A Whole New Octave

Years ago I was in the Adolph Gasser photo store in SF and a bike messenger came in. He told the guy behind the counter he’d just had a baby. “It’s a whole new octave, man,” he said. (He was a musician.)

I think of this phrase whenever I’m about to change directions, like about now:

I feel like I’ve finished a cycle with my 7 building books, from Shelter in 1973, up through Small Homes in 2017, each book with over 1,000 photos. I’m working on a new book, to be called something like Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead. I ought to get it out by the end of 2018. Then a new direction.

Small books I have a bunch of maybe-not-for-prime-time books that I want to do. After publishing Driftwood Shacks, an 86-page digitally printed book, I realized that this and other books I want to do are for friends, probably not for bookstore distribution. I want to do these books without worrying about sales, “marketing.” The next one, a shrunk-down copy of a scrapbook I put together 25 years ago, hand-lettered, hand-bound, original 11″ by 14″, 48 pages, called Pop’s Diner, about a trip through the American southwest, hot springs –jeez, I’ve written this all before…us old guys…

I have 200-300,000 photos I’ve shot over the years. A great thing about Google Photos: you download all your photos with GPhotos, then you can go in and do a search for “barns,” or “Baja” and GPhotos will come up with just those photos. Man! How does the computer tell a barn from a house? Beyond me.

Subjects of these books: barns, Baja California Sur, trips in Southeast Asia, motorcycles, facsimiles of scrapbooks I’ve put together over the years, and yes: architecture. Have I said this before?

I’m going to get the homestead book done and then do some of these smaller ones.


On the road I’ve been a compulsive communicator since an early age. Mom, look at this caterpillar! High school journalism, running USAF newspaper in Germany for 2 years (linotype–hot lead), then Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog style of journalism and production, then 48 years of publishing. I’m a journalist at heart, I want to tell people about what I see going on out in the world. Have I said all this before?

I’m trying to figure out how I can take people along with me in my travels. Photos, videos, writing. There’s just a ton of interesting stuff going on. Trying to figure out how to do photo stories online. Usually I don’t have time to do more than a few blog posts about my trips. I’ve got some ideas about how to get these things out here with the help of my young co-conspirators, Evan and Em-J. I’m pretty excited about doing some different things.

Louie at his house across the river. We cooked wild ducks for dinner last night. Have I said all this before?

Sign in Louie’s shop: “The easy way is hard enough.”

8 Responses to A Whole New Octave

  1. Bob says:

    The first place I look on my bookmarks bar everyday for some self reliant sanity. Many thanks.

  2. Orientsee says:

    Can you tell us what GF is? You say that you download with GF. I don't know what that means. Thanks

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've said this before: Thank you for sharing your journey.

  4. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Orientsee, Google Photos

  5. Gary Roche says:

    I don't care if you've said it all before, I enjoy all your writings. Get working on that Baja California book. Just got back from 7 weeks in Melaque, MX and I love that country. Keep on trucking.

  6. I really would like for you to seriously consider creating YouTube videos. I would love to hear you speak more with only a general script. Yes, editing videos is a big challenge, but you could get some help as needed. Maybe you are already skilled at that. just a polite suggestion.

  7. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Vernon,
    There are a bunch of videos here:
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lloyd+kahn

    I'm making new ones when time allows. Thanks for commenting.

  8. I have loved ALL YOUR BOOKS even from Mother Earth C….and if you've said it before, it's okay, we may need to read it again. Keep on trucking and remembering and putting in any books you like to do….We all love 'em. and a HUGE THANK YOU for even those that don't express it, I'll express it for them. we are all grateful for your excitement on building, learning and reporting. You are one of a kind. aloha, irene

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of your company name or keyword spam.