Archives for posts with tag: bw

Airplane #1

Celebrating Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day!
April 28, 2013


The doctor performing my annual eye exam this year saw something in my right eye. A thin film or membrane, a ripple in the retina at the macular region. My eyesight checks out fine, corrected to 20/20, but she worried about it and felt it should be looked at more closely by an opthalmologist.

The new machines available for eye examination are truly remarkable. I went to Kaiser as they have all the machines including the deep retina tissue scanner that was recommended. I normally don’t like going to Kaiser very much, they’ve not been particularly effective at curing ills although they’re always ready to treat patients with some new drug or another. But for this kind of examination procedure, they’ve got the right bits.

A jovial male nurse led me to this room, subdued the lighting, and put the relaxant into my eyes. It takes 20 minutes or so to do its job. I couldn’t help but pull out the X2 and shoot a few pictures of the space and the equipment in the dim light. There was an eerie quiet heaviness to it that appealed to me, I wondered if the camera could catch it.

The retinal scanner was run by an Asian technician. “This is an expensive machine,” she said, “The other one in the next room needs to be serviced and that alone is going to cost $25,000! It’s a good machine, though: I took the training and was certified, it’s easy to operate.” The machine scans not only the 2D in plan view but allows looking at the layers of tissue as well. It takes about 90 seconds to do the job.

Back in the subdued lighting of the first room, the opthalmologist entered. She was a personable and pretty woman in her early thirties. “Here’s the tissue in your left eye, which is very healthy and normal.” All the layers of membranes, these infinitesimally small things a few cells thick, were laminated evenly in the macular region. “And here’s the problem your optician saw that we wanted to check on..” The image of the right eye macular region is mostly the same as the left, but in the center there is a depression of the bottom most layer and a slight widening of the gap between the layers; it’s lost the smoothness of the left eye’s appearance.

“This is very light degradation,” she said. “It’s just age related deterioration. Your vision is still easily correctible to 20/20 so there’s nothing to worry about, and likely won’t be for a long time, but we’ll keep an eye on it.”

“How long?” I asked, after we joked around about my becoming-old age and she in her thirties. She had a good sense of humor… “Oh, so you mean that when it actually becomes time to do something about it, I’ll likely be 90 years old and so decrepit anyway that it’s hardly worth doing anything then anyway?”

With a twinkle in her bright eyes, she said, “Uh, yeah, that sounds about right. If you’re that kind of cynic …” And she laughed.

I laughed too. “I can deal with that. Thanks. Maybe some medical miracle will fix it then anyway, you know?” And we both laughed. I thanked her and left to go back to work.

I can wait. I’ll see what happens. Life is good: enjoy it while you can.

– Godfrey, October 2012

I continue to go to the cafe. Why? Well, first off because it’s a great place to work when I’ve gotten antsy at my office desk … somehow the buzz and movement of people at other tables, their conversation, lets me concentrate and focus on my own work better than sitting in the quiet, lightly dusty feeling library of office cubes.

Second, because there’s a middle school down the street one way and a Tai Chi studio down the street the other way.

Today is my birthday. A moment to reflect. I like where my work is going: the past couple of weeks I’ve pushed through to a couple of new epiphanies and ideas there. I like how my photography is developing: as I’ve moved to simpler, smaller, lighter cameras with less capaabilities, as my time to do photography has decreased, I’m spending more time looking and thinking in the making of photographs. Story—or the ‘imagined story’—in the work has become much more important to me.

Look deeply, imagine more broadly, see more clearly. These seem to be the right cues. More book ideas have surfaced.

Oh yes: a moment’s pause in respect for Neil Armstrong. May his footstep on the Moon continue to lead the way.

– Godfrey 2012

Relatives in town yesterday. We went to the amusement park. I remember this ride from when I was about that size …

I remember the sensation of flying, and of being able to control my flight. But only within the constraints of the ride—You couldn’t get hurt. It let imagination run free and made the fifty seconds of flight seem a day long.

Last photo of the day. Sometimes the best.

– Godfrey

Little passion plays … 

I decided to go see the latest Batman film this past Sunday morning and found the time had been shifted from 9 to 9:40 am. So I hung out at the local Starbux and had a quick bite and a cuppa. 

The little girl fussed and cried every time momma tried to sit down and have a sip of coffee. They ended up leaving, daddy running back from the car to pick up the coffee and pastries. “Pay attention to me, not to your breakfast!” 

Batman was great. Closest to the Dark Knight graphic novels from the 1980s I’ve seen yet. 

I’ll get away from this cafe shooting yet, it’s just so seductive and rich a field … grin. 

– Godfrey


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 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
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.


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. 


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 … 
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?