As I mentioned last week, I attended a photography workshop in Santa Fe a few weeks ago. Originally I was attracted to the title of the workshop – “The Poetry of Perception”, since I am a poet at heart. I had not heard of the instructor before, but when I checked Keith Carter’s work online, I immediately knew that he was “the right guy”. This was confirmed when I received his latest photo-book titled, “Keith Carter: Fifty Years.” I saw photographs, which looked more like paintings. I was always taught that the photograph has to be sharp (in focus), and suddenly I realized that it is OK to have out of focus photos, as long as it is intentional (which for Keith started as a fluke). To have this effect, I decided to buy a special photo lens, which allowed me to see my images in a different way, which I liked. The workshop began on a Sunday evening, and ended with the final show of our work on Friday evening. All fifteen participants, who came from different parts of the U.S., were good photographers. Each of us showed our works as prints, or on the screen, and I learned a great deal from every one, and of course from Mr. Carter who showed his works as well as the works of other artists. We read poetry and visited two locations to photograph models. After each excursion, we had to produce a new group of images, that we shared with the group the next day, and Keith expressed his critique.
A few months ago, I started putting together a new group of my images. Gradually it evolved into an idea for a new book. Two weeks before coming to the workshop, I compiled one hundred images, each paired in one common theme. I called it “Singularity from Duality”. Thus, while others shared about fifteen images, I brought my two books plus two albums filled with a variety of images. In addition, each day we had to show our new work. One day one of the participants told me, “You are different from all of us, you are an artist”. Looking at my photography and seeing me photographing all the time, Keith said that I am the hardest working photographer; a “force of nature”. While I appreciated the compliments, for me, the workshop experience meant something else.
At the beginning of the workshop, we had to fill out a questionnaire with one of the questions – “What results do I expect from the workshop?” I wrote, “To find my own voice.” When I shared the results of the experience at the end of the workshop, I compared it to running toward a cliff. You do not have to run, you can always stop and go back. Or realize that you have wings and can fly in any direction. This is what “the poetry of perception” meant for me. One of my new artistic self-expressions is creating diptychs. It is when two images connect together into one theme. These four images are from the group’s last show. While I am still photographing daily, some of the results are going to become diptychs or even triptychs.
P.S. I am grateful for your reading my stories and seeing the results of my artistic expression. I greatly appreciate your comments and would like you to have a piece of my creativity by buying my two “42 Encounters” books on Amazon.com. The third one is on the way.
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I am writing this story in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The purpose of our visit here was not a vacation; but rather, to participate in a workshop organized by the Santa Fe Photographic workshops. It is my fourth workshop with this incredible organization. We went with them to Cuba in 2013. This time, the title was “The Poetry of Perception” and was taught by renowned photographer, Keith Carter. Next week I will share with you more information about my experience and share some of the images I took during this trip.
I call my style “encounters photography”. Many of my images include portraits of the people I encountered during my everyday activities. This is how I was able to produce three photo-story books. On the first day here, after dinner, I noticed a young man in a coffee shop. What stood out for me was he wore a red tie. With the temperature close to 90°F, wearing a tie didn’t make much sense. So for me, he was a good candidate to photograph. While I checked for the right angle, I asked if he was required to wear a tie at his work. This brief encounter allowed us to establish a relationship. Therefore, when I pulled out my portable camera, he just smiled. There were four young women sitting at another table. Suddenly one of them told me that I have to ask for permission to take a photograph (mind you, I was not photographing them). Then another informed me that in her photography class her instructor told the students that they have to ask for permission before photographing someone. My first reaction was to ignore them, and then I snapped back, “In my photo-class I tell my students that they can do anything”. But this encounter made me think.
Many photographers, including those in our group, are not comfortable to photograph strangers, and their reason is that they think it is an invasion in other people’s privacy. For some of my photo-subjects it is, and when they see me taking their photo, they ask me to delete their images, which I gladly do. In some of the instances I offer for them to see the result first, and if they do not like it, then I gladly get rid of their likeness (with the digital camera it is very easy). Often after seeing the results they allow me to keep it, and even pose for a “better” image. This brings me to my recommendation – If you are not comfortable with photographing strangers, don’t (there are many other things in life to photograph). But if you’re still tempted, especially during foreign travels, definitely ask their permission, or even better, take one of the street photography classes offered by the Santa Fe Photographic workshops to do it right. But you can also learn from books, like both of my “42 Encounters” photo-books. The third one is on the way. You can buy my books on Amazon.com.
P.S. The four portraits are my encounters in Santa Fe on this trip. I got consent from each of them.
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I was helping a client recently, who required a creative mortgage solution. After a career as an engineer, he is currently doing what he always liked to do – finding art bargains and reselling them at auctions. After seeing my photo-gallery in our office, he told me that he thinks a lot of people would like to own my prints, and he can help to sell them. I was flattered, and I knew from personal experience that printing (I like a larger sized print) and framing has a significant upfront expense. “Why would I bother with it?” I asked. “To leave a legacy”, was his answer.
On legacyproject.org I learned that “legacy is fundamental to what is to be human. Research shows that without a sense of working to create a legacy, adults lose meaning of life.” The dictionary defines legacy as “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will.”
Most people would like to be remembered. For them, the home they own or the remaining equity (which is the appraised value minus the current loan) often represents their major asset. Often in their minds this is what is left after they are gone and represents their legacy. Some want to leave their home after their death to their children, others to charity. However, there might be a “slight” problem. Because people live longer and since a majority would prefer to die in their home, people often run out of money. Many do not want to sell or cannot because it can only make the situation worse. After paying off a mortgage, capital gains and real estate commission, not much is left to live on. And not much is left for the legacy.
Perhaps this sounds like an advertisement, but for many homeowners the solution is often in securing a reverse mortgage. This may be why I have recently received a lot of inquiries for this opportunity. I helped clients buy a home with a reverse mortgage after they were evicted. A friend, who spent two million dollars on medical bills, was able to have some money and no mortgage payments. A client got the money to do extensive surgery; another one got extra money for his real estate investments. And an eighty-seven years young man could fix the roof of his house and had money to buy a new car, and plenty left to enjoy the rest of his life. The stories go on. It is almost like having your cake and eating it too.
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about reverse mortgages. Not everyone can get a reverse mortgage, but for many this is an opportunity to enjoy the rest of their lives and to leave a legacy.
Please call me to find out how.
P.S. Meanwhile, please help me to preserve my legacy by buying “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” on Amazon.com. The four images you see are my photography which is on the walls in our office, which I use as my personal art gallery.
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Living in San Francisco offers a lot of attractions. One of them is being close to the ocean, which offers the opportunity to enjoy its spectacular beauty. Unlike other coastal cities, San Francisco’s foggy, cold weather and high winds are somewhat unusual beach weather conditions. From the early days of our city’s history, the beach has been a weekend destination. It was known as “Outside Lands”. Development of the area started when the steam railroad began going to Beach Pavilion for concerts and dancing, starting in 1884. By 1890, trolley lines reached Ocean Beach. It is difficult to believe today, but at that time private automobiles had not yet existed, so some visitors traveled on bicycles to get to the far Western part of the city. The Cliff House, which opened in 1863, and Sutro Baths in 1896, drew thousands of visitors. At that time, the land was owned by Adolph Sutro, who made money by building a tunnel to drain water after silver was found in Comstock Lode in Nevada, in 1860. After his death in 1898, the land ownership changed hands. The area started its transformation in the 1920s and 1930s with the construction of the Great Highway and housing along the road. Gradually the area stopped being a resort area. The Sutro Baths were destroyed in 1966, and the Amusement Park was replaced with apartments and a supermarket in the 1990s.
I started visiting the beach years ago. I would come here with my camera to photograph people, the sand and the water. During the winter months, this is a place to capture incredible sunsets. The arrival of our puppy Max in our lives changed my relationship to the beach in various ways. In the morning, three times a week, I drive Max to his doggy sitter. After that, I often take the Great Highway along the beach, for my commute to my office in Daly City, just to enjoy the scenery. Sometimes I stop to take some photos for a few minutes, especially during the stormy winter weather. Recently, we started coming to the beach with Max. Thanks to the extended daylight hours, we can come here after 7pm and spend some time until the sunset. Max loves it, and so do we. He runs on the sand, chases birds, or plays with other dogs. For me, it is a great opportunity to photograph the sun, the beach and all of the surrounding beauty, and of course other dog lovers. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind about all of those people, who, like ourselves, were coming here many years ago. They are all gone, like we will be one day. But someone else is always going to enjoy the sun and the beach.
P.S. I hope that these four images will convey some of my experiences, my feelings and of course the eternal beauty. You can buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, where you will find one of the images from the beach, on Amazon.com.
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