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Leads to Creating Beauty & Joy

Providing one can see when one looks and hear when one listens. Creating leads to joy, for one then knows one has uncovered secrets of the universe, perhaps small, perhaps large but in either case being rewarded with something new being born.

I have been preoccupied with mysteries since the age of eight (a Speed Graphic Camera). During my teens with high fidelity music systems, playing Chopin on the piano, astronomy and black and white photography.

Now it is our granddaughter, Amelia, amusing herself while I photograph her as rapidly as my marvelous new camera will focus. 180 images with none removed and lively life in every frame.


At this time in my life, approaching eighty, it is the nature of existence I find engrossing. Why? I read a book subtitled “why is there something rather than nothing?" My wife wonders why I like it, yet it is enjoyable for making me think and study the cosmos.

Walter Isaacson, in his wonderful biography of Jennifer Doudna beautifully conveys the joy of discovery by dozens of scientists studying genetics and the incredible design of the human body. This work led to the ability to modify genes in turn leading to the amazingly rapid creation of vaccines for the Covid pandemic.

It is the near ecstatic enjoyment of science, that Isaacson communicates over and over again, that excites me.

The joy that uncovering the unknown provides seems to be unlike any other except that once one experiences it one realizes that it applies to far more of life than we realize. It surely applies to Krystian Zimerman playing Chopin with phrasing that is beyond perfect in this wonderful ballade. And it surely applies to my watching life coming to life in Amelia. There is something wonderful about the still images that seems to let one see into her mind that transcends what a video can do.

Mr. Zimerman won the Chopin International at age 25 and was signed to a lifetime contract by Deutsche Gramophone. He also tunes and voices his own piano before each concert. I find that I cannot start the video without listening to the end. Surely knowing music well helps me appreciate his artistry, but I am somewhat astonished when Susaan and I, listening together marvel together over a single phrase.

For sure it applies to discovering photographs where you least expect to find them, here among an ensemble of reeds and water lilies that, when the sun and wind and clouds are right, is a piece of music onto itself especially when printed with skill and dedication so all that the viewer can see all that the photographer saw.

As is true of all study, there can be much effort involved. I visited this pond in Maine on dozens of trips. On my first visit I waited for the wind to stop. Then I discovered what it could do and learned on should shoot no matter the conditions. And so I learned, or was taught by nature to look with an open mind, so that I might see.

We’ve Got Rhythm, Upper Hadlock Pond, Maine.

For reasons I cannot fathom, learning and beauty and joy are not part of our public, human discourse so that multiple billionaires object when shareholder equity and taxes do not take primacy over education, food and medical care for what is virtually slave labor both here and in many parts of the world.

The mystery continues to the most nearby part of life: our experience of sight and sound and our consciousness and thinking. Do we even mention the miracle of our senses, far harder to explain than detecting gravity waves. We do not hesitate to cause suffering and extinguish lives for the sake of more, where sufficient is already wealth overflowing, or that your god is not my god, so you don’t deserve to live.

The photograph above was made at the edge of an ordinary pond in Maine. Yet it is beautiful color, and shape and life. But it also has rhythm and melody. I call it "We’ve Got Rhythm." I know. I studied it carefully and printed it as skillfully as I can. And, I have played it on the piano, with thanks to Mr. Gershwin.

It took me decades and thousands of sheets of film to discover ”The Hidden World of the Nearby.” But I was lucky. Being a photographer and printer coaxed me to look for joy and beauty and to continue to learn.

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