Sounds lightly

BART eyes

BART is a public transit system bringing people to, and back from, San Francisco. These are some images I made through the window of BART about 17 years ago while riding to Oakland.

What is there to see? more like why is this what we see.. We have so much ability to design and produce beautiful places for people to live.

A world organized around the needs of an economy constructed to make a few people “very wealthy” means controlling the behavior of others

Alameda Creek

For some a photograph is the ”a standard to the best of our knowledge,” —The Standard . . . except if its been altered in any way, or more specifically, any way which would alter the “Real Meaning” of it.

If its a “commonly accepted thing” in the photograph, such as a hammer, or a steak, or a box of Cheerios, we usually accept it with little hesitation.

People like to have a common unity between what their eyes see and how their mind defines the meaning of the “things” that they see. To see a photograph is to ask what are the things in it and how do they relate to each other.

The process by which, through the behavior of growing up, we come to know and create ourselves and the universe. is referred to as “socialization.”

Often its said that people are socialized into the society, and then, well some individuals are not. Actually the purpose of “socialization” is no purpose, its a property of being human, and while each of us has a unique experience, being human means as we learn the tools of adulthood we learn to repress some of those unique experiences to the general society accepted definition . . .

we replace our unique experience with the common one of society and perhaps this is what makes a society —people living together— and all of its benefits possible

We experience the world through our senses, as we develop from child to adult the experiences collect in the “mind” and human beings. using the skills and abilities not just from the biological qualities, but the social experiences of growing up to make some sense of it., to find “our” way.”While learning a language facilitates this process, it also inhibits as learning words may also mean redefining your individual unique experiences with an inappropriate word.The “thing” we experienced is not the same “thing” the word means.

Humans have language, we could say we have a “capacity for language.” Where other “higher level” animals may have the ability to communicate, such as to communicate danger, all the recipients of that message already understand the “danger,” the message only says “the danger is here.”
People can not only express a danger but they can communicate new information about that situation.

When we see an image and define it as a photograph our mind gives us certain assumptions about the nature of the information. A photograph is a visual image which usually is made up of recognizable “things”, things which our mind has defined as “recognizable things.”

Photography is interesting because it may spark a confrontation between the visual experience of the eye and the common experience of the mind .

Sometimes a photograph has “things” which we do not recognize and instead of appreciating the direct visual experience our mind wants to keep working to find a “solid definition of the thing,” put it into its correct category, “to find its name” and often we confuse knowing the name of a thing with understanding the thing..


Why do these images seem to have nothing in common. That is a puzzle of my life. When there seems to be no place for me. or for my photographs then together we do have something in common.

People like order, they like to differentiate one thing from another, have a name for each thing and understand the relationship of one thing to another. Order in the Universe.

Driving from Fremont, California to Albuquerque or back, you may pass by Boron, California, population 2,280 (1920).

20 Mule Team Borax soap .used to sponsor a radio show (1930-1945), and in the 1950s a TV western, called Death Valley Days, stories about over coming the hard times living in Death Valley .

According to legend, two men, a young muleskinner — or mule driver — named Ed Stiles and J.W.S. Perry, local superintendent of Coleman’s Borax Co., came up with the idea of hitching two 10-mule teams together to make one 100-yard-long, 20-mule team. The mules pulled two huge custom-made wagons, each loaded with 10 tons of borax.

A smaller accompanying wagon of supplies and food was hitched behind the two big wagons. Together they made the 20-day round trip between 1883 and 1889, hauling more than 20 million pounds out of Death Valley. Not one animal was lost, nor did one wagon break down.

An abandoned house along a country road in New England, one kanknot wonder what happened, did they own the land and house and leave it, did a husband and wife break up to leave the house to live separate lives , were there children born in the house?

Waiting fore the train, Shibamata.

Morning reflection in a mirror, the light draws itself. or maybe its the dark that rejects the light.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Know shuns are dones

News thoughts on the way down

Searching boxes in my garage, I came across some of my old clippings from newspaper. How sad this one .from September 1985—Japanese dancer Yoshiyuki Takada falling to his death during a performance . He fell five or six stories depending on the reporting, What was consistent in reporting was that he held this position the whole way down.
This would have been the last photograph of him alive.

For me this image immediately came to mind:

Along about springtime (1963), the monks began to hint that they were going to pull off something spectacular by way of protest ...
The monks were telephoning the foreign correspondents in Saigon to warn them that something big was going to happen. Most of the correspondents were kind of bored with that threat after a while and tended to ignore it. I felt that they were certainly going to do something, that they were not just bluffing, so it came to be that I was really the only Western correspondent that covered the fatal day.””

If anything this image is a reminder that sometimes just showing up is enough.

photo by Malcolm Browne Vietnam 1963 Malcom Browne/AP

Elizabeth Cotton 01/05 /1893 – 06-29 871987)
lI the 1960s, finger picking “freight Train” as she created it was common for hopeful folk guitar players, She was a living legend. I experienced her in Newport Folk Festival, 1984 or 1985, both on stage and in a workshop.“

She learned music as a young child, but did not begin her professional career until in her 60s—to the fortune of folk music and the bewnefit of the US in general—when she was employed in the musical family of the Seeger household where the children called her “Libba.”

Sometime in the mid 1980s, a rock concert, what is the point of these images?—Do you think this guy is a model hired by the reporter or a “real kid gamester? Every photograph represent some side of being human. This young man is , or was, some mother’s son, maybe someone’s brother, and maybe someone’s killer— Perhaps he was all three things at one time.

Alameda Creek

All of the photographs on Earth, are each a frozen moment of time permanently connecting the past to a future.

We see the printed photographic image because our “eyes can see” the light reflected off the image of the print (the medium). It gives us meaning because our mind finds meaning in the image. On l seeing a photograph, unconsciously the mind will ask “What is it?” and unconsciously seek an answer.

Daibai asked Baso, “What is the Buddha?”
Baso answered, “The mind is the Buddha.

Mumonkan Case XXX Blyth translation

The photograph is made possible because the light reflects off material things, such as a rock, a tree, a person and carries the reflected image to the eye where we “see it” AND the camera capture the same image, a latent image which can be printed at will anytime, and it looks the same. The camera records the light, on a range of “on or off” to many shades and colors and a print can made on a medium, such as paper or a computer screen, a print on which most people agree about the contends. We can all see it and agree that is what it looks like, its really that thing.

Imagine a photographic print on a wall where light comes in the window, reflects off the photographmaking a latent image, and is redirected back out a window down the tree lined street, out of the atmosphere to maybe travel across the universe unhindered for millions of light years. Will it find another “eye” to communicate its message ?

Perhaps there are light images all around us, we just need the “right medium” to translate the experience compatible with our human senses. We do that already with different kinds of light such as x-ray and infra-red. And, the images of stars and galaxies from space are us providing a medium—which humans can see— to capture these images as they go by carrying themselves beyond us to who knows where.

Imagine gadzillions of exposed but not-printed-to-a-medium images traveling around the universe at the speed of light . . .

Maybe its more like a video than a photograph , as long as there was light reflecting off something there will be a latent image traveling around. and our photograph of a far away star is just as snatching a frame of the video as it travels by at the speed of light.

What happens when the traveling light image meets another traveling light image ?Does it mix with it ? or bounce off it? Does it add to the original image, do they combine until it gets too dark see detail ?

Once the photograph has been printed on the paper light can bounce off the paper to be sensed by the eye . A computer screen is different. The image is the light itself, may be it makes on image on the screen, then the light keeps on going , some to my eyes and other parts of it go right out the window, down the street, up into the sky and on the way to the stars.

Can you really destroy a photograph just by ripping it up into small pieces or burning it up? Once the latent image is embedded in the light its just keeps traveling around —what happens when it reaches the end of t3he Universe?

A dress or a blanket? Each has their own purpose, which is better for making a photograph, which is better for sleeping rough?


The last tram in Tokyo, the Sakura Line runs through old neighborhoods, mostly carrying locals and tourists who can get a day pass to get on and off when and where ever they desire.

You also get to see a lot of those train-pedestrian crossings like you see in Japanese tv shows and movies.

It runs right through people’s backyards.

Little shops .it seems like a lot of work everyday getting produce, putting it out, sitting down, an at the end of the day putting it all away at night.

End of the workday day at the Sakura Tram in Minowa,

After school treats , who makes the next move?

Miss Shun, Miss Ed & Miss Chief

U&LC was one of the first publications to focus on the emerging “design community”, published by the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) and art directed by Herb Lubalin, —you have seen some typfaces with is name. The purpose was to market their typefaces to designersi n the emerging design and photo type business.

U&lc refers to upper & lower case . When metal type was used for printing the letters were cast in metal and stored in flat wooden cases with different spaces for different letters.— the “a”s in one area, the “b”s in one the “b” s in another area, ,etc.. larger area for the “e”s and smaller area for the “z”s, etc.

While working the type setter would select the letter from the case and put in the correct place on the composition tool. The letter cases were stored on shelves with the capital letters on top and the small letters below., The type setter knew by feel where each letter was and the capitals and small letters were respectively called upper and lower case. When wanting to use capitals and small letters, a designer would specify “u&lc.” to the type setter

Designers from all over would sent their requests .

which became part of the content.

The design sense of this one may be before the experience of designers who were not working in the field before computers. Before printed marketing materials became became ubiquitous, the work was much simpler and the designers were called “graphic artists.” As the importance of design quality grew, graphic designers brought an identity of professionalism and respect.

The term “graphic artist” increasing came to refer to the people that did basic mechanical work and some spot illustrations while designer was used to refer to creatives .

Sometimes presenting visual design concepts to a client marketing group there would be an older “veteran of the business,” so to speak, who did not like the design, or or thought he or she should have been the one to “select” the designer, maybe thought they know more about design than every one else in the room, or who knows what? A chip on on a shoulder.? While everyone else was referring to me as the “designer,” that individual woulds use the term “graphic artist” as often and in as demeaning a manner as possible. This one captures the essence of that period, you get it at the last line, note the corners, hahahaha, I can remember drawing solid lines with a ruling pen and then cleaning the corners and cutting the layer off the paper to make the equal pieces of white. Later you could buy lines on transparent tape, tape them in place and trim the corners. and even later press on broken lines with corners.

Alameda Creek

Sometimes it may seem as if my words flit from one thing to another with no sense of connection, no clear bridge from one line to another.

I have some sort of an “Attention deficit” disorder.. I can follow what I am writing and its relationship to the images as I am doing it, but for others it might seem like reading Finnegans Wake . . .

later when proofing I see other ways it could be read,

Nothing more than a walking man with his head hidden by a leafy branch. Maybe he runs into some one on the trail, gets infected by covid and dies; maybe he buys a winning lottery ticket; For this one moment, a window between past and future, he is in a harmony which may last for 1/25th of a second.and somewhere in the universe that 125th of a second image may be traveling around at the speed of light, searching for an eye to finally express itself..

What kind of memory is enabled in a photograph? Is it memory which may not last as long a photograph but will last for a life time.


Mr & Mrs Gary Holt, it seems to me her name was Jun, its been sometime, I cannot remember for sure, I met Gary some years before he married. Gary was a Berkeley Potter, home and workshop located at Fifth Street between Jones and Page. .

Holiday sales were weekends starting the Friday after Thanksgiving through the last weekend before Christmas, an annual Spring sale.

Chawan, I think he called this a salt soluble, has a Miro-esque feeling to it, one of his first ones of a series.

Guinomi by Gary Holt; ki-seto tokkuri by Kagami Shugai

I am not yet quite my farther”s age in this photo of him—sometimes I reflect on getting old, arthritis in the hips; fingers and hands significantly less functional; and so on, he lived with encroaching Alzheimer’s, this was the second to last time I saw him functional.
The last time, the next Christmas holidays, we drove around at night looking at the holiday lights. Later, a bottle of wine and, again, for a last time, we went one by one through his collection of 60 netsukes; where he got it, what moved him to buy it; and so on. He was an engineer and the netsukes were the closest, perhaps the only, Art , in which we could overlap.
He was most impressed by the hand craftsmanship; I liked the design creativity; the difference did not matter, we shared something important in life. Sometimes I think my own life got in the way of knowing him better.

“Out of the sly and crafty eyes of many of them leap cupidity,
cruelty, insanity, and crime: From their lopsided faces,
sloping brows and misshapen features may be recognized
the unmistakable criminal type.”

A comment about immigrants spoken by Attorney General Mitchell Palmer US AG 1919-1920

The Palmer Raids,  a series of raids conducted November 1919 and January 1920 by the United States Department of Justice under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson to capture and arrest suspected socialists, especially anarchists and communists, and deport them from the United States.

Having cut off his arm, Eka stood in there in the snow until it reached his knees,
Daruma asked What is you want?”
Eka said,“My mind has no peace please give it a rest.”
“Bring your mind here, I will give it a rest.”
I have searched for that mind, I cannot find it .”
“Then I have put it to rest.”
My less-understood paraphrase from Blyth translation of Mumonkan

My mother, after suffering a stroke, severe memory loss, and expressive aphasia, and at this time, she did not know who was , just the guy who shows up every day. She reaches out to touch the image of her husband of 64 years, they were high school sweet hearts, Deep inside she feels, she1 knows , there is something there, bu even though her mind will not let her remember, it does not stop her from raising her hand and touching his image.

Gate gate paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha

Ole Miss, sing ”Link!”

Can o’ paint

Art is a bunch of lies which tell the truth , Picasso said something like that.

Art is illusion —pointing, printmaking, film, even photography— creating an image of something “real” by using paint, or light to create an illusion

Art is a sensual experience which interacts with the human mind to communicate in feeling . You can also sense specific “things, such as book store, man, woman, table—, but its the feeling of the whole mage, the gestalt, “in and of itself” that is the Art.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, the Art is not in the parts but how they are put together. Can a photograph tell the truth but choose not to do so or perhaps its the viewer that cannot see truth in the photograph.

Cowboy Fort Hill, Roxbury MA, circa 1972

Alameda Creek

The two principle objects of legislation should be freedom and equality “ Freedom, because all private dependence is that much force subtracted from the body of the State ; Equality , because freedom cannot last without it.”
Rousseau, On The Social Contract

Rousseau is seeing Freedom as some formal police enforceable structure to human behavior, such as government, to be necessary for the survival of a society, the solidarity of a society, and by definition that will mean that not every individual can do whatever they want to do when they want do it. .

In classical “anarchy”, not the anarchy of the authoritative conservative mongering, but a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body of people .

With the emergence of sociology —the study of group behavjour of individuals—in the 19th century the theory of socialization suggested that the process of culture, once understood, could be ”directed” and anarchists envisioned societies in which the process of culture would be “tweaked” by identifying the process of socialization to achieve a “more integrated” society. Murray Bookchin Social Ecology for example, wondered if there was an “optimum” size to a society which could “naturally” have 100% social integration.

In A. E. Van Vogt books his Null-A society, —non-aristotelian—lived with no formal laws, no formal government, People just knew naturally what to do and in crisis people “naturally” came together to deal with it at the appropriate moment

Art is illusion as are all visual images . . . Is a better world an illusion also?

This idea gained interest in the early development of capitalism in western urban areas. As these areas became increasingly wealthy with large populations of poor workers, and of course financial corruption, many, such as Nietzsche, Freud, Durkheim, wondered whether the undesirable behaviors in society were the result of individuals repressing their personal, natural desires in order to meet the unnatural requirements to fit in the society.

When we are growing up most of us are not thinking “Gee, I am going through socialization process.” We just did stuff and we learned from it. It is that process of a socialization which moves individuals to repress our natural self and adapt behavior which enables the the solidarity of the society to enables the survival. of the society

But in nature there are no individual human beings, while we see ourselves as individual—Descarte, “I think therefore I am,” .but empirically we cannot discover a person coming into being all by themself. Even when we “feel” we are all alone in this world, its just a feeling, not a reality. If we were to discover a person all by him or her self they would not be alone because we would be there.


With Mom in the ER

My mother was declared medically incompetent to make decisions for herself., In the three and one-half years we went to ER a few times..

The ER situation trip can happen anytime— eating dinner, in a business meeting, or 3am— there is no choice of timing, no way to plan , it happens and the person with the responsibility for medical decisions needs to be there You never know how long you will be there., maybe an hour or 24 + hours . I kept a toothbrush and a book in my car.

It may be that she gets to the ER before I do, and the medical process begins without me. but someone needs to be there to make the decisions.

In the ER she is triaged, accepted into ER, gets a gurney and an area which could be be enclosed with a curtain for visual privacy, where you wait until the appropriate medical professional pops in, does something and pops out again. Nothing happens as regards the reason for coming to the ER until the doctor arrives to do an exam.
More than once the ER was so full gurneys were lined up in the hallway .

Whenever I was with her, I had a small point&shoot in one hand, at the least to record things for possible medical or legal matters . . .

The small camera can be non intrusive, Often it was in one hand while the other was involved with mom.

‘An elder person with memory loss gets impatient while being a patient in the ER. Often there may be some pain, if waiting time is too long pee&poop and cleanup might be involved. Once behind the adjacent curtain was a very drunk man yelling for the doctors to end his life, mom could not deal with it, she started yelling at him, the person on the opposite side of the drunk started yelling and it became a scene.

Gautama Buddha sought the cause of human suffering after experiencing the Four Sights of sickness, old age, death and the ascetic. He found it in awakening the buddha inside of himself to enable him to For Christians life is suffering also, but that suffering is not a natural condition of life, rather its a punishment from their creator for disobeying God’s orders , a punishment which removed them from their “natural state of being” and condemned them to life and death.

For Daruma a perfect world is an illusion and its always “Seven times down, eight times up.”

Gate gate paragate parasamgate BodhiSvaha