Photographing street people at night seems to me to be similar to the exercise of zen horsemen who shoot targets from horseback while at full gallop. There is little time for lengthy consideration. The arrow must be notched before the ride commences.

Whereas my mother transformed into an unrecognizable person three nanoseconds before the shutter did its work, many of these street folks are too tired and stressed to effect anything other than Thoreau’s “Quiet Desperation.” They’re not demanding but, with little embarrassment, they ask the questions which may keep them fed or clothed. They show you as well who they might be, perhaps, if they hadn’t lost most of what modern society desires and schemes toward.

From them it’s a gifted trust, to be allowed to photograph them where they live, to pass on. (click through)

The Idea...

There is a lot of uncertainty associated with the creation of art for me. The obvious quandary is that the useful reaction one gets from exhibiting or just showing a photograph to someone is dependent upon whether or not they will be honest in their evaluation without the need to educate them that it’s not necessary to always “like” things. It’s better to hear how a photograph makes them feel, whether or not it strikes a chord from their experience… some actual involvement.

The amount of rattle from the group is disappointing. I hear comments about including words in photographs and how that doesn’t work. I made a list the other day of over 25 well known photographers who used words in their creations often just to see if I missed something. I know there must be more than that, it took very little time to find them.

The “contemporary” affectation of street work might cause someone to think we’re doing an advanced form of that genre… hardly. The folds of time slowly reveal that things don’t change much. People behave within the trappings of “modern” society much as they did 50 or 100 years ago and their expressions and body language exhibit that sameness constantly.

I’m beginning to wonder if success for many photographers doing “street photography,” is the making of photographs that resemble those of their personal guru. I hear a lot of, “Check out this new guy…” and when I do I have 10 or 15 books of similar images, heavy books, by the “greats.” Bullshit! Being a camera driver is not my goal.

Blundering on here. Chip is a good leader. He’s letting us do what we do.

At this age, still naive, I guess...

The National Geographic Magazine several months ago included an interesting fact in an article they published about world population. All the people in the world, all 6+ Billion of us, could fit shoulder to shoulder inside the city limits of Los Angeles, California in the United States of America. Might not want to, but we could. There is still room for everyone with examples of Mediterranean communities in which people who embrace various religions live happily side by side, worship as they please, live their daily lives with friends with other life styles. If even one little town can live this way, we all can.


We’ve been wandering, albeit in a rather organized way. Germany to France and finally to Italy.

The photographs vary widely as one might expect given the subject matter. Now we’re here in Pietrabuona, home.

We went through the Leica factory in Wetzlar, to Cologne and a couple of great art musems. To Namur, I had never heard of it but it was halfway between Cologne and Paris and turned out to be a nice city and interesting. Then to Paris, me for the first time. The people were kind, helpful, never rude. How is that? I’ve heard nothing for years but how rude the Parisians were. Not so much.

After 10 days or so in Paris we went to Lyon, Torino and here, with a sigh of relief, not because we didn’t enjoy those cities, it’s just peaceful, quiet and familiar.

After a while to Mantova, Graz, Vienna, Erding then home to Atlanta.

(Click through.)

Wonder bread...

Later this week we should have a brick bread/pizza oven in the back yard. After travels to Italy, mostly, I realized that with rare exceptions we don't have bread much here. There are local places in Atlanta that do a good job but I think it has to come from home. Tuscan bread is saltless so the ingredients are flour, yeast and water... how difficult can it be? It's quite difficult to do well. And after using the Bosch for years with a pizza stone I concluded the road to good bread was making it the "old fashioned way."

I found a company in Australia, Melbourne actually (Ben Guilford), that makes  "kits," several, different sizes and characteristics. It has been an adventure in the construction. I have a really good stone mason to work with and after a "reset" to be more specific and follow the directions to a tee, the oven is coming into being. It's a beautiful thing as well. I've made photographs along the way and I'll share them as time permits and after I get them organized a bit.

In addition to the bread products you can cook most things that require an oven. Looking forward to the discovery.


Two roads...

I've decided to change direction a bit. I'm going to photograph for myself mostly and not enter shows as much. I've established an Instagram presence. If that seems to be rewarding after a while I'll continue. I'm not really sure how my photography is being received and, at 77, I wonder if I'm being indulged. Then too, after these years of making images I look at "contemporary" photography and a lot of it seems distant from the art. So the "Exhibitions and Awards" section will be briefer, I suppose, but the work will go on.


Thoughts on my photography...

You know, like where it's going, for instance.

Historically I've been an "art" photographer since 1967. That's when I started to learn the processes and came under the influence of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Gene was never cruel but he had an eye for craft standards and an aversion to making the same photographs over and over. Not to say he never followed a theme now and again but sunsets, cats in windows and reflections in still waters didn't show up much.

My budget in the early days was limited... very limited. If I hadn't been able to pick up great equipment while I was in Vietnam I doubt I could have continued. The only real trouble having no money caused was not having presentation materials, mounting board, things like that. But the condition forced extreme scrutiny concerning what I did print. Worked out OK.

Since those early days in Kentucky I've always photographed "my stuff" but I also had to contribute to the household income which meant working, sometimes at photography. I had a string of photography based jobs from Maisel Photochrome to Georgia Tech finally to Grafica, Inc. as a graphic designer and a photographer. Only since "retirement" have I been totally concentrated on my own work. Here is what I have found to be the world of photo.

Success in art photography is as much about who you know as anything. I would like to say it helps to be proficient in the craft but that's not consistently true. After you have a fairly extensive portfolio, or big stack of photographs, you can start entering shows around town or around the country. You pay an entry fee, usually $35 to $50 to enter from 3 to 8 images. If you're accepted you have to print, mat and frame the selected images and then get them to the show on time. There is a juror, maybe two or three, besides the gallery owner or museum curator of photography. I'm never sure who makes the final decisions or if there is a "this is the way it is" session before the judging begins, but I'm seeing some strange selections, mediocre photographs, bad craft, sameo-sameo. For people who are the movers and shakers in the world of museum quality photography very often the images chosen I've seen many times before.

Of course you can hope that exposure to the same jurors after a while might call attention to your work once they've chosen it, not so much. The "blind"system could guard against that kind of recognition, if it does... The goal for most serious photographers, all the while, is gallery representation or a museum show, purchase by a museum, maybe a book...

I conclude, you must do it for the love of it.

New Ground... The Influence of The South Street Photography Group

There are a couple of rather maligned words in our language, maligned because they are often misread as punishment and belittlement, the words discipline and critique. The concepts these words represent, especially in art, are desirable and necessary. Without discipline the basics are confounding, repeatability or the development of style become impossible. Critique, that requires trusting another artist or group of artists to be as objective as possible and at least illuminate the road if not travel with you, can become the tool that moves an artist forward, helps them see themselves and their work more clearly, provides a path for creation and improvement in craft. South Street has become that for me, critique. The discipline part is a tenet of my existence.