In the cafe this afternoon, a misbehaving Polaroid SX-70 in front of me. Failed, bad exposures, $3.50 apiece worth of them, strewn on the table. The next table over from me—two women sitting with two young children, boy and girl. I’d hoped to maybe catch a photo or two with the Polaroid but my film pack had jammed on the first exposure, requiring me to fuss with it and lose four frames of eight. The remaining film was taking too long in process to see whether the camera was working properly yet.

“Oh, my mom had one of those!” the younger of the two women spoke in my direction. “I love old Polaroids! Can you still get film?” A conversation ensued. Instagram, her iPhone, my Polaroid images on the iPad … I never did get the photo, or read my magazine. I did manage to finish my coffee. But another connection made, another neat person who I will remember next time I’m there, who will remember me that next time too. The ways we come together in this environment.

I’ve been working on a book. A book drawn from the series of photos I’ve been posting to various venues the past couple of years with the title “Communicating” … This is what it’s about. The book is now done.

 

Announcing

 

Ways Together

Studies in Distance and Closeness

by Godfrey DiGiorgi

With a foreword by Brooks Jensen, Editor LensWork Publishing

A full preview is available on my Blurb.com bookstore:

Godfrey DiGiorgi on Blurb.com – blurb.com/user/GDGPhoto

Invitation

I invite you to join me for a reception and book signing. We’ll celebrate Ways Together along with eleven other new photo books at

 

ModernBook Gallery

49 Geary Ave

San Francisco, Ca

August 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm

 

Wine will be served. Copies of “Ways Together” in hardback and paperback will be available for purchase. To reserve a signed and numbered book at the event, or for delivery by postal service, please send an email to godfreydigiorgi@me.com for details.

A photo book is bigger than the photos it contains. The photos speak together, in a larger voice, playing with each other and speaking together as one thing. The feeling I have experienced from doing the book, from seeing the work in print, is different from what I saw as each photograph formed in my viewfinder and on my computer screen. The concept, the intent expanded in the becoming to a book.

The journey from being a photographer to becoming an author has been a challenge drawn out over years. This is my first published book, I can see a goal now. It draws me further.

It seems to take forever for me to present a new photo right now. My mind and time are fully engaged … in work, in my upcoming book, in social involvements, and on and on it goes. When I spied this photo of a pup patiently waiting for his master to return, in a set of photos I made during a street walk in San Francisco circa June 2007, I said to myself, “Hmm. It’s about time I put that photo out there for others to enjoy.”


click image to view larger

A little patience and a lot of work along the way: things start getting done. At work, I’ve made it through our big annual conference and two of the three assignments I’ve been working on are done, the third is on the way now. 

The photo book workshop I participated in at Stanford U just completed its last session too … And the book project I chose to work on is now nearly done! I had fears for a little while there that I just would not find the time to finish it, but a few late afternoon and late night sessions came to the rescue. 

A more formal announcement is coming very soon but the book is titled Ways Together and is based on the Communicating series of cafe/street photos I’ve been posting since 2010. It’s so good to see this work finally come together as a piece! It will become available for purchase next month in both hard cover and paperback editions. A reception and book signing is scheduled at ModernBook Gallery in San Francisco on Thursday, August 2 from 5:30 to 7:30; of course, I’ll have a limited number of copies on hand for sale at the event too. You’re all invited to join me and my classmates in celebrating our books. 

And our little canine friend? Well, I seem to recall his master returned before I left the scene. He jumped up, greeted her gladly, and they took off into the city for their next destination a few moments later. Patience is necessary, and often rewarded.

– Godfrey
The year flies by, and crawls at the same time. Memorial Day coming up already. Wow.

I was in Portland, Oregon last weekend. There was a thriving Japan Town in Portland as World War II broke. The Oregonian headline on a sad day shortly after December 7, 1941 announced “Portland: First Jap Free City!” as thousands of Japanese were trucked off into internment camps. 
This sculpture, in a park by the Willamette River in downtown Portland, honors the memory of the innocent Japanese Americans who suffered as war criminals for the duration of the war. It affected me, and affects me still. 

We must not forget—without remembrance, without history, we will all repeat our mistakes over and over again. 

Sorry I missed posting last week’s entry. I was down with a truly nasty cold and flu, and for the past week I croaked about like a frog with the sinus runoff and little energy. I’m back in the flow again now, the camera’s back in my bag, and new exposures are happening again.

Over a year and some now I’ve been shooting and posting the series called “Communicating”. The latest addition happened last Monday evening..

Communicating #72

I’d started with the germ of this idea in 2005, portraits of people in context I’d titled in my head “This Cafe Life” that eventually just became “People.” It finished up as a picture a week project slide show. (Viewable here as a flash slide-show presentation … yeah, back when I thought flash was a potentially useful presentation engine. People 2005.) 

Revisiting the idea half a decade on, what struck me as I continued my cafe rounds was the way that communicating in these ‘third place’ situations varied and how the electronic telecommunications age had infiltrated since even 2005. So many people now head to a cafe, buy a drink, then immediately plug into their email or web browser oblivious to the surrounding play of goings on. Yet those outside the web of electronic comm still interact … if you keep your own head out of the cell phone or the web browser for a moment, communications do not cease. 

The end product idea of this year and some worth of effort has been to put this series into a book. I have enough photo material now to make a solid 30-50 image book. So this week I start a photo book making workshop. 

The reception and book signing event will be in July. Invitations will be sent. Stay tuned.

– Godfrey 

 

Jumble

It was a chilly, and wet, weekend. My Saturday morning walk through Guadalupe River Park was a meander, as I had a friend walking with me. It’s difficult to concentrate on seeing when there is someone who wants to talk nearby. 

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Near and far, far and near. My vision would not settle although the light was beautiful. I wanted the longer lens, then I wanted the macro lens. Had only the one with me; it was enough. 

The whole weekend was caught in this slow oscillation between tick and tock. A few more photos will surface. Later in the week. 

It goes like this sometimes. Focus returns at its own whim. 

– Godfrey
Blossom

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The other evening I watched a short documentary piece on the news. One of their most respected reporters visited the site of the nuclear reactor melt-down in Japan last year. On March 11. 

And I realized that a whole year had gone past since I updated this blog. So much has happened in the past year, in the life of the world, in my own life, that there is no way to attempt to recount it all here. 

But a year gone by … it is time now to move beyond it, to consider the blossoming of this Spring. Without forgetting the suffering that such a minor hiccup for the planet caused for so many people, but respecting it and accepting the message it provides. Dwelling in the past is a dangerous thing. We must always move forwards. 

I make plans for the future. I’ve decided on a weekly update here, for Sunday mornings, as appropriate for the time I have to work with at present. And each week I’ll hilight one photo per post here as always, with maybe a point to a gallery elsewhere occasionally. With thoughts and ideas accompanying as always. 

– Godfrey
A pause to remember and respect the hundreds for whom all options have ceased.

Another for their friends, families and those who will miss them most.

Another moment to reflect on the fragility of life in the vastness of this cosmos.

Remember. And then continue on.

There is nothing else to do.
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“Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying, life;
bright the hawk’s flight
on the empty sky.”   

– Song of Ea, Ursula K. LeGuin

 

It was a quiet moment yesterday, late enough and cloudy enough that the light was utterly shadowless and had an interesting feel .. a ‘rich flatness’. It had been a somewhat long and unfocused day where I could not concentrate. I finally packed it in at my desk and headed over to a local cafe I’ve begun to frequent more. Warm enough to sit outside, so I did.

My book sat on the table in front of me. I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t focus on ‘what to do next’, kept getting distracted. I read a chapter in my book. Stopped. I pulled out my notebook. Fussed with my pen. Started to write. The act of writing a list of things to do, sequencing them, thinking about them, studying the words and characters led me into a different mental state. I was grateful to leave the one I’d been in. I closed the book and stuck it in my bag.

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Sitting there, meditating and sipping my drink. I felt like I hadn’t taken a decent photo all week. The notion came to me “From your seat, what do you see?” so I started to look around intently, but was again distracted. Voices in my head … “you should read! you should …” I didn’t know what. The camera was sitting on the table in front of me, ready, and I flipped it to video mode and took a long, slow pan starting at my extreme left and running to the right. Forty-eight seconds. I watched that video about ten times: it was easier to ‘see’, to concentrate using the video than to look at the space around me.

And then for fifteen minutes I made photos, without going more than forty feet. This scene was the first I saw and the last thing I photographed. 

You know what is really real when you see it on the video.
It’s been kind of an odd week. As much as I tried to get done, it felt like nothing got done. Yet I see the evidence of work all around me on the desk, in the computer, in the inbox of my email. Hmm. A mildly annoying cold poked its way into my nose on Tuesday too. A feeling of something pending pervades… 

Must be the holidays coming on.

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So yesterday I was about the house, doing this and that, and feeling a bit chilled I sat down and watched a documentary on photographer William Eggleston. Got a good laugh about when his work was hung in a very notable gallery exhibition, Ansel Adams called the gallery to upbrade them and The New York Times rated it as “The most hated exhibition of the year.” That must have smarted, but Eggleston didn’t stop at all … he just kept on going. 

Realizing I’d been around the house all day I got antsy for a cup of coffee and a read at the cafe. Brought the camera along. 

These two fellows were engaged in a spirited to and fro, then all of a sudden they stopped for a moment. A Pause. 

I made the exposure, nodded at the fellow looking at me. He laughed, and they went right back at it with a chuckle … I heard the word “picture” and “snapshot” float over a couple of times for a few minutes. And then my attention drifted onwards. I looked up and noticed them gone.

Must be the holidays coming on. 
Last evening was a special event: the annual lighting of the classic fresnel lamp at Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, California.

I arrived shortly before sunset began and was lucky to find a place to park quite close to where I had wanted to do my picture taking. It’s a little to the north of the lighthouse with a broad view of the cliffs and seacoast. 

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There was quite a crowd gathered, I have no idea how many in toto but the row upon row of photographers assembled was impressive. The spot I’d envisioned was wonderfully free of obstructions and gave me the view I wanted. I imagined a fearsome din of shutters chattering at the moment of lighting, but you would need better ears than mine to hear it. 

I made about 200 exposures from sunset through the lighting … then stopped and just enjoyed the glorious view of this beacon alight once more for a half hour. Such a beautiful light! Its beams reach out across the vastness and warn sailors of their peril at the same time they beckon onwards: “Soon you will land in a magical place!” they seem to say. 

That was enough. It was cold, my fingers were frozen. I was done for the night and happy. 

Lots of rendering to do now …