I Think

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I think a lot. Sometimes I think too much. This is the thought I generally have at about 1am when I am wrestling with busy brain syndrome and cannot fall asleep. Here are a couple of thoughts kicking around in my head at this nightly hour.

What one sentence would you pass on in the event of a cataclysm that contained the most information with the fewest words, what would I say? Or what image of mine would I single out?”

“Is creating art a response to our own knowledge of our mortality?”

“If time is a human construct, how would we abandoning it and how would that change the way we lived?”

“I wonder what the post will bring tomorrow.”

And the list goes on.

This is a very long-winded introduction to me saying that photography is where I try to think the least. I try not to put thought into my images but rather try to put my feelings or emotions into them. Put another way, I try to make images based on what I am feeling rather than what I am thinking. I don’t know if this is to give my brain a rest or to give me a rest from my brain. A bit of both I would guess.

For the most part this works really well for me. I have become good at disengaging from my thoughts while I am out photographing.  I don’t like listening to music while I photograph either because it affects how I feel, which then affects how I photograph. For me it is enough to be there in a moment responding to subtle currents within me that I will struggle with later to put a finger on.

In fact, this is where my problems usually arise: when I try to think about my photos after the fact and figure them out. Generally I don’t do this too much. The photos are not products of thought, but rather visual translations of moods or feelings passing through me in a particular place or at some particular time. Thought doesn’t typically enter into that equation and therefore makes for an awkward fit I have found when forcibly injected into it later.

Anyhow, even now I am applying more thought to this image than I should, but sometimes I find the thinking “out load” to be an effective means of getting it out of my head.

That and I do like doing the writing just for the practice.

So don’t fret if you cannot explain your photos, or if you worry about the perceived lack of thought in them. Some photos are meant to embody a great deal of thought, but not all images. It is ok to make images that cannot be so intellectually described or explained. It is ok to make images on hunches, feelings, intuition, or the like. And it is ok to not understand your own images after you have made them. In fact, I rather enjoy it at times – the mystery of it all.

So here you go. Hopefully nothing I said gets you to thinking too much and keeps you awake tonight.

What’s Cooking In The Kitchen

Minestronne d’inizio autunno

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I know I know earl autumn has long been and gone, but this is my favourite Minestronne recipe, and the star is this beautiful Fennel.

After having received the gift of Flu for Christmas I was down and out for the count. Today is the first day since then that I feel a little normal (whatever that is).

Anyway, so today I am cooking this gorgeous soup.

Hope you are all well.

Blowing My Own Trumpet

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Most of my photography is sparse and dark. I will try to explain.

Looking at my Photographs is like being alone in a room with yourself, or even a step worse. My images are introspective in a way that makes some people really nervous. The kind of person who immediately turn on the TV when they are alone don’t get my Photography – it makes them terribly uncomfortable.

After all is said and done, I photograph to see how the world looks photographed. And as they say the camera lens is a window to the soul……….

This image was made well into dusk. I was into that time of night where you lose a stop every few minutes and I was working with an initial exposure of several minutes as to be effected by this phenomenon. But I really liked the faint glow of colour coming from the moon and sky across the open field and I don’t make enough photos of autumn colour in the gloom of evening.

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Between No Longer And Not Yet

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Morning broke on the day I looked most forward to, and it did not disappoint with its glorious Tuscan sunrise.

I selected and squeezed three oranges into four small glasses, took my coffee outside and made a couple of Photographs.

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San Gusme was just appearing through the morning mist. I knew then that the magic here cannot be held at bay by Glass. It strikes deep and massages a tired soul. Once again the peace was overwhelming and my eyes filled with tears of bliss and joy. The anticipation of what lay ahead made my head spin.

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Breakfast devoured we headed west to Siena to pick up the famous and scenic SR2 to San Quirico d’ Orcia. Driving through fields of curvaceous green plains. This is where the Unesco protected Val d’ Orcia begins.

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About 5km south hot sulphurous water bubbles up into this picturesque pool in the centre of Bagno Vignoni.

We then headed 15 km further south to the tiny and beautiful (aren’t they all) village Bagni San Fillippo. A tiny path through the woods took us to sets of warm, tumbling cascades. Mudpools and Sulphur mountains. A most glorious spot.

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It was fast approaching lunchtime and we headed for Monticchiello, a sleepy medieval hilltop village. Just inside the main Gate (doesn’t that sound brilliant – inside the village gate) stands the small and highly regarded Osteria La Porta. It has a small terrace  with the most overwhelming panoramic views of the Val d’ Orcia. This is the place to have Lunch.

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We drove unhurried to Pienza, making several stops en route to enjoy and marvel at this wonderful scenery and to make photographs.

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We could see our next stop from the terrace of Osteria La Porta.

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Pienza is small and boost several Renaissance  buildings that should not be missed. We spent several relaxing hours here and strolled without a care and without any hurry through this beautiful village. Exploring with eyes, heart and soul.

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I also found a plaque that stated that the Val d’ Orcia was an idea by several Renaissance painters. I for one will be forever grateful to them.

So we slowly made our way back to the Villa for our last night and a scrumptious BBQ.

I thank whoever needs thanking for making this trip possible.

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Marketday And Other Stories

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Thursday morning and we were greeted by a beautiful Rainbow to bring in the day. Running low on supplies and a needed trip to the chemist for potions and lotions due to my encounter with the Giant Hogweed, we headed for Castelnuovo Berardenga. Thursday is market day.

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I decided to take the Rolleiflex, loaded with Kodak Portra 800 and Berrger Pancro 400, with me. Boy did that caused some interest. The Tuscan folk really appreciated this camera. Words like “fantastico” drifted my way wherever I went.

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A little crowd gathered and examined the old machine. Several wanted to have their photo taken. I felt very humbled and enjoyed the little place very much.

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Buying supplies from the market.

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Supplies bought and a quick hello to the local baker and we were on our way.

 

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Tomorrow we will be heading south. The day I looked most forward to on this trip.

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We also finally found Abbie’s resting place. We gave Abbie to our good friends James and Penny and she lived with them here in Tuscany until the ripe old age of 14 ½ years. She was a special dog and seeing her place under that Olive Tree made the whole trip even more special.

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Destination Curiosity

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A couple of thoughts on curiosity, and how it drives and influences how I work as a photographer.

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The effects of my curiosity are both sweeping and subtle, in regards to the decisions I make with my cameras and where it will take me.

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One aspect of it is that I am always trying to do something different, or looking back on things I once experimented with but never explored thoroughly before heading off in other directions. So I make a point to come back and revisit some of those ideas.

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Recently I decided to start working more with the very basic Daguerreoytype Lens and an unusual new film. Ferrania P30.

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I am always curious about rendering the world through such images as opposed to images that are familiar in both sight and photography.

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This is easy enough to do, and these images aren’t the point. It doesn’t really matter if a photo is any good or not. In this case it was about being curious, asking myself questions and then answering them by making pictures. Hoping to capture that elusive lost Image.

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Sometimes I get the shots, sometimes I don’t but ultimately it is not why I am there, nor is it why I pull out that camera. Which itself might sound crazy.

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I don’t solely use my camera to make photos, I also use my camera because it is a sort of meditation and a justification to linger a bit longer.

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Sometimes we get so hung up on how best to make the photos and we fret and worry and ultimately distract ourselves.

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I know this is very abstract and I also know it is easier to say when you have several decades of experience doing as much photography as I have and I know it is easy to claim not to worry about the pictures when you have a whole hard drive full of images you love. I know abstract advice isn’t easy, but for me this is my driver. And maybe that truth doesn’t work for anyone else. I cannot comment on other photographers approach, just my own.

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I can offer insight based on that, invest myself in being there with a camera in hand. I make photos, and by the time that shutter fires that goal has been met, my destination has been reached and the story has been told.

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