Maxims

[not ordered yet, if ever]

Artisan before artist.

Hand through the strap.

The factory camera strap has one job: advertising.  It does this by doing two things, and no more: visibly presenting the name of the company and making sure that the cameras don’t break.

It’s not a strap, it’s a sling.

Shoot the crowd, not the spectacle.

Shoot the spectacle first to con the crowd.  And just in case.

If your camera meets your needs, you need imagination.

Pro is too low a standard: good enough to sell is not good enough.

Those who make adjectives into nouns should be treated like objects.

Shots that others can do – leave it to them.

To be a photographer you must know how to reproduce any image.  Doesn’t have to be fast, or the shortest path, but it must be doable.

Ergonomics trumps all other concerns; the others are still concerns.

Know the law.  All of them.  Read them and case law.

Have a lawyer’s phone number on speed dial.

You wait for The Decisive Moment and providence.  I practice Compositional Reality.

People are generally predictable.

Know your angles.

Know your reference distances.

Know blocking.

DOF is magnification in three dimensions, nothing else.

People assess you in the first five seconds.   After that, you have nearly free reign.

Be technical so you don’t have to be.

Be technical so when imagination exceeds experience, you can teach yourself.

False dichotomies: if da Vinci, the most brilliant engineering mind generations before and after his time, had been hit in the head with a pipe, the Mona Lisa would be prettier.

Techincal tests are fine. It’s important to understand them, and thus your tools.

Test shots that are poorly composed are practice in poor composition.

Guitarists learn from horn players; photographers learn from painters.

Shoot for the darkroom.

Street sweeping is for hacks who collect garbage.

Who said f/8 and be there?  You know that’s f/2, right?

Light doesn’t care.

The more you have [and have done] the less it matters.

There are no rules but this: be good enough such that this applies.

Bone ligament muscle.  80% exhaled and hold.  Roll the release.  Concentrate on relaxing and the path of elements in frame.  How? Extend the moment.

Hand under the lens.

Sign it if you did it.

Paint it.

Ozymandias: I want to beat the heat death of the universe.

Focus is not a half press or a rotation.  It is the shaping of a wedge in three dimensions with subjects moving through time.

Focus is the most important thing.  Anything else can be dealt with in post.

From any given place and direction an infinite series of images can be made.  From there, you raise one set of rays above the noise floor.

Latent images are just as material as flipped bits.

Three points of support. 3+1 ain’t bad either.  Sandbags are best.

If you need to ask what to buy, it doesn’t matter: you don’t know how to use it.

Ergonomics are nearly the sole concern in any format 6×6 and larger.  Your hand has a poorer MTF than a triplet.

Sharpness is a silly concern in 35mm.   Use a tripod and a bigger format.

645 is silly.  Half frame 120 as big as 6×6?

Let them see the bad ones. [Make better ones.  Make the finished product unrecognizable.]

There is no bad equipment; it’s just overpriced.  Doubly true of lenses.

There are no bad lenses, just overpriced ones.

All manual tray color printing is the best photoshop class I’ve ever had.

Anyone can make an interesting image out of an interesting subject.  Pathos is the devil.

Autofocus is not evil; it is a tool, a tool of little use.

IR contamination is pretty and pretty useless.  Some people actually have technical needs.

Diffraction is a bitch.   Make a choice, live with it.

It’s all raster data.

Go forth and collect paint in buckets.  Come back and paint.

It is not about balance between technical and aesthetic.  Furtherance of one is furtherance of the other; deficiency in one is weakness in both.  They are not in harmony; they are the same.

Wide angle is an array of cropped teles.  Move your ass.

There is no advantage in having to slow down or take fewer images.  Don’t rely on your camera for discipline, self control.

Learning to see is a silly thought experiment.  If you must know, you do it by closing your eyes.

Shoot chromes without a lightmeter.

Go digital.  Experiment.  If no better after 30 days, go film.  If no better after two weeks, stop.

Some are makers; some are users.  [It's relative, too.]

There are signifiers. A camera strap with a company name: not a photographer. Rubber bands on the wrist? You bet.

Be true to your artifice.

Character Sieve: when meeting a person, a potential friend, stress the relationship in a moderate and honest fashion that can be trivially remedied – or even accepted in honest, direct discourse – and that allows for you to be confronted directly for the potential offense and if need be, provide remedy.

Will creates choice. Choice creates intent. Craft follows intent.
Success of a work is like a game of telephone. Skill is its checksum – and informs will.

There are only 180 degrees of meaningful rotation with a camera. Never forget this.

Ego is the enemy of thought.

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