“And all the way home I held your camera as if like a bible
Just wishing so bad that it held some kind of truth.
And I stood nervous next to you in the dark room.
You drop the paper in the water and it all begins to bloom.
from Old Soul Song, CD: I’m Wide Awake This Morning by Bright Eyes, song written by Conor Oberst*
A photograph is a process to make an image like silkscreen is a process to make an image. Photographs can originate as continuous tone, such as film, or bitmapped information such as digital.
If the original is a continuous tone , then the quality of the printed image changes as it gets bigger. If the original is a digital bitmapped image again the quality of the printed image changes as it gets bigger.
Along Alameda Creek—do you think that you should know what you see in a photograph by “feel”? Or do you “think about the parts, ” define them—this is a house, this is a tree, this is air — and think “this is a landscape.”
Along the highway in Farm Land, Minnesota.
If you see a photograph, and then see the same photograph reproduced in a book or a magazine as offset printed or digital printed, is it the same experience?
You might say “No, No, No, the original photograph is a piece of Art, the printed image of it is reproduction, the visual experience is not the same.
If in a court room a person was on trial for committing a crime, would a photograph of the person committing the crime carry the same weight as the image of the same photograph reproduced in a book or a newspaper?
If you answer yes, then for you the experience of the photograph is the “real true information” which as a property of the “original photograph” can be transferred in its reproduction— the image of a a specific person committing a crime.
Is the “truth” of a photograph in its “real information” which is a property both in the original AND in the reproduction OR is there a visual experience of the original photograph with essential properties which are only communicated by the visual experience with the original image and not communicated in the visual experience with its reproduction.
Is the “art” of a photograph in its real information or in the visual experience of the original where there are properties that cannot be communicated in its reproduction.
Is the Art of a photograph separate from the “real true information” of a photograph? only to be visually experienced in the original print, not in the reproduction.
Obviously the photograph does not give you the same exact experience of being there. We can not see what these people are looking at, but the are all looking at the same thing and it must be captivating—except for the young man looking directly at me.
But you cannot hear what he was said to me. In this moment (1969 Chicago, SDS Days of Rage) was I truly a photographer?
Should the photographer make images of the way people arrange themselves . .
or should the photographer arrange people to make an image of what they think is “some kind truth”?
Three boys and a dog in an alley, about 1968, that is 51 years ago, does the information in the image tell us where are they now? Do you have a thought as to where they are now? Are these boys what was was real for 1/125 of a second? The boys being here is normal, the photographer (me) being there is not normal.
Somewhere in Western Massachusetts a child’s old, perhaps outgrown, swingset in a field or maybe in a backyard, we cannot tell because the photographer has not included enough information—actually I made this image and it was in a field , maybe the image is not good enough .
We had one in our back yard, When we got it I was almost too old for it and my younger sister and brother were were better fitted, I think I may have destroyed it by swinging as high and as wild as I could and seeing how far I could jump out which took a long term toll on the swing set, and even worse I would bring my friends over and we would have contests to see who could jump the farthest—perhaps nothing spells disregard for how you treat stuff when you are kids at your friends house except your friend egging you on.
My father, about 4-5 years older than I am now, we were having a conversation in the middle of an afternoon and he fell asleep.
/*I didn’t know what to think about it then, I don’t know what to think about it now and after I die I will not ever think about it again*/
One thing about a photograph is any person can make one, just get a camera, point and click.
For the past few months often I have found myself driving through Centerville on Fremont Blvd and being delayed in a line of vehicles in the street because of a train. I get bored, get angry, or look for something interesting enough to pass the time—shapes and colors do me just fine to get me through the line.
When I feel that I am not connected to this Earth I look down and know matter how I pheal my feats keep me connected.
What is in the face of someone who has lived a long life? What is in the mind of someone who allows me to make a photograph of their face.
Commemorate Tri-X the eternally forgivable film . . .
And me the unforgivable photographer, one too young to give his permission, just had the misfortune to be in the car window next to me for a few seconds at a stop light in Boston.
Wherever you are, I am hands free, walking, waiting, skulking, trolling, and enjoying seeing all the incredibly different human beings sharing life with me on this Earth.
* I’m Wide Awake this Morning is for me one of the most difficult albums which to listen, its like an addictive drug, it reminds me of experiences which brought me great happiness and resulted in even sadder memories. Anther line from the album:
She took a small silver wreath and pinned it onto me.
She said this one will bring you love.
And don’t know if its true
but I keep it for good luck.