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.)

Aren’t we the other people too

Fremont Pizza

We have been eating pizza here on Sunday for about 6 months. . Its got a big room with long tables but we prefer to eat outside, you can do that in Fremont most of the year. This pizza place only works on throwaway—plastic utensils, paper napkins, ,cheese and peppers in separate throw away packages, throw away plastic glasses and the final product is delivered when the customer picks up the pizza in a corrugated cardboard box, take out or eat in, no tax or tax. respectively. When finished eating the customer throws the stuff away. We get one margherita pizza and split it , just right,. In spite of only throwaway they are usually tout of something, last week it was basil for the margherita pizza and pre measured packaged parmesan cheese.

Japanese have a different take on zoning., more of your property is under your control. .Retail businesses, factories and residential areas may exist side by side. Right in the hearts of Tokyo—and Tokyo has many many hearts—residents may have a business in the lower part of home and live upstairs. Land is usually at a premium.

Alameda Creek

Every week for the past five years I have presented some images from Alameda Creek. Since Covid restricted my outdoors experiences, I have attempted to take these common everyday images not just to show more interesting everyday images, but rather to suggest that photographs as a print need not be about records of how the human eye-mind connection works but to just experience the visual dynamics of a photographic print for its own qualities, unrelated to the normal human record keeping related meanings

Rather than a visual record of an event in time, I try to show a feeling of the thing s making up the event unrelated to the importance or meaning of the event. Most of the people seen along Alameda Creek are also likely to be seen around Earth, its not t e individual people, its the unity of the visual design.

Globalization is not some conspiracy  of individuals seeking to dominate the Earth, its  not to do with political policies —although many hope that political policies can find a solution before violence gets too bad—it is happening in spite of people with their political and economic agendas as well as because of people with their political and economic agendas.

For hundreds of centuries—300,000 years— when individuals and groups had survival problems or sought better survival opportunities they emigrated; now they immigrate. Now there are no more places for those “down on their luck” or “extra ambitious” to go. Earth has been divided up into geo-political units—countries —each claiming their sovereign rights for self determination.

Where for homo sapiens immigration has been one of the most popular and legitimate  solutions to problems of survival, its been normal human  behavior for at least 299,500 years, while for nation states, with their “closed geographical  boundaries” has been the“ abnormal”for about 500 years. ( I will choose The “Treaty of Westphalia” resulting in a federated state of Germany clearly defined by geo political units.)

Trying to use law which means control by force— to forcibly stop or control people from doing what has been a basic human behavioral solution for more than 99% of the duration of homo sapiens is one thing, but declaring it a crime which justifies incarceration or death is very different.

 It is normal human behavior to immigrate as a solution to survival problems. It is abnormal   to make it illegal  and use “normal human behavior ” as justification to imprison or kill people who immigrate.

Saying it doesn’t solve any problems, but don’t let the demagogues fool you into believing the best and only response is the military or police directed by law of authoritarians who believe social solidarity only comes from maintaining strict and rigid control over the behavior of the “other people.” On the other hand people have to be willing to respect other people, something we have yet to figure out to accomplish.

“We are the other people,
You are the other people too!

Thank you Frank Zappa for those words.

Here in the USA, if you are Christian and you see immigrants as a threat by evil people, ask yourself do you believe in a God who created all human beings, who created some that were good and others bad? with a standard which is determined by the color of one’s skin, the level of one’s technology or one’s place of birth?  I ask you What kind of God is it that would create humans and put them in such a situation?

I am sure we can ask that of most religions but specifically the ones that have joined their religion to a political ideology to justify in the name of their God this human history of killing others, plundering their property and stealing their natural resources for profits. With no place to go any more and hell bent on destroying earth it seems to me now might a good time to figure out how to stop this inhumane cycle.

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I am not “really religious” whatever that means, whether there is “A God” or ““Some Gods, I do not know, and unlike others, God has either not attempted to contact me or I am not able to receive the message. I don’t know but if it was important I believe God would have let me know.

I like Zen because (for me) it has the best stories and the pictures. I also like to visit the nearby Wat Buddhist Temple . Its a Theravada Temple,. Mahayana and Theravada are two different meta level categories of Buddhism. Some may use the terms Mahayana and Hinayana but the latter may be considered by many to be offensive and when used, then the former maybe considered to be arrogant..

Buddhist Temples are often very much involved in local community relations with festivals and ceremonies and whenever the temple is open, anyone can visit for a personal relationship.

I have previously mentioned “The Heart Sutra,” is words spoken by Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin in China,, Kannon in Japan) to Shariputra, that would be Shariputra on the left side of Gautama Buddha.

A snow ball in hell

Weather two sentence with less prejudice

The facade of a building a couple blocks down Market from UN Plaza. The first time I came across it, it was new and there was some kind of small ceremony going on , I met and conversed with the father of the artist-daughter.

Where people come to eat pizza served in a cardboard box, get their own drink, napkins and plastic ware, sit at conference tables, eat and watch TV. bare walls, drab colors and high ceiling with exposed ventilation. If my memory served me right, it was a lot more fun at Durgin-Park in the 1960s.

Such a big space at the Sales Force Transit Center, above and below will be swarms of people. Most people take the elevators, still the long the long escalators are more fun

My images jump from one thing to another, the missing connection maywant to be meaningful or meaningless, but there is no more than what you see.

A little tension in the door way can go a long way each day

Alameda Creek

The evolutionary jump from primates which could communicate sounds associated with known events to a language is an interesting step.

Each little step: In this continuum of human life, some where, we try to identify the place of origin of human beings. Animals can associate sounds and things, birds warn each other of danger but only humans developed the ability to make unlimited associations of sound and “things” in time and place, and as a concept — a language.

As some “ sounds” associated some “things” became a common vocabulary among the people in the society, language begins to develop. (maybe not exactly that way, way but it probably developed slowly and incrementally as people developed ways of social interaction—rules.

On the Earth societies grew bigger and bigger in size, —imagine this evolution metaphor—families became extended families, which became intermixed groups, growing to villages towns, cities, kingdoms, to etc and then to “ sovereign geo-political nation states.

For homo sapiens to become who we are its been a long, hard road, over 300,000 years of inhuman violence and cruelty as well as times of compassion and kindness.

Culture, a field structure of human behavior is like a snowball rolling down a never ending hill, where the behaviors, especially the repeating behaviors of people attach together like an infinitely enlarging, snowball. Never stopping, always growing bigger. Peoples behaviors in the past make up this big snowball of culture.

Imagine people pop up from the surface of the rolling ball to do behaviors influencing the structure of behavior, i.e. how people behave— the snowball of culture gets larger and larger. Its an unseen force field generating a structure for human behavior, being originated by human behavior. When the behaviors we do are successful we do them again and in a society others also learn to do them. Its the natural human way of doing things.

A structure of behavior is not a material thing, you cannot see, its just the results i of various intertwined degrees of common behaviors of people as if in a gravitational field where suns and planets in outer space move around the Universe in an orderly predictable by the theory of gravity, only its the behavior of people and what happens in the relationships between people that make the structure of behavior.

As people grew in numbers, their societies became larger, geographically closer, and social human interaction increased. For most of the history of human beings migration was a common choice to deal with local problems—no passports needed. Various types of societies came and went, with cooperative and violent interaction between people, and larger and larger political units.

We now have the whole Earth divided into “nation states,” each claiming “their own history,” “national identity,“ geographical boundaries and sovereign rights. Oh, and taxpayer funded armies and a flag. to die fore.. There will be need to be some global common basis of order for societies to function together such as standard business law and standard property law.

Global economy has already teased its promise of lower prices and higher quality for more people but the structure of nation states, with ideologies of national sovereignty and political demagogues results in worldwide confrontational interactions, some military, and lots of rhetorical extremist demagoguery , people die and property is destroyed.

Earth has been divided up by people using both humane and inhumane behaviors. Its our human history, our human culture, but the benefits of this history are available to just a few. Many millions have unnecessarily died to make a better world possible for just a few. Every one born on earth should have a right to a place on Earth. Life, being alive, means you have to do behavior, do something, to survive on Earth. Of course I have no idea how to make it happen.

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I do not see myself as a photographer, nor as an artist—rather a designer.

This image was photographed like you see— shadows inside of shadows— using tri-x film, the negative scanned in and the image treated as overlapped separated multi-tones in photoshop—almost 16 years ago.

Often my images are me trying to understand not my psychological self, but why I do not look like I feel.

Some people I have known decided they did not want to be around me and I never saw them again. Others just went on with their lives and I never saw them again.

I wake in the mornin’,
Hear the ding dong ring
Go marchin’ to the table
Its same dang thing.

Leadbelly, The Midnight Special

Sometimes I don’t quite know what to do with some photographs, it feels like ramming my head into a brick wall, finding no refuge in the end.

I am not a religious person, I have had some interest in the subject, mostly because of its connection to philosophy, and, well, I like the zen stories and pictures. Buddhism is said to be humanistic, there is no God, just ending the suffering of rebirth, basically the suffering of being born back in to the world. Christianity is about getting back into (reborn) heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In Buddhism I guess each reincarnation you get another shot at it, but in Christianity this life is your only chance to get to Heaven, or to, Hell—either is eternal but at least it ends rebirth.

Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva of compassion who hears the cries of sentient beings, and who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name. An image of Amitabha Buddha sits on his head.

Avalokiteśvara spoke Heart Sutra to Shariputra,

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svhaha

Shamen & Sketchly

When all the dark clouds roll away
And the sun begins to shine
I see my freedom from across the way
And it comes right in on time
Well it shines so bright and it gives so much light
And it comes from the sky above
Make me feel so free, make me feel like me
And it lights my life with love.

Van Morrison from Brand New Day

On Sundays we may go down and have a pizza. Two big TV sets. high ceilings,

In line at TJ’s a few months into the pandemic.

Before the pandemic samples were common at TK=J’s

You could say life in Fremont is boring,

Alameda Creek

Its sick and its tired,
Its hungry and torn.
It looks like its dyin’
And its hardly been born.

Bob Dylan lyrics I think its called Song to Woody.

Each week includes some photographs of walking along Alameda Creek. These days are numbered now, I have been diagnosed with arthritis in hips, as well as other places.

Universe is maybe 13,7 billion years old, Earth is 4.543 billion years old,—300,000 for homo sapiens —that’s us!—about 300,000 years.

To the best of human knowledge—i.e.science— it took 13.7 billion years to evolve human beings, 4.543 billion years to find a place suitable for home, and homo sapiens represent 0.0000002 of that time.

Science will never be “Truth,” its always to the best of our ability to know . . . until we know every “thing” in the Universe.

Look around at what we are, how we behave on this on Earth,

We are how we treat each other, not how we tell other how to behave, but too many think we are the latter.

I heard professor Stephen Hawking once comment (my paraphrase) — Philosophy used to know more than science , but now science knows more than philosophy and it will be like that until science knows every thing in the Universe.

Thus, O Sariputra, all things having the nature of emptiness have no beginning and no ending. They are neither faultless nor not faultless; they are neither perfect nor imperfect. In emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no discrimination, no consciousness.
Maha-Prajna-Parimita-Hridaya from A Buddhist Bible ed: Dwight Goddard

On the other hand, perhaps Universe evolved humans for a purpose; more likely humans prefer to think they are here for some purpose, they don’t know what is that purpose but that has not stopped from acting like they know and forcing the behavior of others to their purpose.

And in a sense we are. What other life form studies Universe, no other life form developed Science just to get to know Universe.

What we call “knowledge” is our human experiences as a part of Universe.

We often believe this is a“ ”Truth”

The flowers make a background, the roof, the sky, different leaf colors

Universe is an amazing, ongoing, phenomenon. Here I am writing being part of Universe—birds are singing, Sun is rising, noise coming in my ear, jogger passing by, clouds moving in the sky.

And beyond, Jupiter is in orbit, Milky Way is traveling through space and light is busy traveling to the end of Universe

Universe made of gazillions of particles coming together, then parting ways, creating and disassembling, always aUniverse in motion and change.

We are how we treat each other. our present behavior was created by past human behavior, while people pass on, how we treated each other in the past has created a structure of human behavior. behaviors we may think are good behaviors we may think are bad things; behaviors we think are outdated and no longer needed and behaviors we may believe are important not to lose.

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Feet are our connection to the Earth, gravity enables us to walk upright while not falling off Earth.

In-door slippers, outdoor sandals, tennis shoes and stockinged feet.

Textures, shapes, some color and line

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Sometimes I wonder if I am just following in the footsteps of someone else.

When I see my self, do I recognize myself? Photographs help me to ensure that my selfs have the same visual and don’t try to trick me in to believing fake experiences .

At the festival its always nicer to have someone with you. Painting by Janney