It’s times like these that I look to the photographic process for some sanity. I truly ache for the mental health of this country. We are like positive and negative charged particles being sucked into a black hole consuming all empathy and compassion and leaving only petrified ideological self-righteousness. In the seventies, I turned to photographic process to salvage my mental health in the midst of a busted marriage. Now it’s a busted republic of polarized points of view.
The only thing that I can do is turn my thoughts to my core beliefs.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
Daodejing, Verse 5:
Nature, immune as to a sacrifice of straw dogs,
Faces the decay of its fruits.
A sound man, immune as to a sacrifice of straw dogs,
Faces the passing of human generations.
The universe, like a bellows, Is always emptying, always full:
The more it yields, the more it holds.
Men come to their wit’s end arguing about it
And had better meet it at the marrow.
Take a walk with a camera and a normal lens. Clear your mind of everything but what you encounter. Shapes emerge from the light and shadow. From those shapes find form through composition that satisfies a feeling or idea. It’s as simple as that. Keep the tools simple so that the connection is most direct. Your choices boil down to composition, aperture and focus. For this reason a tradition manual camera helps to simplify the process. Take it one step further and remove the light meter and the camera functions without a battery. Master photographers understand light in their encounters in such a way that they intuitively know the exposure.