Fresh Eyes, Noticing What Is All Around You

August 01, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

An idea or message behind a photo is what is referred to as creative vision. It adds meaning and depth in a photo. When a photograph is creative, it elevates ordinary objects. Our world is full of objects that take up space around us, we are also surrounded by the negative space between all those objects. When we make a photograph that is creative, we use the unique parts of ourselves to juxtapose the positive and negative and create a composition.


I am an observer of the world around me. Not only do I constantly look for objects to photograph, I observe human behavior. One particular type of behavior that fascinates me is the way children look at our grown up world with fresh eyes. I gave my young grandson my cell phone camera to use for a short while one day. The only instructions I gave him was to take photographs and not break my phone. About an hour passed, and I sat with him to see what photos he created. In all there were two of them that stood out as photos that I'd print. One, a photo of a door knob was shot from his eye level. It showed his world, from his perspective. He filled the frame rather well, and the photograph was composed vertically. The other photograph was a floor level view of his dogs face as she slept, her face filling the frame horizontally. His chances for success were increased because all concerns about equipment were non existent. His only concern was what was on the LCD screen.


There are lessons to be learned from this exercise. There is a difference between how an innocent child views their world, and the way adults do. Chiefly, we have memories and assumptions carefully gathered throughout our lifetime. Over time we have given meaning to information as we ingest it. Visual stimuli gets judged as good or bad, and we change our thoughts and behavior to become more efficient or to protect ourselves in some way. A child may look at an object and be fascinated with all the different colors and shades.  An adult might be concerned with a schedule and being on time, and bypass beauty right before their eyes. Presence is the difference between these two approaches. The mind of a child lives mostly in the current moment. Adult minds much less so. A child has a well developed sense of curiosity. I'll state the obvious here and say, the more curious you are, the more you will notice, the more you will learn, and the more meaningful your experience of each day will be.


The world around us is filled with wonderful things to look at and enjoy. Ordinary objects, with texture, tone, color, and shape. Our world, right where we live is full of richness. Our challenge is to slow down, look and listen. This process is one that takes time to learn, and cannot be rushed. We might notice a meadow as we drive by, however stopping and really looking brings us a visual treat. So many different shades of green, and oh look at all the texture and shapes there are. You have just been given a gift of awakening. Many of us find standing on a beach and looking into a vast ocean inspiring and even meditative. We've taken the time to slow down, stop, look, and listen. We have given ourselves a gift. The gift of a wonderfully beautiful sky, deep blue ocean, white foam at our feet, a sandy shore, and the rhythmic sound of the waves Take the time to really wake up. Notice what is all around you. Photograph it and spend some time with your work and think about how it makes you feel. Attach that feeling to your work, and next think about what you can do to enhance your message. People experience photographs on many levels. It is a representation of some thing, it conveys emotion, or a message, and successful images pull you into the composition and enhance your experience. You are more awake.


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