A sequence of photographs is like a cinema of stills. The time and space between photographs is filled by the beholder, first of all from himself, then from what he can read in the implications of design, the suggestions springing from treatment, and any symbolism that might grow from within the subject itself.
Sequences originate for me from some hidden place. Though I habitually play photographs against each other, or words against images in pairs, triplets, or rows of four with expectations of magic, sequences originate from within. And I prefer to let them. In fact I cannot seriously do otherwise than photograph on impulse and let whatever words will, flow spontaneously.
Different levels of photography require different levels of understanding and skill. A “press the button, let George do the rest” photographer needs little or no technical knowledge of photography. A zone system photographer takes more responsibility. He visualizes before he presses the button, and afterwards calibrates for predictable print values.
The photographer is probably more akin to the sculptor in wood or stone than to painters as far as his mental creative state goes. The whole visual world, the whole world of events are wraps and coverings he feels and believes to be underneath. Often he passes a corner, saying to himself "There is a picture here"; and if he cannot find it, considers himself the insensitive one. He can look day after day—and one day the picture is visible! Nothing has changed except himself; although, to be fair, sometimes he had to wait till the light performed the magic.
I seek out places where it can happen more readily, such as deserts or mountains or solitary areas, or by myself with a seashell, and while I'm there get into states of mind where I'm more open than usual. I'm waiting, I'm listening. I go to those places and get myself ready through meditation. Through being quiet and willing to wait, I can begin to see the inner man and the essence of the subject in front of me... Watching the way the current moves a blade of grass - sometimes I've seen that happen and it has just turned me inside out.
The state of mind of a photographer while creating is a blank...For those who would equate "blank" with a kind of static emptiness, I must explain that this is a special kind of blank. It is a very active state of mind really, a very receptive state of mind, ready at an instant to grasp an image, yet with no image pre-formed in it at any time. We should note that the lack of a pre-formed pattern or preconceived idea of how anything ought to look is essential to this blank condition. Such a state of mind is not unlike a sheet of film itself - seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second's exposure conceives a life in it. (Not just life, but "a" life).
While we cannot describe its appearance (the equivalent), we can define its function. When a photograph functions as an Equivalent we can say that at that moment, and for that person the photograph acts as a symbol or plays the role of a metaphor for something that is beyond the subject photographed.
Some of the young photographers today enter photography where I leave off. My “grandchildren” astound me. What I worked for they seem to be born with. So I wonder where Their affirmations of Spirit will lead. My wish for them is that their unfolding proceeds to fullness of Spirit, however astonishing or anguished their lives.