this is aamora’s eighteenth interview and we have put our questions on photography to Rhio9. He writes,

“Nothing here is a hard and fast philosophy. I’ve learned not to turn a POV into a fixed rule.”

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 WHY PHOTOGRAPHY?
I was living in San Francisco, 2003, enrolled in Landmark Education,”The Wisdom Course”. The gist of it was a visual display using photographs of friends, friends of friends, networks of friends, people we interact with and how we relate to each other to create spheres of influence. Thecamera I had was a Polaroid and I’d walk around the city taking pictures of street scenes, alleys, sidewalks, buses, night clubs, jazz musicians, bars, the night life, subways and panoramas. Eventually, I bought a Nikon film camera and began more serious efforts at photography.

 HOW DID I LEARN TO PHOTOGRAPH?
I never “learned” photography. For me, it was just another way to express myself, to create something with spontaneity, relying on improvisation, expecting the unexpected. I held the camera in my hand, looked thru the view finder, and pushed the button. The picture was either sharp and clear or it was blurry and out of focus. It either said something, evoked a response or it didn’t. Even if it doesn’t, it might for someone else. Now I can look at my photos or photos from others and learn something. Get better. Over time, I learned how to look, how to see, how to listen. It’s all part of the same process.

ARE PHOTOS “TAKEN” OR “MADE”?
The art director at Vesuvio’s in San Francisco told me, “First you take the picture, then you make the picture.” When you take the photo, it’s in your camera. As soon as you get it out of the camera, you start making
it: cropping, sharpening, contrast, effects you might play with. AnselAdams thought you made the photo the moment you looked thru the view finder. You start “making it” in your mind even before it’s conceived and conceptualized. Printing, putting it on the wall in a gallery, or posting
it online – that’s all part of “making” the photo. The trick is not to be pretentious about it, or take it too seriously.

IS PHOTOGRAPHY “ART”?
I’m not sure exactly what “art” is. If you frame it, it might be experienced as art. The photo doesn’t have a meaning, it’s just what happened; but the photo has a context, it’s nuanced. It’s magick.

WHO IS IT FOR – YOU OR THEM?
It’s always for me; never for them.

DIGITAL OR FILM – STILL A TOPIC?
No.

IS THE EQUIPMENT IMPORTANT?
Equipment is always important, but it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) determine the quality of the photo. Keep in mind that I’m not a professional, highlytrained photographer. I’m a hobbyist at best and ill-informed. So I don’t have an opinion about equipment that should be taken seriously. (laughter!)

 CELL PHONES?
Yes, but with a caveat-free. I loved my original, old-school, low-pixel flip phone that had poor quality. The photos were gritty, edgy, dirty – exactly how I saw San Francisco. I could conceal it in the palm of my hand and nobody would know. I’m a voyeur and I loved that cell phone. When they got better, with quality comparable to expensive DSLR cameras, I stopped using my cell phone for anything except taking closeups of food and
my cat.

WHERE DO I GO TO LOOK AT PHOTOS?
The internet mostly. Facebook. Instagram. JPG. Flickr. I find references to galleries, classic B&W masters, European sources, avant-garde artists with online galleries, blogs, sites like aamora.

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Rhio9 is a full-time professional musician living in Nashville TN. He started photography in 2003, and published a book of photos in 2008 called “bad food but plenty of it”. He is administrator for two blogs – 1. “rhio9″ (an ongoingcollection of photos, music links and original book reviews) 2. “3letterIntel” (a political-left-leaning blog updating news about the US Surveillance State.)

 He is currently working on a summary of the last six decades, a type of autobiography in an interview format and is continuing studies in zen, photography, music, acupuncture, philosophy, political science, media,
health, fitness and nutrition.