31 Comments
May 11Liked by Tommy Dixon

Lovely reflections, always enjoy your words.

"The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread."

--D. H. Lawrence

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Thank you Addie (: really appreciate you reading & the kind note

Love that quote from Lawrence. Saving to my notes!

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"The science of anything may be taught or acquired by study; the art of it comes by practice or inspiration. The art of seeing things is not something that may be conveyed in rules and precepts; it is a matter vital in the eye and ear, yea, in the mind and soul, of which these are the organs."

--John Burroughs

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Ah that’s so good. Thank you for sharing (: saving to my notes !

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Great book. Highly recommend.

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Great quote! John Burroughs seems to have lots of tasty things to say. A couple quotes of his I've seen along the way. Just ordered a copy of The Art of Seeing Things. Thanks for sharing.

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Haha “tasty things to say” is right Tania. His quotes always knock me off my feet a bit - let me know how the book is if you get a chance!

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That's precisely the book I'd recommend to start with. If you're drawn in, I'd probably start from the beginning with his first book of nature writing 'Wake-Robin', which a lot of people see as the book that started the modern nature writing genre.

In a lot of ways, the stack I'll be launching next month is inspired by my own personal pantheon of four silos, or 'seven sages', with Burroughs being the one that best speaks to our lack of connection with nature, including our own. It's insane to me that he's all but unknown now. It's time for a revival.

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Thank you! I'm looking forward to your launch. I'm a new substacker writing about Nature connection.

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"There is almost nothing more valuable than beauty." This is such a "Tommy" observation.

Also, I LOVE this quote and perspective on seeing:

“If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.”

I'm working on a piece right now that Chesterton's quote will fit perfectly into.

PS: I will reach out tomorrow or Tuesday to return your email. I appreciate you reaching out.

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Haha thank you James! I took it out at first because it felt a bit spiky and hard to justify, but then added it back in because I liked it so much.

Chesterton has some awesome quotes. Glad it's helpful! And no rush at all. Sorry for being a bother.

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I love Algonquin PP btw!

I’ve been doing photography for just over ten years now - not professionally, but I’ve gained the skills to be a pro. I usually liken photography to therapy, in the sense that photography is a practice where I can ground down for a moment and listen and see what is around me in my environment. It’s always calming and relaxing, plus I always get new insights and perspectives. What an awesome art!

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That’s so cool Danielle! Ten years is quite the long time to stick with it. Impressive. If there’s somewhere to check out your photos, I’d love to.

Also the analogy with therapy is so good. The photos I take (or find beautiful) are like a mirror - each reveals more of me to myself.

Thank you for reading & hope you had a lovely weekend (:

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Yes! Photography is such a special art if you pay attention to your photos and what’s around you. There’s so much inspiration and insight coming from the experience of taking a photograph. I think that’s why I love it so much. Keep going!!

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Oops, I missed that part: all my photos are on my Substack posts, and my website. My photography IG might still be active but it’s a small glimpse of my photos @daniellescepphotography on IG. I do plan on deleting the account eventually when I get around to it. I thought I deleted it in the fall, but I think it’s still floating around.

Plan to do more photography these days, mostly horses and nature. You can find bits of my photography on @comebewithhorses on IG along with my poetry/book promo

I really should have a home for my photos again. It’s a big part of who I am, but fell to the wayside during COVID because I take photos of landscape and while on adventures so I didn’t have much of that during COVID. Maybe I’ll work on putting a gallery in my website or something. Great idea Tommy! I should revive them - I have photos from all my travels, Europe (I lived in Germany), west coast of Canada, and of course lots of northern Ontario landscapes

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May 16Liked by Tommy Dixon

your photos radiate this warm and cozy feeling, beautiful!

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Aw thanks Minh! That's exactly the vibe I'm going for (:

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Once more, and yet another time. Your writing is worth savoring, Tommy. The Chesterton quotation rang and rang through my imagination like a clear bell. Thank you!

I create an image daily that is meant to encapsulate one thought. Before this practice, I missed so many ordinary details that are valuable in retrospect. When I come across old photos or belongings, they have the power to evoke powerful, mysterious memories. My intention is to hold on to some of that ephemera with my words.

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Thank you J.T. (: and I'm glad you liked the Chesterton quote! that guy had some good stuff to say

I love the practice of having a daily image. Photography is such a boost to noticing, savoring, attention (as you pointed out). I wanted to venture into memory as well -- looking back at old photos is like injecting nostalgia and there's nothing like it -- but it began to feel too meandering and I figured I'd save it for another piece.

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"Start with where you are, start with what you have, and start with creation." --> the secret is out

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Hahaha thank you CansaFis. Starting with creating has been an idea I've been thinking a ton about. Instead of getting bogged down by lessons and tutorials and moreeee information, just getting out and trying it. Choosing joy and experimentation over instruction and optimization. Of course, there is a time and place for instruction and learning from others, but I think it best fits later on the journey.

Hope you've been well!!

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...life is a party brother...and i am her to live...and party...so basically i am confused because they are the same thing...live life...party party...you get the point...keep rocking man...

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May 13Liked by Tommy Dixon

Feels like a continuation of our chat some months ago. Which I enjoyed -the sharing of ideas and inspirations.

Photography, to me, is an inspiration like painting and in finding what I want to photograph my heart and my head work in unison and I shift into this “art eye” as I define it.

Years ago when I was still on Facebook, I would take photos on my morning walk. May be it was similar subjects but the lighting or perspective and inspiration I found were different with each. Before I posted in FB, I was still inspired to write a poetic description of what I felt or captured with each. That was for me only, not for FB viewers. Whether someone liked it or got it or not, didn’t matter to me. Like Bob Ross, photography and my inspiration is within my own world.

And oddly, my “art eye” can be applied in other scenarios such as driving thru a dirt logging road in the Quinault rainforest in WA state, I blur my eyes a bit to take in all textures and shapes and colors, in order to spot elk silently hidden in the trees. Or when our salmon fishing, seeing a color shift in the water when I know we are going to need to hold onto that fishing rod before a salmon grabs the bait and hook and peels off several yards of line. “Art eye” perhaps is better defined as that inner knowing or intuition but a softening of the eyes/vision as well. Thanks for your inspirational writing, as always.

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Thank you for reading Kim, and writing such a beautiful reflection here. I think you were the first person I really connected with on photography and I appreciate your support (:

You're so right about developing the "art eye" and how it stays with you, even when you're not actively looking for a photo or image to capture. It's a type of aesthetic self discovery, honing a sensitivity to beauty, that then becomes integrated in just how you view the world.

Also rainforests in WA and elk and salmon fishing all sound magical.

Thank you again and hope you have an awesome week!

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Ooo beautiful pictures!!! And great advice for beginners. Well done 👏🏻 ps I love the quote too

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Thank you Emily! still such a beginner in photography myself and practically know nothing but figured I'd try to write for myself 6 months ago.

Appreciate the love (:

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May 12Liked by Tommy Dixon

Photography is like writing in that way: they bough teach you to see. And to notice. And to think. And, most importantly of all, to slow down. Lovely essay pal... if you keep writing and snapping, you might one day end up with superman-like x-ray vision.

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Thank you Jack (: tons of interesting parallels between photography and writing (maybe why some are drawn to both). Slowing down wasn’t one I thought of, but so true.

Appreciate you reading & making me a little smarter each week. Means a lot.

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Firstly, these pictures are beyond beautiful. Secondly, I agree that photography is about learning to see—it’s like writing in that regard, because writers have to learn how to observe so as to garner content to write about! Wonderful work!

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Thank you Bethel, for reading & the kind note here. Appreciate you (:

I had a part I cut about the parallels between writing on photography. You’re so right. There are tons (improvements to memory and creating a log of your life come to mind especially)

Thank you again. Hope your weekend was lovely

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It was ^_^

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