The Essence of Photographic Reflections.

The Essence of Photographic Reflections

The Essence of Photographic Reflections

I disrespect spirituality and religion. Funny thing, though, in the morning’s early hours, as I sit reading over  my book, I am awash in feelings I can only describe as “spiritual.” Many of the photos take my breath away. But finally, it is the quotes that accompany the photos that transport me to a higher plain. For example…

On Photography

Humanity doesn’t need more sharpness. We hunger for beauty, and meaning, for stories, and for love.

 – Galen Rowell

If it makes you cry, it goes in the show.

 – Annie Leibovitz

A camera teaches you how to see without a camera.

 – Dorothea Lange

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.

 – Diane Arbus

On Childhood

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

 – Mary Oliver, Poet


Rick: Have you ever thought about just throwing in the towel?

Gloria Steinem: You can’t throw in the towel because the towel is you.


The trusting relationship between those who govern and those who elect has been the hallmark of our compact for the past 25 years.

 – Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

On Nature

You are unplugged. It’s restorative; a pilgrimage.

 – Scott, Hiker, Desolation Wilderness


We want to leave it (Desolation Wilderness) this way for a very, very long time. We want to pass it down.

Come here with respect, and love it.

 – Liz Williamson, Forest Ranger

On Bridges

This is their temple,

vaulted high,

And here we pause

with reverent eye.

– Joseph B. Strauss, Chief Engineer, the Golden Gate Bridge

On Music

Louis Armstrong expressed the feelings I couldn’t, and put me in touch with ones I didn’t know I had.

– Tom Greening, Psychologist

We don’t get nourished by food alone. We must have nutrition for the soul, and music is the medium for that.

– Samuel Chan, MD, Violinist

On Sports

What I like about this sport is that it is not traditionally competitive. When you have a team of pole vaulters, they are so giddy and high, they just cheer each other on. It is so much fun, it overrides the competitiveness.

– Doug Sommers

On that day, the wind was so strong and the waves so high, it was like trying to sail your boat in a washing machine.

– Brad Webb, Crew, America’s Cup Racing Team                                                               

On Work

We’re all a bunch of alpha males. If you’re too nice, your guys will walk all over you, and if you’re too much of a fuckin’ dick, they won’t do shit for you. They’ll fuck you every time your back is turned. *

– Larry Lippert, Ironworker Supervisor

The building is like a flower, and the ironworkers are the water that make it grow. We’re thrill seekers. We love adrenalin.

The higher up you go, the better. It’s more exciting. The fear is always there.

 – Jose Hernandez, Ironworker

On Community

Put the Chairs in a Circle and Let ‘er Rip!

– Rick Gilbert

Listening to others’ journeys helps me with my own. The secret is acceptance, trust, and understanding.

Being in this men’s group helps me appreciate the time I have left. We are all on the back nine.

– Ron Reynolds, 85

Our Zoom adventures are like a miracle happening in real time…a precious window into the past, a time now forever gone, like visiting a previous life, and revisiting friends you were once young with.

– Jim Hunolt

It is such a blessing to be a part of a large family that are all doing well. Being on the farm is almost a religious experience.

– Dan Flanagan

On Death

Our mortality is always at play and deserves our sharp attention if we are to really understand the value of this moment.

– Jim Hunolt

To Tim Garthwaite’s Three Grandchildren,

You may, someday, have children of your own.

Tell them about the great-grandfather

They should’ve known.

His mother danced

His father played violin.

His name was Tim.

A humanist, a poet, a musician

Who kept alive the family tradition.

In you there is some of him.

His name was Tim.

– From Rick’s eulogy for Tim


P.S. In me, there is some of Tim

So let us raise a glass to all those who gave us our first kiss.

 – Robert Fish

Reactions to Photographic Reflections

“It’s aptly titled: every page is worthy of reflection.  Just wonderful, artistic, and unique. It’s hard to put it down.”

– Melinda Henning


“It really flows and holds together and becomes one unified summary of a vibrant life, lived to the full—illustrated with words and photos that make it totally unique. Thank you for the gift of these insights. It cheers me to peruse it.

A+ (this is going on your permanent record!)”

– Brigitte Carnochan, Photographer


“Photographic Reflections is inspirational, beautifully done. It brings together so many people and past events to life. I shall cherish it.”

– Anna G. Eshoo, Member of Congress 


“A book is a resting place for the memories of people who have lived before. A way for the memory to stay fixed after the soul has traveled on.”

– Anthony Doerr


“Photographic Reflections is a resting place for your memories that will stay fixed long after your soul has moved on.”

– Mark Shaw


“You have captured time, Rick. Your personal seen beauty along the way enriches us all.

Reading and re-reading your volume brings it all back, the beauty and the other. Bravo!”

– Jim Hunolt


“Touches all kinds of emotions. Laughs are frequent and heartwarming.”

– Nancy Gilliland


“A tour de force. The photos, the humor, and history are amazing. You have such special gifts.

Wish I had more of Rick in me.”

– Tom Crotty

Wait staff at Talk of Broadway reviewing Photographic Reflections

If Sigmund Freud and Annie Leibovitz had a baby, it would be this book. 

To get a copy, send me $30 (checks and cash only, please), includes shipping and handling.

Rick Gilbert
1233 Harrison Ave.
Redwood City, CA  94062

2 thoughts on “The Essence of Photographic Reflections.

  1. Rebecca Morgan says:

    A quote that guides me almost every day is from Dewitt Jones: “The banquet is laid, yet no one comes.” He was describing the everyday beauty around us that few notice and drink in. He also told me that every day he takes a photo of something he finds beautiful. It makes him vigilant to look for beauty and not sleepwalk through life.

    I’m glad you included Fish’s quote in your list. That was such a magical story I heard him tell dozens of times and was grateful I could help him hone it.

  2. Susan Page says:

    Well I have not seen the book yet. I guess it is coming down to Mexico by burro. But I am moved by many of these quotes. And I love that you may have an inkling of what we mean by “spiritual.”

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