Archives for posts with tag: abstract
The book is done, pre-orders for signed copies have been brisk. And of course, my mind is already moving forwards, further along. Art happens now, in the moment; exhibition and presentation always happens in the past. Art is always abandoned, never finished. New work leaps out of somewhere I cannot know. New things surface to my eyes, the next book project is already on the table. It is carrying a working title of The Drum … 

But the book signing and reception is coming up next week! 


Ways Together

Come to the reception and book-signing!

ModernBook Gallery
49 Geary Ave, San Francisco, CA
August 2nd, 5:30-7:30 pm

I’ll be taking pre-orders until Thursday, write me at for details. 

I hope to see you at ModernBook Gallery … ! 

– Godfrey

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. 


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
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.


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.
On one of the camera equipment forums someone said: 

“… good photography is more than a checklist of criteria- and that’s where my challenge begins:

I want you to post 1 (one) photo. One of your m4/3 images that you’ve always liked. Maybe it didn’t get the reaction you wanted, but you like it because it’s different- outside of the norm. It doesn’t adhere to the rules of “good” photography. … “

I thought this was a lovely idea And some fun photos were posted in response. So I picked a photo and posted it … 


It was fun to pick one photo, but of course it wasn’t really satisfying enough. I found about three dozen that I thought might be worth working on. I picked nine out of that and have posted them to a new set on Flickr … you’re welcome to enjoy them. 

BTW: I never think about rules when I’m making photographs. I just make photographs that appeal to my eye. So I’m not entirely sure what rules I’m breaking … 

Maybe you can tell me? 
“You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do.”

– A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K Le Guin


This past week I traveled home around the state of California via Amtrak. A 13 hour wander on a route from San Diego to Los Angeles to Bakersfield to Stockton to San Jose. 

I made 400 photographs from the train. I read two books. I worked through a lecture in my studies. I wrote notes in my journal. I recorded sounds. And I sat and thought and watched the passage of time, the movement of people. I felt the joy of motion. I am almost home again.

Travel is not getting somewhere. 
Travel is being where you are. 
Aware, in motion.

It was a grand trip. 
On my walks in morning light, the air is cool and crisp even in high summer. But lately it’s been cool here, even in the middle of the day, and the light is delicate and beautiful during the time of the walk with a gentle fog and soft light everywhere. 

As I walk I come across these fragments of things, an unknown language of debris and wind, spelling out unknown messages I recognize but cannot translate across the pavement surfaces. 


Memory flits through my head: a novel wherein a sentient computer seeks a way to express its sentience: it made boxes, art pieces of ineluctable beauty composed of a bit of string, a piece of bone, ephemera. Poised and self-contained yet yearning and full of emotion. Captivating notions. One of the Neuromancer series, perhaps? perhaps.

The past week and some has been a relentless push to reach a point of departure. Many levels. And then this photo from my archives of recent work leapt out at me. Multi-layered mental states, separation crossing space, the pieces of twig and leaf, lines crossing a divide. A gesture, unbidden, on the ground plays out its music, an eye captures the song. Sentience or Chance? I cannot say. 

Tomorrow I head south, an overnight in San Simeon to see the famous castle, once again in Mexico. After which trains from there to here again. It will be a fine adventure. 

This metaphor breathes quietly in my thoughts. 
The air, misty, smells of salt and sea this morning. I walk my mile to the coffee shop and think. Homeless woman with her wide wicker hat and bag of belongings sleeps on the sidewalk in the cool mist four blocks from my apartment door. A shard of leaf and pavement catches my attention: I make a photograph. Walk on, think, and try to see.


Onwards, I return.
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..
I had an informal portfolio review last week, showed three small sets of two themes of work I’ve been working on to a gallery –seeking just their opinions and advice as to whether where I was going made any sense at all. 

They were very encouraging and gave me great ideas, which spurred me to look at those works with fresh eyes. One recommendation was simply, “More. We need to see more.” So I’ve been plunging into the file archives to bring up more of the work and render it. 

And while I have been deeply engaged in that process, I happened across this photo I made in 2001. 


It’s one of my favorites from that year and an idea that I now want to revisit more intensely. The many layers of imagery and nuance in it that I see (and which might be invisible to anyone else with just one photo! … how do I know? 😉 resonate in my mind’s eye. I think I can do it more effectively now, and have to give it a try.

New Things … looking for feedback. 

I’ve been participating on photo forums for more than a decade and a half. I’ve haphazardly saved a tonne of the responses I made to questions over the years and have recently started editing them into short articles that I can copy and paste when the same questions arise. Saves a lot of time vs rewriting the same answers over and over again … So I’ve rolled a few of them into PDF files and posted them to a new prototype page on my website. 

If you have an interest, the page is at

There are seven short articles there now. I’d be very interested if anyone takes a look and has any feedback to offer. Email me or leave a comment here. 

Thanks in advance!
It’s been a couple of weeks since I blogged. Burdened down with this and that, mundane stuff and things to do, words have been sparse. Walking at Byxbee Park the other morning in the light fog of morning, in the chill air, brought me back to the world of seeing again. 


A foggy morning
so serene
and cool in winter of the year.

I wander glowing paths
through glowing air,
thoughts pull me on beyond the near.

Fog At Byxbee Park is a set of twelve photos.