15-12-27 Weekly Photo Challenge (Window Edition)

The weekly Challenge is Now. This is an impossible assignment since whatever picture I show will have been taken “now” but can only be shown to you “zen.”

“Until now, I’ve been writing about “now” as if it were literally an instant of time, but of course human faculties are not infinitely precise. It is simplistic to suppose that physical events and mental events march along exactly in step, with the stream of “actual moments” in the outside world and the stream of conscious awareness of them perfectly synchronized. The cinema industry depends on the phenomenon that what seems to us a movie is really a succession of still pictures, running at twenty-five [sic] frames per second. We don’t notice the joins. Evidently the “now” of our conscious awareness stretches over at least 1/25 of a second.

In fact, psychologists are convinced it can last a lot longer than that. Take he familiar “tick-tock” of the clock. Well, the clock doesn’t go “tick-tock” at all; it goes “tick-tick,” every tick producing the same sound. It’s just that our consciousness runs two successive ticks into a singe “tick-tock” experience—but only if the duration between ticks is less than about three seconds. A really bug pendulum clock just goes “tock . . . tock . . . tock,” whereas a bedside clock chatters away: “ticktockticktock…” Two to three seconds seems to be the duration over which our minds integrate sense data into a unitary experience, a fact reflected in the structure of human music and poetry.”

Paul Davies

Through my window on 12/27/15 when it was “now”…RSJohnson_15122700391


RSJohnson_15122700391-2Or was it “now” when I processed it the first way…or was it “now” the second time.


15-03-13 Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall


Leaky Wall


Other walls…











8-25-14 Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray (Flora Edition)

I have frayed and am fraying in many ways this week. This time a more gentle fraying.


Other Fraying











6-25-14 Working Through The Experiment (Amy Arbus Edition)

“Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth)

Last night I finished my second class with Amy Arbus at the International Center of Photography. If you are not familiar with her work, you should be. She is a first class, top of the line, portrait maker and shooter of people. If you are a long time reader of QH you know I have been shooting primarily landscape for the past four years.

The first class I took, The Fleeting Moment, was, in my opinion, a mistake ridden mess (on my part).

As Samuel Beckett said…”No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

So I had to take the next class she offered (either The Narrative Portrait or The Extended Portrait – the name seemed very changeable) because I had learned so much about what not to do that I thought I might be ready to begin to start to maybe take a decent people shot.

My aesthetic and Amy’s do not agree. She loves clean and uncluttered. The frame may be full of things but clearly and precisely.  To me real life is about clutter and weird lines and the inconvenient fire extinguisher. Another good thing. Being challenged by intelligent and thoughtful people is always a positive experience.

A brief diversion, Anna, our TA, and the other students in both classes were excellent collaborators, critics and colleagues as well. This does not always happen in Continuing Ed classes.

At the very start of the class I got lucky. In casting about for a subject I asked Abigail and her friend, Lilah, if they would be my subject. They were both graduating high school (different ones), getting ready to say goodbye and moving into a new life stage. To my surprise they both said yes. In the work, we all enjoyed the process enough that we are discussing carrying it through the summer, right up until drop off day at their colleges. Over the next few weeks I will be occasionally showing some of the work that resulted from our collaboration.

I shot them together and separately. These images are from our first joint shooting day, May 9, in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River.





Riverside Drive and the lazy Hudson beside it

Ephemeral New York has done it again. I had to reblog this given the subject matter. By virtue of living in Morningside Heights this is my home base on the river. I thought you might be interested in seeing its past.

Ephemeral New York

It looks like a pleasant spring or summer day on Riverside Drive and in the park beside it, based on this postcard stamped 1916.


We’re at 93rd Street. Grant’s Tomb can be seen over the treetops; open-topped automobiles and a double-decker bus share the road. Pedestrians linger on the sidewalks or on the teardrop-shaped green.

And in the distance, there’s no George Washington Bridge.

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5-4-14 Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

“Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.”
Walker Evans

The Weekly Photo Challenge is spring. It has barely begun in the northeast. Running more than a bit late but seems to be moving in now.  A few spring images from Riverside Park, April 27, 2014:



RSJohnson_1404270394Other springing off points: