By Tom Henry Brooks 3

“When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”
“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart and head.”
“A photograph is neither taken nor seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos.”
“The picture is good or not from the moment it was caught in the camera.”
“The creative act last but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”
“Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever-attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.”
“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
“This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines and values is, for me, the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements.”
“In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject.”
“Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing.”
“You have to live and life will give you pictures.”
“Of course, it`s all luck…”
Henri Cartier-Bresson
My latest gravestone epitaph idea:
death, death, death……always death…..
hanging over us all like a black cloud or a bright flash of lightning….
After a lifetime of doing STUFF, I`m just gonna keep on doing STUFF…
“When men speak of the future,
the gods laugh…”
Chinese Proverb
The birthday of the great Charles Bukowski…
I had a distinctly UN-Japanese experience today right here in Tokyo. I went to Maruzen Bookstore, hands down, the greatest selection of English literature in Tokyo. It is right by the central Tokyo station. I took some great photos and then I got the latest Haruki Murakami book and a couple of others. Then I went out into the ultra-modern central atrium of this spectacular building and decided to have lunch at a place I had seen before and wanted to try. It is called Panino Giusto and it is obviously Italian food. I had a delicious panini with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes,basil, olive oil and dijon mustard. The bread was crisp and toasted and it was served with roasted potatoes and it was delicious. The ambiance of the place was very nice and I ate to the accompaniment of a very talented violinist playing a lunchtime concert just across the patio. I drank my Pellegrino and soaked up the nice atmosphere of the restaurant and the beautiful classical music and for a moment, just for a few short minutes, I could pretend I was somewhere in Europe. There was even a vast reproduction of Pablo Picasso`s Guernica on the far wall. It was all just spectacular and somehow the best day I`ve had on this all-too-brief vacation of mine. I think again of Charles Bukowski. He walked through the fire and came out a wiser man. Life is full of surprises…
Tonight, I raise my glass to you, Hank, in celebration of your immortality…and mine. Someday, I`ll see you at some seedy bar on the other side…
“His vision crawled with ghost hieroglyphs, translucent lines of symbols arranging themselves against the neutral backdrop of the bunker wall…”
William Gibson
“I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the performers.”
Mark Rothko
Japanese style business dinner….NOMMUNICATION…..
(I was told this is actually in some Japanese business manuals, as a way to help the reserved Japanese personality to come out of its shell and bond with coworkers. FASCINATING. I`ve been doing that for years and I never read it in any business manuals!)
Japanese cicadas in Tokyo are a strange anomaly that I am still not used to. The SOUND, I AM used to. I`m talking about when the end of the summer draws near and night falls. They start to die off and when they are in their death throes, they fly erratically around in chaotic circles, buzzing and clicking and slamming into walls and night lights and street signs and such. There is nothing like peacefully walking down a night street and having a GIANT 5.5cm BEAST of a bug slam into the side of your face making an ungodly buzzy racket. I do not fear bugs, but when this happens, it can really scare the shit out of just about anyone who is in a dreamy and contemplative mood because it is so sudden and random….
“8 years on the same job and I was just as broke as if I hadn`t been working at all.”
Charles Bukowski
That`s how they steal from you; they take your money AND they try to steal your soul as well…
… they may take my money, but they`ll NEVER get my soul…
“I would like to write a book which would drive men mad, which would be like an open door leading them where they would never have consented to go; in short, a door that opens onto reality.”
Antonin Artaud
“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible…”
St. Francis of Assisi
“These days, even reality has to look artificial…”
J.G. Ballard
“Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make. You can destroy your life every time you choose, but maybe you won`t know for 20 years, and you may never, ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try to figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there IS – it`s what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born, but while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right, and it never comes, or it seems to, but it doesn`t really. So you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along, something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. The truth is, I feel so angry. The truth is, I feel so fucking sad. The truth is, I`ve felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long, and, for just as long, I`ve been pretending I`m okay, just to get along, just for….I don`t know why. Maybe just because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own………..
fuck everybody……AMEN……”
“You were supposed to be something else. You were supposed to have something. Love, children, meaning… something…
Everything is everything.
Everyone is disappointing…when you know someone.
Stare out the window…
Think how you`ll miss her…
Stand up.
Nobody`s waiting and nobody cares.
And when your wait is over, this room will still exist and it will continue to hold shoes and dresses and boxes, and maybe someday, another waiting person, or maybe not. The room doesn`t care either.
Go outside.
What was once before you, an exciting and mysterious future, is now behind you. Lived, understood, disappointing…
You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone`s experience; every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone is everyone.
It is time for you to understand this.
As the people who adore you stop adoring you….as they die, as they move on, as you shed them, as you shed your beauty, your youth, as the world forgets you; as you recognize your transience. As you begin to lose your characteristics one by one. As you learn there is no one watching and there never was, you think only about driving, not coming from anyplace, not arriving anyplace, just driving, counting off time.
Now you are here. It`s 7:43.
Now you are here. It`s 7:44.
Now you are…gone.
Everyone`s dreams in all those apartments…
All those thoughts…and we`ll never know what`s the truth of it…
I feel like I`ve disappointed you terribly…
I love you…
I love you too…
I know how to do this play now…
I have an idea…I think…
D I E….”
Charlie Kaufman
Synedoche, New York

(The end of this movie is sheer GENIUS…)
“The map is not the territory.”
Alfred Korzybski
“Perception always intercedes between reality and ourselves.”
Rene Magritte
“I am dragged along by a strange new force. Desire and reason are pulling in different directions. I see the right way and approve it, but still follow the wrong…”
(The last three quotes are inspired by the amazing photographer/artist @democracyofobjects on Instagram).
I have always been a huge and avid reader (as you likely already know), but no one has read EVERYTHING, and only the first of these quotes was familiar to me. I am constantly surprised by the work of this artist and the quotes that go with it, and I just couldn`t resist putting a few of them in this book…..
His art is stunning and his quotes always fit perfectly. A lot of the quotes I am familiar with. Sometimes he reminds me of ones I`d forgotten and other times he introduces me to something I have not read such as the above words from Ovid and Rene Magritte….
Check out his IG gallery if you do not know of him already.
Another dreary, gray day in Tokyo…
I stand outside with a coffee and a smoke
and the sky is covered in dark clouds.
A soft rain falls down and covers the land
in dirty puddles and sad reflections of colorless facades.

Life is so beautiful and at the same time,
so very depressing in its futility.
I suppose, as I always have, we must give it
our own meaning to make it feel worthwhile,
which I do to the very best of my ability.

But sometimes, every once in a while,
going to the effort of pretending to care
just seems like way too much trouble.
The fact that it truly is such a ridiculous life
comes to me some days with the force of thunder.

I stand here a while
listening to the rain,
thinking about life and death,
and wondering why we exist
and what is the purpose of all this madness.

Life washes over us in a flood of imagery.
It is truly a sensory overload in every way.
The days fly by and others drag by,
but they all happen with horrifying regularity
and then one day they just stop.

I am still here in this foreign land,
an outsider in every conceivable way.
I really don`t KNOW anyone here
nor do I care to at this point.
I am as alone as I have ever been.

I have never really felt totally content here.
The question is, have I ever felt that anywhere?
I think the answer is no. I have always been a wandering soul
searching for new frontiers and new sensations.
I don`t believe there is really a home for me anywhere.

My heart, my mind, my soul;
they span countries, continents, worlds,
interior and exterior…
They know no boundaries and cannot be contained
by mere location or placement.

I will continue to take this ride,
to blunder through this world and this life
with absolutely no plan…
Experience, pain, joy, wonder….
they are all mine to do with as I please…

I step out from under the balcony now
into the rain and walk out into the flow.
The rain envelops me in a soft music
and a cloud of misty haze in a gray world.
I walk out further and further until I disappear from view…


====== E N D ====== T H B 3 ============================================



  1. Lykke

    Dear Tom.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your observations, your life, your art…..yourself with me and others this way.

    You bring reflection into my life with your words and pictures. It opens my eyes, and makes me see more clearly on my one life. Your art have inspired and touched me more than I can tell. So thank you for being you. Stay strong and don’t hide the madness. You’ll always find your way through the dark – I know you will.

    Talk to you soon T…Lykke

    • Thank you so very much, Lykke, for reading my work and your kind words. I am so glad that my writing means something to you, because what I write means a lot to me and it always comes from the heart…

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