the shape shifting

I sit here in my usual chair with poetry books all around me, and a new notebook into which I have entered words appearing to be of a poetic nature, eight so far, poems not words. Rewatched the movie, Paterson, this past weekend, about the city bus driver, played by Adam Driver, who writes poetry in his off hours, a very cool movie.

It seems I have shifted into seeing what I do as zine making, and not photography. The photography informs the zine process for sure, but I want the words to be just as important. The next zine will be different in that way. Also, even though I have had fun with different covers and use of text, some in typeface and some by hand, I am seriously looking at finding a single style to use in all the coming issues for the cover and back pages. More to come on that.


The smaller size will remain. I hope people like it, cause I sure do. I am hearing nice feedback on the last one so far, which pleases me. All for today.



While I wait to hear from the printer, and their ability to downsize the zine to 9×7, I will talk about how I’m shooting right now. As I mentioned in a prior post, I have a Holga plastic lens that works on my digital Olympus camera with the use of an adapter. The lens is supposed to be around 60mm, but on the Olympus with its four thirds sensor, it is doubled to about 120mm, which I like.

I was shooting at the standard aspect of the camera, which is 4:3. The results were a little spotty, with darkened areas at times, or more vignetting than I like, and then I remembered that the original Holga film camera, which uses 120 film, shot in square images. I switched the aspect ratio on the camera to 1:1, or square, and the results were much better.

This has become my favorite kit for the moment. Looking forward to playing with it more over the next couple of months.



Zine 8 went to the printer today, will see a mock up tomorrow. It will come in the new economy size, roughly half the dimensions of the prior ones, and shorter, just 32 pages instead of the usual 40.

The design made it a little more complicated to put together, but I am pleased with how it looks.


PS: New downsizing didn’t work out. The pdf ratios didn’t fit like I hoped. It was really downsized. So back to the original dimensions after all. All good.

photo books

Three Canons:

Be still with yourself

Until the object of your attention

Affirms your presence

Let the Subject generate its own Composition

When the image mirrors the self

And the self mirrors the subject

Something might take over


This is a quote from Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations, a Minor White photo book, that I would really like to own, but it is out of print, and the used copies start at around 200.00, out of my price range right now. I really don’t need another photo book, but I have this addiction, what can I say.

I put this quote up on instagram and twitter today, as it really resonates with how I like to function with photography and all the other ways of relating with the visible world. Speaking of twitter, I have let myself get sucked down that rabbit hole, and I am stepping away. Since I have figured out how to successfully use instagram, I really don’t need twitter. Not killing it, but posts in the future will only be related to this blog.



Or, does size really matter? I have been seeing and handling smaller zines like the one below over the past months and really liking the esthetics of the smaller size. Seeing it juxtaposed with my last zine, the size they have all been, has got me thinking about size, and playing with the smaller format.

The smaller size is really growing on me, and there may be other benefits like cost to print, and mailing costs. Plus, my zines have all had about forty pages, and it occurred to me yesterday, while working on #7, that shorter, and I mean a good bit shorter, is fine as well. I was reviewing the images for #7, and the potential text, and couldn’t come up with anything else I needed to shoot or say regarding the theme I had landed on.

This will all depend on what the test copy looks like after I send it to the printer, but it looks like, change is gonna come.



This is sort of going to be a “how the sausage gets made” post. My friend, and zine subscriber, Scott, has heard a lot of this already. My process is not very complicated, especially compared with the online publishing places like Blurb.

I design the zine totally on my ipad pro. I do not even own a laptop anymore, so doing a Blurb book is not an option, and believe me, when I started this zine thing, I tried to figure out a way to do it that way, but it didn’t work. I have a photo to pdf app, it’s easy to work with, but is limited to certain formats that have to be consistent throughout the document. In other words, all the pages look the same, size of borders, portrait or landscape and so forth.

When I want to add text, I can either use the snapseed photo editing app, which allows me to overlay text, or I type text in the note app, screen shot it, and then crop it down to the right size. I like doing hand written text sometimes, and for that I use just plain paper and then take a photo of it and tweak it in snapseed. With the photo to pdf app everything has to be a photo of some kind first.

There have to be two pdfs for the final zine. To get the front and back covers, I create an edge to edge pdf for those two pages. Then I create a second pdf for the body of the zine using one of two formats depending on how wide I want the borders. These pdfs are uploaded to dropbox and then shared with a local printer. The equipment that the printer uses has its own limitations. Even though it goes to them in the usual 8 1/2 x 11 format, their printer is incapable of printing edge to edge or to the bleed as they call it. This requires them to cut the zines to eliminate the white edges for the front and back pages. The result is a zine that is 8 1/8 x 10 5/8, more or less.

I have only done one edge to edge zine, the second issue, but I would like to do more because I really like that look. Also, I am trying to make the zines not all look the same from a design standpoint. I have been playing with the double exposure feature on snapseed and I like the results so far.

Neither of these images will be in the next zine, but I intend to use some of the same techniques in the design for #8. Again, thanks for checking in.



both sides now

As my last post indicates, I don’t play well with authorities, except my own. This goes way back to grade school. We had to say the pledge of allegiance before class started, and in some cases back then, the lord’s prayer. There was always a voice in the back of my mind asking what does this have to do with reading, writing and arithmetic, and of course the answer was nothing. It was all part of the indoctrination created for the public school environment, which was designed to foster good and obedient citizens. That has not changed. Then the state would double down on that by teaching a sanitized pro American version of history, serious propaganda laced programming for young minds. And of course it was mostly bullshit. That hasn’t changed either, and may be getting worse in some states.

I evolved quickly out of that, especially when the civil rights movement started, and then of course came the Vietnam War. Protests, marches and all of that happened, which really pissed off the ultimate authority figures in my life, the parents.

So, I have a history of questioning authority, or perceived authority, no matter the environment, and that includes photography. I have a habit of poking photography authorities online, even calling out some who I follow or have followed. If you are spouting off on some “rule” of making photos, or some regimented “how to”, just because that is the way it has always been done, or the way some famous photographers have done it in the past, I’m more likely to call bullshit than I am to buy into it. It’s just who I am. It’s a character flaw, or just a trait I can’t escape from at this point in my life. At 71, there are no urban renewal projects in the offing. It’s all I can do to maintain at this level of anarchy without further escalation.


what is good work

I was listening to a podcast today by a photographer with great professional experience who was discussing certain cameras and the concept of “good work” in the context of people using those cameras. But what constitutes good work. It seems to me that it depends on what type of photography you do. The guy doing the podcast has professional experience in photojournalism and documentary photography, neither of which I do, or have much interest in. Is he judging only from that bias or area of interest, who knows.

I have never submitted photos for a portfolio review, even though there is a local annual photo festival where that takes place. I don’t take photos for other photographers, mostly because that doesn’t interest me. I don’t take technically good photos, on purpose. I don’t seek to capture reality, it’s more fun and interesting to me to distort it. It may not be “good work”, but it’s more important to me that it is my work, not someone else’s idea of what photography should be.