I post a lot of snapshots to Facebook, simple pictures of noticed moments. When many of us were very young and had some little plastic camera we’d innocently photograph anything, a sunset, a friend making a goofy face, a flower, mountain… no thought to whether it amounts to anything, just found moments remarkable enough to take note of. No thought given to whether little flower pics are sophisticated or conceptual enough, or for us boys, gasp, manly enough. I’ve gravitated back to this because of the ease and constant presence of my cell phone.
Paraphrasing something my friend Michael Burns told me- when we met and I took a workshop with him, he was doing exquisite 8×10 contact prints on Portriga, Later with some reluctance he got a huge enlarger and made an amazing series on Seattle printed at 16×20, which was exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, also, he made 11x14s of Berlin, also gorgeous, all this from 8×10 negs. Out of the blue he switched to a Leica, being young and stupid I was a bit mortified, is this the end of these beautiful objects he created? He told me, as a PHOTOGRAPHER, he wanted photographing to be a normal part of daily life, like eating or breathing, he sees, he shoots. Making a large format photograph is an extraordinary event, it’s very difficult to respond to any moment easily and instinctively and quickly make something of it. This was called being perceptive, often called seeing, if it resulted in a created piece, even referred to as “camera work”. Not only do I like the attempt to stay awake, I like making photographs all the time, it’s training in a way, how to become what you do. Jimi put on his guitar every morning at home, cooked eggs with it on, it became unnoticed, unremarkble, and extension of himself, most would agree it worked out OK. An old friend, Doug Plummer, puts up photos all the time he calls “today I saw”, seems dead on to me.
“In the Parlance of Our Times”, as the infamous saying goes, this would be part of Mindfullness. Now, everything, even the most normal of human activity, has to be labeled, be a thing, categorized, branded, have gurus to adore, newsletters to subscribe to, workshops or retreats to attend, product lines, soundtracks on CD at Starbucks, a culture to join, etc etc.. That’s ok, we all need whatever help we can get to return to the wild country.
I call it being a photographer, or.. being alive.
Been on my mind.