.  Photography is not practiced by most people as an art.  It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, a tool of power."

We take an image not to relate to nature or other human beings but to capture them in moments in our time line.  We bring into our space and time images from another's moments and this increases our sense of domination.  We attack nature in order to capture for ourselves this feeling of superiority.

We have gone through many manifestations of what photography is and should be.  An art form always.  A means of documenting the ever changing lifestyle of of society, yes.  A way to express the inner landscape of the individual in this ever changing world we live in, of course.  Photography has exposed the horrors of ego, power and greed through out our history and those continuing forces are being photographed as I write this today.

The history of photography is laced with ideas and subjects that have lead us to this point in our photographic story.  We have seen photographers that tried to express their vision through creating the perfect image through visual and technical perfection.

This perfection was seen as a  mental construct of how they wished to impose their will on the external subject. It didn't always lead to a good photograph.

We are now in a more organic form of image making.  Where we approach the subject in a more awkward, self protective mood.  Where we are hesitant and naive in our ability to capture the subject present before us. These images have a more natural feel to them and because of that they appear more authentic.

This informal photography is exploited on social media.  It is the same concept of authenticity that is never authentic.  When your subjects are wearing apparel that is paying the bills on the photo shoot then we have a big problem with real lives, living a life without consumerism as a back drop.

The new editors (beholden to the homogenized outlook of corporate media) that give out assignments are not always looking for original imagery with power and purpose but images from photographers who have a following on social media.  These photographers have an already built in audience to be exploited by advertisers looking to sell products that have that  so called natural, earthy appearance.

This new age of photography is exposing the inherent dilemma of picture taking and picture making.
What is a worthy subject to make images of?

Susan Sontag, "But it is now that there is no inherent conflict between the mechanical or naive use of the camera and the formal beauty of a very high order.  No kind of photograph in which such beauty could not turn out to be present. An unassuming functional snap shot maybe as visually interesting, as eloquent, as beautiful as the most acclaimed fine-art photographs.  This democratizing of the formal standards is the logical counterpart to photography democratizing of the notion of beauty. For photography there is finally no difference, no greater aesthetic advantage between the effort to embellish the world and the counter effort to rip off its mask."

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When we choose our subjects to make images of are we imitating others or are we seeking our own unique visual voice?

If everything makes a good subject to take pics of then what criteria is used to edit out imagery that doesn't hold meaning or purpose for the viewer?

Do we say if a photo has an audience of one, two, ten or more then it made a connection with someone therefore it is worthy to be called a good photograph?

Thank goodness we are all different.  Even though in today's corporate media it is hard to get individuality in ideas and in imagery reported on.  

But because we are still different from each other and we have different desires, goals, feelings and obsessions, I think we all inherently know what makes a good image and what makes a bad image. 

There cannot be a universal objective standard to judge what constitutes a good image.  We live in a subjective universe and as such, we are in tune to ourselves and our own personal visions and not someone else's.

It is when the mass herd instinct kicks in gear and decides for us what will be acceptable and what isn't,  then we have a collective entity forcing itself upon our uniqueness.

Not every picture snapped can be a worthy image.  There are cultural and societal standards of behavior and expression that is there to protect the innocent from exploitation.

When a photographer has an intense desire to show, through a mechanical device, a unique expression, by building a relationship with the subject and eliminating all the unnecessary details that will detract from their photographic vision, then I feel that is a good start in determining what makes a good image, the photographer's individual purpose.

However, most subjects chosen in todays camera/phone explosion don't meet the standard of a good image. As we move forward in this explosion of snap shots I feel social media is catering to the masses, exploiting their ego's, patting them on the back and reducing the integrity of the photograph as an art form. 

What we see on social media is the collective mind dictating to us what is acceptable and what isn't.

And that is where social media is a detriment to photographic purpose.  Everybody posts everything, creating an effect without purpose and a Pavlov's response to copy and upload to the growing redundancy of life and in so doing creating an atmosphere of human boredom.

Be yourself and explore your own inner landscape to find your path to good photographic expressions.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31, 2015

Eugene Smith, “Search with intelligence for the frequently intangible truth.”

Technology now dictates our behavior and because we can't break away from the small screens mesmerizing all our interactions, a magnet of mimicry is created.  Especially with the younger generation, it dictates their perceptions of the world, how things should and must look if they are perceived to be genuine.  We lose our ability to see our inner landscape manifested.

Do you remember the pics of your experience or the experience itself?

Do you need a snap shot to express your feelings as the memories disappear?

Once the pic was snapped did you feel that that was enough, you captured the scene and now you can move on.  The picture once taken disconnected you from full immersion in a scene, ripe with external meaning to you but you failed to grasp the signals being shown and allowed technology to interfere and push you away from relationship building you need to create good images. 

This drive to always think of the next greatest scene is putting barriers between you and living a real existence.  We have somehow incorporated this need for something coming down the road that doesn’t exist with a real experience that will never get here.  It is now, in the present that you live your life.  And as a photographer you need to be present in the now, fully open to the external sources that can enhance your life if only you are open to them.  

Take your self out of the equation just for a few moments as you look over the scene.  Release the anxieties if any and focus and concentrate on the subject in the present.

Don't think of putting anything in the scene that will distract from its initial drawing you in attraction.  Something wanted you to stop right where you are at.

Focusing on your self will destroy the budding relationship with your subject.  Concentrate toward your potential subject away from yourself. The subject is worth your full attention especially when you first notice a possibility, a potential image.  

But paying attention is not forcing your subject to conform to any preconceived notions on how your subject should look. Open up your mind to accept new ways of composition that reflect your subject in a new light.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18, 2015

Susan Sontag, "As Wittgenstein argued for words that the meaning is the use-so for each photograph."  And it is in this way that the presence and proliferation of all photographs contributes to the erosion of the very notion of meaning, to that parceling out of the truth into relative truths which is taken for granted by the modern liberal consciousness."

We have through photography a vast library of images both personal and historical.

Through these shared cultural memories we see a depiction of humanity both good and bad.  These captured moments leave us with a foundation to build off of and grow as a culture and a human being. We evolve through our cultural memories, passed down through the generations.

Historical memories can be ugly and violent yet show us what mankind is capable of and this can instill in us a need to change the images to a better purpose.

Image creation is part of our shared past.  Iconic images that define us in space and time in those rare moments beyond change.  These images are powerful examples of the plight of our culture and humanity, a long distance running to a shared reality of acceptance, responsibility and the possibilities for change.

Family memories were centered around your personal memories and relationships with your home life.  These memories gave each family member a unique place in the family dynamic and also built continuity through the years, a stability of your families time line and its influences on you and the community in which you live.  These images were created originally for family members only and these private images became icons of the family history, a prideful knowing of your past.

Memories become us, we can accept or deny them but either way we incorporate then into ourselves as sign posts to follow or veer away from.  These images are a foundation, a stepping off place to create and perpetuate the family history for future generations to build off of.  These memories, on two dimensional photo paper, drive and motivate family members to be more like a favorite cousin Bill or Uncle Harry and instill in the family a cohesion of forward thinking.

Social Media has construed to take our shared memories, both cultural and family and exploit our shared memories for profit.  Explode them into individual fragments of time, pieces of our lives once shared with meaning and identity but now as entertainment.  As distractions from creating memories that help society move forward and escape the traps of ego, greed and power. It seems now our prime directive is to snap a pic of every moment and post it immediately on a collective display, losing the connection with your families shared consciousness.

We are becoming a shallow minded population of ego driven trivia hounds that are being exploited for commercial profit by giving away our personal content for free and vainly exposing ourselves to the collective consciousness of externalized greedy eyes. In the short scheme of our lives we are becoming our uploaded posts. We are living not for intimacy with others but as a performer on a social media stage.

Now in this banal photography explosion of senseless mimicry, we are not growing in purpose, striving to be more observant of what is really happening with the exploitation of nature, and the exploitation of our own living moments as objective content for profit. We are being trained to escape from our real lives and live our moments through cyber space, exploring the minutia of frivolous details posted on media sites, that hungrily demand, the look at me everybody I am here, I exist!

Cartier-Bresson, "To take photographs is to find the structure of the world-to revel in the pure pleasure of form, to disclose that in all this chaos there is order."

Yes, now the chaos is the explosion of images being transmitted every millisecond, expanding not our understanding of order, of uniqueness, of originality but all the same babble, as the talking heads we see on TV.  No depth of feeling or a need to express some inner longing, to share through purposeful image creation a uniqueness of insight but now a free for all, where any hollow image becomes a viral look at me ticket to your 1 second of fame.

Nothing is original that is done with shallow eyes, that force themselves onto any subject, whereby the image created is a reaction to the camera.

Good image making is building that relationship first with the subject, taking the time to relate to the scene and create an atmosphere of shared empathy and through that relationship good images  will follow.

Shared cultural memories are important for a society to function. By fragmenting our lives through social media we break down society into separate parts with no cohesive identity.  This allows a wedge to form, an us against them (created) mentality where we fight in the big muddy of social entertainment and not with the issues that need a cultural solution a unified voice for change now.

Susan Sontag wrote, The camera is indeed the instrument of "fast seeing"as one confident modernist, Alvin Langdon Coburn, declared in 1918, echoing the futurist apotheosis of machines and speed."

My advice is to slow down and enjoy your moments and your relationship with nature.  Quit passing up important moments of revelation by a quick pic and then head bent toward a screen.  Look up into the eyes of others.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 11, 2015

The mind in solitary confinement, unwilling to see details that make up a whole.

You must control the need to over think, create mysteries where there are none.  We have now externalized our active mind, created a smorgasbord of distractions in order to help dilute the overpowering changes that are happening on this planet.

We are not focused on these precious moments of the now.  Experiencing the world as a unified whole but have become strangers to ourselves and others.  We have allowed our external reality to be fashioned on entertainment and not meaningful productive and necessary action. We are hiding in social media to make believe we are living a productive life.  Where are the real, live voices taking the time to talk directly to each other? Instead we use these hand held devices which move us further  away from experiencing reality first hand.  Instead we experience it through a technological, mechanical collective.

We give free content to multinational corporations so they can tag us like cattle and force feed us consumer products they know we would like to buy.  We express our inner revelations like theater popcorn to be easily disposed of by the next greatest butter toppings.

Social media is corporate media.  It functions as an open mouth piece for all who enter. But really it is an ad gimmick to exploit the herd of those that want to become instantaneously famous without the hard struggle to find a unique voice and a special calling.

Disinformation is the name of the game.  Slight of hand tricks, thinking you are free to be yourself  but finding out you are like all the rest, needy to be seen and heard, not by intimate friends you can trust, but by a vast arena of voyeurism.

Greed capitalism will do and say anything to get a buyer.  And once it has hooked you on one of their info gathering sites your personal info will be sold to the highest bidder. And the ads will come like a wave of innocent advice to be your friend and will eventually show its true colors of buy me now aggression or lose out on a special deal we have just offered you.

Social media is a consumer transaction.  Your content fattens the information stream they need to pin point products that they feel you will be compelled to buy.  They will enlighten you by ads and messages that seem sincere.  They hide behind the new trend of "authentic," with images of people having fun wearing the latest styles.  All targeted to you from the personal info your gave unknowingly when you signed up for the consumer wasteland of social media.

The ad space is sold to any company trying to exploit the naivety of a new means to sell products.

Social media uses us by exhorting the freedom of the web we participate in but really the corporations behind the site are mining all the free data you give them for profit.

Social media trespasses on your private personal world and what you see on the screen are your own reflections, a mirror, a vacuum an echo of what you want to hear and see by others seeking the same kind of a connection in a infinite field of choices.

Social media is spreading us out with an overwhelming amount of minutia, separating us from action, into a constant state of reaction.  The bombardment of images and voices on their sites keep us viewing them for hours at a time when we should be living our life as we want, with purpose not viewing a mechanical tool that is their to get you to convert your being to a commercial buying fool.

The corporate social media sites (news sites included) are manipulating the info we receive creating a new social order through their profit driven propaganda tools, now fully integrated into the hands of the young as they get older and have never experienced a community of individuals who actually sit and talk with each other.  Resistance is terrifying, as we accelerate our lives, bending to the new technology driving us into an ever faster state of a collective homogenized life style of a buying mentality, where our relationships are becoming transaction through a screen and not a personal voice to say enough.

We need to break this strangle hold on our lives by these a-moral hooligans and take back our life.  We need to live, not through something that's only purpose is exploitation, but within ourselves that says enough of this greedy constant need to buy.  We need to become more human again not a post on a media site, which ultimately is meaningless self idolatry.

We need to be active creators of our own world, a new world we want to see and live in and not sitting flesh reacting to posts that do not connect but separate us from others and ourselves.

Social media is limiting your ability to live in a real external world, by activities that mean something to you, that produces something worth your time and effort and has value for others.  Whether it be photography, poetry, drawing or any personal exploration of the why we are here vs the addiction to a screen that limits your ability to see a whole picture.

Through this collective malaise of disconnected moments we are building our own tower of Babel.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

October 4, 2015

Photography Notes

Don’t just take a picture of anything that moves. Slow down your mind.  Involve yourself in times stillness, unseen and unfelt but present.

We all have these intuitions, that feeling of something is present before us.  Some important manifestation is waiting to be discovered. If only I could see it, the revelation of a connection with yourself and nature, your subject. This connection is calling you to explore the scene further until an image aligns itself with your internal landscape.

Photography can be therapeutic, giving one a chance to slow down and take your mind off yourself and focus on nature, our source of beauty, meditation and exploration. 

Release your anxieties by focusing on something outside yourself. Your senses can be overwhelmed and your mind begins to unravel without purpose in the pursuit of the image that is present before you but escaping.

Mental distractions can limit your ability to grow as a photographer. Each distraction creates a barrier to seeing, limiting your ability to learn and succeed in taking more chances with your camera techniques. 

If your senses are overwhelmed by a scene step back and take an image of the overall scene first. This will give you confidence, that you have something of record and now you can relax abit and begin to really look with renewed purpose the subject present before you.

The fate of your success is to control the impulses that demand action now. The voice in your head saying I have something better to do so I’ll take a quick shot and move on. Don’t make any judgements, take some deep breaths, relax your anxiety to distort good choices, let go of the need for more and ponder the stimulus in the scene that is drawing you closer to why you choose this subject in the first place. 

Then begin disciplining yourself to look deeper for compositions that can create an interest in your subject, more than just a surface gleam. Experiment with new compositions and perspectives that enhance your internal relation to the scene. 
When practicing your craft you are learning technique but more important learning  to see your visual interests.

Being excited about your relation with your subjects is half the battle to making good images, the other half of the battle is intent, what are you trying to convey to the viewer about you chosen subjects.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27, 2015

Photographs are an invitation to memory.  Something physical that sparks in us a remembrance of a special event or a loved one.

The mystery in the capturing of time and then an immediate representation for our human nature to remember.  We know death waits for us all so memory brings us back through the illusion of time to moments that we have forgotten and want desperately to bring back.

A frozen moment whether good or bad will stop us in thoughtful nostalgia.

But photographs are a false memory, a replacement for the real experience.

A photograph is mute, it can't touch your skin, react to your tears of separation, laugh with you, it can't tell you the moments leading up to the picture your viewing, no voice is heard.

The only remnants of the photograph is your memory of the scene when the picture was taken.  If you were not present then the image is a silent witness to a lost time.  A never gained experience, only a secondary replica of a moment in the time line of the person or subject now forever trapped in a two dimensional plane.

Your personal memory is the precious connection of your moments in your life.  To have pics of your moments in time is a false life, lived through an abstraction from real moments.  These captured moments are yanked from your living time line and displayed to others as your life.

Your objectifying your life, not living your unique time line in the present, in the now.  Using for your memory of events, an artifact, a paper clue to your experiences not the experience itself.

You must experience your life first hand not through a mechanical device that doesn't know who you are, what your likes and dislikes are.

Constant picture taking is a distraction from living your life.  It has become and addiction, it is a separation from not a participation in your reality.  This obsession with picture taking is a habit of insecurity.  By putting a device between you and your experience you are allowing a misdirection from the present moment, diminishing the scene, the interaction with the environment and losing an awareness of the actual moment being experienced.

To create images with purpose enhances your awareness of your experiences not diminishing them.  To immerse yourself in the environment, to study the scene with full attention is what good photography is all about.

What we see on social media is someone else's life not your true existence.  Your images posted are as real as shadows on the cave wall in the knowing of your life.  Social media makes cavemen and cavewomen of us all.

These images are propaganda, false beliefs of what are life really looks like.  You can't live a useful life through posting and boasting through snap shots of your personal life.

The livelihood of living a life is purpose, willful saturation of yourself in the experience. If you don't take time to see visually what is in front of you your mind begins to ignore the details that make up a well conceived image but more importantly a well conceived personal identity.

The images on social media are free content, shallow tidbits of candy for the untrained eyes.  Supplying snap shots of your life for an audience of strangers is narcissistic.  This society we are creating shows an increase in the lack of private space to create a true meaningful life of your own will. Social media is first and foremost entertainment, allowing us to show off our passing shallow moments of life without concrete relationships being forged in private one on one verbal interaction.

Photography is an art form not a obsession with yourself as an ego object to show off every moment of a repetitious life.

Good images are created with intense immersion in the scene, whether it is a portrait, landscape or an editorial shoot.

The truth in an image is linked to the connection between image creator and subject.

The difference between a great photograph and a snap shot is that in a snap shoot the subject is ego based. Where images created are interaction between the subject and the photographer through intense focus and empathy.

In making good images you are not thinking of yourself while creating the photograph.  But focused on the scene in front of you. You are willing to meditate on your environment and wait for the right moment.  Rather than snapping away randomly with you in the frame or a body part in the picture.

A good photograph looks out with intensity creating a relationship with the person viewing the photograph.  Where a social media snapshot is not about the subject but the poses of ego parading around specifically to expose themselves to hungry eyes.

Purpose enhances sight.  Focus your intent on your subject and heighten your awareness of the potential not yet visible.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 13, 2015

Susan Sontag, "Imperfect technique has come to be appreciated precisely because it breaks the sedate equation of nature and beauty."

Good photography is being in the moment when creating images.

Having an intense connection to your subject, whereby your focus is direct and you are using technique and inspiration to create a personal image to share with others is your truth manifested.  When you rush and gun by clicking the shutter randomly you are demeaning the purpose of photography.  Photography is inspiration realized through concentrated effort by connecting with your subject.

When you are in the moment time ceases to exist and you are experiencing the scene with a gratitude of self release.   By experiencing the scene first hand (with all your senses heighten) you will greatly increases your ability to make worth while imagery.

You are not trying to take a picture of  the subject and move on quickly but experiencing the scene one on one and forgetting for a few hours your own time and space but just living in the experience without pulling back and moving on to the next and greatest.

If you hurry through moments,  just taking snap shots, you lose the ability to establish a connection with your subject that you need to create good imagery.

On the other side of the coin:

When you create a barrier between you and your experience (automatically pulling out your cell phone) you are not concentrating on your subject but instead concentrating on your ego.

This reflects the modern obsession with celebrity.  You are the focus of the camera.  You are both the photographer and the subject.   How self centered is that and how fragmented the mind becomes, as we enter into a new age of looking at ourselves as objects and not the point from which we view the world.

To make good imagery we must reject this mania of status that has been created by corporate media. This will only distract and disrupt your flow of intuition, as you begin to explore true image creation.  It is a balancing act between you and the subject.  If you tip to far one way over the other you will lose the observer status all good image makers must become and impose your will on the scene which leads to a narcissistic expression of infatuation of self on a two dimensional surface.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5, 2015

Images are created for what purpose, objective truth? I don't think so. Imagery is created to enhance memory of the present moment as it moves always past our greedy grasp.  

Imagery created with the desire to seek the essence of the scene, creates a distinctive photograph that respects the purpose of photography.  Photography used to be about expressing an inner unique voice, to create a scene with meaning that could influence a viewers perception of the world.  

Photography is not truth but a representation of the truth, seen through the eyes of the person holding the camera.  We never break through the barrier between subjective and objective truth.  

Photography is always evolving and changing it's desires. In the past it would be used to document life, then interpret life, then level the idea of beauty in life and now photography is purely imitation.  We now see photographs as the real deal and not moments passing in our lives.  The question is, do we need to live individual lives separate from each other, I would answer yes to this question. Or live our lives with the herd posting pictures to social media sites (common entertainment for the masses) for all society to see, as if these pictures represented our life?  

Images created to be posted on social media have a shallow surface, a gleam of an ego exposing itself.

Imitation is suppose to be flattering but in the case of social media it has become all about the look and feel of being seen.  Your private lives are shown for all to see without a buffer of purpose and a statement of originality.

Not everything is worthy of being posted on social media.  If you can become more selective on your subject matter before posting and have an individual intent and a reason for posting, the current bombardment of banality could be reduced.  What people have misunderstood concerning social media is that it is not a family album to be broadcast to the world.  What social media is is media. Sellers need consumers to keep capitalism growing. Corporation are always looking for personal information to sell products to you through the information you broadcast on their sites.  

By exposing those private moments to anonymous voyeurs you are intentionally creating a separate universe, a collective mind of social media.  You are not living your life for you.  You are not making choices for your own journey through your time line but allowing an entity outside yourself to influence your life and it's demands keep growing for more and more private images and private desires to be posted.  Plain and simple it is an addiction. 

By posting private memories on these sites you are disconnecting yourself from those memories and 
putting them in an arena of commerce.

What better way to have the populace feel like they have a stake in this society than allowing them to believe that what they are doing right now, posting continually to these sites is important.  All social media is is a distraction from living a life through your reaction to external forces.  By personally interacting with nature, not taking pictures of yourself in nature, you are in a direct relationship with the external world.  You can react immediately and enjoy the experience first hand not through a device that puts a barrier between you and the world.   

Good photography is just that, immersing yourself in nature with your subject and not thinking about you as separate from the subject but connected internally and externally, as an inspiration felt and acknowledged through meaningful photographs.

September 5, 2015

I have a favorite place I like to return to each year to make photographs.  The funny thing is that even if I didn't get any images I would still enjoy the wonderful environment that is present.  I think we all have our favorite spots that we go back to on a regular or yearly basis. Creating images is secondary, what is important is to be present in the moment and appreciate the environment that is so powerful and precious.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22, 2015

Time is an illusion if we are not aware of its passing.  When you are totally involved in making images with purpose then you have reached a different level of time.  Time seems to stop, as you build your repore with your subject and explore the infinite choices present to create an image with meaning and purpose. The true photographic experience for me is finding a powerful connection with a subject I didn't know very well before I began making images of it.  And then being able to say after the shoot where did the time go!

There has to be a link between you and the environment to create visually exciting images.  Without that link the image becomes a broken down recording of the same old same old.

Susan Sontag, "The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer- a scribe, not a poet.  But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective images yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what's there but of what and individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world."

With social media we have the opposite evaluation of image taking.  We have the ignoring of our environment, our surroundings.  Our only goal is to put us in the scene as an impostor to to the visual stimulus that possible attracted us to the scene in the first place. Our being, our human nature revolves around the herd instincts.  Social media loves to corral us into the pen of ego.

In meaningful photography the image creator is looking out from himself toward his subject of interest and not the reverse.  Looking at himself( poser rock) in the environment to be exploited for likes on a media site.

Our moments in time are now realized through snap shot of our lives.  Life now it seems is to close your eyes to first hand experiences.  We live our time through second had jpegs held on a small screen for milliseconds.  We are closing our eyes to living in our world.  We are creating a chimera of our world, a show that supports our growing egos.

We have replaced first hand experience with a buffer between us and the real world.  This buffer (the snap shot selfie) allows us a feeling of control and also gives us something to do when we feel awkward in a social situation.  It is a prop we exploit to build an ego of celebrity.  After all just like chimps we love to imitate.

Photography's common language is memory.  We use photographs now to remember second hand our life experiences.  Experiencing something first hand, being in the moment of passing time, has been replaced with stopping the flow of time to get out your phone or camera and then taking snap shots of the experience, a picture of the experience becomes your manifested life. However, the true experience was cut short so you could interrupt the flow of time and take a few pics of the moments that now represent your forced experience.  But the image is a memory of a fragmented time line and doesn't represent the total scene.

You are the only one that needs to be tuned in to your relationship with your environment and to be able to catch the full force of living through experiences.  Not stopping your flow of time for trivial moments of selfish neurotic narcissistic behavior.

These pockets of moments make up your life history.  These seconds in time are not worth much when broken up into a picture outline of your life.  Separating your moments of life through photography reduces your life to a fragmented series of dislocated events that add up to a random and homogenized snap shot of your world.  Life is continuous motion and change.  In order to experience it fully we must be aware of times limits and gifts.

Frederick Jameson, " We are in the 3rd phase now in multinational consumer capitalism.  With emphasis placed on marketing, selling and consuming commodities not on producing them."

These new technologies make it easier than ever to exploit the masses for selling products.  The use of social media is not real and should not be considered authentic.  It is a means to sell products and ourselves (as commodities) in the corporate media market place.

We never fully grasp the inherent dislocation of self through image taking.  These seconds recorded are spirits that have been preserved for an analytical review.  Never to be touched or comforted on a personal level.

But now we are inundated with so much personal fragments of people's moments in their time line that it can be depressing thinking about all the minds vying for attention.  All the meandering away from living your lives and not broadcasting it for the masses.  The only thing in mind that social media does for you is get you a direct Ad from corporate media to buy their products.

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14, 2015

Pressure of time.  To little when your are intrigued by your subject and fully involved in creating a meaningful photograph.  To much time on your hands when you are bored with your subject and you want to move on but something is there that you are not getting.  Why this scene, what has it got that I need to make an image of, I feel compelled to stand and search the details that are trying to form that will be an image made not taken.  Sometimes you can, other times you can't find the stimulus that forges you ahead to see the subject clearly.  That Aha! moment when the details gestalt and what was invisible to your senses now is manifested.

We are afraid of losing time.  We don't have much left as we get older and contemplate our moments rushing past in our own time line.  Loss of time means we can't do all we want therefore we rush through our life making half hearted attempts at success and then settle for the little gifts of pleasure created to sooth the savage beast in all of us.

Photography shouldn't be easy.  It shouldn't be quick.  John Ashbury said, "a poem is a hymn to possibilities." So is photography.

We search for experiences that fulfill our inner needs.  But how do we really know what are inner needs are.  Those inner needs we succumb to might just be desires dominating our personality in the present moment but soon will be replaced with something else that gives us pleasure.  Trained through our lives to accept things as they are we lose our energy for uniqueness.

Photography can be fickle.  There is so many details in the world, that it is hard to focus on your subject through your inner landscape.  Without reflecting on who you are and what you are trying to attain through your images then you will be adding to the tsunami of redundant imitations of lives frozen with their own ego of importance.  If everything is important to take a pic of then everything is reduced to a level of neutral grey.  We must have in our lives images that mean more than a social media post.  We need images with substance and power that forces the viewer to look deeper at the subject present and think about the artist's purpose.

To change direction in your photography is always hard.  To go from clicking the shutter at anything that moves is the beginners quest for meaning in his image creation.  When you begin to try new techniques, when you begin to feel a connection with new subjects that you seem to be drawn to then you are becoming a photographer and not a snapper.

You will find as you explore more of your relationships with the external world more subjects will become visible that intrigue you.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July 26, 2015

Authenticity is letting go of time just being in the moment without effort.  You don't need to pick up your cell phone camera to take a picture of something that is happening spontaneously.  Once you interrupt the flow of time to capture a moment in time then you have altered its authenticity. You have imposed your will to capture not the whole scene but a portion of the scene.  This manipulates the scene through your viewpoint and might not capture the true moment that was present.

What we have now in photography are passing moments of interest. These images represent little moments of stimulus, whether the pictures are of beauty, violence, anger, happiness etc... These moments captured make us feel alive. They represent our lives in this hectic fast paced extreme sport called living. They are our moments of still silence on a two dimensional plane. We now live through our photographic experiences.

These moments posted represent our overwhelming pressure to be seen by others.  They are an outlet for our lives to say, I did this and this is who I think I am. Photographs give an illusion of life manifested.  But this is not a true life lived.  They are our promises kept, secret but now easily exposed.  They are ourselves reflected in others eyes.  The power of photography is that it claims to be authentic because I have a picture of it, therefore it is real. But having a picture of something that has already happened doesn't make the content of that snap shot authentic. Yes, the people are there and they are smiling for the camera because they have been trained since childhood to know the correct response when a camera rises to someones eye.  Just like models in ads.

We learn quickly not to show our true emotions when interacting with others.  Put the facade on your face and say with a smile as you wish.  Another words a shallow existence.

We all feel the collective force on our behavior.  We are taught through our early lives the right from wrong, good and bad behavior, moral and ethical responsibilities.  This learning process was the responsibility of our parents, our family.  Without the family none of us would be citizens of our communities.  If we don't have a base of common sense and altruism then we would be accepting of behaviors that are damaging ourselves and our society as a whole.

But now we are allowing an outside force, the social media collective, to be our our moral compass.
We are being bread to consume.  We are being manipulated to believe social media allows us freedom of expression but all it allows is a mechanical mimicry which interferes with living a deeper personal life.

Business are exploiting these sites that have been created, by gather personal information and using this personal info gathered to sell stuff back to those consumers sharing their lives openly.  What a gold mind of information given away without a dime spent on paying for the content.

Instagram claims "that 63% use it to document their lives, making photographs no longer a part time hobby rather an important function of their daily routine, like eating and sleeping. They don't take images to pursue a passion but rather as an integral part of every day life."

But they will not be photographers but followers.  Herded by social media into thinking they are experiencing a life when in fact they are living a life through other peoples imagery, (and of course some of these authentic images will just by chance have the latest and greatest trends in fashion, imagine the coincidence), hoping to connect with a real live person but actually connecting with a screen with pics and limited words that express an impression and not a life.  A vaporous experience of fleeting moments, time ripped from its moorings to be presented on a social site as real and to be exploited by corporations.

Susan Sontag, "There is a rancorous suspicion in America of whatever seems literary, not to mention a growing reluctance on the part of young people to read anything, even subtitles in foreign movies and copy on a record sleeve, which partly accounts for the new appetite for books of few words and many photographs."  Also she wrote," Photography expresses the American impatience with reality, the taste for activities whose instrumentality is a machine."

Words take time to understand, images have almost instant recognition.  And instant gratification.  Pictures are easier to make quick judgements on with no need for long analysis. Words can fool you with misinterpretation.  Words can be used to manipulate you into believing in the opposite of what is good for you.  Words are symbols and sentences are concrete lanes to deception.  But mostly words take time and effort to understand.  You have to do your research and analysis in order to get to the root truth of words.

People would like to believe pics are real but they are not real. We are a scattered brain society that jumps from image to image, from tweet to tweet as if this documents our reality.  Yes, the youth are more in tune to the visual.  They have grown up with camera phones.  But these new ways to communicate only give the user a surface representation of the world they live in, a surface reality intended to keep the young eyes following the bouncing ball of consumerism.

Hart Crane said (writing about Stieglitz in 1923), "the hundredth of a second caught so precisely that the motion is continued from the picture indefinitely: the moment made eternal."

People want to live forever.  They have posited religion as a means for eternal life but god is subjective and others don't see my god and I don't seek theirs.  Photography manifests our lives and gives us the ability to pass our lives through pictures into a future without us having to be present.  Photography is now the new religion. In this reality we seek immorality through pictures of our lives for generations to come, to view us and think of us after we have past.  Which is appropriate since snap shots only capture a past moment not lived.

We are being duped and pulled from our lives by the drug of social media.  Photography is more than a click of a shutter without feeling.  Good photography comes to those who search and experience their subjects through feeling of connection.  Taking images with purpose slows down your need to take a scatter gunned approach to shooting anything that moves.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015

Photography is subjects framed in rear view mirrors. An infinite recurrence, a repetitious desire to reclaim our present moments through our growing past.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

Susan Sontag wrote, “ To photograph is to confer importance.  There is probably no subject that cannot be beautified; moreover, there is no way to suppress the tendency inherent in all photographs to accord value to their subjects.”

Good photography equals good visual design. Those visual elements that  enhance the subjects possibilities and gives the viewer only the necessary details that make up your unique perspective. Your not going to confuse the viewer with unwanted details.  

A snap shot is a quick memory taken with no real dialogue exchanged between the photographer and subject.  

With a snap shot you don’t have to organize your composition all you need is a quick trigger finger and your ready to run and gun.

Photography is a visual concept.  Through image creation we discover the underlying reality in which our memories and experiences combine to create the ground work for expressing our deep feelings manifested through a mechanical conceptual device.  Photography makes real the unreal.  

What is happening today in this superficial climate of take any picture no matter what the subject, is that we are reversing our ability to differentiate good images from bad pics.  The camera today is used not to make the unreal real but to make the real unreal. 

The photograph used to command a respect for truth but now their are billions of so called truths all vying to be posted and exposed to an audience hungry for the trivial.  Moments in time should be respected and good image making does this.  What is discouraging in this frenzy of shallow breaths is the loss of oxygen feeding the brain.  We must as image makers slow down and take the time to look for subjects that inspire us and brings us an awareness of the present moment.  We must live in these real moments because that is all there is.  If we ignore the present by putting a small device between us and the current reality we are in then we are missing the opportunities that make up a well lived journey.

Everything can be a subject for image creators but that doesn’t mean you exploit the subject for personal gain. Respect for your subject distinguishes the frivolous using of a subject versus the empathetic image creators witness to human events.

It is the internal motifs of the photographer that lead to photographs with meaning and staying power. 

This techno collective is pulling us into a strange new world of shallow fabrications and making us ignore everyday moments of interaction with other human beings on a real personal, visual and vocal level. Where we actually look up and meet the eyes of strangers. We are losing touch with ourselves and our natural surroundings.  

It is so important in this climate of alienation and anxiety to focus on our individuality and express this through images with substance.  To create photographs that dig deeper into the human condition and go beyond this over consumption of physical things.  We are treating our time on earth not as a privilege to seek out and do our best in what we love to manifest for others but to dumb down ourselves like cattle and live in the unreal world of ego massage.  Don’t consume everything all the time.  Learn to produce something of value.  If all you do is consume then what benefits are you giving back to your community.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 2015

Ernst Haas, "There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015

When you begin your approach to a subject you want to photograph do you feel intimidated at first because you seem to be floundering for a visual design to magically appear and compose the scene perfectly for you.

If your looking outside yourself for something to compose the image then your not listening to your inner landscape, your unique perspective on the world.  Your time line is yours and yours alone and serendipity can sometimes create an obvious composition that stands out and begs to be created.  But most often the composition you choose needs to be worked up to and explored before you can link it up with your inner focused attention.

The downside of consumer generate images, the mass produced nonsense that floods the market on a daily basis, it creates an atmosphere that plainly states that image creation is easy and anyone can create a good image.  The problem with this approach is that yes anyone can create a decent image that looks and feels and looks like all the rest of the images uploaded to social media.

We might think we are above the herd instinct but we are still relatively new on this planet and we often, when taking images settle for the ordinary and frivolous instead of tapping into our inner visual design and express something we feel is a truth for us and just may have interest for others.  In order to see the details that make the subject intriguing you need to have a sensitivity to your individuality.  What interests you and how to create an image that reveals your inner sight.

The superficial image creation going on in today's photo stock market place inhibits the work that is needed in creating images of substance.  Are we that shallow to think that all we need to do is point and shoot and the snap shot taken now has significance beyond the mundane existence it came from?

What makes a good stock image.  I have given up trying to guess what a photo editor is looking for. As a matter of fact I really never allowed an editor to dictate to me how to create an image for stock photo purposes.  Good, thoughtful imagery will always be in demand.

With the over abundance of imagery being taken and the willingness of the herd mentality to give these photographs away for free, the main problem is not the creative images being made but the competing with the crowd sourced imagery that is given away for nothing.  If these images actually represented the authentic and natural organic flow of new unique expressions shouldn't they be worth their weight in gold.  But they are not unique they are trivial and dumbed down expressions of lives longing for exposure.  And they find their image exposure through businesses exploiting the availability of snap shots and feeding the masses with wonderful applause at their willingness to give their snap shots away, as if these copycat images had any true depth of the real human condition.

We hear pundits talking about these new trends of the real and authentic imagery.  Of course a business is going to praise the image taker and call these images authentic representations of their buying customers.  They are making money on the backs of image takers that don't see the value in their work.

But really all these images represent is an ego thrust outside itself, giving their snap shots away for the thrill of posted exposure on social media.  This is not real life, this is  strictly business. If you didn't have to pay for your hamburger wouldn't that be a heck of a lot better than forking over a few bucks.  Of course it would.  The mind is easily duped by praise and vanity.

The real problem today is can artists make enough income to generate a livelihood that is sustainable.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 20, 2015

Susan Sontag wrote in the seventies, "From its start, photography implied the capture of the largest possible number of subjects.  Painting never had so imperial a scope.  The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experience by translating them into image."

Decades later we now have the digital revolution and with it the explosion of imagery on the Internet.

And this exposes the Pavlov's dog mentality of photography in today's waste land of fragmented realities.

Sontag wrote, "A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it-limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir.  Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientate that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter.  Unsure of other responses, they take a picture."

We acquire products everyday.  Homes full of things that make our lives seem more weighted with memories and objects that represent where we have been and maybe where we want to go in the future.  These short-sighted products represent acquired memory, a wishful fulfillment of our desires and our dreams and gives our life a manifested purpose.

Our excess, our obsession with accumulating things is because we live in an age of anxiety (W.H. Auden) and are unable to live with our subjective consciousness, so we live through the external objects of attraction and possession.  We seem to never question why we are drawn to certain external stimulus over others.

Images are the hip thing to acquire and quickly become passé as we move constantly toward physical experience on a shallow level.

This superficiality gives us the illusion of stability in our lives but it is an illusion of the present becoming a past experience.  We can never be satisfied trying to stop times forward motion.

We are always trying to duplicate a past experience, hold onto it especially if it brought us pleasure.  In photography we repeat composition and exposure when we are satisfied that the snap shot taken represents our forced perception (prejudices) on the subject.

We want to posses things.  We want to define what something is and not have to think any further on the matter.  This drives the proliferation of imagery.  We are on constant capture mode, we don't have to think anymore concerning what we are interested in taking pics of because now everything is photogenic.  Everything is an expression of my outer facade.

We are a species that imitate behavior.  The images being created now represent our surface connection with our memories over our present moments in our own lives.  We seek memories over infinite choice.

How scary a new subject can be and also frustrating when you have to interact with your subject, exploring the many choices you need to make in order to create an image worthy of your time.  You will have to choose your composition, light, perspective and the most important question, why choose this subject over another.  What does this particular subject have that the others don't?

Sometimes you can't answer that question but you just know intuitively that there is an image present and with time and effort it will manifest itself to you.

Are we seeing the end to purposeful image creation, of course not but social media is making good images hard to find.

We herd easily, wanting to be driven along worn paths that end up getting us nowhere near where we want to be.  We constantly put barriers up between us and our environment.  We settle for a relationship with others through a hand held device, not of intimacy but propaganda.

We fear the world and its burgeoning technology and its complexity, so we look for the easy way to go and the camera now is a comforting action that allows us distance from the subject and gives us a "work to do mentality" to take pictures of and not interact with our subjects.  We are becoming reclusive, apart from living in the now and losing touch with our communities.

Stop the constant head down, looking at a small screen.  Look up into this world, interact with it on a personal level not through corporate media sites.

Each of us is unique and we will approach our subjects differently. A one size fits all never works in creating good imagery.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7, 2015

Summer is finally here!  I took this image of a friend kayaking on Lake Cassidy.  The morning light was great with Mount Pilchuck in the background and the misty fog filtering the sun.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015

Galen Rowell, "The best photographs speak for themselves.  Attempts to analyze their meaning invariably detract from the special quality that is beyond words in the first place.   The photographs that move me the most propel me into an emotional realm where my experience is no longer verbal."

We live creating memories. These memories are our life’s story, our created truth that we were here on this planet and we lived and we died and the only way to preserve them is through picture taking, writings and visual art. These become the artifacts left behind of me and my time here.

In photography, before social media, these images were in family albums and picture frames hung on hallway walls, a shrine to our living in this time and space and our recognition of the continuity between generations, as new images were put in the albums for our family members to see and appreciate especially on holidays.

What is different today in this explosion of social media sites, is that we don’t have a unified place to see our family history but have individual sites that broadcast our memories not just for family members but for the whole world to see, read and judge.

Our real families are fragmenting, growing apart from each other and now correspond in public view on social sites.

We now have an audience other than family to entertain and show our personal lives to.  We also have an audience for our on going personal memories and we get noticed, rewarded, and of course we get sympathy and condolences from strangers on theses media platforms and our immediate families are becoming secondary.  

Our private inner world is no longer private for family and close friends. We have given access to our world to everyone. We expose ourselves for all to examine, not only our personal thoughts but of course the images we create. We are not ourselves but living a life as a public spectacle.  We are becoming actors looking for attention and are reacting to our budding created lives and not focused on truth of memory.  We are not allowing things to happen naturally in the moment but instead forcing things to happen for a larger number of views on social media.  

We are living our lives through social media. Our personal fragmented truth is a facade of spectacle and not necessarily true to who we are or who we want to become. Social media is a distraction from living life to it’s fullest.  

Intimacy through privacy allows us to connect with our loved ones on a one on one basis.Without this we lose our personal past and the ones we trust.

This tsunami of imagery is overwhelming our senses. We are losing our ability to recognize good meaningful photographs.  We don’t have the stamina it seems to study an image and enjoy the stillness and calm reflections and interaction we once had with the subject photographed.  All is becoming quick and easy surface reading with no understanding or reflection on what we see.  We are herded down a narrow path to what is the next and greatest novelty.  Not what connects with our inner landscape, our visual talents that reflect who we are.    
Photography is becoming a scrap book of forced events posted on social media to make ourselves look more important than we are.  This is a false illusion of who we are as a society.
We have elevated the trivial to a stature way beyond understanding and we are missing intimacy which is necessary for relationships to grow and mature and have meaning and purpose.

We are dumbing down our mental chords, as well as our vocal chords by allowing our lives to be hijacked by media outlets which collect information about us in order to sell things to us  (just as our imagery is becoming things to be exploited) when we should be interacting with each other and exploring and creating images with focused purpose.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015

Ralph Gibson wrote, "The content of many photographs is often centred around an event. To make 'event' photographs the photographer must align himself in place and time with the event.  One minute late for the execution and his shot is missed, as it were.  I'm not interested in recording great moments in history.  For me, the great event is when my awareness has risen to the point of perception, a brief but intense moment.  At such times one could photograph almost anything... a corner, or a chair, a detail of something normally insignificant, etc.. I crave this feeling because of its greater clarity.  One day it occurred to me that it was no longer a question of how to photograph but rather of what to photograph".  Ralph Gibson wrote this in the early seventies.

The words of Ralph Gibson have become universally true. We now live our lives through social media. What to photograph now means indiscriminate shots of every little detail of our personal life.  It is, as if we have become personalities in our own little life movie.  Our snap shot mantra is, these have to be shown to prove that I am living and enjoying my time on earth.  These mundane images validate our existence to others.  We need this attention from the social media sites because we have become fragmented in knowing who we are and what we want to become.  It is easier to take pictures of your life because it gets sticky to examine yourself and find out what really matters to you.

Life's journey is no longer a deep exploration of our inner world along with our relationship with the outer world.  The outer world it seems is where the attention now is focused. It has become a distraction from asking hard questions concerning our life. Better to photograph anything, than to think and focus on anything for over a few second.

Our fascination with decontextualizing the world, taking objects, ourselves included, out of context, to be seen by eager eyes on social media sites only enhances the obsession with the now.  Since we are wanting our personality to be seen, we are imitating each other, as if we were stars and all eyes were looking up at us.

When you are connected with your subject and exploring the opportunity to compose an image with purpose then you are creating and making a personal statement. These images will show your personality in an honest and unique way.  

Remember that when you are creating images it is not only you coming through in the final image but the subject as well.  If it was only you, then we would be back to creating more of the over saturation of me photographs.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Freeman Patterson, "A photographer should resist every temptation to codify the principles of visual design or create pictorial formulas, because such attempts will stifle intuition, reduce emotional input, and put technique ahead of expression".  

The redundancy in image creation is stifling original ideas. 

Take for example the selfie.  This mundane snap shot, which belongs in a family album, has now infiltrated the consciousness of our youth.  It is a separation from, not an invite to participate in the life environment, we need to create original images.  If we are only looking at ourselves in a scene then how can we explore our external subject when we are selfishly becoming an object to ourselves.

You know that the selfie is corrupting our ability to interact with nature when the ad agencies are now imitating this as a way to sell products.
To experience the world on a deeper level we must throw out these stifling stereotypes and open up our minds to seeing the world with fresh eyes.  We must be willing to take a new step toward our internal interests and find our individual creative spirit. 

Social media can paralyze your perception of the world and how you interact with it. Creating shallow moments not of insight but of obnoxious self interest.