(based on a true story)



So I took this picture about half an hour ago. In Rio. Well, Renata is in Rio and I am at home alone in Carolina talking to a black cat. Renata is a character in my book about to go to press in Italy which was shot in Rio. My not so secret fantasy night in Rio. (based on a true story). Yes the real title. Go figure. Presses roll in 20 days. Hmmm, maybe I put this in? Blending fact and fiction all the way.

What about you? If you are a documentary photographer, ever think about fiction? In photography fiction and non-fiction tend to be done by different photographers . Writers cross all the time. My work in Rio is all “real” but real only to my immediate surroundings. For this book I did not “go anywhere” to take a picture. Wherever I happened to be, was where I was going.

There will not be one word in this book. Zero text. Almost no title. That is why I want you to read it very very carefully.



408 Responses to “(based on a true story)”

  • ron you have left too many footprints to remain anonymous on the internet you breached your own privacy

  • Imants,

    no, I don’t even think that I am completely anonymous, nor really care that much:)… but seems other people here do care, and asked me “why”, I just answered the question:)

  • eduardo sepulveda

    20 days, wow! nothing more real than that. the most phantastic photographic experience, though.

  • Interesting questions between this and the other thread. I’ve always thought that pictures, or any kind of work of art should have some meaning. But then sometimes I can love something that’s only purpose is to be visually interesting, or more commonly, simply beautiful. And I like stories in which each element is meticulously crafted to make a coherent and insightful whole. But then sometimes my favorite works are just random things that somehow fit together.

    Within my own work, I’ve recently become fascinated by the mini-essays that happen when I search for an original and the Find command returns several photos with the same name. It’s funny how so often these entirely random groupings manage to form a meaningful narrative, at least for me.

  • Thodoris…

    I love the black sun image, again the sort of style I constantly see in my mind. Nothing wrong with the snow pictures, it’s just I’m a little over saturated with snow images as I see we weren’t the only place in the Mediterranean who’s suffered the cold this year :)!

  • Paul, I know… the other two (although pretty) don’t go much beyond “descriptive”… thanks for your thoughts…

  • Panos..re. Republican theory..that does about sum it up. There are some scary folks down your way.

  • yup…(scary): very accurate indeed, Gordon

  • I am not scary, dammit!

  • ha ha…i was awaiting/expecting your arrival monsieur Akaky:)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    can I sing now?

  • @ PANOS:
    Thanks for the advice about the exhibition. I will do a private guided visit this Saturday, and then I will send you some pictures of the event.
    In the vernissage/presentation I have sold one with dimensions are 30 x 90 cm, (XPAN Format) here we have the metric system…remember Pulp Fiction dialogue when Travolta comes back from Europe…) at 150 Euros. Not Bad! I’m happy. More to come.

    Wish you a great “super” Wednesday.

  • Thodoris…

    “Descriptive”; that’s the perfect word to explain my perpetual problems I’m suffering with my landscape work. I keep coming back with far too much information as I’m convinced I need something slightly more ambiguous which is bringing me to the conclusion that a digital camera is probably the worse device for this elusive image.

  • Patricio,

    “Royale with cheese”

  • Ron Artest or Metta World Peace,
    Anthony RZ and now with new ID: “Ron”,
    it’s still same for me.. You can change clothes, troll names etc, you can fool
    everyone ( not easy to fool
    Imants though ;) for a day or two but then?? What then?
    Does it matter? But then again Prince turned himself into a “symbol”..
    Ways to go
    Anthony …
    Greetings from FBTI ( Federal
    Bereau of TROLL investigations )
    Ps: stop playing games and get into
    the point !
    I’ll let you go with a “warning” this time but don’t abuse it this time:)
    Your faithful friend : panos

  • On a lighter side don’t miss MESSI’s/BARCELONA at 1pm ET ( NYtime)..
    Better than Circle de Soleigh and cheaper

  • Carlo/ Patricio … Lol
    “Royale with cheese”? Anyone??

  • Paul, you can always post process your digital files to imitate the inherent visual “elusiveness” of pinhole, holga etc, but I prefer the “real thing”… in the end though—as John would say—it’s the picture that counts, not the technique… cheers

  • Panos…

    Imediately I went to “Ron”‘s gallery I knew I had seen them somewhere before on Burn and then I remembered they were all by Anthony RZ. Of course I wasn’t 100% sure, but quite close. In someways Anthony Ron RZ should take it as a compliment… :)


    I’d prefer: “They don’t even know what the fuck a quarter pounder is?” LoL.
    Yes, yes of course, Messi & Co tonite.

    PS: Berk! not Royale with cheese, pasta is 1000% better than that…

  • Paul,

    oh yes absolutely i agree…some nice work indeed by Anthony….no doubt…
    its just..no need for that extra “trolling/name changing” touch if u know what i mean…

    pAtrIcIO m,

  • Thodoris…

    This is the closest I’ve ever been to a successful digital landscape image…
    (Eva I haven´t forgotten the picture!)

    Well, like you, I think for that elusive sometimes “possessed” or “haunted” feel you need film and a “Crap” lens! You’ve got to leave it up to serendipity and bad luck.
    BTW have you ever seen the extras from the Sally Mann’s “What Remains” documentary? There’s one chapter where she’s going through old photos from Immediate Family and she comments something like now that time has passed and the kids are all grown up how she regrets having used those blurry lenses. Wishing it was all in focus to remember with more clarity those years.

  • nice touch though, from ARZ to ARRZ !

    yes :GO MESSI/Barca! in exactly 43 minutes from now!

  • Panos…

    I wonder if Ronnie RZ is also the mysterious “Latvian wolf dog” who complained last summer about a little tech talk?

  • Here’s a nice quote from a Greek poet…

    “All the words are not enough to get anything said.”
    Yannis Ritsos

  • Paul
    How did your creek foray landscape photos go?

    I don’t think it is digital technology that gets in the way of capturing the “illusive”. The random and surprise element that is the reality of shooting film, especially with low tech cameras is perhaps what is missing. Certainly this is magnified when using cameras with marginal viewfinders, or in the case of most pinhole cameras, no viewfinder at at all.

    One could always put duct tape over the screen on the back of our dslrs, save the surprise for later. I’ve been having fun lately with an old 2mp Canon point and shoot. It has an optical viewfinder and the screen on the back of the camera is tiny, pixelated and next to useless. Low tech can be fun.

  • Panos I get fooled easily initially but then it is just a matter of seeing the first mistake ………it is like fishing in a bucket. The rons should not look at the links(lure) provided

  • Paul, as Gordon said, I don’t think that shooting digital hampers landscape photography. I love to shoot landscape, and sometimes I do mix it up with a pinhole lens, but for the most part I just shoot straight digital.

    I think it’s more of a mindset of what you’re looking for in your images. Have you read The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori? He took a workshop with Minor White and shares Minor’s instructions in his book:

    “Venture into the landscape without expectations. Let your subject find you. When you approach it, you will feel resonance, a sense of recognition. If, when you move away, the resonance fades, or if it gets stronger as you approach, you’ll know you have found your subject. Sit with your subject and wait for your presence to be acknowledged. Don’t try to make a photograph, but let your intuition indicate the right moment to release the shutter. If, after you’ve made an exposure, you feel a completion, bow and let go of the subject and your connection to it. Otherwise, continue photographing until you feel the process is complete.”

    I know this approach won’t be for everyone, but it is a good exercise.

  • Paul, I really like the picture you linked to…

    As for “What Remains”, I’ve only seen the regular version but I do get her point and it’s one I’ve spent time considering…

    Actually, if you’re anything like me (second guessing yourself and over thinking things) this can easily become a debilitating thought… “what might be the best format, lens, camera, film, developer, paper, etc for this project?”… and it’s a valid thought to have… after all if you’re gonna put the time, the effort and the money (that you don’t have) into this-or-that project, you’d like to avoid (if you can) looking back a few years down the line thinking you should have done it differently… well, right now (and after years of thinking otherwise) I’m thinking it’s better to actually go and shoot the project the “wrong way” than to put it in the drawer, waiting to be “ready” to take it on “properly”…

    Sally, can second guess herself all see likes after the fact… she still has the PICTURES…

  • MESSI scores 5 goals..
    Final score 7-1

  • What I like about landscape photography is the way the landscape never tells you to hurry up and take the picture, for crying out loud.

  • What I like about landscape photography is the way the landscape never tells you to hurry up and take the picture…

    Ha, you just haven’t learned to listen to the landscape.

  • Akaky you sound like you been a Prom photographer all of your life:)
    or a paparazzi !??

  • Balderdash. I have learned to listen to the subtle whisperings of the landscape and what the landscape wants more than anything else is twenty dollars to tide them over until next payday. Frankly, if I want this kind of aggravation I can go visit my relatives.


    i am not a landscape photographer, but i have made a few landscape pictures…what i noticed in my forays into landscape photography was that landscapes moved just as quickly as people rushing down the street….split second timing is required….the wind whips a tree limb, the sun coming through the clouds casts light patterns moving oh so quickly, a wave breaks at sunrise and there is only time for one frame with the spray just right, falling leaves do not give you a second chance, storm clouds race ahead of lightning bolts bam and gone, and a black crow lands oh just so on the fencepost never to return and on and on….yup, bad news, you gotta hurry up and take the picture no matter what….

  • Or an elephant can come charging at you like in Nick Nichols example ;-)))

  • Patricio,

    Just give me cheese and i’ll be happy….no “royale” needed…
    and of course…PASTA!

  • Gordon…

    My two kids, dog and I had a brilliant time at the creek, which was luckily full to the brim with water. There’s only one man made bridge throughout the 4km of streams, lagoons, and a couple of beautiful waterfalls which run through a beautiful oak and pine tree forest. Every so often we had to cross from one side to other by jumping across large boulders and rocks and of course my foot had to finally let me down and I ended up in the river doing my very best to successfully save my 1ds2. Anyway, photography wise I think there maybe a couple of interesting images, but as I’ve already complained the digital camera just captures too much information. I don’t know how, but I will finally get the type of image I keep seeing in my mind. It’s well over two years I’ve been struggling with this search and I’ve become so dissatisfied with all my landscape stuff I’ve even given up the few commercial landscape jobs I had. Not that I regret it one bit.

  • Amelie…

    “The Zen of Creativity by John Daido” was the first book I ordered once I was out of hospital after my first unsuccessful foot operation. Great book but I must admit I was already feeling extremely despondent towards all landscape stuff. I can see it on bookshelf right now and I’ll pull down once I finish my current book.
    Now if you enjoyed that book, there’s a good chance you may enjoy these… :))



  • Nice one! thanks Sam.

    To reach him I must penetrate the gauntlet of others competing for his attention: curators, editors, friends and the countless young photographers he advises via workshops, Skype, Facebook and his immensely active blog, Burn. “Just let me get a cup of coffee,”

  • Here’s an example of one of my more or less typical black and white landscape shots:


    Similar to Goose Pond in vision but totally different approach. Curious what more mainstream folk think of this kind of thing.

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