I Have An Addiction…

Yes, I have to admit that I have an addiction and it’s one that I have had since my school years… Well, actually I have two!

The first one is that I love Libraries, and probably too much!

Yes, I have a love of books which began at a very early stage in my life. I can remember being taken to Lakemba Library by Mum. In 1974 (aged 11) I won the Library Book-week Award.

Libraries for me were such fun places for a young mind to be. I remember being interested in a number of subjects, Geology, Astronomy, Aircraft, Ships, Science-Fiction, Movies but to name a few. Libraries are a font of information and (these days) some have questioned their relevance with the ever-present Internet now wound indelibly into our lives.

Our High School had a library (originally in an old classroom, but then a more modern separate facility was built up on top of the Science labs from memory). As soon as practicable after an assignment was given, I was off to the Library to do research and disappear into the ‘World of Books!’

I could quite happily spend hours at a Library when I was younger. As I grew up I would enjoy spending more and more time at the Library, taking as many books as I was allowed, and then enjoyed sifting through them at home, exploring and discovering worlds that I had not seen, experiencing (through books) things I had not done.

Fast forward to when I started work (1979, 16 years of age) wherever I was working I would search out where the local libraries were and join them, particularly if I was in an area for a while. Over the years I have been a member of approx. 12 Libraries.

I’m currently a member of 4 Libraries. Why still so many, and particularly when the Internet is such a force for information gathering? The Internet is a wonderful source for information for sure. Sometimes though it is overwhelming in its choice of what sites/people to take notice of?

For the amount of information, the Internet obviously wins hands down, so have Libraries lost their importance, their place in the world at large or in my world?

No, I don’t believe so for the following reasons:

1. When you walk into a Library it is like walking into an ‘inner sanctum.’ You are physically surrounded by knowledge, by the experiences of others and a sense of imminent discovery. Books, waiting on shelves, waiting for someone to accept them into their lives, to share their knowledge and wisdom. Often a library is a place of minimal noise and it is a place of relaxation for the mind. At least that is how it is for me.

2. The Internet has many people airing their views and information for all to see. Is everything on the Internet correct? There is no-one or body vetting the information before it appears there. From what I understand, the individual library will choose the books that they will have in their library so at least there is a ‘control’ to a certain extent.

3. The Library of the 21st Century is in the continual process of change to ensure it maintains its relevance in the community. Whilst at times the there is still a quietness about a Library, it now welcomes more and more groups as a meeting place. Craft, reading, discussion groups, retirees as well as the younger folk use the library as a meeting place. It is continuing to bring individuals and communities together.

It is pleasing to see change happen in libraries for without change they could quickly lose their relevance.

My second addiction, unfortunately, does not stop at ‘being a member of multiple libraries.’ My thirst for knowledge remains unabated and sometimes I have multiple books out, as many as 12 but thankfully sanity is prevailing and now don’t go above 4.

Whilst I read fiction, a lot of the books borrowed are reference books on all manner of subjects e.g. Photography, Art, Painting, Drawing, Cacti & Succulents, Sketching, Travel, Astronomy, Music, Business, Self Development, Poetry, Verse, History and so on…

Just this morning I walked out with, another 2 Art-related books which make a total of 4 this week.

At age 54, my ‘love of Libraries’ is still there!

This is one addiction that is going to happily continue! 🙂

Written by David Johnson

1 July 2017

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Public Speaking In Your Pocket!

Back in 1986 I joined Campbelltown Camera Club (now known as Macarthur Photographic Society). After 4 years there I was asked if wanted to present a talk on ‘Close-Up & Still-Life’ Photography.
Apart from a basic Presentation Skills course, I had never done any Public Speaking courses. Over time, I did some other Camera Club presentations and the ‘passion for Photography got me through.’ 😃
In 1995, I took on the challenge of becoming a Photography Judge and visited Camera Clubs, evaluating images and judging at Exhibitions up to National level etc.
I didn’t like being up in front up people but again, the passion for photography saw me through.
As time went by I started to source out material that would help me be a better speaker in public.
Long before I joined Toastmasters International (in 2008), I started purchasing public speaking/communication books and now have a collection of nearly 100 books relating to communication.
One of the early books I purchased is a very handy little book that is packed with tips and it’s small enough to fit in a coat pocket. I often still take it with me, and when I am waiting in a queue or waiting for an appointment, I will flip through it and ingest another brilliant piece of advice.
Contents include:img_7486
  • Your Voice
  • How Your Voice Works
  • Being Heard
  • Variety in speech
  • Clarity in speech
  • Microphone technique
  • Voice Care & Development

112 pages of public speaking Gold!

Over time, I will highlight some of the other Communication books that I find valuable and still refer to from time-to-time.
Written by David Johnson
7 February 2017

A Universe Of Knowledge

a-universe-of-knowledge5

Styles, Schools and Movements

One of my favourite books on my Art shelf is “Styles, Schools and Movements” The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art by Amy Dempsey.

Commencing with Art in 1860 to the present day, it explores 100 styles, schools and img_5984movements in depth and contains a brief description of 200 more.

Each chapter includes a headlining quote from an Artist which offers food for thought, a detailed analysis on the ‘style, school or movement’, example images, references to key collections and books for further reading.

I find it an absolute delight to ‘dip into’ and it provides a great deal of inspiration for my own Art, Poetry, Writing and Photography.

I have the First Edition. A link to the Second Edition can be found below. Enjoy!

David Johnson
October 2016

Inspirations… Photography

Whenever we have an interest, be it in Art, Sport, Work or in another area of Life, there are people that will inspire you.

Over time I will be highlighting the men, women and groups that have (or still do) inspire me.

I begin with one of my favourite photographers, Margaret Bourke-White: (1904 – 1971)

Margaret Bourke-White was a pioneer in many ways and her specialties included Photojournalism, Social Documentation, Architectural, Industrial and War photography, working in predominantly Black & White. She was one of LIFE Magazine’s most prolific photographers.

20150820-IMG_2573-1Margaret Bourke-White had a fascinating life full of challenges and adventures. I remain captivated by her imagery and her boldness in overcoming both work-related and personal challenges throughout her prolific photo-taking period from 1920’s through the 1950’s. She was indeed a pioneer.

In photographing in a Steel plant she used heavy equipment (that today would seem antiquated) and experimented with lenses, films, Magnesium flares and her imagination to obtain dramatic Industrial images.

Margaret Bourke-White also worked with Writer, Erskine Caldwell on the ‘You Have Seen Their Faces’ Sharecropper farmers that affected 10,000,000 Southern Family lives in the United States in 1936. The project was approached in a compassionate manner. The images are powerful and depict the farmers’ harsh way of life…

She was a pioneer of the ‘photo essay’ and photographed many of the leaders of her time, including Gandhi, Pope Pius XII, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill.

I look at her images and can see a great sense of personal involvement from her in them. Immersing herself into her subjects, she was able to bring out graphic emotion and the beauty of light, shape and form. I have two books i.e. her autobiography, “Portrait of Myself” and the book pictured above.

A true inspiration!

Written by David Johnson
20 August 2015

Recommended reading:

When The Student Is Ready…

We’ve probably all heard that quote, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…’

Over the years (being the Library addict I am) I sought out different books on the subject of Writing, as I kept thinking that I would like to write someday. Time always seemed the enemy, though perhaps it was not high enough on my priority-list… Photography was still my main interest at that time and, in terms of interests, not much else got a look-in.

I purchased the book ‘The Tao Of Writing’ back when I was working in the City of Sydney in 2008. I had a Coffee Table book 20150815-IMG_2510-1called ‘The Tao Of Photography’ which I liked and I thought it would be interesting to read how The Tao applied to Writing.

Commencing the book I found that it ‘did not resonate with me.’ The words were just words on a page that could not seem to hold my interest. It remained in my bookshelves. A couple of years later I tried again. Same result, yet I held onto the book through moving house/book culls.

In 2013 I ventured into my first two Blogs, ‘Light Inspired’ (Photography) & ‘Observations & Other Writings’ (mainly Poetry with a few articles) and over the past two years I have enjoyed writing for both of them.

In May this year whilst scanning my bookshelves, there it was…‘The Tao Of Writing.’

It stared at me and I stared at it. I picked it out and started to read and it began to speak to me in ways that I could not imagine.

It has inspired me to:

  • start to formulate and idea for a reference book. I have the outlines for 2 chapters done
  • progress on my idea of a Short Story book project. I have the outlines of 4 stories
  • think about the way I communicate in various forms
  • develop this new blog, combining my interests

Was this the same book? Indeed it was and I enjoyed each and every page that I read, and the exercises at the end of each Chapter.

Why the difference? I guess I was not ‘ready’ to see and begin to absorb what Ralph L. Wahlstrom had to teach me.

I class myself as a ‘beginner’ in the writing world and have much to learn!

I’m really looking forward to attempting the 70 exercises in the back of the book, and I know I will be revisiting the book time and time again.

Something told me years ago ‘to hang onto that book.’ I’m very glad I did!

Written by David Johnson