First World Problems

First World Problems

| August 25, 2015 | 7 Replies

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe It is hard, sometimes, to reconcile the many stark juxtapositions encountered in the course of everyday life. It takes little more than a few minutes of perusing world news to learn of the unspeakable plight of so many […]

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Another (Birth)day

Another (Birth)day

| August 11, 2015 | 5 Replies

 Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside. ~Marcus Aurelius For some years now I made it a tradition of sorts to commemorate my birthdays in remote places, by myself; to reflect on the year and the life that passed, in […]

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On Inspiration

On Inspiration

| July 30, 2015 | 7 Replies

… the Muse first of all inspires men herself; and from these inspired persons a chain of other persons is suspended, who take the inspiration. For all good poets, epic as well as lyric, compose their beautiful poems not by art, but because they are inspired and possessed. –Socrates (via Plato) I have heard fellow […]

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“The” Shot is Still a Low Bar

“The” Shot is Still a Low Bar

| July 15, 2015 | 11 Replies

Nature does not create works of art. It is we, and the faculty of interpretation peculiar to the human mind, that see art. –Man Ray I recently saw a photograph hailed as “the” shot of a certain oft-photographed mountain. What made it “the” shot was the presence of spectacular sunset sky, which indeed was impressive […]

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The Human Condition

The Human Condition

| July 8, 2015 | 4 Replies

So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try to eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair. –Antonin Artaud It was with some delight that I recently received an academic text on photography that I had […]

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For Art’s Sake

For Art’s Sake

| July 5, 2015 | 3 Replies

I have studied the art of the masters and the art of the moderns, avoiding any preconceived system and without prejudice. I have no more wanted to imitate the former than to copy the latter; nor have I thought of achieving the idle aim of art for art’s sake. –Gustave Courbet Despite having the opportunity, […]

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The Interval

The Interval

| June 23, 2015 | 3 Replies

I have asked myself whether the short time given us would be better used in an attempt to understand the whole of the universe or to assimilate what is within our reach. –Paul Cézanne I wonder, sometimes, if by dedicating my work mostly to the desert of my home I may have set my sights […]

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The Tyranny of Plans

The Tyranny of Plans

| June 22, 2015 | 6 Replies

This essay was originally published in my monthly column in Landscape Photography Magazine. Please consider subscribing to this excellent online publication. ~~~ We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls ride over the […]

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LensWork Magazine Color Portfolio

LensWork Magazine Color Portfolio

| June 17, 2015 | 1 Reply

My sincere thanks to editor Brooks Jensen and the wonderful staff at LensWork Magazine for featuring my work in the magazine’s upcoming edition (#119), which will be the first to include color. In addition to this momentous change, LensWork is now offering special pricing for new and renewing subscribers. If you are not already a […]

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The Patina of Digitality

The Patina of Digitality

| May 27, 2015 | 12 Replies

Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it. –Rollo May Speaking about the role of the artist in conservation, Ansel Adams proclaimed, “The curse of all art is the patina of sentimentality.” Perhaps a curious observation from one who devoted much of his life and work to promote […]

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Fellow Travelers

Fellow Travelers

| May 8, 2015 | 4 Replies

In the arching immensity of the night, each tells the story of his life, each offers the other the burden of memories in which the human bond is discovered. –Antoine de Saint-Exupery With the experiences of the recent Moab Photography Symposium still fresh in my mind, and with my thinking still a little fuzzy as I’m […]

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My Audience

My Audience

| April 13, 2015 | 11 Replies

Discourse on virtue and they pass by in droves. Whistle and dance the shimmy, and you’ve got an audience. –Diogenes Laërtius A marketing maven (which I am not) suggested to me that I give some thought to who my audience is, and to target my writing and images to it. Despite such advice, however, I […]

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Big Thoughts

Big Thoughts

| April 2, 2015 | 5 Replies

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes. –Walt Whitman We live in momentous times, although I don’t think that too many people ponder this fact in the course of daily life, which is a shame. We are in the midst of mass extinction of life on planet Earth, and by now […]

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Difficult Questions

Difficult Questions

| March 30, 2015 | 13 Replies

And I say to you, before you give your time, and you will have to give much, to photography, find out in yourselves how much it means to you. If you really want to paint, then do not photograph except as you may want to amuse yourselves along with the rest of Mr. Eastman’s customers. […]

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If You Don’t Get That

If You Don’t Get That

| March 24, 2015 | 6 Replies

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. –Henry David Thoreau I recently came across an essay proclaiming to tell readers how to get the most out of their new camera, starting, like so many similar ones, with the suggestion to read the manual – perhaps one of the worst bits of advice […]

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What is Enough

What is Enough

| March 17, 2015 | 6 Replies

Fix a limit which you will not even desire to pass, should you have the power. At last, then, away with all these treacherous goods! They look better to those who hope for them than to those who have attained them. –Lucius Annaeus Seneca We tend to take visual art – the symbolizing of things […]

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On Hotdogs and Swiss Watches

On Hotdogs and Swiss Watches

| March 4, 2015 | 13 Replies

Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal. –William S. Burroughs I was reminded recently of one of my first forays with a professional photographer, several years before I decided […]

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Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

| March 2, 2015 | 3 Replies

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. –George Bernard Shaw Painter Edvard Munch (of Scream fame) was also an avid photographer, however he did not quite consider photography and painting as equally worthy forms of art, saying that the camera will never compete with the brush and palette “until such time as […]

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Waiting for Apollo

Waiting for Apollo

| February 22, 2015 | 2 Replies

Craftsmanship is the fundamental basis which you can learn and develop provided you start with absolute respect for your materials, which, as students of photography, are a machine called camera and the chemistry of light and other agents upon metals. The living element, the plus, you can also develop if it is potentially there. It […]

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Vocational Selection

Vocational Selection

| February 10, 2015 | 7 Replies

Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals.  –Aldo Leopold Many think of science as the study of hard facts founded in theories regarding quantifiable things, from sub-atomic particles to stars and galaxies, and every configuration of matter in between. This characterization is known as the materialist view of science, which is distinct from […]

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Art and Philosophy

Art and Philosophy

| January 27, 2015 | 9 Replies

There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, […]

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Art in Times of Click Baiting

Art in Times of Click Baiting

| January 20, 2015 | 23 Replies

If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude, which is its natural ally. It is time, then, for it to return to its true duty, which is to be the servant of the sciences and […]

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Reentry

Reentry

| January 14, 2015 | 11 Replies

                Between grief and nothing I will take grief. –William Faulkner Some weeks ago, as many of you likely were preparing for the Christmas holiday, I found myself again seeking solace in the desert, struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. Somewhere else, thousands of miles away, a luminous thread […]

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Twenty Fourteen

Twenty Fourteen

| December 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

In the years to come I likely will look back at 2014 as a trying and emotional year – a year of great loss and great inspiration, great tragedy and great kindness, great disappointment and great friendship. In the final days of December, I traveled with close friends to spend a few days in one […]

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End of Season Reflections

End of Season Reflections

| December 1, 2014 | 7 Replies

“… inevitably the bathroom mirror shows the first white hairs … inevitably eyesight begins to fail and mysterious pains begin to shoot through the body. … these intimations of mortality plainly communicate the message: Your time is up, it’s time to move on. When this happens, few people are ready. … Some try to ignore […]

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Wilderness and Me

Wilderness and Me

| November 15, 2014 | 9 Replies

For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite. –Leo Tolstoy I spent most of the last few weeks traveling and teaching. I interacted with more people in just the last month […]

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Love, Beauty and other Unfortunate Clichés

Love, Beauty and other Unfortunate Clichés

| October 6, 2014 | 9 Replies

Love is the fundamental necessity underlying the need to create, underlying the emotion that gives it form, and from which grows the unfinished product that is presented to the world. Love is the general criterion by which the rare photograph is judged. It must contain it to be not less than the best of which […]

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On Documentary Art

On Documentary Art

| September 24, 2014 | 4 Replies

Equivalency is the ability to use the visual world as the plastic material for the photographer’s expressive purposes. He may wish to employ the recording power of the medium, it is strong in photography, and document. Or he may wish to emphasize its transforming power, which is equally strong, and cause the subject to stand […]

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A Measure of Worth

A Measure of Worth

| September 11, 2014 | 8 Replies

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint […]

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Believing is Seeing

Believing is Seeing

| September 1, 2014 | 3 Replies

What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough. –Eugene Delacroix A strange train of thought was set in motion when a fellow photographer asked me this seemingly simple question: “Where do you go for […]

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