Pho to know

Know time fore lorne

In the morning, when the sky is clear, the sun shines from the east reflecting off the TransAm building north-eastward only to to be reflected west.off the windows of the Maritime Building. Maybe that image embeded in the light, searching fora medium, will miss being reflected again, going right out of our atmosphere to journey through space and time to the edge of the Universe.

TransAmerica Building reflection at One Maritime Plaza

I used to like to stop in Truckee on the way to Reno, but the last time I pulled off 80 there were parking meters everywhere. Often there was a different painting on this wall. I first came to California in 1979, I had finished art school, spent a year working at a quality printer—computers for graphic design, i.e. the Mac, had still not appeared,

Brick wall in Truckee

My mother’s name was Rosamonde, but she went by Lynn. Lynn is a city up the coast from Boston.

Union Square, Somerville, 1970

Looking towards Berkeley down California Street,

Waiting at a stop light on the way home from early morning lab tests, I imagined my age, 77, living on the street, everything I owned in a shopping cart . . . I wonder what she thinks about as she walks around Fremont, perhaps taking care of her possessions requires her to focus and gets her mind off her problems.

in Japan pottery is an Art form. Department stores will feature exhibitions of artists or a family kiln, or maybe styles, such as Oribe, Shino or Bizen, or forms such as guinomi ( sake one gulp cup), tokkuri (sake container for drinking) and chawan ( tea ceremony cup).

Ki-seto tokkuri and Kuro-oribe guinomi


A Japanese dinner plate, so simply pleasing.

Alameda Creek

One “natural condition ” of life is the ability to differentiate one “thing” from another “thing, ” for example things you can and cannot eat. An additional “natural condition ” of human life is once you have differentiated a “thing” is to define it, i.e. give it a name, an identity, a sound and a mark to represent it. Unconsciously this process takes nanotimecat, weeds, ground, concrete and fence.

When people look at a photograph they visually differentiate one “thing” from another until they come to a place where mind unconsciously feels the things and how they fit together fit together into a meta level One thing—completing the picture, so to speak. Unconsciously this takes nanotimecat, weeds, ground, concrete and fence I got it!

A unique quality of a photograph as it has developed is that it the image is expected to resemble what humans see, to be a recognizable object. The process is look at a photograph, identify the parts, relate them to each other . . .

Once that is accomplished, the person “understands” the photograph. Usually that means finding a word for it, such as accident, politician, war, Grand Opening, wedding, selfie, etc.

In my photographs you can feel the different things, and how they come together, but ignoring the usual “capturing a moment in time” record-keeping function which is not relevant and unconsciously the viewer works that out . . .

to discover that while the image feel like a photograph, it emphasize the visual aspects of the lines, shapes, colors, gestures, etc. and less about being a recognizable record of a moment.

The photograph, as a graphic medium, has its own qualities. Traditionally “graphic” refers to the process of reproducing the same image multiple times, such as offset, screen, wood block or etching.

Each of the graphic reproduction techniques has its own unique visual feel to it, people unconsciously put together the things in the image by understanding the feel—if it feels like a photograph then the viewer will assume its a photograph and ascribe certain qualities to it.

In my case those qualities are not there but still the image feels like a photograph.

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How can you know your self through your photographs?

Images are like throwing I Ching! There is a message in they’re sumwhare.

There are a great many ways of seeing myself, or for you to see yourself, for me to see you, or you to see me.

And there are just as many ways we can avoid seeing each other as there are to avoid seeing ourselves.

Gate gate paragate, parasangate Bodhi svaha

See! King refuge

Fort Hill, Roxbury MA, 1971

When I lived in Somerville, later JP and then while attending art school, in Cambridge—Central Square off River Street near the river—I used to visit Fort Hill. On a sunny afternoon to the northeast you can over look Boston, Back Bay, Beacon Hill—I left in 1979, plenty of changes since then— the patterns of the in-between roofs and the silently moving city traffic. Four young men, none of us really knew each other well enough for an early morning shared moment like this, but I made this image anyway. On Fort Hill rent was very cheap, the Lyman family found a home and I found my own personal refuge. Now as I understand, the whole area has been gentrified and the park is probably full of playing kids everyday.

Fremont, ball games on Sunday afternoon, pizza and TV for the players and parents. In the 1960s when I lived in Boston we would eat at Durgin-Park with long tables, where you just came in and took an available seat, huge helpings, Indian pudding, and gigantic strawberry shortcake. The Fremont Pieology is a little different, everything is self throw away except the pizza.

A house over a garage in Tokyo, no sidewalk. In Tokyo land is very valuable, some who work in the city but cannot afford to live there may travel three hours a day to commute—13 million and change daily use the Tokyo public transportation system

Alameda Creek

There are many different kinds of photographs, people usually don’t spend time sitting around thinking about how many different kinds of photographs are there and listing them all, but when we see an image its usually very easy to feel the correct category of “kind of photograph.”

We can “feel” these categories and if we are lucky the different relationships of the things is fun. A photograph also has visual artistic qualities such as texture, color, line, shape, gesture, . . .

A photograph has a “certain and unique feel” to it. Technically it makes an image from reflected light, just like the human eye. Its what we see, and what else would it be?

There are many different kinds of photographs; Fine Art, advertising, portraits, snap shots, selfies, catalog, passport, scientific, NationalGeographic, and more— we can feel these different kinds and when there is not a fit.

Sometimes the wrong place is the right place, such as in comedy, satire or irony.

The photograph appears to u be very similar to that which we see with our eyes— more similar to what we see with our eyes than any other kind of graphic process—we feel a “woodblock” or an “etching.” we may like it, but it is not a detailed visual record like a photograph.

The photographic reproduction process produces an image, whether on a medium such as paper or an electronic screen, has specific common qualities which are unique and our biological and psychological nature gives us the ability to separate those “technical qualities” from the content of the photographic image, define that visual experience as a photograph and store it, to use as a tool later to measure , by feeling, i.e.knowing, things we see.

This is a “tool” we use unconsciously, if every time we saw a thing we had to start the process of differentiation and definition of every “thing” it would take too long. Feeling does it instantly.

Our “sensations data bank”, functions like a server. A person visually experiences, a behavior which they doing all the time. They have a feeling which says “This is a photograph” without ever thinking about it, enabling the viewer to smoothly move on. The feeling sets the stage for the meaning of the visual experience.

No matter what kind of photograph, when the human sees it, without thinking, the feeling classifies it as a photograph. When the content or meaning of the image is not compatible with the appropriate content/meaning of a photograph.the unconscious feeling gives a warning —“Something is not right here! Find out why.” A visual question is unanswered and visual tension is created. If there is no resolution in the visual image itself the contradiction of the image is unresolved, the viewer is left wondering why, misses the meaning experience of the image and is left not with an unanswered question resulting in no satisfaction from the experience.

Sometimes we are wrong, not usually, but sometimes, and without thinking, we find consciously, without thinking, that the question appears in our mind — is it really a photograph? We feel uncomfortable and seek an answer to that discomfort—What is going on!

We search for the answer— its a joke; its been photoshopped; whatever, we ask without thinking. Its that quality which a good photograph will find some way to use to increase communication of the content or meaning of the image.

Photographers can use that “knowing of the viewer” to put questions in the image, i.e. create a visual tension while the photograph as a whole resolves it.

Instantly defining it as a photograph, and what kind of photograph at the feeling level enables the viewer to quickly define the image and measure the value of the visual experience.

For many the photograph answers a question —What is it? Oh I know its a cloud in the sky. For me, it answers the question, What is it? Oh I know, its a cloud in the sky.

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In Buddhist tradition the first chief disciple, Śāriputra, sat to the right side of Buddha and the second chief disciple, Maudgalyāyana, sat to the left. Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin, China; Kannon, Japan) spoke The Heart Sutra to Śāriputra. When I included stuff about Buddhism, or Krishna, or any religion

The Heart Sutra in Chinese, calligraphy by Janney.

A reproduction of The Heart Sutra scribed in Siddham (Sanskrit script) from Sacred Calligraphy of the East by John Stevens. This is a very interesting book for artists, as well as anyone interested in in the relationship between scribe and printing as graphic processes of reproduction.

If that relationship interests you , THE VISIBLE TEXT, Textual Production and Reproduction from Beowulf to Maus by Thomas Bredehoft, explores the visual relationship between scribe and printing press in the west. He argues that scribed books of the same title were often seen as different original productions in and of themselves. Writing and printing have enabled humans to communicate with other humans, even long after they have past away.

Disclaimer: On this blog over the years I have published religious related images and words because I find them interesting. There is no intention for this to be a religious forum or to promote one religion over another, or perhaps even the idea of prompting religion itself. If a religion is mentioned it is not because I support it, if it is not mentioned it is not because I am against it.

Master Hua has been around northern California for a long time, I have met people who “follow him” and I have found his self published books in second hand book stores. On this cover is an illustration of Guanyin who as Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit) will appear as a man and as Guanyin (China) or Kannon (Japan) will appear as a woman. (See The Lotus Sutra, Chapter 25.)

Country rodes

Here in 2022, for tax purposes the IRS still categorizes work as “Farm work” or “Non-Farm work— even though the latter is many times the former.

In the 1950s there were comedy films about farm life—Ma and Pa Kettle was quite successful film series from the 1940s and 1950s. .

An old Maine farmhouse, wood heat, a pump inside the kitchen and barn in the left background,

They had an old car with a backseat full of stuff and no gas, no money, no place to stay, 4:oo in the afternoon. Just arrived in Toledo from Appalachia. OH! did I say “Very Hungry!
Toledo Ohio, Model Cities Program circa 1969

Tom and Nance moved to rural Maine 1968 – ’69. Both couples are about the same age about the same time.

A couple times we bought tires from Mr. Bellis who had different situation than I had known, if you believe his story,

He had a thriving business on a major commuter road into Boston and Urban Renewal changed the land his was on, he lost his lease could only relocate to this more isolated area in Arlington.

or perhaps what parts do you believe—its still a compelling story ? He had worked hard for his money. It was a cold winter day in Somerville.

AlamedaCreek

The camera is a lens to translate light into a meaningful visual experience for people . . .

The photograph.

Generally the photograph is commonly held as the benchmark of visual expression which is closest to a common sense of “reality.” —the ‘things’ in the photograph appear most similar to the ‘things’ people see.

Of course that makes sense, why would we develop a camera that made images of things we could not see.—except science has discovered things we could not see or hear and developed tools to hear and see them.

Sometimes people will see a photograph and have a very strong, perhaps emotional, reaction while another person, will not moved at all.

Students in photography class will be given an assignment and the submitted “same subject” images will be different

The students have a subject, which is the same, and then, the images are different. Sometimes understanding an image is to understand the “general subject” and how the particular images fit as representatives of the “general subject.”

How different are we from each other? How same are we with each other? ? We are each made of the same materials but with different mixes,and maybe sometimes a little here or there does not make it to each and every individual.

What difference does it make how the particles in the Universe are joining and separating, who cares? People and a few other living things such as elephants.!!

I find myself wondering if most of my photographs are images of myself, is this how I want to see people or is it how they “really ” are . . . or were . . . at some moment captured in light—maybe just want people to see me taking photographs.

Are my photographs actually capturing some “image of the real person”? How often is a “portrait” of a person insightful because it shows you the deep lines on their face, or the rough hands of a craftsman and you feel somethings about the person’s “inner character.”

Last week we saw NASA images from 3 billion years ago —they are always there to be expressed ,always there to be captured, Maybe Universe is bunch of images traveling at the speed of light seeking a medium to present itself ,but maybe only to humans.

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After Mom had a stroke and suffered serious memory loss she lived in a memory care residence facility near our home, about 10 minutes drive. This was pretty much a decision my parents made,.they had long term insurance specifically for that purpose.

It fit comfortably with our situation, much of the basic “care work” in a residence is just that— daily repeated basic care which needs to be done correctly and to a schedule each day with compassion and consideration. If you try to do this at your home, the negative aspects may overwhelm and disrupt everyday life., . Who do you take out your frustrations on??> spouse, the one being cared for. and yourself.

We saw Mom at least everyday and even 3 or even 4 times a day.

At the residence even though memory care residents may often seem socially non-interactive, it seems to me that the individuals recognize others, navigate in a social network, have personalities and wants and desires. And there are the personalities which develop with the staff. Perhaps any level of social interaction gives them a social meaning to their life.

When we did see her, usually it was “quality time”, we took her out to eat, an outing, dinner at our house or friends, friend’s house,—things that were fun for all of us..The staff would dress her in special clothes she would feel good, staff would have her ready on time and we were there to pick her up on time.

In this way we combined the residential care milieux with a close family relationship, sorting the best parts of both to give her a good life. There are many different ways people can take care of their families and achieve positive outcomes.

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.

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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

Like us fore, ever

Know time connects the past to the future . . .

A moment visually captured, later the photograph grows old, like every other thing —entropy— but even as it grows old it may also have meaning for some people who see it, a meaning which stirs the memory of that moment, it brings back the feeling . . . of a moment in history.

Is a photograph better than just, say pre-camera, where the memory was stored in the mind? . . . or the memory held 一repressed or played like a video in the mind? . . . Then again the photographic image is a specific moment in time, or in the case of a film, a period of time, whereas the memory is a biological machine integrating all of the senses into one sensual moment —the body—the eyes, ears, mouth, touch and nose — a tool for the mind to sense the Universe. and the photograph using the visual sense can trigger a comprehensive sensual feeling. Where the photograph objectives the moment, the mind subjectives it.

The photograph always looks the same, but the feeling may change. Maybe we change our opinion about the recorded moment—a happy image of an old love affair gone bad—an image which once invoked happiness later bring sadness anger, or self reproach —do we rip it up and throw it out in haste?

The same image that when first seen brought happiness, later seen brings sadness, or anger, perhaps some psychological rationalizations, and insecurity, perhaps even resolve—“Lord just help get over this one, I’ll get over the next one myself.”

This young man, holding two phones, was texting himself.

Sometimes its what was not in the image, or, some thing which makes an unplanned appearance in a moment which caught the feeling of the photographer but was missed by the lens. Who is seeing, the photographer or the lens?

For some the photograph may be better than the reality—McLuhan joked about two women who pass each other on the sidewalk, one pushing a new born in a carriage. The other says “What a beautiful baby!” to which the mother replies, “Oh but you should see the photographs.”

With TV and video people do not have to know how to read.. McLuhan used to argue that print (circa Gutenberg , movable type and western world) created a world in which visual became the most used, actually over used, sense, creating a “biological imbalance” having a major influence in the networks of human relations, i.e. the social structure of human relationships of society.

Print influenced people to use the visual much more and the other much senses less altering the society as a whole. Print popularized reading and writing, and brought correct sentences, logical sentence structure, common word meanings, and popularized causal relationships expressed logically—understanding some “thing” is to know what caused it, to “know”why it happened.

Perhaps some are capable, like Mork, to see images in their hand, and lead us through this madness.

Alameda Creek

Will we, human beings, always be “like this?

Everyday people get up in the morning, they may take a walk or bike ride along Alameda Creek or may go to work, or may even rob a bank , save a life or join an army.

If you feel like you agree to the feeling of the words, even if we do not agree on what “like this” means specifically, then we share something . . . a desire for change.

Many say we all want the same things, but more likely what some want is more of the same things than others get. —its not the things that is important but the “ more.”

You may have your own unique definition of what “like this” means . . . Think of those times when someone says “Why do people do this or that . . . its human nature; he’s a bad person; she does not have integrity‚—so many reasons make logical sense.

Why do people believe lies? Why are people so gullible? Why do people make war? Why do people fall in love with someone they cannot live with? Why does she not like me?

Are people naturally good, such as Mencius believed and a great society needs to develop that seed of human nature? Are people naturally bad such as Hobbes, Thomas Aquinas or Han Fei Tzu argue, and society needs an strict authoritative individual or legal structure to control the bad behaviour—the human nature behavior—of individuals with strongly enforced laws?

Are we all sometimes good and sometimes bad, are there the good people and the bad people, are each of us some good and some bad? Hw do we know?

Is this just the way human beings are? “Human nature?” we cannot escape it, by definition anyway, it is a prison in which we are bounded, yet we do not know, or cannot agree on what it is.

What is our “Natural Self”? So many behaviors in the past of 300+ years, which were sufficient to enable human beings to survive come to be embedded in culture and as time goes on for some they become outdated, and need to be changed while for others they are something to defend as necessary to enable people to continue to survive.

Change happens,, but if there is a natural self, a human nature, by definition is unchangeable. The world changes while people remain the same? People who want to maintain the status quo usually believe human nature as unchangeable, the problems we have in society will always be with us.and we need to structure society to minimize the problems of bad individual behavior .

China has always been an authoritarian political structure. Confucian philosophy is about what is the “correct” behavior of the ruler. Dan, Duke Wen of Zhou ( 周文公旦) is perhaps the most recognized example of admirable behavior

“Will China become less authoritarian in the future”—that’s like saying “Will the United States become less racist in the future?” Its unchartered territory, things we never have been able to fix or change before. Great leaders will look forward to a better world; authoritarian demagogues will convince people that a past which was not so great was actually great and better than anything the future has to offer.

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People are waiting, patiently,

Looking for leaders to bring them home.

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone
. . .

. . . If I knew the way I would take you home.
Ripple Grateful Dead

But its not “If you go” —we all do go,—that is what it means to be born and have a life.

There are as many paths in life as there are people.

Imagine working here, spending 8 hours a day in this little box??? Where do you poop and pee? Then again imagine being a wood pecker, whenever you are eating you are banging your head against a tree trunk.

Looking across the bay from the end of Montgomery Street towards Berkeley. or more likely, the angle is towards Oakland.

When standing in front of a two dimensional Art, I like to ask the question, What is the artist doing here? . . .

Most of the images of Tom and Nance were not planned, we would be somewhere and a picture would come up and we made it,

And answer it with a grin.

Gate gate paragate, parasamgate Bodhi svaha