Today I happily stumbled across an important little book I've been searching for during the past few weeks: Zen in the Art of Photography, by Robert Leverant, Images Press/San Francisco, 1969.
Stains on cover compliments of Hurricane Andrew.
The first time this book entered my life, it came with a perfect timing. This little, two dollar book arrived on Christmas eve of 1975.
In 1975 a visit to the in-laws in Rochester (the town that Kodak built), New York always meant another visit to the George Eastman house. I was, as usual, in the mood to browse over the latest exhibitions. As a relatively young man, I was re-evaluating my career options at the time.
Should I continue my college teaching career, or should I attempt to turn casual photography sales into a second career? That was the dilemma; this little brown book helped with my solution.
Robert Leverant presents us with 162 beautifully simple, poetic exposures of why we, who are infected by photography, want to make photographs. He reminds us that photography is to be found in the heart, how "Photography is ourselves" and how we reach out- and inside with our picture-making in order to connect worlds.
Of course, in 1975 follow your heart made the most sense to me. Still does.
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