Two years have passed since I last posted a comment on this thread. And a year and a half since I retired from Penn State. The idea of the empty mind has floated to the surface more than once.
Mostly I've been exploring the breadth and depth of my laziness. My wife supported the exploration with the statement that I had worked professionally for 44 years. Longer if you include the car wash, gas station, ship welder and other odd jobs on top of that. No wonder I want to explore nothingness of activity.
But laziness has its limits. And it interferes with the empty mind as the guilt of things undone accumulates.
There has been good though. From the malaise emerged some clarity regarding photography. I've finally given myself permission, or acceptance, that it's ok to work with film rather than digital for most of my personal work. It's not about resistance to technology, change or the future. It's just the most comfortable, reliable and satisfying path.
The change started with a Zone VI view camera and a wandering documentation of where I live and the things that occupy the landscape. The darkroom was functional and comfortable as I worked at processing and printing 4x5 TXP.
After some months the desire to shoot 35mm film surfaced. My regrets at surrendering my Leica M6 and lenses to others needled me. The only bright spot was that Sally Mann bought my 90mm Summicron lens. She was interested in the fog and fungus in the lens.
Sticker shock, and not yet fully convinced my desire to work with 35mm film would last, I could not bring myself to buy another M6 and lenses. Instead I purchased a Nikon F3 HP and a 50mm and 35mm lens. While it's not a Leica, it has been comfortable to use. My fingers still have a lingering fragrance of fixer from printing last night -- the same full frame images in the middle of 11x14 fiber paper.
I'm planning to revive my 3 Prints Project -- expose a roll or two of film every week and make three prints. Here's a link to the 3 Prints Project
Index. It has some of what I was doing.
Despite the collapsing temperatures at the moment due to the polar vortex, I'm in a good place photographically. My mind continues to empty as I focus on what's important to me now...