the photoshooter's journey from taking to making


The Kodak Brownie Six-Twenty, one of the first American cameras with an internally synchronized flash, introduced in 1940. Manual light painting was applied during a 30-second exposure in a dark room to illuminate the reflector pan and the intricate bulb filaments without the use of flash. F/8, ISO 100, 50mm.


THE DIGITAL IMAGING REVOLUTION is not merely the shift from one kind of recording medium to another, any more than the change from horse to automobile was merely an “upgrade” in transportation. It actually gives us two paths forward; an easy road, where photography is the mere servant of technology, or the steeper trail….a vital re-discovery of what it is to “write with light” as proactive, deliberative artists. To choose the latter, we must do nothing less than teach ourselves how to see anew, returning to the sense of wonder that characterized our first breathless attempts at capturing life in a box. THE NORMAL EYE, taking its title from the workings of prime, or so-called “normal” lenses, hopes to address the photographer’s quest for his own best vision.

Ironically, in a medium which offers more and more in the way of auto-generated effects and guaranteed results, we can only reclaim the mantle of photographer by prying our fingers off the presets and steering the process with our own direct touch and vision. This process of “normalizing” our eyes reboots our settings and re-connects us to the shooters we once were, putting the tools of this magnificent age at the service of our instincts (rather than vice versa). In that moment, we make the journey back from merely taking pictures to making images.

This journal will not pretend to be a clinical workshop, as there are legions of pros infinitely more able to teach and explain than I ever can be. Rather, it hopes to be a passionate discussion between curious amateurs who are taking their art back into their own hands, opting for adventure, even failure, in search of the sublime. THE NORMAL EYE, then, is a celebration of photography as an original and ongoing act of art, perhaps the most democratic platform for artistry the world has ever known. It is a chronicle of our lifelong efforts to learn, re-learn, and re-re-learn, how and what to see.

Check in often to our BLOG page above for the latest posts, let us know what you think, and share your own creative experiences.

Welcome to this exchange. You are its most vital part.

Michael A.Perkins

14 responses

  1. Hello, I’ve nominated your blog to Versatile Blogger Award.


    June 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    • Richardo: Thanks so much for your kind words and actions. I will look over the detailed instructions you sent on how to pass on recognition to others in the blogosphere and shine a light on their work as well. Keep reading and feel free to offer your feedback, and keep up the excellent content on your own blog, which I greatly enjoy.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:04 PM

  2. This is such a thoughtful, well written blog, I am telling all of my photo friends about it. I enjoy your articles on the why of shooting, as one can get technical-overload information just about anywhere. Anyone with a passion for photographic arts should become a subscriber!

    June 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    • Many thanks. Having spent most of my career as a writer in radio and television, I wanted to incorporate my thoughts into the process instead of just posting images. I truly appreciate the feedback.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:00 PM

  3. aldraggin

    i don’t follow blogs – yeah, i have issues like many others – but your vision and words hooked into my subconscious and jerked me into the here and now, and the joyous response i am now experiencing. thank you. i await new adventures.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    • I truly appreciate your giving me a look. All I am really trying to do is start an ongoing conversation with others like myself who are trying to move the football down the field, photo-wise. We all win by feeding energy to each other. Come back anytime, and thanks again for the comment.

      August 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

  4. Just saw your blog . At this moment , I am rushed for time but I plan to return and check it out later. It looks so interesting. I really love smart and talented bloggers.

    August 16, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    • By all means, come back anytime. We post about every other day and the interaction with other shooters is what the project is all about. Thanks for the look!

      August 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

  5. Very cool blog. I dig what you are doing here. Keep it up!

    November 20, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    • Thanks so much for the look! Feedback is everything here, so feel free to weigh in or share on any topic.

      November 21, 2014 at 7:05 AM

  6. For a new hobby I enjoy the thrill of searching for and discovering a blog that will draw me in with opportunity for being taught, inspired and enchanted. As an amateur photographer I find the same thrill whether five minutes or 5 hours out with the camera. Your blog is surely among the best designed, written and illustrated in all of WordPress. I will look forward to coming back again and again while sharing you with my best friends. Glad I met you, Sir!

    January 24, 2015 at 5:12 PM

    • Thank you so very much for your warm comments! THE NORMAL EYE is all about sparking discussion, and I am always grateful when I hear from someone as obviously excited as you are to be behind the camera. That passion is contagious and will certainly inform your work as you go forward. I too have never lost the “tingle” that accompanies every picture-making outing, great or small, over a lifetime. Please feel welcome to share you own perspectives with us as you grow in this marvelous pastime!

      January 24, 2015 at 5:59 PM

  7. Bob Sillick

    Michael, I’ve been meaning to contact you since I saw your photos and the link to your Website/blog on Facebook. It’s good to know you appear to be doing OK after all these years…and, by the way, Happy Birthday. Looking quite good for 63 and I think I still look good for 66 soon to be 67. Like you I have all my hair and none, I repeat NONE, of it is gray. I’d love to have the opportunity to talk with you and share what is happening in our lives. Without going into too great of detail here, I am an independent marketing consultant and writer of Web content and I have been writing for one photography Website for more than 4 years and just started writing for another during December. Send me an email, so we can exchange phone numbers and talk. Before I forget, I like your photography very much and your comments about your vision for your images and what you’ve learned taking them.

    February 11, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    • Wow, what a great surprise to hear from you! Expect to hear from me soon. I’ve had a great adventure with this project, and would love to view your own work in the same area. Nice to see that you’re still connected to the photog world, and many congrats on your business. Look forward to linking up!

      February 11, 2015 at 10:32 AM

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