"Critique keeps us honest if we let it. It keeps us asking questions instead of clinging to answers we think we know or would rather hear. It is not a substitute for listening to our own voice; it's a tool for honing that voice, seeing our blind spots, and escaping ruts we weren't aware we were in. A well-chosen critic can open us to new possibilities, help us see our strengths, and allow us to become more honest about our weaknesses."

“Many photographers want nothing more than to make “better photographs,”.... But many photographers have never stopped to ask what it means for their photographs to be “better” or “good.” The competitions that are the daily bread of camera clubs and photo associations encourage the idea that these “better” photographs can be measured and judged on a scale of one to ten, as if soul can be measured. We can do better.”

“Does it have soul?” Is it alive? Do I see something of the artist within? Does it move me? Does it make me think? Does it challenge me? Does it enrich my human experience?” 

 From The Soul of the Camera by David duChemin.

Pictorial comment

  • On plastic, Heysham beach, June 2018.

On Ambiguity: Stuart Franklin meditates on the role of caption and context in our reading of photographs.


What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for. What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.

David Bohm, physicist

It's there in the papers, it must be the truth.

Tom Robinson


A picture means I know where I was every minute. That's why I take pictures. It's a visual diary.

Andy Warhol

Alternate ways of seeing, thinking, feeling...

Robert Rauschenberg

What is art?

Art is about feeling rather than understanding what the artist meant...

Antony Gormley

Art is not there to be [immediately] understood, otherwise we would have no need for it.

Joseph Beuys

You have the references because you have the experiences.

Robert Rauschenberg

Grayson Perry on populism and art

Grayson Perry

Fine art photography: “the subjective intent of the photographer”.

What does the world look like?

I suppose essentially I am saying we are not sure what the world looks like. A lot of people think we do, but I don't.

David Hockney

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

Henry Davis Thoreau, 1854

'That's the attractive thing about war', said Rosewater. 'Absolutely everybody gets a little something.'
When Billy Pilgrim's name was inscribed on the ledger of the prison camp, he was given a number, too, and an iron dogtag in which the number was stamped.  A slave laborer from Poland had done the stamping. He was dead now. So it goes. Billy was told to hang the tag around his neck along with his American doglegs, which he did. The tag was like a salt cracker, perforated down its middle so that a strong man could snap it in two with his bare hands. In was Billy died, which he didn't, half of the tag would mark his body and half would mark his grave. After poor Edgar Derby, the high school teacher, was shot in Dresden later on, a doctor pronounced him dead and snapped his dogtag in two. So it goes.
American humorist Kin Hubbard, 'It ain't no disgracer to be poor, but It might as well be.' It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poof but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating and drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: 'If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?' There will also be an American flag no larger than a child's hand - glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five.


A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.

Diane Arbus

Losing things

Losing things can sometimes gain you a space in which to live.

Edmund de Waal, The Hare with the Amber Eyes.


Complexity - the art of possibility.

Fire in the blood

...divine solitude. What else do I need? But when I was twenty, how I burned! How is this fire lit within us? It devours everything and then, in a few years, a few months, a few hours even, it burns itself out. Then you see how much damage has been done. You find yourself tied to a woman you don't love any more; or ruined, like me. Perhaps, born to be a grocer, you struggle to become a painter in Paris and end up in a hospital. Who hasn't had his life strangely warped and distorted by that fire so opposite to his true nature? Are we not all somewhat like these branches burning in my fireplace, buckling beneath the power of the flames? I'm undoubtedly wrong to generalise; there are people who are sensible at twenty, but I'll take the recklessness of my youth over their restraint any day.

Fire In The Blood by Irene Nemirovsky

On being idle

'Tis better to have loafed and lost, than never to have loafed at all,

James Thurber