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Here's a thought . . . (January 2020 Calendar View)

Short videos with snippets, fragments, morsels, and tidbits from Brooks' fertile (and sometimes swiss-cheesy) brain.

Usually just a minute or so.

Pretty much daily.

Always about photography and the art life.


January 2020

February 2020












HT0302 - Look What I Can Do

Because photography is so technologically based, it's tempting to want to brag about out technological accomplishments. But artmaking is a completely different sort of thing.


HT0303 - Object Themes vs Idea Themes

In Asia, I accumulated  roughly 50 object themes. Great! But now the hard part starts: What are the ideas that turn these objects into a meaningful project?


HT0304 -  Little Routines

Establishing some simple and habitual routines can save us so much work on the back end. For example, sensor cleaning after each lens change; a new file folder at each new location;  an establishing shot before diving in. 


HT0305 - Chopstick Photography

A chicken has to be cut up to be eaten. Where does that take place — in the kitchen by the cook, or at the table by the person eating it? A large group of photographs needs the same decision. How is the work divided into consumable chunks?


HT0306 - Your Exotic Home Location

Where you live is an exotic location — for someone. It can be for us, too, if we can train ourselves to let go of the ordinariness of our perceptions.


HT0307 - Combining the Unrelated

Roger von Oech's book "A Whack on the Side of the Head" and the thought experiment to associate to unrelated ideas. Bernhardt's famous nude and that box, Weston's nudes in the dunes come to mind.


HT0308 - A New Habit

Recently, I started a new habit that has quickly become one of my favorite moments of the day: morning coffee with a photo book.


HT0309 - A Billion Dollars

How would your photographic and creative life change if you had a billion dollars at your disposal? Seriously, as a thought experiment, try to answer this question.


HT0310 - The Art Spirit

A book by Robert Henri. For my money, the best book on the art life ever written. Buy it, read it, you'll be rewarded for doing so.


HT0311 - Traveling Light

How much gear do you need? Perhaps the better question is how little gear can you pare down to?


HT0312 - The Other Gallery in Your Head

We all have a mental gallery in which we can remember the famous photographs like Migrant Mother and Yosemite, Face of Halfdome. But what are the non-famous images that exist in your mental gallery? Is there anything in common? Why do you remember those?


HT0313 - 100  Aspects of the Moon

Not every print in Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon includes the moon. In fact, 11 of them do not include the image of the moon. So what was the true subject?


HT0314 - One Place Deeply

A strategy that is well worth experimenting with can be seen in the work of a couple of LensWork alumni. Marty Knapp's new book, One Place Deeply, and Doug Ethridge's videos 27 Mornings in Winter.


HT0315 - Placement

In transcribing some of my old cassette recordings to MP3 files, one thing that has become incredibly obvious is the quality-determining factor of microphone placement. This true for video and still photography, too.


HT0316 - Getting Closer

I can't remember any photos that I've ruined by getting too close to the subject. On the other hand, I have lots of examples where I lost an image because I was too far away.


HT0317 - Applause

When an audience applauds, are they acknowledging the performance of the moment, or is there something deeper signified by their appreciation?


HT0318 - The Same Postponement

One of the primary arguments in favor of 4K video is future proofing. This is exactly the same thing we went through years ago with archival  prints. Better to concentrate on finding your audience here and the now rather than produce for the future.


HT0319 - Photography as An Art Medium

 Photography's great strength is its power to describe with such incredible detail and reality. But can you think of another art medium whose purpose is to merely describe? Said another way, what do music and dance, painting, sculpture, novel writing, poetry, and theater have in common? It is that same something that makes some photography an art.


HT0320 - Poo-poo Occurs

Recently, I dropped my camera, had a memory card failure, washed my smartphone in the laundry, and one of the hard drives on my NAS storage failed. We can't eliminate technological failure, but we can reduce the risk of catastrophic consequences.


HT0321 - Location Data and Postal Codes

I've noticed how often photographers will show me a pile of prints and while I'm looking, they add a running commentary about the location where each image was shot. Why? Thanks to advice from Jay Dusard, I no longer title my prints "Anacortes, WA." WA is a postal code, not a location name.


HT0322 - Editing for Whom?

Editing - that is, selecting and rejecting - is a tricky business. Edit for yourself and you might eliminate pictures that others would love. Edit for others and you might feel inclined to keep some images that you think are not your best.


HT0323 - Empty Magnification

Every optical system - including photography - has a limit as to how much detail it can show. Beyond that limit is what microscopists call "empty magnification" - a bigger image, but without revealing any additional detail.


HT0324 - Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

Not whether you like or agree with a photograph but rather why you don't like it, disagree with it, or have no reaction? Binary responses are simplistic and waste an opportunity to engage the artwork on a more meaningful level.


HT0325 - Repetition

Concert pianists practice far more hours than they perform. Practice had better be its own reward. The same can be said for photography. As Zen Master  Dogen said, "If the spirit of repetition leaves you, your work will become difficult."


HT0326 - First Person Experiential

How I look at Chinese calligraphy and applying that to looking at a photograph. Experiencing the dance of creating - not just looking at something, but being involved in it.


HT0327 - Small Light

I think of small light as an alternative to cropping. A single candle, a flashlight, holiday lights, car headlamps, an incandescent bulb. Here in the dark months of winter, it's time to play with small light. Take a look at the paintings of Caravaggio - wow!


HT0328 - Effort

It takes effort to read a novel; it takes time to listen to music; it takes neither to look at a photograph. Too bad, because it should. Without effort and time, a photograph is just a picture.


HT0329 - Without the Gimmick

If you remove the heavy processing or the visual gimmick, is it still a good image?  Does the processing amplify the content? Or was there nothing to amplify because the unprocessed image just isn't that good?


HT0330 - Books and Novels

The difference between the medium and the content. We live in an age where it is important not to conflate the content with the medium.


HT0331 - A Problem with Chapbooks and Folios

When people come by for a visit, they always ask to see my chapbooks and folios. But while they are looking at them, the conversation continues so they never read the text.


HT0332 - Enough

If I need a pickup, should I buy a dump truck? If I need a new toaster, should I buy a commercial pizza oven? Enough is as good as a  feast. The defense against G.A.S. is reverse engineering.