Tag Archives: Reflections

Back in the Saddle Again: At the Artist’s Studio

As usual I get Special Recognition of some kind…………We’ve discussed what that might mean before.

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The Symbol of My Journey

But I like the Light Space and Time Gallery………I think that they are Fair, so I’ll Keep supporting them.  Check it out and consider sending something in.

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Through the Glass: Post Surgery

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After 13 hours of surgery; 90% of my tumor removed (excellent for a brain tumor); and 5 days in the Hospital….All I have to show for it is my Mayo Clinic Mug!   I did get released on New Year’s Eve and had that time with my Family.  One final thing I can say about the surgery is that my brain is functioning differently and my visual and audio perceptions are different;  not reduced or degraded, just different.  I will continue to explore this issue during my recovery.  Although my traumatic brain injury was planned and controlled, there are still ramifications I’ll be dealing with further down the line.  How will this affect my Artistic Vision?

What I have also experienced is the highest level of health care service EVER IN MY LIFE!  I want everyone to have this level of care!!!!!!

On January 23rd I start my Proton Beam Radiation Treatment.  Last year a friend of mine died from Esophageal Cancer.  The Proton Beam treatment was an option for his cancer that was never offered to him, because it wasn’t covered by his insurance.  I AM PISSED that he didn’t at least  have the option.

Through The Glass: Terms and Conditions

As You read this I will be in surgery for my brain tumor; thoughts, prayers and well wishes appreciated.  And the image below will be ‘unpinned’ from my Twitter page, because hopefully after my surgery I will have clarity and not ambiguity…..

I also want to explain how my ‘medical updates’ will intertwine with my normal Photographic Posts.

And this is the ONLY time you will ever see a Biblical Quote here, but you will see the connection:

1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12: “For now we see through a glassdarkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 

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The Symbol of My Journey

All of my Journey Updates will start with the heading:  “Through the Glass”  And I have added that tag to take you directly to these updates if you are interested.  I hope that you can see it refers to the Ambiguity of what I am facing.  That what made this image so timely.

Through The Glass Update: My Photo Travel Kit

So as I embark on my Medical Journey in Arizona, as  I am able I will be doing only Photography and Music as my therapies.  Most of my cameras are shown here.  But these are the ones I’m taking to AZ:

My Medium Format Favorite:  Mamiya 6X7: with 43 mm, 50 mm, 150 mm and 210 mm lenses.  But I mostly use the 43 an 50 mm.

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Mamiya 645 for more versatility.  This camera gives me all of the SLR options, including  a a nice 80 mm macro:

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The Fuji GA645Zi; My Medium Format Street Camera, because of the auto-focus and auto-advance.  Basically a medium format point and shoot;  which is why I got it.

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Pinhole Cameras: Diana Multi:  I’ve had a lot of fun with this camera over the past year.

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The Reality So Subtle Pinhole:  Still working out the Range Finding on this camera.  I have the filter-option 6X6 model.  I have to say this camera has the smoothest mechanism of any Pinhole I’ve ever used.  So I’ll take it with me and work on the range (maybe I should watch some of the YouTube videos?)

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And Finally, my “riding shotgun” always in the front seat and ready Minolta X-700:  My jump out of the car and shoot camera.  I have 3 of these and they are all going.  I use my trusty Tamron-adaptall 28-200 zoom.  A combination I have been using since the early 90’s.

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OK, It occurs to me that I won’t really use all of these cameras in a 3-4 month period.  Which one would you leave behind?

When Life Throws a Curve

From the vagaries and ups and downs of life.  I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect.  Another Intersection of Life and Art.

As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation.  But here is where The Story Begins:

On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”.  Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist.  His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye.  He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.

(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey.  So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)

When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked.  The diagnosis:  Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.

But, there is also a back story:  I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor.  So I also (and for the rest of my life)  have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.

Weeks of testing:  Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer;  Dodged that bullet!  But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined.  All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.

So how do they access that area behind the Eye?  By drilling holes through you sinuses.  The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face.  My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in.  Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.

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Waiting for my Biopsy

Biopsy Results:  I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later).  It is in effect a birth defect.  It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t.  And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.

My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm.  It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).

Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places.  So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.

POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades).  Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks.  So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go.  Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.

Ciao Baby!

Armistice 1918-2018: What Have We Learned?

Over the past 4 years of the 100th Anniversary of World War I (The War to end all Wars, except that it didn’t).  I had hoped for some thoughtful reflection on the Root Cause of Conflict.  I am aware that some of this occurred Across Europe.  But nothing here in the USA.

WWI History is barely touched upon here.  I know much more than the average America due to an excellent AP European History class I took in High School.  It was taught by one of my most memorable teachers, Mr. Knab, from the perspective of the root cause of conflict and how it directly led to WWII.

An opportunity lost……..

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So I am Honoring My Father’s WWII Service in a Segregated Army, in Italy.  1st Lt Vernon Johnson.  An Army He later helped to Integrate under orders from President Truman.  He worked in the Army Reserve, ‘helping’ white soldiers get used to taking orders from African America Officers. At the out break of The Korean War, he was like other WWII veterans, exempted from further service because he had a wife and child.  At least back them they did not want to make more Widows and Orphans.

Notably my Father was also a Buffalo Soldier…..And he loved the Bob Marley song.  He felt Appreciated and Respected.

 

 

My Father always talked about the Children he met in Italy………

 

 

And Training at Ft Huachuca, Arizona…….

 

 

 

We’ll end with a Photograph of my Mother.  The one that my Father carried with him through the War. I found it in his old foot locker along with many of the images above:

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Mom is still with us at a Feisty 95……

Just When We Thought it was Safe……..

After discussing the “Contest Trap” in previous posts….. of course I have just entered another contest for the Denver Architecture Foundation, sponsors of Doors Open Denver.  My interests in the contest was two-fold:  I’m a member of DAF and the co-sponsor Colorado Photographic Arts Center (aka CPAC, and unfortunate acronym): I love photographing Architecture…….Also it was open to any architecture within the Denver City limits, no stated time limit.  So although the Clock Tower was taken at a DAF Open House, none of the images are from the actual Doors Open Denver Event.

I tried to avoid cliched images….Did I Succeed?

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My Expectation is that I will again fall into the “Special Merit Category” which means, OK but not our style……..

Thoughts on Personal Vision

 

Above, three recent but very different images that I had submitted to an online Gallery.  Two are very recent, but the Apache Plume is from about 12+ years ago. So what does that say about my photography skills, style and personal vision.  Keeping in mind that vision and style are not synonymous.  These represent different styles, but I think a similar vision in regards to how I see the light and what attracts my eye.

All of these images received a similar ranking (details here).  That soul destroying ‘Special Merit” category that keeps you wanting more.  So what does “special merit” mean anyway?  Have I not progressed at all in 12 years?  Or are my interests and vision not the current hip and trendy thing? (I think the latter)  So I’ll get recognition, but never actually win a contest?  (One of my recent submissions is going to be published in a book this year.  But that’s another story……..).  And what is winning?

My middling success for a while sent me down “The Rabbit Hole”  as I discussed recently on my photo diary.  So I’m reflecting, reorganizing and redirecting my energies.  At a recent Personal Vision Workshop with Cole Thompson, we discussed how winning can actually be a setback to the progress towards understanding our personal vision; leading us to pursue the WIN rather than the VISION.  Small rewards can seriously sidetrack real goals and personal accomplishments.

Who are you making photographs for?  Yourself or the win?