Musical analogies as to what makes for better pictures stood out even more clearly in my mind as friends, relatives, and former students shared memories in the Berkeley Hills garden of the home where my mother had lived her last sixty years. One ex-student and renowned teacher related how my mother used to say, “I don’t teach the cello. The cello can’t learn. I teach the human being.” She described my mother’s interest as less in prize proteges than in the development of human potential through unconventional approaches that allow people, “whether they are aged seven or seventy, amateur or professional, farmer or nun, to cross personal hurdles toward satisfaction when practicing their chosen art.” I remember coming home from school to find her crawling on the floor with a middle-aged Nobel laureate to demonstrate how his hands could carry lots of weight while his fingers could still move freely. She never confused physical tightness, or mental tightness, with lack of innate ability.
- Excerpt from Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, by Galen Rowell
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