It hit me the other day. Not like a ton of bricks but like a big bag of leaves and it exploded.
While Hamburger Eyes is about the outward journey, Ray’s Reports is about the inward journey.
I only bring it up because at the book fair last week people were asking. I usually just say, “It’s my personal blog.” Which it is, but I been thinking about what I’m doing here and why I am writing about what I’m writing about.
More thinking out loud. Thanks for listening.
This is Michelle. She loves McDonald’s and Sonic the Hedgehog and I’m guessing she made that tshirt. She’s very talented.
Feeling extra wordy these days, been gone too long.
I could’ve been blogging from my phone the whole time. The laptop is not necessary for updating this website, yet I prefer it.
Did I just flop into philosphical nugget on accident? Is life a continuum of desires, separations, and preferences?
I knew I wanted to write about minimizing my crap today. I’m moving. Again.
But I didn’t realize the role of preference in all this.
Everything around you is around you because of preference.
Throwing away something that has zero preference in your life will leave zero feeling of separation.
And vice versa, getting rid of something that has major preference in your life will cause a major feeling of separation. You can anticipate that sepration which is why it’s hard to get rid of.
I guess its my version of Marie Kondo. She will ask if an object brings her joy or not. I am asking if an object has more or less preference than another object assigned to the same duty. LOL.
On another level though, we can say our desires are driven by levels of preference with levels of separation.
In other words, your preference in options combined with the depth and angle of separation will reshape and sharpen what you want.
This really looks like a discussion synonymous with seeking pleasure and avoiding pain and how our decisions are heavily influenced by these factors. Turns out I am not dropping any new philosophy bombs.
Ok then. I prefer the typing experience on my laptop versus my phone, yet I can do the job of writing on both. The phone wins in portability. It’s a tie, so neither is going in the trash today.
(Writing this on my phone now, thanks.)
In the documentary I said something totally dumb along the lines of, “Your photos are your seeds.”
They had asked about my favorite photos that I had shot and I was trying to swerve the question by saying they are all my favorites, like they are my children or something. Embarrassing metaphor that now lives on the internet forever.
In my defense it was probably 8am and I was crazy nervous and there was no prep questions or any time to sort my thoughts.
I’m thinking of this now because a quote popped up recently.
“Don’t judge the day on the harvest, but on the seeds you planted.”
I don’t know who said it or remember where I heard it. Too lazy to look it up.
Ok, just looked it up. Robert Louis Stevenson.
Trying to see if my seeds, our seeds, are our photos or something else? In today’s world, wouldn’t just content in general be the seeds?
A zine, a book, a podcast episode, a video, a blog post?
No, I think the photo IS the seed and then it sprouts into one of those other things.
We may not know what species the seed is until later, sometimes years later.
I’m just thinking out loud here.
What I do know is that if I’m not getting my seeds right, I feel weird.
I don’t shoot or make stuff every day but I am learning lately that I feel better when I do.
BUT, on the other side of the coin, I have gathered some of the most exotic seeds and planted them in the most beautiful soil and sunlight. Watered them with magic water from Merlin himself and yet no fruit was harvested.
I think this is point though. The fun part is the seeds. The harvest, schmarvest.
I went to Paris once with my brother and our friend Monkey. We met a French girl and had a picnic with her.
First we went for some groceries. We learned about wine and cheese and sausage. “Saucisse” means sausage and “saucisson” means dry sausage. Like a salami.
We posted up by a river. “Saucisson c’est la vie,” she said.
I asked her to explain and she continued, “Food is life, wine is life..”
In memory it was way more epic sounding in her accent and she was very attractive. She didn’t say it but I felt more, “Sharing is life, hanging out is life. Today is life.”
“Saucisson c’est la vie,” stuck with us for a while. I still say it sometimes.
This is Blake. He turned a small room into a fully loaded darkroom. Haven’t seen this nice of a setup in a while and it’s in an apartment!
I been thinking how, if ever, would all this esoteric stuff I been researching and studying creep it’s way into my photography. I mostly just shoot like I’m recording an auto biography and there’s usually nothing mystical about my daily life.
But I do come up with weird movie ideas. One story is about the concept that we came to Earth in order to experience the full range of emotions. In order to do that, we chose to be born with amensia. That is because if we knew everything at birth, that would contradict our life experience.
This would be a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler. He would be born with full memory and he spends the entire movie trying to give himself amnesia without killing himself or getting permanent brain damage.
The title is, “I Thought Earth Would Be Different.”
I didn’t write a script but I liked the title so I used it for my new zine with Innen Books, get it here.
And then one night with a friend we were trying to come up with some cool shaman names. All the indigenous people of the Americas have cool names, but especially the shaman.
I came up with, “Infinite Brown Eagle.”
I ended up using that for the title of my new book. It was planned to be a series of 5 zines, but then I thought it would be a cooler as a book. It worked out to be 250 pages and will be out next week. I think it will eventually be a series of 3 books. We’ll see.
This is Laura. She’s 6ft tall and makes me feel like I’m that tall when cruising with her.
I made it back to LA and after a couple days I’m ready to get through mountains of emails and bills.
More notes on travelling.
Anytime you leave the apartment in SF or NY, lets say to meet a friend for coffee, somehow it’s $40.
I brought only a 28mm lense. Normally, it’s all I need but now I think I need a 40mm. I’d do the 40 or even 50 on the body and use my phone as the 28.
I used both my phone and Lumix equally but it’s redundant when both are the same angle of view.
As for work stuff, even though I can sorta “work” from my phone, it doesn’t mean its easier.
On the rainy days or days that I had time to myself where I should be trying to work, I really just wanted to read or catch up on Youtube.
My laptop is like 200 lbs and it has to be plugged in the whole time. It’s cumbersome and I should’ve left it at home.
I’m thinking a $200 Chromebook next time for travelling.
Great blog post, I know.
Also, I had multiple Instagram spazz out episodes. Like 3 of them that I talked myself out of, and then all of a sudden yesterday I deleted all my photos.
I figured out what my problem is. I have always printed my photos first. Either in print form or zine form or book form.
The LA book fair is coming up, so while I’m thinking about making either a new zine series or 1 book from all the photos I been shooting, I’m posting all the photos on Instagram.
Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at first, but when you start the layout, even just in your head, the photos are now a little deflated since all your people already saw them on the internet.
Even if the photos aren’t really deflated, you are deflated like there’s no wind beneath your photoshop wings anymore.
Overthinking it, for sure. But I think I will reserve IG for photos already published, or for news of new publishings.
This is Martin. He is awesome and brought the “get da fuck outta hea” anti-cornball vibes to our NY movie screening. Not that there were any cornballs there, but I haven’t felt that old school vibe in a while. We smoked a joint. And I don’t smoke so that’s how fun he is.
I’m almost back to LA, it’s been around 4 weeks from SF to NY and back to SF. Here are some notes.
Haven’t shot as much as I like. But that’s normal. I made my IG account into all portraits, so I find myself mostly looking for portraits which is fine. I wish I brought another lense or 2.
I’m getting old. Can’t stay out all night any more. Trying though. Also, it is hard to eat healthy on a tight travel budget.
It’s cool to meet all these photographers through Hamburger Eyes. I get down on myself sometimes, but this means I am doing my job correctly. These guys keep it going. “Wanna quit but can’t,” an Amart quote that comes to mind.
Lots of homies in transition. Is it something in the stars?
In SF now and then NY next week for the Hamburger Eyes screenings and book release, hopefully I’ll come back with some cool photos. See you out there.
My friend and I were talking about if she should go to see her friend’s band play tonight or if she should stay home, which is what she kinda wants to do.
A pros and cons list started developing and I couldn’t help but get into all these things I have been reading about and sharing here. The truth isn’t about why or why not, it’s about resonance.
When it comes to choices one option will almost always resonate more than the other so if she really wants to stay home and watch movies, then she probably should. She said the idea of seeing friends is resonating but not the actual show, I said she could see the homies the next day for coffee or whatever.
You might say this doesn’t apply to everything. For instance, eating a bag of Doritos for dinner versus actually cooking something. The bag of chips could be resonating very high but there is another voice saying, “Don’t be lazy..”
These voices, opinions, and commentary in your head are your conscious mind, sub conscious mind, and super conscious mind. I don’t know if this is right, but I equate your conscious mind with your head and ego, your sub conscious mind with your physical body, and your super conscious mind is your intuition which is galactic and multi dimensional in nature. That is for another post one day.
When we practice listening enough we can decipher where exactly these messages are coming from. Maybe you want to stay home because this particular bar is more draining then fulfilling, or maybe you shouldn’t eat that because your body is inflamed and your just 1 Dorito away from permanent damage.
These messages can come in loudly or quietly. So when a decision with options comes up, just sit and wait for the correct answer to start resonating. The idea is simple, but execution not always easy. I know.
Been getting good feedback on the blog lately. Thanks for reading!
I wrote about it before, self awareness to new habits to new goals. The idea is that discipline will lead to freedom. I am ready for the promised land. So far it is a long and treacherous road.
Part of it is also creating systems. An easy system to discuss would be diet, like making a legit grocery list and shopping schedule on a weekly basis. It sounds robotic to live your life like this, but for some people it could be a life or death situation if these changes don’t happen. (This is a difficult one for me because my schedule is all over the place.)
In these entrepreneurship books, the McDonald’s bros are always mentioned. They made perfect systems for each section of their business and then systems on top of those systems. It didn’t matter how smart or dumb a person was if the perfect system was built to accommodate them. Their systems worked out so beserker mode that they could deliver their food in minutes.
What’s the practical idea though? Not sure, it’s different for everyone. You most likely already have systems in place and it’s about tweaking them for optimization. Health, wealth, relationships, purpose.
This transitions into a conversation about chaos vs order. It’s not about balancing, more about cycles and riding waves. I think if we use systems to create a little bit of order when and where possible, then maybe we will be more comfortable in the chaos when it comes. At those points, expansion happens by virtue of experience. And then onto the next.
This is Jerry. He is awesome.
I post a lot of disclaimers and I’ll stop, but one more. I’m trying to do better while here on Earth, that’s all. I think I can do better by seeking and learning. These posts are just things I picked up along the way. The truth is out there and I know the truth is different for everyone.
One truth for me, embarrassing yet educational, is that I am not a wizard when it comes to putting together budgets and planning my financials.
Reading about writing has gotten me to think about how important words are. Specifically when it comes to self talk. Sure we can talk about positive mental attitude, but I’m talking about statements that are either true or false for you in particular.
For example, “making” money. I woke today up realizing this is a false concept for me. We can’t “make” money. It’s illegal, it’s called counterfeiting.
So when I say something like, “I need to ‘make’ money.” It may be registering in my sub conscious mind as wrong, error, or incomplete. Thus, a huge hangup.
When I change it to, “I need to ‘collect’ money,” it shifts the paradigm. Now trading for products or services is implied. And this part of my working day makes sense to me.
Somehow, it is freeing. Maybe I have stigmas about capitalism in general, but maybe it was just a simple vocabulary adjustment.
I work with people saying things like, “I need to hang this photo right now but can’t until I go buy a drill and some screws.” I’m usually the guy that says, “You don’t need a drill, what you need is a hole. Let’s use this stapler as a hammer and these paperclips as the nail.” Janky, sure. Effective, no doubt. But we didn’t have to go out and spend for one simple task and we can fix it later.
It’s about perspective and knowing truthfully what we really need to make something happen.
On the tv show Shark Tank, one of the sharks said something like, “The difference between us and you is that we treat our money like soldiers. Each dollar that goes out has the mission not only to return, but to return with lost or fallen soldiers.” I laughed but it stuck with me.
On a deeper level, I think we can say the same with our truths. Both internally and externally. We should use our truths to find and bring back more truths.
Some ancient cultures believed that every word spoken was either white magic or black magic. That is for or against yourself or someone else. To go even further that included the written word. Spellings created “spells”. To go even further you could say all thoughts, words, and actions create your entire reality. Or just thoughts really since the thoughts bring the words and the actions. So depending on your perspective, beliefs, and ideas your reality could be based in love or fear or a combo of both.
Here is Einstein saying it, “The most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place.”
He goes on and on but I think he was addressing the atomic age, saying if you believe the world is a unfriendly place then you will go build walls and crazy weapons. If you believe life is a dice roll, then you are living as a victim of circumstance with no purpose or meaning. But if you believe the world is friendly, then you can have power and safety by using technology, scientific discoveries, and natural resources for better understanding of how the universe works.
I like that. Another way I have heard it is that all thoughts are either inviting love or blocking love. And another way, my favorite way, is that all thoughts are either inviting miracles or blocking miracles.
We all have our up days and our down days but if we purposely try to have more up days, then maybe we can string together an up week to an up month, then an up year to an up decade and eventually an up life. Easier said then done, let’s go 1 minute at a time.
I just started reading a book called “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. It is a book about writing. I literally just cracked it open yesterday and in the title alone is a lesson worth sharing.
This anecdote is written on the back of the book also in greater detail in the intro of the book. I was going to summarize it but here is the full quote.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.””
I might have written about this already but I feel like writing about it again.
In the Abrahamic religions they refer to “Judgement Day” as the day God comes down and places a judgement on everyone. This person is going to heaven and this other person is going to hell.
But in some of the mystery schools, they mention that “Judgement Day” is the day that you yourself have your last judgement. Meaning, you no longer have any judgements towards people, places, or things. The idea is that you were born innocent and throughout life you pick up all these bad habits and ideas and lose sense of the truth. You evolve though and sooner or later stop judging and become free. They celebrated this day and some believe this is the symbolism for “resurrection”.
I’ve read that you spend the first half of your life building up your ego, and the second half tearing it down. It’s a similar idea.
I bring this up because of my job, I get emails from young photographers full of self doubt and self judgement. I am guilty of this too, constantly second guessing myself.
I think just having the awareness of it is half the battle. Gratitude, joy, openness, and hard work next. But what is often left out is vertical thinking vs. horizontal thinking. Vertical thinking is the idea that you have to be better then the next guy to get ahead. It’s competitive. Horizontal thinking is realizing that everyone is on the same level and has something to bring to the table, it’s collaborative.
So I think we just need to remember to bring something anything doesn’t matter what really. And when we do, we will get to eat. It sounds simple, but no need to make it complicated.
Ok maybe you like your job and working for other people, that’s great. But for some people like me, I can’t do it. I have done it and did a good job but today I think I would have a hard time. I think I would go crazy.
People are quick to say it’s laziness, but I think it’s the opposite. I have ideas and imagination and creativity and feel imprisoned in a regular full time job.
The only solution is either to live on the beach as a beach bum, or start a business. Which is what I have done here. And since it is not that natural to me, I have to study entrepreneurship.
One of the first books I read was “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. I read it first like 8 years ago and didn’t get much out of it but then read it again about 1 year ago and it changed everything. Sorta. Still a work in progress. I think it will always be a work in progress which is one of the fun parts of working for yourself.
This book talks about the truths and myths of running a business. The “E” in the title stands for entrepreneur. This book is great at systemizing everything so that you can be working “on” your business vs “in” your business. I read a lot of books, most of them unmemorable, but this one probably sits in the top 10.
I’m guessing if you are reading this it is because you found me through Hamburger Eyes. I’m guessing if you found Hamburger Eyes it is because you like photography. If you like photography, I am guessing you have a curiosity about being a working photographer. I know for a fact, talent is not enough. Not because of my talent but because I know of a lot of talented photographers that are having a hard time finding work. If you want to be a working photographer, then you will have to know about selling products or services. So, start with this book. When you’re done with that, I got more for you.