the photoshooter's journey from taking to making


The only consumer camera designed to create personal View-Master reels. 15 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100, 35mm.

Sawyer’s mid-50’s View-Master Personal Stereo, the only consumer camera able to produce those eye-popping 3-d reels. 15 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100, 35mm.


THIS WEEK, THE NORMAL EYE REACHES A LITTLE BASE CAMP OF SORTS, with the welcome arrival of our 1,000th blog follower. A few thoughts before we climb to the next ledge:

I never wanted this forum to be a mere photo diary, a refrigerator on which to tack up my pet pic of the day, because, despite the fact that my photography illustrates the blog, it’s not really about,”look what I did”, so much as it’s about “look at one thing you can try”. It also was never supposed to be a purely technical tutorial, although we do offer a few simple step-by-steps on emerging methods. My thought, then as now, is that there are many, many master technicians in the trade whose command of the pure science is so much stronger than mine, that I’d  be better off talking about the part we all understand….the millions of little miracle moments and motivations that shape our visual decisions in the making of images.

Accordingly, your most typical responses to The Normal Eye have been along the lines of “I’ve been there”, or “I came to the same conclusion” or “I never thought of it that way before.” That has sparked dialogue, which was my principal aim in creating TNE in the first place. I use my images to illustrate my ideas because they’re the closest visual equivalent of what’s rattling around in my skull, but not because they’re the ne plus ultra of anything.

From my years as an illustrator, I also love the idea of designing a page, and I try to vary the visual arrangement of the blog to incorporate useful links, historical figures, and, as we go forward, gifs and other tools. I liken it to the front of a newspaper, which, other than the masthead and the familiar type faces, has to be completely new every day. It’s more interesting to make, and, I hope, more fun to read, but it’s still in its infancy.

The most amazing part of this venture has been seeing the numbers change, to realize, day by day, that many of you have chosen, on-purpose, to bring these conversations into your day on a regular basis. I truly appreciate that choice, and am gratified if any of these chicken scratchings have a positive impact, for anyone. Sometimes, online writing is like throwing a pebble down a dark well and listening for at least a splash. Sometimes it’s like waking up to a roomful of birthday presents. So, to everyone who has kept faith or at least sampled The Normal Eye thus far, my sincere thanks. As I’ve stressed before, although solo sermons are often inspiring, this forum only works as a conversation.

Your turn.


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