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Tuesday, 27 September 2011


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Hi Mike,

I have ordered the book (On being a photographer) as an "on demand" print book as I don't have an e-book reader and prefer real paper books.

Kevin Sutton

Is there more to be told about the Driggs Archive? It sounds fabulous, and largely unexplored since it was hoarded so closely. Maybe Sam Stephenson (Dream Street and the Gene Smith Jazz Loft project) should inquire.


About the book "On being a photographer" , I could not agree more with you. If I ever had to teach photography, on any level of expertise, I would have this book on the mandatory list.

It has a very "feel good" to it, if I may say.

That small book by David Hurn and Bill Jay packs a big punch. I was not expecting much from it when it arrived in the mail but I was wrong.

My heart is in the Inter-mountain West even though my body is in the heart of Texas. Vast distances and mountain views along with the people who inhabit those areas are what I see when I close my eyes. Since I don't have access to the mountains anymore I've channeled my interest into the small towns of the Texas Hill Country. Growing up as a camp follower you learn to appreciate what is around you.

On a related note, some comments by Magnum photographers from a few years back...http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3105959/Photography/Downloads/Magnum_Blog_Article_Wear_Good_Shoes_Advice_to_young_photographers.pdf

It's really not about the equipment.

If you just love photography you are just going to buy cameras. There has to be something more. Personally I've become facinated with downtown Austin and love finding the time to roam the streets camera in hand.

"..a love of photography alone usually isn't enough"

I think you are right, but it is hard to pin it down sometimes. Self-psychoanalysis suggests a few possibilities. One is an urge to know how simple folks feel and think. I am no documentary photographer; at work I am as far from everyday reality as one can be. I suppose it is this lack of touch with reality that provides this urge to balance my life. The other is Freudian; being a naturally shy individual the camera provides a device to let loose my inhibition against getting close to people, especially the perfect stranger.

I couldn't agree more on both points.

I think that photography with no underying love soon becomes dull. There is little point in making pictures of things that don't really engage you.

On Being a Photographer should be standard reading for all of us. A lovely little book that demands repeated reading.

I saw an interview with David Hurn a few months ago and he remamined deeply articulate, thoughful and engaging. A complete human who is also a photographer. That is, I think, a part of the key.


For me, interest in photography grew out of my connection to the outdoors in general and the Rocky Mountains in particular. I needed to find a way to communicate how the places I visited and explored made me feel, and the spoken or written word often seemed inadequate. My images have often seemed inadequate as well but that is what pushes me to improve. My photographic interests have broadened with time but the passion to make photographs has always followed a passion for the subject.

Hi Mike,

What do I love? Far too many things to ever be more than an ok photographer.
Emphasis is on nature, but that is everything from fungi and plants through bugs and birds, geology, palaeontology, meteorology and astronomy. I'm fascinated by how plate tectonics have formed the Earth and how evolution has got us where we are, and I'm lucky to live in Devon with a huge variety of geology within a 40 mile radius. The other great thing about Devon is we have 2 moors (Dartmoor and Exmoor), heathland, deciduous and coniferous woodland, rivers, streams and 2 coastlines with sandy beaches and cliffs (600ft? In North Devon), we don't have deserts (but the Saunton sands dune system is a good “cheat”!), mountains or tundra, but it's still pretty varied.
Taking photos gives us an incentive to go out exploring but we'd still do it anyway-just not as often..
I like taking candids but have no interest in portraits, I prefer to wait and catch a friend at the right moment to make a natural looking picture. I'm always happy to take photos for friends that they can't do themselves as I've got enough knowledge and bits of kit to do a reasonable job. I recently got talked into doing a friend's daughter's wedding as they had no money and weren't having a photographer, and just asked everyone to bring a camera, and then said friend remembered I'd taken the best picture she'd seen of her dog......! so asked me to take some pictures. I didn't enjoy it but they were pleased with the results so I was glad I could help (the g/f did the editing so that made them presentable).
Airshows (sad about the Red Arrows and the Reno air race). Motor races.
The quirky and unusual, I love to know why and how, below is a video from the Cloud Appreciation Society which shows how people came to believe in gods ;-)

Books; at the charity shop I just bought “The Making of Mankind” by Richard Leakey, “Pocket Battleship” by Krancke and Brennecke, and “Two Eggs on My Plate” by Oluf Reed Olsen.

I love the fact that your photo of the BMW has the letters MUJ in the number plate – is your middle name Ulysses? Or just coincidence?

I could waffle for England so as it's 1 AM I'll stop now.

Best wishes phil

My favourite quote from the book:

Bill Jay: The best pictures, for me, are those which go straight into the heart and blood, and take sometime to reach the brain.

David Hurn: I agree.

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