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October 2, 2009

Which Is Good
Friday. OK, after wondering about the chest congestion yesterday in the early afternoon, wondering as an aside if it might not have been on some one last cresting lap before it gave in and subsided, the later afternoon went very well, the chest quiescent, the evening and night a breeze, the sleep good, this morning just fine thank you. So whatever I was worried about yesterday seems to have been just that, worrying, and the outlook today is excellent. Or at least good. No complaints with excellent and good, I use the terms whenever I can.

Up at six this morning, a good breakfast over the papers, a run to the supermarket for cat food, orange juice, milk and wine (the basic food groups), home now with the sun shining and the air just right. Here at the end of the rainbow. Fall has finally arrived in the Bay Area I'm guessing. Life is picking up.

An interesting weekend ahead, Mr. Chomsky at the Paramount tomorrow night, something called the LoveEvolution parade kicking off in the morning and maybe a shot at the Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival on Sunday. Hardly Strictly starts today, but I'd be surprised if I got it together, even though Mr. M and Ms. A have suggested a picnic lunch for late this afternoon to hear John Prine. We'll see. I was wondering when Boz Scaggs might be performing and whether or not he still does Loan Me a Dime. My “good” and “excellent” eruptions might not be enough to get me out of the apartment. You may have noticed this.

Later. A good long walk around the downtown and then back most of the way to the apartment taking in the farmer's market on 10th street and noting all the one dollar a pound prices on various kinds of fruit. I didn't want to pack a bag full of them with the camera and I was looking to keep walking farther, looking for pictures, so I passed, but I'm going back next week and bring a bunch home. (I'll make do with Safeway until then or maybe the local farmer's market tomorrow with their higher prices.)

In carrying the camera at the ready and only half looking for pictures I passed by a particular scene, nothing about it special, an archway with a bicycle rack and a single bicycle chained to it, something you see everyday and pass without noticing. Yet I noticed it and thought to stop, retrace a few steps and take the picture. Something inside said take a picture, softly, easily overlooked and I realized the only way, really, you could understand what drew me to the picture was to take a series of pictures of similar scenes that called out in the same way and place them side by side so you could intuit their common element(s). There was a kind of stillness there, a subconscious rather than a conscious reaction, and the photo of that scene, if you saw it, would communicate it as such, but it would be much more apparent if it were displayed side by side with more much like it, taken because they elicited that same feeling you'd gotten from the one.

This particular realization allowed me to see a way to more easily branch out a bit from what I've been shooting. I've been going on and on here about doing precisely this. Take the picture when the picture calls out to you - don't analyze it, don't think about it, just do it - print the damned thing or at least look at it on the screen and see what it was that seemed to make it stand out. And then be sensitive to that feeling when you see it again and photograph it when you find it. The reason to have a show, as such, with a large number of prints is that it allows the first time viewer to compare one photograph to another, see the common threads, identify and experience the emotional elements that drew the photographer. Seeing a single picture taken by a photographer doesn't really tell you enough about what the photographer is seeing or doing. The same, I suspect, with fine artists. The vision becomes clearer through a series of related images rather than just one.

So will I go back and photograph that bicycle? Probably not, unless I pass again and it calls out as before, but I'll remember that particular feeling and I'll photograph it when I see it again until I have say a dozen to examine. And I'll look at them and see what I've found. Maybe the “feeling” they're projecting will be worth pursuing, maybe it won't, but the mechanism seems right, what to look for is clearer, a clearer concept of how to find other avenues of expression has maybe been found. I think. On a Friday. Sounds good. Gives me something to do this next week, the next life.

We are preaching.

We are preaching to the moi and the moi is listening with attention to photography for a change rather than the chest congestion, which, by the way, hasn't made a peep, even with all of the walking. A big positive change in twenty-four hours. So I'm pumped. Which is good. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland City Center recently with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 35mm f 2.0 Nikkor AF lens at f 5.6 at 1/60th second, ISO 100.