It came up again today. I was looking at some work, asked to critique a photographer’s website, and the photographs, some of them, sang out. Others did not. The ones that didn’t seemed literal to me, too much context holding them down into the world, unable to leap into imagination. The ones that did, the singers, jumped over what they are into what could be, into what flies in the imagination of the photographer. 

This quality … the abstractive, the interpretive, the not object but idea, is difficult to pin down clearly in words. 


I remember this morning from last year. A chilly morning in mid-October, fog all around me as I walked the silence of that fog shrouding the neighborhood. The crows even were silent, or as nearly so as crows can manage: they’re talkative little murderers. 

I stopped under these wires and watched them a while, there was a pattern to their movements, some side effect of pecking order I imagine, where they’d shuffle down the wire to a certain point then the one on the end would fly off, come around, and land on the other side. They cycled several times this way .. one of four singled out, moved, replaced again and over again. 

So … I was considering this and snapping a photo here and there thinking about it, the camera was ready, and I made this exposure with the one on the loop-around flight. 

It’s not simply a picture of something I saw, it’s a story in my head. The wires stretch across the sky like the strings of a musical instrument. The crows are notes, sounds on the score. The one that flies strums a rhythm with the beat of wings against soft air. It is singular, simply One of Four. And yet … 

Four crows, four wires. One in flight, three perched. Three thin, one thick. Symmetries, asymmetries. 

Someday I’ll find the way to explain it right. The photographs will have to do, for now. 

Photography Workshops Update 

I have a few seats available still for the April workshop at the Media Center. 

April 24-25 :: Creating B&W Photographs: A Digital Approach

A two-day, hands-on workshop exploring the creation and rendering of black and white photographs using digital tools. The workshop will encompass using both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom in this free-form discussion with lots of hands-on time. You are required to bring your camera, your laptop computer with Photoshop and/or Lightroom, and your photos to work with. No prerequisite classes are required. 

Offered at the Media Center
900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, California, USA

For more information and registration see the website 

Or call Dave Sorokach (650-494-8686) at the Media Center.

Or email me directly..