Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growing Old

My thoughts are elsewhere, moving faster than I, with more grace and determination. The thoughts move in the past where a young man lingers and laughs at the body I now carry. I can move quietly in the market and remain unnoticed and anonymous to fresh thoughts of style and frivolity. I am unknown but to myself. Only I know what it is to live and grow old and even I am surprised at every turn. Those before me made efforts to explain and forewarn but they had only their own guide to suggest what might come of ageing. Like life, ageing must be experienced. It also must be understood. It is, ultimately the beginning of the end, at least one we can recognise. The reality of ageing is that we must eventually face the inevitable as it grows closer, knowing that what follows is as it was before: nothing.

As the bones creek and the joints ache, as the body processes falter and the brain loses its way, it is necessary to look back more than looking forward. Living brings us surprises. We cannot see into the future and even the present is uncomfortably brief. It is that past which we draw upon to give us hope. Reflection will provide purpose to what we have done. Disappointment will come from what we should have or could have done. Purpose and disappointment may be unnecessary in knowing that living is as it is and only our will to live provides us with motivation to do what we do, whatever that might have been. We cannot undo or relive. All we can do is to see the small wake we leave behind and know that we have made a difference no matter how minute and insignificant it might seem.

As I walk this way I know that I am one step closer to where I am going. I will not be surprised when it comes. I am content with what I have done.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The train.


How far to go, he called, when does it part
She waits for me beyond the converging lines
Through the tears and lost worlds of love
She waits for me, she waits in another time
When we were one, the only ones to know
Where we stood strong, true love still a crime
Young, sweet, innocent love fresh from the heart
Leaving others behind the walls to define
What we should be

Now the passage is complete, the platform stage
We no longer play, life took its toll, sliding doors
Close on us, kept us apart, allowing us to age
Facing the masters and mistresses, seeking flaws
In others, knowing only one destination can be
Where the passage stops, no longer be ignored
The wilderness has gone, once ravishing desires
Now playing out the fare to be in one place because
We are what we should be.

Friday, December 30, 2016



He stepped out for a while, to find some quiet time
Perhaps he's tired of this and that, of things defined
Being judged, misunderstood, misaligned 
With the parameters so clear, rigored, almost a crime.

His boundaries have collapsed, shattered and scattered
The frame is broken and the image spills, voices chattered
Upon an open grave, milk on a tiled floor, splattered
As if he didn't care, beyond the field nothing mattered.

It's not dark yet, he'll be back, shaking his thoughts away
Talking to himself, questions with answers, a mind astray
The picture is there, waiting, while he wonders what delay
The rest have in seeing what he sees, the motion of decay.

The words rest now upon his weary thoughts, too little time
Collecting the philosophy of others as a fence consumed by vine
Not baring fruit, not gesturing to others which way to climb
Reassured, resurrected, breathing quietly, smelling decay divine. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Making time


What we see in art is of our choosing. Appreciation is recognizing the skills of the artist. We don't have to like it to appreciate it. We might pause to implore beauty to expose itself. When it fails to do so we might reject the art first hand. Or we can allow the art to stare back at us, allowing more to be revealed. 
Art is manipulative. The more we absorb ourselves in its innate nature the more we feel the effects of our appreciation. Art is often assumed to be easy. The very fact that not everyone can create art is proof enough that there is some labor involved, some understanding of human nature, a degree of compromise, of recognition, of persistence.
Appreciation isn't for everyone. It requires knowledge. We need to know what is involved, what the artist intended, the context of the ideas. We don't always have the time to devote to art. 
Make time: just once.

Blurred Visions


The photographers task is simple: be clear and sharp. The Decisive Moment is finite and must contain all that is necessary for the photograph to do its job. 

How unfortunate that this can never be achieved even if there is an element of truth in it, and I doubt that there is.

The photographers task is by no means simple and at no time will the photograph be clear and sharp. There are those that seek this end in futility, in which case they will always be disappointed. Even if they claim satisfaction, that satisfaction is most often left in the hands of others. Approval from others is paramount. A quick sale, a postcard to a friend, a 'like' on social media, a prize, received like a merit badge on completion of a poorly conceived and equally constructed camp fire by a Boy Scout. The fire is luke warm in both cases.

We are told to try harder, but with what and at what cost? Endless instruction and a continuous flow if technical prowess still leaves us wanting more. Following a rainbow is more fruitful. Praying for intervention has equal prospects. At the end of the day satisfaction will come from the value of the reward perceived or received from others. Judgement will always be based on the temperament of others. 

Mind you, some are quite content with this predicament. I have on many occasions heard this pursuit referred to as 'advancement' or 'improvement' or, heaven forbid, 'creativity'. 'Mimicry' is more accurate. More than once have I seen the eternal Sun set over another horizon and wonder how many times I need to see this particular one posted on Flickr or Facebook to remind me that someone with an iPhone was there as well. Living each moment as if it is your last was never meant to be taken literally, nor does it need to be recorded. Prosperity will have more important things to consider.

And what of the Selfy? How is it that we have moved from a society that once revered the portrait as a symbol of prosperity and social significance to a mode of self-indulgent narcissism. Not only do we find those that cannot pass a shiny surface without stopping to admire their own reflection but it is necessary to photograph it and reward themselves by posting said image on the scourge of intellectual companionship: the Internet, assuming their 'friends' need an update of appearances and an appalling lie that beauty beyond belief  has just graced their presence.

Ottoman in his investigation of the history of photography stated that the original meaning of 'photograph' has been diverted and somewhat lost in the new inclusion of digital enhancement. Be it that the image is projected onto the sensor and 'drawn' by light, the similarities to the original process has been lost in a flurry of photons and manipulation of pixels. The question we might ask, even if we are not purists, is: "is there a line and on which side will we stand when we say "this is a photograph"?

I don't yet have my own answer, or maybe my position shifts. 

What I would like to do right now is to do a bit of navel gazing 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The image of the image

Photographs come in all shapes and sizes. So do humans but we tend to accept the differences and look deeper into the character of the individual; or, at least, we are encouraged to do so.

When I say, 'shapes and sizes' I'm implying that we take photographs for different reason.
There seems to be some distinction in the 'real' world, whatever that is, that there are 'fine art' photographs (ie; those that are to be appreciated at a higher level, and purchased at a higher price I  might suggest), and there are the rest.

Such a distinction is arbitrary to say the least, bigoted to say more than I should.

As with the spoken language or a piece of prose, the depth of interpretation can depend on two things; the intent of the 'artist' and the depth to which the viewer might seek to understand what they see.

Now, don't get me started on defining "artist'. Let's just take it literally to mean 'he who produces or makes'. It's a broad definition but it will include everybody. People don't react lightly to being left out.

I'm often the sort of person that shoots first and thinks later. I do that with most things. Reaction is an important ingredient in the creative process. its about connecting with emotions, which are in turn connected with thought processes. Recognition and intuition are almost instantaneous processes; at least we hope they are. Thought processes come later, the amount of time depending on such factors as intellect, age and the consumption of drugs, of which only one of these factors falls into my regime.

Leter, I can contemplate what I have shot and ponder the possibilities. This is a pleasure I enjoy emensely. I can allow myself to re-examine what I have captured, consider the reasons why. And contemplate what the next shot will look looked.

Interpretation might  be everything.  It certainly is a doorway to perception.

I take photos, therefore I am.
 I look at photos therefore I am able to perceive.
I think therefore I can interpret.

The cycle is complete

I live for the next image.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

the family

Being a part of any family can be compared to finding a place in the picture. As with the spiders web,  it is necessary not to send vibrations through the connecting web else wise the smiles will vanish and there is every chance I would be stung, paralyses or left to rot in my entanglement.
On the other hand, if I remain perfectly still I can take note of the intricacies that bind the web. Character, personalities, friendship, comeradery, protection, support and comfort balance the catchment with differences, temperaments, opinions, beliefs and ethics and origins.

Genetics may be the biological thread but families have more than that. Love is often used. If love is simply a high priority in caring then there is more than enough here. If love is something undefinable then this family is that. If love is the affection between individuals that is as strong as it gets. If love is acceptance then I seem to always have a place here, even if it's in the back row.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nothing much

Today I did nothing.
Tomorrow I will do more of nothing.
There will always be time to do nothing.
I will never run out of nothing to do.
I'm good at doing nothing.
Nothing keeps all things apart.
Nothing is the space between somethings
When I run out of nothing to do I'll start all over again.
Everyone else can do something.
Nothing beats doing nothing.

New Horizons 11

Each day I'm astounded by the way the world presents itself. That which is magnified is brutal and worrying, broadcast through the media to inform us of how ugly we can get.

Within the bounds of my horizon I keep a close watch on how pleasant the world is, though the lens of the camera, my eye and my perceptions.
While the rest of the world might be rotting and crumbling, it is possible to be optimistic as long as the horizon is no further away that the reach of my sight.

The empty dance

Just now I'm doing nothing
While I dance upon the hill
And the shadows of the past 
Are never standing still
I can wait for moments silence
Which comes among the blast
Of the thunder of my thoughts
That drift among the past
Where was I when the hail fell
What train of actions then
When I alone could tell
What the endless pain would bend
That I will live this moment over
And the torment will inflame
The scars that mark the cover
And only I can blame
Myself, the thoughts alone
Are tattooed to my brain
To be seen as autochrome
For as long as I remain
Awake or sleep it matters not
For nothing is a myth
In which no memory is forgot
If nothing, this it it.
Restless, relentless, haunting ghosts
That interrupt the peace
And I am the singular host
Of nothing's angry feast.

A sense of scale

If you ever get indulged in your own self-importance, take a walk on a long beach. If there was ever a place to know who would loose if it were the individual against nature, its a strip of sand separating safe ground from devastation, being watched over by a lonely cloud.

The Dress

A dress is to be worn
To adorn the form beneath
To please, to be discrete
To colour that which 
No display can show 
In full exposure not
Delay what we know
As beauty to behold
Before and after
Be unfold.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


“The Pictures are there, and you just take them” – Robert Capa

Street photography has become a genre. That is to say, street photographers have a particular way of seeing what is before them. There interests are on the randomness of civilisation.

I'm not sure where street photography begins and ends. Does it start at the doorway to the street, from within a dwelling or is it essential that the photographer has firmly planted himself among the heaving throng that is the passing parade of life on the street? 

Maybe it's none of these. Maybe it is the attitude that is taken at the time, the interest shown in the ways of the pedestrian and the structures they frequent.
And what of the content? Is it the people that are of prime interest, or the walls that confine their space or the activities and inter-actions? 
Whatever it is, we are fascinated by it. More so, we are fascinated by the photographs and the photographers who have made this genre their passion, livelihood or pass time.

I hold no grace with those who declare a method or a set of rules for doing this thing called 'Street Photography'. That is not to say others might abide by such rigors and obtain perfectly honest results. My preference is for a 'seat of the pants' approach in which the element of surprise is paramount, to expect nothing and anything at any time, to be ready without anticipation or expectation. 

There is also an egalitarian approach employed. Everything and everyone has equal 'rights' to be the subject of the frame. There is some contention here. Some might say the respect for privacy should rule. Neglecting one's privacy might get me a punch in the mouth from some but I'm not aware of who that might be. I take my chances.
Disgression seems to be important. Sneaky, even. Voyieristic definitely, curious, a sense of humour and an equal sense of drama go nicely together. 
The streets are filled with pleasures and pathos, individuals going about their day, often without any sign of the turmoil, tragedy, joy or contentment that might lay within. It's not possible to capture these inner thoughts. It is only possible to capture the laws of physics and engineering that created the place and the result of human behaviour that brought it all together.

Someone else

What's it like to be someone else?
To be young, thoughtful, blessed
With possibilities, most probable, ready
For all that life can offer, briefly, openly.
Where to from here, destiny betrays?
No signs of yellow bricks or guiding lights
Each step, each breath is new and fresh
Delicately placed among the stones
There is always someone else to gaze upon
From here the landscape loses its horizon
And I want to lead the way to safer ground
But she will find her own and be someone else

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Space Between

Mind the step
Let the light in
move up, move down, move around
In the space between

Define the edge
the shadows clearly state
another wall, ever so tall
above the space between

Live here, keep clear
watch the edge
no ledge
around the space between

Bound by stuff
held in close
the door is ajar
Next door
Is the space between.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Taking Away.

Its probably not enough that we take a portrait photograph and leave out a fare portion. It may not be appropriate that we didn't get to know the person or even ask his permission. It was possibly more than enough that the click of the camera disturbed his concentration momentarily. But to walk away with part of his soul converted to digits and stored in a black box might be considered an abomination.
If he only knew.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


"I had the notion of what I called a democratic way of looking around, that nothing was more or less important."
William Eggleston

Nothing differs from yesterday. Be it another day makes little difference. The same sunrise, the same sky, the same air, the same thoughts. Maybe one more piece of knowledge collected incidentally and stored for later. Tomorrow, maybe. Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will always be different.

Meanwhile, I stay with the moment, each one filled with small pieces of yesterday and debris  of today. Dust from the fires, washing from the clothesline, sand from the beach, photographs.

When I look back at yesterday there are few landmarks. Ordinary things that caught my eye. The camera is always within reach. Photographing at arms length to the world, shielding myself from contact or absorbing me into the moment. An observer and participant at the same time.

On reflection, everything seems important. The photograph does that. It isolates not just the moment but the thing, the place, the action, the event, the geography, the thought.

A lifetime of shifting sands, moved by the winds from the east and south; constant reminders that there is somewhere else. The flora and fauna struggles wilfully. The struggle is essential. Without the struggle, all things remain the same. Change requires something to fight against, move with or wait for, Preparedness in the light of the events of yesterday.

The paint peels, the wood decays, the flower wilts, a war rages elsewhere, a lamb is born in a bleak paddock and another dies at the hands of a butcher, a rocket lands on a comet and a child takes its first steps.

How can I have the camera ready for all this? How can I be ready? Why is it essential that we record all this? Does the photograph remind us of what we must be prepared for?

Or is it just that we like to see how the moment, thing, place looks on a photograph?

"Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am)"
René Descartes

Ideo ego COMMEDITOR eam (this is why I photograph it)

Today is another day. The camera is at arms length. All things are as important or less than only by our own relevance. The photograph will equalise all differences.Today I put my mind not to understanding but doing.

"Whether a photo or music or anything else I might do -  it's ultimately all an abstraction of my peculiar experience".

William Eggleston.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

LEARNING TO SEE - again. Part 3

Self portraits have been around for a while. The first photographers were not backward in coming foreword with their own images, permanently and indelibly etched in the new technology.

This was and is nothing new. Artists have been doing it for hundreds of years. Rembrandt certainly did his fair share, having painted over 60 individual portraits of his face.

The significance of a self portrait for the artist and the viewer is unique. As does a moving picture, the sequence shows growth in two ways: that of the artist as a person, a form, an ageing human, and  of the skills he possesses.

Self-portrait 2012

Today we see the proliferation of the Selfie, an Australian term used to describe the quick snap taken mostly by smart phones or point and press cameras, of the camera holder and quickly sent to their friends and relatives for a quick 'like'.

Mother and daughter selfie 2014

Selfies are distinct from portraits in many ways. They have two main purposes: to indicate the status  and  the location of the photographer.
Status seems paramount in the new world. Status can be stated in many forms. What we wear, who we are with, where we are located, how good we look, how foolishly we are behaving, how deviant we wish to be, how game we are all fall into the possibilities of displaying ourselves in an appropriate or inappropriate way to the world.

Nevertheless, Selfies are as important as the new language or the new style. They separate us from the last fad-ridden generation who's bad taste is now replaced with equally or even superlative bad taste. No generation has been without their wantonness to display themselves is a way that distinguishes them from the rest.

The idea of the Selfie may perish in the same manner as the Mullet, paisley and wings on cars but the self- portrait will continue to be used by the photographer for their own reasons.

Heather and friends. Whenever!

Finding a suitable subject for practice can be difficult at the spur of the moment. Not so if you are willing to step in front of the lights and allow the lens to swallow your pride.

Self-portrait 2010

Filling a gap and providing a human element might rely on a passer by. Timing and cooperation are not always that forthcoming. Placing oneself into the scene gives familiarity and personality to the domesticity of the image.

Self-portrait 2013

Capturing a shadow or a reflection is often ignored or avoided by the person with the camera, yet the presence of the form can remind the photographer that they re just as important a part of the real world as any other bystander. They are also vulnerable and open to the marauding lens.

Self-portrait 2015

Photographers have explored the concept of self-portrait as a means of expression. Such photographs are conceptual and often powerful statement on how the photographer sees himself as a part of the whole or independent from the rest.

Self-portrait 2015

Few photographers succeed in completing the philosophical analysis of what they do. The self-portrait can play an important part in developing skills, monitoring growth and reflecting on why it is they do what they do.

We can only propose what a photographer sees when they view themselves in such a way.