On Significance

On Significance

| April 17, 2014 | 11 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 | 8 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 | 11 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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Prints, Legacy and Inspiration

Prints, Legacy and Inspiration

| January 9, 2014 | 5 Replies

The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable. –Lucius Annaeus Seneca I’ve been thinking about prints recently and have had a few interesting exchanges with fellow photographers on the topic. As is often the case, such conversations led me to consider a few other topics. In particular, one friend mentioned prints in the […]

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Distribution of Weight

Distribution of Weight

| January 7, 2014 | 5 Replies

This post was prompted by a conversation I had with friend and photographer Dan Baumbach. Some weeks ago, Dan complimented me on a new image I posted and I had to admit to him that it was not one I thought very highly of, myself. Though I felt the image was powerful and aesthetically pleasing, […]

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2013 in Retrospect

2013 in Retrospect

| December 23, 2013 | 19 Replies

The end of a calendar year may seem an arbitrary time for reflection, but there’s something powerful about so many people doing it at the same time, making trends, commonalities and differences more pronounced as they can be readily examined side by side. 2013 was an unusual year for me. It was not as productive […]

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Healing Places

Healing Places

| December 11, 2013 | 11 Replies

We lost our beautiful dog Maggie this past weekend. She was about twelve – not young but not terribly old, either. Her passing was still sudden and unexpected. I remember picking her up at a dreary animal shelter all those years ago. Sarah could not bear to go in and see the caged animals, so […]

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Canyon Time

Canyon Time

| December 5, 2013 | 2 Replies

It had been about a month since I returned from Alberta, which marked the end of a busy workshop and travel season. Several projects were placed on hold around August and, with limited Internet access on the road, many emails remain unanswered. But, little by little, things are falling back into place. All open print […]

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Hear No Evil

Hear No Evil

| November 15, 2013 | 19 Replies

But one day the “why” arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. – Albert Camus I learned some time ago the benefit of accepting disagreement and not engaging in futile debates. When the dark clouds of rancor and animosity threaten on the horizon, all I need to do is to remind myself […]

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Isolation

Isolation

| November 11, 2013 | 8 Replies

The following is a re-edited version of a column originally published in Landscape Photography Magazine. A subscription to this and similar pioneering publications helps support my work, and that of many excellent photographers and writers. ~~~ It may seem that the concept of social photography is a new one, but in fact photographers throughout history, […]

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Michael Gordon’s Joshua Tree Portfolio

Michael Gordon’s Joshua Tree Portfolio

| November 8, 2013 | 1 Reply

Michael and I have known each other for well over a decade, though this may be somewhat of an understatement. We’ve seen each other through some wonderful and difficult times, both personally and professionally; shared countless miles, campfires and deep conversations in some of the most remote and inspiring places; pushed each other to invest […]

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The Velvet Handcuffs of Predictability

The Velvet Handcuffs of Predictability

| November 6, 2013 | 7 Replies

When photographers get beyond copying the achievements of others, or just repeating their own accidental first successes, they learn that they do not know where in the world they will find pictures. Nobody does. Each photograph that works is a revelation to its supposed creator. –Robert Adams Few things are as intimidating to a creative […]

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Vanishing Experiences

Vanishing Experiences

| October 10, 2013 | 14 Replies

Recently I had some business to attend to in Salt Lake City and was able to revisit some of my old haunts in the Wasatch Mountains. Things have changed, some in subtle ways, others more profoundly. In the few years I’ve been away, some of the once-bumpy mountain roads were paved; others were improved for […]

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Unproductive Coddling

Unproductive Coddling

| September 29, 2013 | 9 Replies

A few months ago I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at an outdoor writing workshop. Among the topics brought up in the discussion that ensued was one student’s predisposition for flowery writing laden with positive adjectives, and devoid of narrative that may be perceived as adverse or controversial. The professor, a friend […]

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The Things Themselves

The Things Themselves

| September 17, 2013 | 17 Replies

I had a couple of extra days to make my way back home from Colorado after a recent workshop. Rather than take the boring Interstate route, I first headed south into the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains, stopping on occasion to admire the spectacular scenery. The plan, if it can be called that, […]

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Solastalgia

Solastalgia

| September 1, 2013 | 10 Replies

“the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’” –Glenn Albrecht (NY Times) I am home. This may seem an obvious proclamation, but it didn’t always mean the […]

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Meditation

Meditation

| August 19, 2013 | 8 Replies

Here’s a bit of advice you may not see in too many other places: meditation will make you a better photographer. In fact, it may very well make you a better, happier person. I have given this advice in private to several people but generally refrained from making it public, knowing that it may color […]

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Colorado Plateau eBook iPad Edition

Colorado Plateau eBook iPad Edition

| August 14, 2013 | Reply

I’m pleased to announce that my eBook Intimate Portraits of the Colorado Plateau is now available in an iPad edition and can be purchased directly from the Apple iTunes Store. The iPad edition was designed for iBooks and is slightly different from the original PDF eBook. I made a few edits to essays and updated […]

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What Makes an Artist

What Makes an Artist

| August 13, 2013 | 14 Replies

My friend Dan Baumbach recently shared a moving post on his blog, confessing his hesitation in calling himself an artist. I met others who were similarly apprehensive about the term, whether because of personal experience with other artists, trepidation about other people’s perceptions, or because they did not feel worthy of the term. Those who […]

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The Painful Part

The Painful Part

| August 8, 2013 | 4 Replies

My romanticism by no means allows me to indulge in the sentimental cliche that the great artist “dead” lives “forever and onward” in the “continuing glory” of his “immortal” work. –W. Eugene Smith” I realized the other day how much I miss walking. My knee is improving slowly and it’s likely that I’ll be in […]

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