About this Project.

Yes, I admit it. I was the one who started it, so I guess it’s up to me to explain, justify, rationalize….whatever. (I’ll pick the right word some day, depending on how things work out).

At the very beginning, it started with my amazement at how bad the teaching videos from DxO were, the maker of photo editing software I was just learning to use. The only guy who seemed worthwhile, more than a salesman, didn’t even have a full name, just Falcon. And I didn’t especially like how often he said that he had never taken a good picture that didn’t tear his guts out.

But this guy knew something that I wanted. A picture of the approach to the Louvre on a gray, rainy day conveyed the dreariness in ways that l didn’t understand, but then he talked about exactly how he did it, using the same software already installed in my computer.

This was a craftsman who knew how to teach, and I will immodestly tell you right now that I see myself the same way, and I don’t mean the woodworking that is a small part of this new website, but my professional craft as a psychiatrist.

So, my first email to Falcon was to ask if there were more teaching videos about the DxO software, from him or anyone else, worth watching. He mentioned some workshops he gives, but they were all located far away. Some months later, however, I decided to contact him again, but this time not about teaching, but working his magic on the objects that my wife and I have gathered over the past half-century. And because these things are very much a part of what I hope will be inspiring, I need now to explain “the Collection.” Whatever chance there is that l will succeed in this will be because of Falcon’s willingness to come out from North Carolina, to take pictures, and his willingness to do more, much more.

“The Collection” is the result of my need for solace, consolation, whatever other terms you like. “About what?” you ask. Well, in the early 1970’s, I was a young psychiatrist, new to the San Francisco Bay Area, and very happy to be in Berkeley. Because it was Berkeley, where received wisdom was not popular, and my views about my profession of psychiatry ran counter to most of what my colleagues accepted and what society trusted.

I couldn’t accept the medical model of mental disturbance, didn’t believe in “diagnosis” of the problems I was addressing with my patients, didn’t trust the pills so widely prescribed, didn’t believe involuntary treatment was a good thing to do, and, finally, was getting more and more exposure to the charade of psychiatric “expert” testimony in courts of law.

I did try, honestly I did, to be friendly with my colleagues. I went to psychiatric meetings, did grand rounds, even found some other psychiatrists who played some basketball or tennis. But, as I began to write some articles, give interviews or appear on radio or television to remind readers, listeners, or viewers that psychiatry was not what was assumed, l could see that remaining “in the family” was not compatible with doing things my way.

My way was, and is, to tell it as I see it, and that includes the emotion that is part of who I am. My hope is that the emotion, coupled with the information to back it up, will enhance, rather than detract from the impact. I don’t know if that is true, but for me it is not really a choice. And that is where the house, the growing number of objects within it, the growing seriousness of the woodworking, come in. This was my way of dealing with the frustrations of so often trying to swim upstream, of having so few colleagues, allies, helpers. These objects take me to another place, a place of craftsmanship, dedication, and refusal to accept the easy way.

So, when I hired Falcon and his team to take pictures, I knew he could do an outstanding job. That is obvious from his website, Nyghtfalcon.com. What I didn’t foresee was how many ways we saw the world in similar terms, and that is why, in my usual impulsive way, I told him that we should do more than take pictures of objects I like to live with.

I also can’t foresee what comes next. That, my friends, depends on you. We will do our best to talk about our respective crafts, make it meaningful to you, and tell it straight. Please come back. Put us to the test— your test.