Fat Books

Fat books are a natural result of engaging in the photographic process and living the photographic life.  Regarding photographers, a fortunate few of us make these fat books; the rest of us buy, read, highlight and obsess over the words and images contained in these fat books.  Many of us who inhabit the latter category hope to one day make the jump to the former category.  Many are called (by themselves), but few are chosen (by the publishers).

I am currently reading a fat book written by photographer Dan Winters; it is titled Road To Seeing.  It is a not a huge coffee tale size book but is formidable nonetheless.  It is mercifully illustrated with an abundance of photographs, making it much less of grueling read than its 665 pages would seem to indicate.  Awhile back, I read a quotation from Dan Winters somewhere on the internet; it was a quote from this book:  "The world owes a great debt to all who have, from a state of exceptional awareness, preserved stillness for us to hold."  These words struck me from the first moment I read them; they stuck with me.  I filed them away for future reference.  I made a note to myself to keep an eye out for more of Dan Winters' insights and images. 

I am not very deep into Road To Seeing yet, but it is yielding significant insights into the photographic life which in my experience ring true:  "As every photographer knows, the great images are elusive.  They do, however, become more apparent when one is actively looking.  This process speaks to the development of an internal dialogue.  It is basically noticing that which you are noticing.  This is a lifelong practice.  One must become conscious of the patterns in his or her own work and of the sensibility that forms as a result.  These are the building blocks, which allow us to consciously develop a unique photographic voice.  This practice transcends technique.  Technique is a part of our craft, and it plays an integral role.  However, it should not be at the core of our work.  Ours should be a pursuit of the soul."  There is a measure of truth in this passage, the relevance of which cannot be overstated.

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