Of and About

Of and About

| December 9, 2014 | 3 Replies

This essay originally appeared in my monthly column for Landscape Photography Magazine. Please consider subscribing to this excellent online publication. ~~~ A thing is not what you say it is or what you photograph it to be or what you paint it to be or what you sculpt it to be. Words, photographs, paintings, and […]

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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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Such Things Could Be

Such Things Could Be

| August 21, 2014 | 6 Replies

The good photograph is not the object, the consequences of the photograph are the objects. So that no one would say, how did you do it, where did you find it, but they would say that such things could be. –Dorothea Lange It is with some trepidation that I confess to feeling a little pinch […]

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On Art and Writing

On Art and Writing

| August 7, 2014 | 4 Replies

I delight in photographs / I delight in words / I delight in mixing both / To see what happens if they bend / My pity for the pure photographer / My pity for the pure poet / Is tempered by the responsibility / I have to three media / Whereas they to only one. […]

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Meditations on Art, Work and Solace

Meditations on Art, Work and Solace

| July 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? I appeal as a human being to human beings; remember your humanity, and forget the rest. –Bertrand Russell A ponderous shadow darkened my thoughts these past few weeks and I […]

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The Meaning of Words

The Meaning of Words

| July 17, 2014 | 12 Replies

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. –Joan Miro Upon the publication of my first of a series of essays in LensWork Magazine, a fellow photographer I respect and with whom I corresponded in the past wrote to congratulate me, and also mentioned he was not comfortable […]

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Politicizing Art

Politicizing Art

| July 10, 2014 | 8 Replies

I had a bad day yesterday, though I should qualify such a statement with the acknowledgment of how fortunate I am to not experience many of them as a matter of course. I was overcome with concern and frustration with world events, compounded by a few personal conflicts. I was angry, and among my many […]

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Brain, Language and Legacy

Brain, Language and Legacy

| July 7, 2014 | 12 Replies

“I write, and I feel how the correct and precise use of words is sometimes like a remedy to an illness. Like a contraption for purifying the air, I breathe in and exhale the murkiness and manipulations of linguistic scoundrels and language rapists of all shades and colors. I write and I feel how the […]

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Contemplating Mystery

Contemplating Mystery

| June 30, 2014 | 4 Replies

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. –Albert Einstein A few weeks ago I posted about Tolerating Ambiguity. Among the responses was a beautifully written note from photographer Jamey Pyles describing a conflict he struggles with: How can I admire the mystery […]

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Forget Vision

Forget Vision

| June 21, 2014 | 13 Replies

Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded. –Antoine de Saint-Exupery Photographer Jay Maisel, when asked for advice about making more interesting photographs, famously responded: become a more interesting person. It is the kind of one-liner retort we all wish we […]

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The More Things Change

The More Things Change

| June 19, 2014 | 6 Replies

The following is an excerpt from a book draft I am working on (one of three!) and posted here in response to a friend’s question about photographer Henry Peach Robinson. ~~~ The Brotherhood of the Linked Ring and The Photo-Secession The Royal Photographic Society, established in London in 1853, is the world’s oldest photography organization. […]

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The Price of Ease

The Price of Ease

| May 23, 2014 | 24 Replies

“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so, he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.” –Henri Matisse A month went by in a flurry of travel, workshops, exhibits and print orders, and it finally occurred to me […]

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On Significance

On Significance

| April 17, 2014 | 15 Replies

“The object becomes aesthetically significant when it becomes metaphysically significant.” –Joseph Campbell For many years I used the term “meaningful” in my writing and teaching when referring to expressive images, by which I mean images that express something of the artist’s own mind rather than merely illustrating the objective, literal, characteristics of subjects or scenes […]

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Starting The Day

Starting The Day

| March 27, 2014 | 9 Replies

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I walked out of the  house before dawn today. The world was a ghostly wonderland of silver and blue as the […]

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Serenading the Medium

Serenading the Medium

| March 24, 2014 | 6 Replies

“It is so characteristic, that just when the mechanics of reproduction are so vastly improved, there are fewer and fewer people who know how the music should be played.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein Those who take the time to read my Artist Statement are sometimes surprised by my admission: “I do not consider myself a photographer who […]

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Proud Confessions

Proud Confessions

| March 19, 2014 | 12 Replies

“But the high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.” –Hermann Hesse On a recent workshop one of the participants was surprised to hear me say that in the last couple of years I’m usually only […]

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PDF eBook: More Than A Rock

PDF eBook: More Than A Rock

| March 10, 2014 | 1 Reply

As several readers asked for the book in a format readable on multiple platforms, I am pleased to announce that y latest book – More Than A Rock – is now available in PDF format for the price of $4.99 and can be ordered at my online bookstore. I very much appreciate your support of […]

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Tolerating Ambiguity

Tolerating Ambiguity

| March 4, 2014 | 5 Replies

One of the things I cherish about working in remote corners of the West is the quiet time behind the wheel on long empty roads among some of the wildest and most remote places in America. I keep a fairly slow pace, delegating the mechanics of operating the vehicle to the automated pilot living in […]

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Working From Home

Working From Home

| February 15, 2014 | 8 Replies

It may be true that art should be able to stand on its own, but I find that my appreciation of a given work almost always benefits significantly from knowing something about the artist, why they do what they do and how it relates to their stories and other forces in their life. In an […]

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On Not Answering the Wrong Question

On Not Answering the Wrong Question

| February 6, 2014 | 6 Replies

Albert Einstein admonished that one should “make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler than that.” Confirmation bias and the desire to reduce complex issues into simple answers are common human tendencies and may be helpful in fostering understanding as well as forming opinions and creeds, but not always. In some cases, they may […]

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The Problem with Moments

The Problem with Moments

| February 1, 2014 | 9 Replies

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream. –Vincent Van Gogh Photography is the art of moments, whether it is Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment,” when all elements serendipitously converge into a harmonious composition, or […]

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The Educated Audience

The Educated Audience

| January 22, 2014 | 23 Replies

The more knowledge (including technical, psychological, historical, and personal) that a viewer brings to a photograph, the richer will be his experience. –Minor White A lot had been written about the skills and creativity required from artists in the creation of their work, but the view in the other direction often is neglected. Irrespective of […]

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How To Be Creative

How To Be Creative

| January 19, 2014 | 7 Replies

 “Language serves not only to express thoughts, but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it.” –Bertrand Russell I’m writing about creativity today. When thinking about such elusive topics I often start with a “seed,” then mull it over and see where it may lead me. This post is my “thinking out loud” […]

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New eBook: More Than A Rock

New eBook: More Than A Rock

| January 14, 2014 | 10 Replies

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of my new eBook: “More Than A Rock” for users of Apple devices. The eBook is available from the iTunes Store for the price of $4.99. The eBook builds on re-edited versions of previously published essays (blog posts, magazine columns, etc.) If you enjoyed my writing over the […]

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The Meaning of Success

The Meaning of Success

| January 13, 2014 | 14 Replies

In Western societies we tend to associate the word “successful” with people who accomplished fame and fortune. By doing so we may be sabotaging our own efforts at finding other kinds of success, which may ultimately be more rewarding. I define success as having accomplished a lifestyle that is both satisfying and sustainable. What one […]

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