Zen mined out, left for dead

When I was  in graduate school studying Sociology, late 1960s, I did some photography for the Model Cities project.  I made this photograph, for some reason reticulated the film in development, made a few prints, and lost the negative, so this image  awas made from a scan of a reticulated print, digitized, the image bought into a page layout program, printed  to a PDF which was opened  in photoshop,  saved as a digital image optimized for 800 pixels at 72ppi.

It was middle afternoon, they had just arrived, no money, close to no gas  hungry, 800 miles from a rural home in an old worn-out car  full of possessions— so young to be so poor and looking for  hope.


San Francisco— Faces, jackets, hands, legs and shoes, all  in two step.


Feet feat, fate fete, what weights  fore me. . .


I meet people for a few minutes, talk, I remember my parents, my father worked for the same company all his life, had a comfortable retirement, passed away,  left my mom provided for. She was never lonely, never hungry, always had place to sleep and never walked the streets alone hoping for a conversation. Actually I do not know what this man’s life was really like. We talked for about 15 minutes.


Feels like Eastern Europe or something in a fairy tale  but its San Francisco, North Beach area late  one Sunday afternoon.


Part of the history of Zen are the stories of the transmission  of the Buddha-Mind, beginning in India with Shaka Buddha holding the flower and  Kasyapa smiling, through 28 Indian patriarchs to Bodhitara who took the  name Bodhidharma when he  took Dhyana to China becoming the First Patriarch of Chan, on through to the Sixth Patriarch, and for a few centuries chan became diversified.

About 1200 Dogen, from Japan, visited China and stole Zen to , establish Eiheiji and Soto Zen in  Japan.


When you farm and someone dies, may be their children went to college and sought careers  else where leaving no-one to pass the farm on to,  an auction where the audience is other local farmers, perhaps friends perhaps not, but all bidders on the last possessions of their fellow farmer. What are they thinking as they stand there for hours, waiting for the piece of equipment they need and cannot get a loan to buy new.

After they buy a piece or two of equipment and later when using it in the field or in the barn  do they remember the auction, do they think  of their fellow farmer no longer here, or is there always  just work to be done,


Wine glasses in a San Francisco window .. . . one thing about a photograph  is that when a person sees it, they do not expect it to be perfect. Exposure? No, that should be perfect; Printing,  No that should be perfect; —. these are skills of  hand,  the measure of the artist.

But somehow in a photograph, regarding inclusion or non-inclusion of “things,” there is always something that will be out of human control, something  preventing the design from being perfect. Perhaps the difference between a snapshot and photograph is that while both may include something  “not seen”  before composing the image, in the photograph it some how naturally belongs.

 If you look at the wine glasses there is symmetry; if you look at the reflections in the wine glasses there is uniqueness, not all questions need to be answered.


Kuro-Oribe guinomi and bizen tokkuri. Oribe has a long history, centuries, when you  see an Oribe bowl from 400 years ago, or yesterday you know by  feel it is Oribe and still you will feel the individuality of the potter.

Bizen is spoken in tone, texture, and form. You feel Bizen with the touch of your  hand.


Ikea—I am emotionally  moved with anticipation  whenever I think about  “going to Ikea,”  I only give in about once every four or five years,  Get there, searching around in the multi floored parking garage—Did I say we usually end up going on a weekend”always crowded, ” find the first floor, go up the escalator, and start the walk through the store from top to bottom. I used to like the mac &cheese but usually the cafeteria is so full by the time I arrive at my turn to order I have talked myself out of the calories.

There is a lot of fun stuff to visually experience, but  I find myself ready  to leave before I have reached the end but  still I do not know where is  my wife.

I made this image, its a piece of someone else’s design, but only some of it and I have taken  these elements from the design  of another to make an other design,

Is it fair to say a design of my own? Did I steal from this designer?

Perhaps its just me making an image of an experience I had and the judgement is whether it communicates the visual experience I intended, which was at best just a moment of fun.


Japantown, San Jose, a Saturday afternoon on a corner in sight of San Jose Tofu when San Jose Tofu was still making the best tofu in the Bay Area— Daruma maintained by tax payer money.psd2260X_650.jpg

Ed and Angie, A good enough reason to keep your love going for ever. Ed suffered from old age memory loss, maybe Alzheimer’s,  I got to know him because my mother was in the same memory care facility.

Ed would spend the day looking for Angie and  she came every day, this was a halloween event, but other wise every day she looking  beautiful for Ed.


This year it seems there will be no persimmons on our tree, We had peaches, there are always too many to eat in too short a time, we give some away . .


but this year its a second year to wait until September persimmons.


You may think its a little weird,  taking a photograph of myself in  my underwear, but I take many photographs of myself,  very few are me in my underwear, at  74 years old, for me they are all the same, its just me but others have  a different feeling about them.


Below I am about 22 years old, maybe a 52 years difference—“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” NikonF, Tri-X  film, developed in DiaFine to be  fixed, washed and hung in my bathroom.


Or I might make images of my shado, I  can never let myself get too serious about the image, its just a fleeting moment , maybe 1/125 of a second  in a life of 74 years.

1 year = 365.2425 days = (365.2425 days) × (24 hours/day) × (3600 seconds/hour) = 31556952 seconds, or (31556952 seconds  x74 year),  and so 1÷125 of a sec   = 0.008

0.008 ÷ 2335114448 seconds—

I would have to do it by hand  but as you can this photograph  which I have had for at least 52 years is just a tiny  tiny  piece of my life  Any photograph  is just a tiny piece of anyone’s life and yet it may be that that photograph touches a memory for all ones life— a wedding photograph for example.


or maybe there is no more meaning,  nor will there ever  be anymore meaning than to  just make a design on the paper—maybe we bring  our own meaning to the image anyway.


One movie  I have on DVD  and enjoy watching  is The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice by Ozu— here is cha-dō one afternoon in a  small  corner of a shopping center, another moment of my life.

Sometimes at the end of a meal in Japan someone will pour their tea into what is left  in their rice bowl to eat/drink at the same time.


Vladimir with koi


Sometimes for me simple, quick  moments have meaning— my feet reflected in a car door with complementary colors.


And sometimes 1/125 sec was a million years in life.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s