“It’s important to be cultivated. In my opinion, reading and considering great literature is the best way to do this, but there are many ways to deepen your understandings and your capacity to feel and notice. If you are cultivating yourself, the chances are greater that the work you end up doing will be worth doing as far as others are concerned. It’s best not to ask how your work will be received by the world or how it might boost your reputation. Just stay close to your own guidance and see what comes. Be authentic and natural – it sounds easy enough but it actually takes some discipline and courage. If you are able to quiet yourself and be honest with yourself, then it will be easier for you to embark on a project that truly excites you and rewards you."
-Mark Steinmetz, on how to start a project”—http://www.fototazo.com/2013/09/how-to-start-project-mark-steinmetz.html
Mr. Smith on change, progression and time…”I realized I had reached the limit and perhaps even the end of my earlier life. No matter how much I tried to recreate it it just wasn’t there. I looked and looked but something was lost. Even though I thought I did, I no longer desired to travel alone searching for pictures. I had come to love large production and felt empty without it. Over time I am sure I could go back but at that point I didn’t want to. I now loved not to find but to make my own pictures. I needed the right location but once there I wanted my crew to help refine and co-produce something more, something with a figure, and maybe a few small props. No longer was the landscape enough. I had changed. The landscape now seemed empty to me without a figure. It needed a person, large or small, making it’s way through the maze we call life.” -rodney smith
"All I can say is that when I release the shutter, in a fleeting burst of emotional energy, at that brief moment everything within the frame feels right. If it is a landscape, I have moved around until I have found the singular right spot, where intuitively I feel connected to the place. It is not an intellectual or conceptual endeavor. It is a primordial quest for tranquility and resolve. Everything in my viewfinder at that moment is perfectly aligned and just at that very instant, there is a driving powerful need and desire to press the shutter and capture that fleeting moment.”
Wallfly: We are interviewing several people on the theme of obsession. In My Story as Told by Water you write about “giving way to full obsession” and fishing a creek fifty or sixty times a year as a kid in Oregon. How is the same obsession playing itself out in your adult life in Montana?
DJD: I don’t mean to mess with your magazine’s theme, but to be honest, I don’t consider my fishing “an obsession.” I consider it a love, and the difference between the two is crucial. The word “obsession,” to me, connotes such things as stinky Calvin Klein perfumes and so-called “love affairs.” But affairs, to my mind, aren’t so much about love as about finding a sexual co-athlete and using each other as a dildo in order to avoid the hard work of love. Hence the need for stinky perfume. It disguises the emptyheartedness of the whole procedure.
My relationship to fishing is wildly quieter and steadier than that. I’m not a “rec head”, not a “weekender,” this is not an Outside Magazine-style Ten Coolest Ways To Jerk Off Your Psyche dalliance, this fisherman thing of mine. I’ve fished for fifty-four years and fly fished for fifty. I have lived on the banks of streams and rivers, or within easy walking distance of them, for all but ten of those years. Think about that span of time. In fifty years a river completely devours a massive fallen tree and turns it into nutrients, soil, other life forms, and nothingness. In fifty years a river turns good-sized rocks into sand. I haven’t escaped the same forces. Rivers have transformed me into something I wouldn’t have become without them and I didn’t create this something. Rivers did. That’s why one of my books claims to be told by water. It was. The trade has entered my bones, the carcinomas of harsh riparian sunlight have entered my skin, the elements flow through my bloodstream, and the mythology and poetry and reality of both pristine and dying waters have flowed right through my house so many times, broken my heart so many times, and mended my heart so many times, that I feel as though my heart has stopped opening and closing like an anemone and now is pretty much stuck open, with a lot of wind, water, and sunlight moving through.