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.