Through the square window

Thanksgiving. It pours; a menacing sky. I hope for a break in the rain so I can take pictures. That seems unlikely: it won’t clear up until Saturday. I retreat to the studio, fondling some of my medium-format cameras: a Mamiya RZ67, a Hasselblad 500 C/M, a Rolleiflex and a Fuji GW690, a monstrous rangefinder that produces exceptionally sharp photos. The beloved Hasselblad now has a prism finder and I’m eager to try it out: the glare was too much in bright sun.

A series of 6X6 photos has been on my mind for a while, maybe enough for a book. I love the square format, something inspired by the work of Vivian Maier and Robert Adams, among others. I find it easier to compose in 6X6. Medium-format images are exceedingly sharp because the negative is four- to six times larger than a 35mm negative. The general wisdom is that not even digital can match that crispness.

I lack a project, but it may be time to revisit the Rosicrucian grounds in Oceanside, a beach town in San Diego. I’ve taken pictures  at the Rosicrucians (below) for years and planned a book, but the project lacked uniformity, since the images were taken in black and white and color with different cameras. I realized that I may have to retake the pictures I had taken in those four years. Most of the pictures in “The Open-Air Bookstore” (a recycling center shown below) were taken in this format, along with the pictures in the newly released “Fragments (the last five  images, which were taken with a Holga, a plastic camera. Holga make for blurry, poetic images). I’m enjoying digital but am excited to resume shooting film. I will be posting more images as the adventure unfolds.

[“Fragments” is available on Blurb.]

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Rosicrucian grounds.

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El Corazón recycling center.

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Branches
“Fragments.

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Common refrains

This is my first post in a year. My passion for typewriters, books and fly-fishing hasn’t abated, but I have focused my energies on photography projects. Since my last post I have published five photography books: “300 X 200,” “Feeling My Way Toward The Door,” “Urban Poems,” “The Open-Air Bookstore” and “Fragments,” my latest collection, available on Blurb. I consider them attempts to capture the poetry of the mundane, the song of the commonplace. “300 X 200” takes place in a small parking lot and “The Open-Air Bookstore” in a recycling center, and the others are in large part street photography. In that genre are the images in “Fragments,” taken 12 years apart and shot primarily in the Southern California cities of Oceanside and Escondido. They are explorations of San Diego’s urbanscape. Here are some excerpts.

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