I am a microbiologist who has had a life-long obsession with photography. I am in the enviable position of living in the San Francisco bay area – one of the most visually striking places in this whole U.S. of A. – and having a career that offers enough intellectual variety that professional photography seems like a drag by comparison. Having long ago abandoned any desire to pay my bills with a camera, I find myself free to explore what I consider to be the heights of amateur photography.
Here I ought to point out that our colloquial connotation of amateur as an inexpert- or casual-practitioner is in error. The original definition of amateur (first O.E.D. citations are from the late eighteenth century) is “One who loves of is fond of.” That is to say: to be a professional photographer one must only be paid to photograph, but to be an amateur photographer one must love the process.
Amateur aptly defined, the purpose of this website is to feature photographs and ideas I feel are central to the process of becoming a better photographer. Here we are left alone with the intellectual sport of using photographs as a fulcrum to pry apart the way we process primary visual experience into memory by considering how photography taps into what Galen Rowell called “The Golden Sieve of memory.” (If you don’t know who Galen Rowell was, I recommend closing your web-browser and heading to your local library or bookstore to acquaint yourself)
About this blog
The Golden Sieve is a website I will update as frequently as I have compelling images or content to share. The meat of this conceptual feast is the business both of producing imagery and the mechanism those photographs use to rekindle memory of authentic visual experience. Have you ever wondered, “Why is it that photography works in the first place?” This matrix of pixels comprising lines and patches of color in no way accurately represents the real world in all its four-dimensional glory. I offer no answers, only new-age hoodoo and a few random thoughts on color and perception along the way to addressing that question. Photography is a way for me to gain first-hand experience in places of beauty. It forces one to be both participant and observer and to distill complex stimuli into a small, static frame. If photography is a path to adventure, then this website will be a path to think critically about photography.
This website will also feature free information on the production of images from click to print. I aim to make this one of a select few websites available offering the very best insightful and concise tutorials and descriptions of techniques. Check out my “Materials and Methods” to learn about HDR photography and to watch a growing collection of videos demonstrating every step of image production.
An amateur has the infinite luxury of picking when and where to photograph and an obligation to succeed at his or her vocation. The time I have to photograph and blog is limited, but I will make the most of it. That said, all comments and questions (email via the Contact link at the top of all pages) receive a quick reply directly from me – so drop a line!
A word on the design
For those web-savvy folks interested in how this little corner of the internet is built – here are some details.
The Golden Sieve is now in its third design iteration which was inspired by a growing interest in typography and the amazing work of Igino Marini in resurecting the Fell Type Font. These typefaces remind me of the joy of opening up an antique and well-loved book and rushing headlong into fragile, yellowed pages of adventure. Of course it was Igino Marini’s webpage that lead me to Joel Goodman’s work in generating the beautiful Modern Linguist WordPress theme. Follow those links and you’ll see just how indebted I am to each of those men.