Making Meaning

Making Meaning

| July 23, 2016 | 4 Replies

It’s all so meaningless, we may as well be extraordinary. ~Francis Bacon As I have before, I found myself again struggling with the term, “meaningful.” It is a term I use quite frequently in my writing when relating to the things I want to experience and to express in my work—the things I consider the most profound and important […]

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Forget The Ages

Forget The Ages

| July 10, 2016 | 8 Replies

  That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an […]

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Time Management

Time Management

| June 18, 2016 | 4 Replies

A version of this essay originally appeared in Landscape Photography Magazine. ~~~ For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake. ~Walter Pater Among the reasons I prefer to work alone in the landscape is that I like […]

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Spirituality Beyond Platitudes

Spirituality Beyond Platitudes

| June 7, 2016 | 11 Replies

When the things one seeks to express in art are rooted in real, moving, inspiring, life-affirming, experiences; a constellation of spiritual effects converge.

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Restlessness

Restlessness

| May 26, 2016 | 12 Replies

I believe that curiosity, wonder, and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways less intense emotions can never do. ~Kay Redfield Jamison I had to visit the canyon again, not for any reason I could […]

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Moab Photography Symposium: Personalizing Place

Moab Photography Symposium: Personalizing Place

| May 3, 2016 | 3 Replies

What makes a place personal is not the photographs you take from it, but the experiences and moods and lessons you associate with it.

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Must I Photograph?

Must I Photograph?

| April 7, 2016 | 4 Replies

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to […]

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Zen And the Art of Landscape Photography

Zen And the Art of Landscape Photography

| March 12, 2016 | 20 Replies

The most interesting aspect of these arts of Zen, as D. T. Suzuki has said, is that they don’t exist for the sole purpose of creating a work of art, but they are rather a method for opening the creative process. They comprise means of training the mind and of living our lives. ~John Daido […]

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My Idea of Good Art

My Idea of Good Art

| March 6, 2016 | 13 Replies

In a thoroughly commercialized society, an artist is respected if he makes money, and because he makes money, but there is no genuine respect for the works of art by which his money has been made. ~Bertrand Russell In a neighborhood where I used to live, for a short period of time, there was an Indian […]

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Positive Negativity

Positive Negativity

| February 15, 2016 | 18 Replies

There is nothing so wrong as accepting a thing merely because men who have done things say it should be so. ~Alfred Stieglitz Among the most rewarding and liberating things I have come to accept about my work is that much so-called “common sense” advice is entirely not applicable to accomplishing my creative goals. In fact, […]

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Announcing: New Workshop Offerings

Announcing: New Workshop Offerings

| February 1, 2016 | Reply

Following on the success of our Visionary Death Valley workshops, Michael E. Gordon and I are proud to announce additional dates for 2016 and 2017. By participant demand, we decided to also add a new Processing and Printing offering following each Visionary Workshop, for those who wish to extend their stay, or for anyone who is interested […]

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Twenty Fifteen

Twenty Fifteen

| December 24, 2015 | 10 Replies

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we […]

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The Expressive Photograph

The Expressive Photograph

| December 3, 2015 | 11 Replies

Pictures are exciting when they say something in a new manner, not for the sake of being different, but because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. ~Harry Callahan It seems there are three classes of photographers who venture to instruct others: there are those who teach technical skills and offer simple formulas […]

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More Than a Rock Book Now Shipping

More Than a Rock Book Now Shipping

| September 29, 2015 | 4 Replies

The print edition of my book, More Than a Rock, is now shipping from Amazon and other book sellers. PDF and other eBook editions are available from the publisher, Rocky Nook. From the publisher: Ostensibly about landscape photography, More Than a Rock: Essays on Art, Creativity, Photography, Nature, and Life is a passionate and personal book […]

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Lessons from Image Critique

Lessons from Image Critique

| September 1, 2015 | 4 Replies

Be eager to lend a patient ear to the opinions of others and think long and hard whether whoever finds fault has reason or not to censure you. And if the answer is yes, correct the fault. If no, give the impression that you have not heard him, or if he is a man whom […]

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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