Shifting Focus

The New York Times and the San Diego Union Tribune recently ran articles describing political operatives who have been abusing our privacy by harvesting our voting history, WiFi use habits, whether we voted, and then shaming us with that information. That’s not a surveillance state. It’s a #CreepState.

While voting records are public information, our right to peace and quiet outweighs politicians’ desire for office. Politicians do not have the right to ram text spam - which is a really a collect call - down our throats. Why do they get away with it? Because instead of pushing back, we let them. By not standing up to politicians - who work for us, not the other way around - we’re enabling the growing creep state.

The blessing side of this coin is that we can stop information abuse coming from fake friends who don’t give us the time of day until they want our money or our vote. And that includes corporations that think we have to do things their way.

How do you say no? Instead of upgrading your iPhone, you can reject the technology arms race. Consider the craftsmanship of fountain pens, film cameras, and slide rules.

Do you really need text and data plans? The New York Times paper edition, weather from NOAA Weather Radio on a 1973 police scanner, and cash work fine. And they’re easier on your eyes than a glowing screen.

Walking to the store to buy the paper is good exercise and starts the day right. Buying the paper at the store instead of subscribing supports a local business, and keeps your name out of the hands of data brokers who help build the creep state.

Writing on paper with a fountain pen is much better for your fingers and neck than swiping on a phone or keyboarding. The fountain pens’ nibs sing as you write, and paper books never need a battery charge. No one ever got text neck or eye strain writing with a fountain pen, reading a paper book, or using a slide rule.

My first car phone, a Motorola Pulsar I, 1980.

My first car phone, a Motorola Pulsar I, 1980.

For me, forty years of constant availability and distraction was enough.

Merci, et bonne journée.

Why I make pictures

A local newspaper article this week reported there are many hate groups in Ohio.

Contrary to what the media would have us believe, our world is full of love.

Paris is just one example.

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Love and joy are all around us at home, too.

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This is why I always wear my camera.

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All we have to do is open our hearts and our minds.

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“Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face” - Victor Hugo

“Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face” - Victor Hugo

Making pictures preserves these moments of joy and love, and is my way of sharing what’s right in our world.

Thanks for reading, and for joining me in celebrating the good.

“You can't fix anything by condemning it. That only adds to the destructive energy that's already permeating the atmosphere.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer

There's no place like home

Although I’ve been blessed to have galleries in London, Chicago, New York, Durango, and at home show my Paris pictures, far away places where we spend limited time can be challenging to photograph and to market. I’m glad I included some pictures of my faithful friend and companion Lucky the Jack Russell Terrier the last time I showed prints at FotoFest Paris.

Thankfully, Krzysztof Candrowicz of Łódź Art Center said “Go with it!” when he saw the picture of Lucky wondering what to do after the new owners of my home town camera store no longer allowed pets. 

 

  As I continued working on the project, which eventually illustrated the book A Lucky Life, I realized what Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz is a truth in photography. Our best photo ops are right here at home, with unlimited projects, if we keep an open mind, remember to carry our camera so we’re ready for the decisive moment (as @thorstenovergaard explains it), and make time to see what’s right in front of us. 

 

Because most of us spend the majority of our time where we live and work, we have a better chance to make great images in our home town than we might at a frequently photographed far away place. 

      So click your ruby red shoes (or cordovan loafers in my case), and remember: “There’s no place like home.” 

                     Photos © Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved

 

Did you remember your camera?

As I carried my devoted friend and companion Lucky the Jack Russell Terrier across the street couple of nights ago , a driver slowed down and told us: “I wish I had my camera!”  Her wish - and the encounter - was the Universe’s reminder to always carry your camera with you.

Remembering my camera meant I was ready after listening to the voice of synchrodestiny – as Deepak Chopra calls it, aka the law of attraction – that said: “Go to the diner for breakfast,” bringing me to walking monk Bhaktimarga Swami’s world when he visited John’s Diner during his walk across America.

Rosie, Bhaktimarga John's Diner

My ever-present camera allowed me to take the photo of Lucky that became the cover of his new book, A Lucky Life, which is illustrated with my photographs of his travels and encounters along the path of a lucky life. 

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After one too many missed photo ops (hat tip to David Kennerly) because I didn’t feel like dragging my motor-driven SLR with me, in 1989 I bought the Leica M6 I’d been wondering whether I should spend so much money on. That smaller, lighter camera facilitated carrying my camera on my shoulder or in my satchel. No more excuses for not bringing my camera.

Although you can buy a used Leica at a reasonable price - for example an M4, M4-P, M2, or (for those who work with digital) a used M9 or Monochrome M at Tamarkin Camera, it doesn’t have to be a Leica. Any small camera - film or digital - will do. 

Whatever you have (or get) - carry it with you. 

   Photos © 2016 and 2004 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserve