Typical Lester Correspondence

Posted on Jun 14, 2011 in Articles About Photography

FROM 4-7-02

Conversations with Lester.


Have you ever read the Jungian psychologist/philosopher James Hillman? (The Soul’s Code, Blue Fire) He is a lunatic like Henry Miller. I ran across this passage in which he describes how imagination must be rooted deeply in sensual imagery, using whiteness as an example. Though it is not about photography, but rather silver and alchemy, I think he comes close to expressing why good black and white photography (like yours) feels more soulful and touches the soul:

Unless the multiplicities of white are kept as its shadows – as blues, as creams, as the wan and pale feelings of gray – the whitening becomes sheer blankness. Here is a reflective consciousness that perceives without reaction, a kind of frank stare, chilled and numbed, lunar, curiously deadened within its own anima state that should have brought it life.

So, to keep whiteness from blinding itself with simplicities (instead of multiplicities), a reduction needs to be performed on the albedo, but in its own style which means turning up the heat in an anima fashion. New lunatic intensities demanding active imagination and fermentations that lead to ever-finer discriminations (white against white), adding weight to light and rubbing the silver to more clarified reflections. This means friction, more accurate tuning of responses, and keeping to the lunatic fringe – noticing the oddity of behavior and feeling when images are first reality. We whiten the earth by earthing our whiteness. So, put the heat on anima attractions, soulful philosophizings, delicate aestheticisms, petty perceptions, global moods, lovey-dovey coziness, and the nymphic gossamer illusions that promise lions. Don’t literalize the relief of the albedo into relaxation: pull the plug on Mary’s bath. Silver is hard and it likes heat and truth; its telos is yellow and red, bright and loud

Dear Lester:

I was laughing out loud as I read that — did you make that up — somehow I think not — but it is really funny. It reminded me of that double-talk
professor — Irwin Correy?? I don’t think there’s a shred of reality in that passage, which means that it may actually be right on target, because
we all know that we don’t shoot at the target with a blue arrow, but that the target is shooting back at us with white and alibo rays which are
translated into figments of a lunar eclipse when the moon is right… Also…

“Alibo”…I can’t find that word anywhere. Is it Latin…Greek? Is it “sardine” in Lithuanian? Or did you have to make it up to express a hitherto unthought of concept:
a= without, -libo= fat book, n. that which has no fat book written about it? Whatever it means, it’s brilliant.

Dear Dave:

No, I did not make up that passage!! And I don’t understand why whenever I use a quote by Hillman, people laugh and make fun of it. I’m seriously trying to locate my soul. I thought I had it hidden under my socks, but Hillman says that the soul can also be found under the refrigerator, along with other lost objects, like dried up contact lenses.

I’m sure that you have to admit, that before you take a photograph, you subconsciously need to consult your alibo.


The “alibo” is a real word that is not in any dictionary. It is a combo type word which I have found useful. The words that it combines are: “libido” and “alibi” and hence by joining them you can have an alibi for your libido which first came into use in the French farce by Molliere which reminds of something that I’ve been wondering about — Did Molliere invent the “French Farce” or did he invent “The Farce”… If he invented either, what by all that is holy has happened to the French since then? I won’t mention Jerry Lewis, (I guess I just did) but how could the people who invented the farce enjoy Monsieur Lewis… this is a true mystery that needs to be solved (solv-ed)

And here the conversation really devolves into gibberish…

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