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A new view of history

Has the earth turned into hell? 78 minutes feels like America is hell.

Combine Donald Trump, the National Rifle Association and the 78 minutes and toss in Fox News.... There simply cannot be (for many reaons) a god and I can't find the picture I want to show.


A new view of history

In their new best seller The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity David Graeber and Davie Wengrow shed a dark light on the evolution of western civilation. Europe and even more America with their hierachies of power and money control and their demolishing of early history make one realize how badly we havee been taken for a ride by the rich and powerful.

When Donald Trump took power he lowered taxes on the rich continuing a trend begun somee 50 years ago. Much of the preamble to Trump (remember trickle-down economics) clarfied for me the ridiculous flow of money to the very rich so that at this point 1% of the population owns 43% of the net work of America. Free market capitalism is designed to transfer wealth to those who manipulate the economics of America to the point that many of the richest pay no taxes at all and the IRS has been reduced to paper pushing.

Now comes the battle to eliminate the power of the electorate which may well happen and we will become a dictatorship.

A collalary is the manipulation of Americal life by the marketing of the market economy. Bigger and more costly cars. Gigatons of CO2 and much more leave us with an extremely selfish society. Gone are many labor unions. The minimum wage is a joke as is the avilability of medical care and child care.

Then there are the guns.

Daniels started the gun factory that supplied the rifle in Texas. He did it because he liked the feeling of shooting a war weapon. So gun manufacturers have created an armed socity. How is this possible?

This gets down to the very essence of what life should be and how its nature is controlled and communicated to the masses.


infinite value/appreciation: zero

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been. –John Greenleaf Whittier

The most magnificent creation by the universe, the human mind, is dying, a victim of greed by
conservative Republicans who destroy joy while sacrificing their own souls.

Within the skull of every person below and of every person on earth is the human mind, the greatest creation in the universe, capable of seeing, hearing, thinking, experiencing, creating, loving, joy. And hating and destroying.

I sometimes think that no one realizes that between their ears is a miracle, and so it and life go unrecognized and unappreciated.

Neither science nor any religion knows why it exists and so far we only know that it exists on earth. The essence of its birth was the Grand Singularity that led to the creation of everything.

In my 81st year and a lifetime of experience, study, thinking I am at a loss to explain humanity’s negligence of this colossal treasure.

I once sat in the music room of an artist’s club in Boston less than ten feet from a superb string quartet of young musicians from the New England Conservatory. They began with a string quartet by Mozart. The first sound was a single sustained note, in unison. I thought I had gone to heaven.



the fall and failure of humanity.

The New York Times said the gun maker, Mr. Daniels, was motivated to start his company by the kick he got from firing an automatic rifle. If that is true something fundamental is missing for that could only happen if Mr. Daniels was not exposed, as a child, to other ways of enjoyment.

If this were a singular event or restricted to small segments of the population of the world, we might live with it. However, this kind of shallow, trivial sense of satisfaction is endemic. Common forms are to flaunt superiority based on any number of factors especially race, color, religion, poverty and gender identification among others. What unites these choices is the absence of the deeper aspects of being human and, through study, the stimulation of the stunning capabilities of the human. The consequence is the imminent destruction of a unique planet, democracy and civilization. It is the most dangerous time in the history of humanity, and we are not rising to the occasion.

And the most dangerous perpetrator, because he understands nothing and wants only money and power is Donald Trump. He knows only how how to wield power and so undermine nature and civilization. He is our Putin.

How do I know this? Because Mr. Trump never explains anything. It is either “beautiful” or a lie, and he has been caught so many times I cannot conceive anyone believing him. On the few occasions where he has ventured a scientific opinion the result was...ridiculous.

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5

JW 0181

Piano: Krystian Zimerman; Conductor: Leonard Bernstein

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Musikverein, Vienna

It takes one pull of the trigger to convince a man to make war rifles and to market them to children,

It takes decades to make an image of a stream like this one.

It takes nearly a hundred musicians and their teachers, a virtuoso pianist; one of the world’s greeatest conductors. All have all devoted their lives to music to create some of the world’s greatest art. In one of the great concert halls of the world.

A tiny fraction of the people of the earth will consider it worth the effort to hear a performance. YOU can click the triangle and hear the last movement.

Examples of how we do not exhault in the gifts of the universe. It is a true tragedy.

A Nation That Never Was

and likely never will be

America, along with many other nations, pretends by the religions and political rules it adopts to be honest, fair & generous and in part it is. However, too much is pretense. It ignores its history of slavery, genocide, racism, war and free market greed and it has done this from its birth. It is now on the verge of dissolution. I cannot save it, but I hope to draw insight into the rot in its roots.

The most receent tudies of the evolution of western forms of government drives home one point: the free market combined with our form of government concentrates wealth. You can earn a billion ddollars and pay no taxes so those out in the world producing food and paving steets are given just enough to get by. It is the rule by the rich and since they pay for elections the welfare of the average American goes down and down.

The indigenous American indian has a philosophy to share down to the last morsel of bread. If that should even be wispered screams of socialism or communism come from the ultra-conservative and the idea of a golden rule, of sharing, is crushed.

And so I propose a new Declaration, a declaration of human accomplishment, justice and fair sharing.


WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES in order to embrace the wonder of the world we have been given, pronounce that the truth our minds discover shall guide each one of us in realizing the joy of which our natures are capable, that we have a sacred responsibility to the creation and to each other to preserve all that nature has given us, to learn honestly all that our minds can discover and to teach this to each other and to the peoples of the world for their benefit and joy.

We will never sacrifice a life nor inflict suffering but be true to what we learn for the benefit of all human-kind.

®John Wawrzonek, all rights reserved. Reproduction is encouraged.
Alternation of the text without written permission of the author is prohibited.




1. Pre-Paris pathway. +4.2° C to 3.6°C. Extreme suffering and destruction. Starvation.

2. Current pathway. 3.1 to 2.7°C. Intolerable.

3. Pledged. 2.4°C to 2.1°C. Inadequate.

4. Paris agreement. Less than or equal to 1.5°C.

We are at 1.1°C and experiencing intolerable temperatures, storms and fire.

No country has proposed an actual plan that could be considered acceptable.


Why don’t you believe me?

Having worked in science for about 70 years including 7 at MIT, the mistrust of science is very sad because it is, in fact the only road to reliable truth.

Why do I think this?

It is completely amazing that the first goal of a scientists (other than making a great discovery) is to prove another scientist to be WRONG because any one who proves something to be either right or wrong is a kind of hero for he or she has discovered and proven truth and there is nothing more important.


Because you cannot make something better if all you know is lies. You must know what REALLY IS.

Among the consequences: people create their own reality and thus one million Americans dead, most for incomprehensible distrust of vaceens. The most casual study of vaccines around the world would have shown supreme effectiveness. The mindless association of trading “giving in” to the establishment in exchange for death is beyond the pale.

Think about it. An example: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was NOT accepted until it was proven that gravity could bend a light wave. That was hard but it was done.

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,
not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn,
which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.”

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The only known home in the universe for intelligent life is being destroyed.

We must learn to keep ourselves awake...by an infinite expectation...

There is such marvelous positivism to Henry David Thoreau’s words, something I miss very much from the days when I was photographing at Walden, creating my two books with text by Thoreau and enjoying the summer meetings in Concord of the Thoreau Society. But even then, roughly between 1991 and 2002 there were signs of trouble, for I had discovered climate change. And so I asked for permission to give seminars about the climate at the summer meetings, which I did for three consecutive years.

Henry David Thoreau is one of the greatest American authors and often considered to be the first conservationist. He was certainly one of the first, and in my naïveté I expected some response from the Society to the warnings about the climate not just from me but from hundreds and perhaps thousands of scientists.

Not a word. Some kind complements about my talks but otherwise nothing.

I invited the director of the society to my home for lunch and I spoke clearly enough so as to be pushing the bounds of politeness. It was as if I had said nothing.

In the winter of 1990-1991 colleagues of my wife at the Massachusetts Parks Department suggested to my wife that I try photographing at Walden. By that time I had become accustomed to finding images in unexpected places, so in April 1991 I took my first hike around the pond. It was still early spring and I found only tree roots, mosses and lichens. At the time I was a bit disappointed with the images but nevertheless planned to return. (I have since changed my mind about the root images.)

It was not until October of the same year that I returned. That day, October 19th, was one of he most memorable of my life. I came upon a vernal pool called Wyman’s Meadow. Seeing some interesting glimmers in the water I placed my tripod at the edge of the water.

April 1991. From my first visit to Walden on the path surrounding the pond.

From my second visit to Walden in October 1991.

Roots, Lichens, Moss And Pine Needles

Roots, Lichens, Moss And Pine Needles

Walden, Concord, Massachusetts. April 1991, cat. JW 3838

Water-shields And Reflections

Water-shields And Reflections

Wymans-meadow, Walden, October, 1991 JW 0608

The children of Sandy Hook.



shall set you free, if you can see

The peoples of this nation and of the world, being in constant cacophony and suffering, each see a different reality. Every tribe, political division, religion, has a different view of life. For reasons beyond our reach we were created this way and, after 2000 years of civilization, have not overcome our fears, jealousies, and a faulted view of life. As hunter-gatherers we invented agriculture and set ourselves free from daily gathering of food. In return we achieved an exploding population now at a size far in excess of what the earth can support.

Additionally, many of us have within ourselves a proclivity for violence over love. There is in the greater part of the male population a wish for power and domination and a pleasure in wielding weapons of destruction. We find that once we are placed in a war we will sacrifice our lives to no good end except the defeat of those we face.

We have been left with two enormous problems: a belief that more wealth leads to greater happiness and a failure to recognize the need for reciprocity, that we are each responsible for the well-being of all humanity and that no group deserves more than another for the golden rule is part of virtually every religion and is a foundation of civilization. For the most part it is simply ignored.

Perhaps more important, we fail to teach each other the truth our minds have uncovered about who we are and where we came from: we are ALL Africans for that is where evolution placed the first homo sapiens.

We have not used our miraculous minds to elicit truth; in its place we create immeasurable suffering. We fail to be honest with ourselves and accept the most disastrous consequences that result from our living our lives as lies.

We are now incapable of recognizing that we have reached the bitter end. Our planet is on a course to death. If we view our irrational, cruel and selfish behavior within the context of the grandeur of the universe, we are utter and miserable failures.

Can we save ourselves? Only by a miraculous change in our behavior.

Our History

When we had reached the threshold that made us the species homo sapiens, we were left to wander in the desert without teachers except for the myths we created for ourselves. In the absence of a sense of destiny we invented gods and assigned to them those qualities we desired them to have, without something or someone to light the way.

Or so it seems.

Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Where we have stumbled has been to believe that a supreme being wrote these words not realizing that there are supreme beings only when we conjure them up and consequently we lost outselves to our own mythology and so we lost the sense of power over life that should be ours, the power to be our own gods and so be creators of our own destiny. We could not conceive of existence where we were the supreme beings, the Creators of Life and so descended into a hell where every group and tribe had to be the chosen ones, leading to constant conflict.

It is the most supremely difficult step to have the courage to define ourselves all as creators of us all and awaken to the supreme idea that we are the creators and that must be our destiny. I believe the door was deliberately left open for us to become the image of god. However, this leaves us with the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, which is to define itself but that definition must encompass reciprocity, beauty creativity and joy as the nature of ourselves, and so we become Life by our own volition.

But there is more to the story.

It is the supreme mystery of science to decipher what made us what we are and what remains in the after-glow of the Grand Singularity to guide physics, evolution and the soul of humanity. We cannot decipher why we were created, why there is an earth nor how the human brain functions. So the coming collapse of our civilization and the destruction of the earth remain the ultimate mystery.

Could there exist a god (or a god equivalent) who was cruel enough to be all powerful yet willing for our species to perish.

Some religions will tell you it is our failure for we are sinners, doomed from the start; doomed by an all powerful, benevolent god to whom we must give thanks and honor and glory.

From a lifetime of thinking, from every perspective I could conceive all I have learned is that those with limited dimensions of knowledge fool themselves into belief. I believe that at least I do not fool myself that I know. And those who tell me that I must have faith are begging me to believe in their delusions. “To God be the glory, great things he has done...” That is if I choose to believe that mass murder is a great thing.


Yet there is still another side to the story. Every religion has its saints and angels. They walk and work and create among us, and it is possible that we are such also. Except that we are loosing the battle.I will walk with Henry and glow from the beauty of the creation and continue in despair. And I will alsso show you the other side of human-kind, that part that creates sublime beauty to transcend all darkness, but we are as of this moment loosing, nay in my view, we have lost the war.

Neverheless below the three bars I will bring you transcendent beauty that at any moment can relieve my dispair. For that moment. In my 81st year that is all I can do.

Morning Fog, Sudbury River

Morning Fog, Sudbury River

Sudbury River, Ashland, Massachusetts. May 1992
cat. JW 0404

Thoreau’s words do not seem special words, but they determine how we see, hear and act. In fact everything that has ever happened to us affects how we see and hear.

But the real question is how our intent is formed which is why, I think, Henry is trying to blow a hole in our settled thinking.

So what is at stake? Nothing except truth. See and hear what is really there. Then you have a chance to learn. And that is why I wasted so much film, and refused to take lessons. Good or bad, I did not want to live by another‘s experience. And so I drove around for seven years before really beginning to photograph.

Photographs of the natural landscape are the heart of my body of work and its soul is in New England. Why is simple: I was born and grew up in New England (Rhode Island), went to college in Massachusetts, caught the downhill skiing bug and saw a bit of the countryside.

Another influence was the home I grew up in: about 1 1/2 acres of garden and my mother’s first love. Flower beds galore, more bushery than you could count, orchards, and of course a vegetable garden large enough for our farmer neighbor to plow. Friends to explore the woods with, a mile walk to school through forests and farms. How lucky can you get. And I have said that over and over again in my life. Downsides: eight hours to cut the grass.

And then the Cape. Ocean Grove. Miles of beach. It never ended. Today, just short of eighty, this is the view from my own seat at the kitchen table

Although the heart of the work is New England, I traveled to fifteen states and exposed 20,000 sheets of 4" x 5" film in a view camera I carried on my back.

Of these I have digitized over 600 images with resolution to print at 40" x 50". About half of these are shown on this website. To make it easier to familiarize yourself with this work I have divided it into 14 groups by location and subject with examples of each shown below.

1. Finding Images

2. The Mass Pike: The First Find

3. Maine: The Second Find

4. A Guide To My Images

5. The Joy Of Eyes That See

6. I Want to See The Trees

1. Sudbury River

The Sudbury is a small river, beginning in an adjacent town and eventually blending with the Assabet to form the Concord River. By good fortune it was just a few miles from where I lived at the time and so I visited often.

The first image below happend just after an overnight storm. The sun was rising in back of me with a clear horizon and so the trees are beautifully illuminated despite overcast clouds.

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2. I-90, the Mass Pike, Weston, Massachusetts

From 1974 to 1981 I wandered from Alaska through some of the most iconic parks of the west (Brice, Canyonlands, Arches) looking in a sense look for the soul of my work. Although the scenery was magnificant I realized that for the landscape to motivate me would require that I embrace it season after season. In other words, I had to live there. Otherwise I would just be making inferior imitations of images that had been done hundreds or thousands of times. (A close friend and superb photographer, Joseph Holmes, told of photographing at Mono Lake one morning and found 50 tripods in the water. In my 28 years of photographing the landscape I never found a single photogtrapher photographing what I was photographing, although I returned to the same places dozens of time.)

The view from the Mass Pike was a game changer. I think I communicate this best in the verse below. The Pike (a part of Interstate 90) crossed a number of valleys that were filled to level the highway. The highway cut through magnificant arrays of trees that I could now shoot from the level of the tree canopy. These were all deciduous trees and so began to bud in late April and continuted to flower into mid-May. The mixture of other species turned one valley in Weston, Massachusetts into a kind of pointillist autumn. The progress is visible in the images below and in the related gallery.

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3. I-90, the Mass Pike, Millbury, Massachusetts. From an entrance ramp.

To Gallery

Exit 11 provides the same kind of opportuniities as the Weston Overlook except it faces east into the rising sun and has a vernal pool at the bottom. This, in a way changes everthing thing. Mist is common as is shooting into the rising sun.

Mornings during “shooting season” I would wake before dawn without an alarm (sometimes hoping for a hard rain so I could go back to sleep) and head for the Turnpike entrance in Framingham which allowed me to go either east or west. I rarely had a preference and so would almost let the car decide.

However, as I became aware of the potential of Millbury I went there more and more often. One norning I could see an orange mist billowing and parked under the overpass rather than in the more distant commmuter lot. As I climbed toward the shooting location I knew something good was happening and said to myself “don’t screw it up.” For about 45 minutes, as long as the mist lasted I photographed. Out of about a dozen contendors, two had the mist billoring in kist the right way and I had an image, Spring Sunrise III that sold out its edition.

I have included one image from the fall. In 1991 I turned from facing east to faceing west. I seemed overwhelming that from one position on an Interstate Highway entrance ramp I could make such amazing images. Who would have thoughht? You just had to learn to look, and to see.

JW 0378 EX 11 P4 5

4. Salt Marshes, Massachusetts 1982, New Jersey 1991, A surprising way of making waves.

To Gallery

Salt marshes were among the first subjects to get close attention, especially along Interstate 190 in Swansee, Massachusetts. The waves were intriguing and I tried many times, but nothing seemed to work. So I went looking up the Massachusetts coast and found the marches near Crane Beach in Ipswich. The coutour of the waves were more elegant, the grasses had many colors weaving through them (see the closeup, JW 0065).

Finally after several visits I caught the sun grazing the topes of a particuarly nice group of waves and so made Salt Marsh Just Before Sunset. It was also the last salt marsh I shot for a number of years. A little exhaustion had set it, but I had the image I was looking for.

Although the marshes in Ipswich were my favorites, I found beautiful marshes in summer on a vist to New Jersey and include here. There are more in the gallery.


5. Blueberry Barrens, Central Maine, 1986. Acres of Rainbow.

To Gallery

It was my first shooting trip to Maine. I had no idea where I would go, although Acadia National Park seemed like a good idea. So I drove north to Bangor and then east on 1a towards Ellsworth.

Perhaps it was half or a third of the way to Ellsworth, the light was fading and off to my right was what seemed to be about 15 acres of rainbow. I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at but I got out my 4 by 5 and began to photograph.

A field tilting upward a bit and otherwise flat is ideal for the tilt and twing focusing of a view camera. And so I photographed for the first time, Maine’s wild, but often cultivated blueberry barrens.

Over the years I followed them north to Cherryfield and the Wyman fields, a the largest commercial marketer of Maine’s blueberries.

And so begins the first of many stories and images with some of the best not yet digitized. Below is the first.

There is no logital order to the rest except that it was only my last year that I visited in the spring and I was very glad I did.

In late fall, frost added a great touch as did sunrise and sunset.

6. Beaver Brook & Scratch Flats. Home of John Hansen Mitchell.

To Gallery

Dreamed Brook
Amidst the Mist

Amidst the Mist

Beaver Brook, Littleton, Massachusetts
October 1987, JW 0496

Song of the Earth

Song of the Earth

Littleton, Massachusetts, July 1987,, JW 0208

JW 5341 D01
JW 5341

7. Upperhadlock Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

Just Driving By, Again and Again

Reeds, Wind and Water I

Reeds, Wind and Water I

Upper Hadlock Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine. October 1990
cat. JW 0463

Upper Hadlock Pond, Maine

Upper Hadlock Pond, Maine

JW 9946

A Ruffled Stillness

A Ruffled Stillness

Upper Hadlock Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine, October 1987, JW 0588

8. Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine

Autumn Canopy

Hillside from Ledges Trail
JW 0301

JW 0301

View From Ledges Trail

View From Ledges Trail JW 4547

View From Ledges Trail JW 4547

View From Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine JW 0265

View From Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine JW 0265

9. Walden Pond & Greater Walden

Legendary Home of Henry David Thoreau

Walden Gallery

Sunset Through Red Leaves, Walden Pond I

Sunset Through Red Leaves, Walden Pond I

Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts
October 2001, JW 4658

Vernal Pool, Near Thoreau’s Cabin I

Vernal Pool, Near Thoreau’s Cabin I

Wyman’s Meadow, Walden, Concord, Massachusetts April 1992, cat. JW 0850

Roots, Lichens, Moss And Pine Needles

Roots, Lichens, Moss And Pine Needles

Walden, Concord, Massachusetts. April 1991, cat. JW 3838

Ice And Pine Needles

Ice And Pine Needles

Near Fairhaven Cliffs, Walden Woods, Concord, Massachusetts
March 1995, cat. JW 4505

10. Wyman’s Meaddow

Home of the Water-shield

Dew, Light And Water-shields I

Dew, Light And Water-shields I

Wyman’s Meadow, Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts. October 1993, cat. JW 4059

11. Ground Covers.

Reindeer Moss and Blueberry Leaves

Reindeer Moss and Blueberry Leaves

Acadia National Park, Maine
September 1992, cat. JW 1222

Textures In Leaves

Textures In Leaves

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
October 1992, cat. JW 1307

12. Meadows. Would you like to take a walk?

To Gallery

13. Grasses. Everywhere, and in finite variety.

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14. Singularities. All alone?

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