Wednesday, May 20, 2015


This is the piece that I mentioned in the addendum to the previous post. I don’t think I stepped on many toes so I will post it. The save data says this was last saved near midnight on Jan 2nd, which indicates that the previous post was probably written in December of last year.

This is not the resolution I mentioned. It is still on the computer at the studio. But this is along the same line of thought.

Well, it is simple—work more on my own photography and less on trying to straighten out the world of amateur photography. It’s pretty much a backward step from where I have fruitlessly been heading but I have taken a couple of those in the past year and they haven’t been so bad so I’m hoping this one won’t be either.

As many know I am a huge fan of self-portraits. Many years ago I purchased a book of strictly self-portraits. Don’t know where it is now but I miss it. Anyway, there was a photograph in the book that stuck in my mind. The photo was a fairly ordinary unposed family snapshot. Just family members standing together for an informal photograph. There was a young man near the back of the group that was the ‘self’ of the self-portrait. He was cutting up in a way that today might be referred to as a ‘photo bomb.’ I loved the photograph. It was honest, it was family as I think family should be—individuals bound together within the frame of a photograph. [where else would my world exist?] But mostly I loved the title he had given the photograph, “What Makes Me Think That I Am the Center of the Universe?” I am assuming that you can guess why the title stuck in my mind. Anyway, I think it is time to revisit my teeny tiny universe.

It is going to be difficult. This morning as I went out to breakfast I grabbed Perception and Photography to keep me company. It is about Gestalt psychology and how it applies to photography. Gestalt psychology is a study of how we perceive visually. On every page there was something that I wanted to share, wanted to make other photographers aware of because to me it seemed important to try to understand. After I finished eating I sit for over an hour reading, lost in ideas. Okay, I have been trying to understand the connection myself for several years. I get the gist of the idea but the depth is a lot like Stieglitz—beyond my powers of understanding—okay I’ll admit it, probably well beyond my limited intellectual capacity to fully grasp. But I think it is important to continue to try. My mind reeled with thoughts of articles, thoughts of PowerPoint presentations—working out in my mind how best to pass on the information in the book, where to find illustrations that would best convey the concepts.

Then I had a reality check, no one is really interested and I, with my limited understanding, am not the person to pass it on anyway. I am going to make a concerted effort to have many more reality checks this year. No critiquing, no trying to explain things that no one really wants to know just because I think I would understand it better if I could find a way to explain it to someone else. 
Actually I am starting the year in pretty much an anti-photography mood. I am very tired of taking photographs that I really don’t want to take and not taking photographs that I do want to take. Still how to get to where I want to go eludes my best efforts and when that realization hits I always feel like giving up photography entirely. Haven’t posted many photographs lately because I haven’t taken many. I have got to find a way to move forward in a direction that I desperately need to go yet I have no idea what or where that is or how to do it. I don’t wish to alienate friends but my photography is suffering and I have got to find another path because this one ain’t working and I have got so very little time left to make a correction.

Well, it is halfway through the year and I am nowhere nearer making the connection. I did write out a few scenarios, shared one with Alcy trying to read her response but failing even at that.

Over the years there have been hundreds, maybe thousands of scenarios that made it no farther than the scrap of paper or computer file—or maybe just tumbling around inside my head. Most were lost with dead computers or drives—some were actually acted on and turned up as portfolios. A few still follow that path.

In many ways it is depressing. In some it is just life and the way life is. The scary part is that the scenarios are coming with less frequency, less enthusiasm, but what is even scarier with less sense of urgency. Maybe that is just a part of getting old—if it is I don’t want to get old. I was never satisfied by just taking pictures and I really don’t want to be satisfied with that now. Yet, that is mostly what I do.

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