In Photography, Can I Really Teach Someone To See?
Probably a couple of times a month, I am asked by someone who is really getting into photography to teach them to see. Sometimes they will ask for me to teach them to see the same way that I see things.
I have been confusing myself quite a bit while thinking about this, and honestly don’t know if I have the answer to that question.
Can I teach someone to see, … or possibly to see subjects out in nature the way that I see them?
Well, … maybe there is a answer after all.
So, for the past couple of days I have been thinking of the ways that I approach certain subjects out in nature.
I think that I have found myself going one step further than most when approaching a subject and in the way that I will see it, giving me a different perspective on things which also shows in my images.
Now for instance, when I approach a flower in a garden or out in nature that has caught my eye, I will ask myself “what attracted me to this flower”? This is what everyone should do of course. Ask yourself, “what is it about this flower that attracted me to it?”
Is it the stamens, the petals, the color, the texture, the throat, the contrast ….. whatever!
Now, this is where I think that I really get a handle on it all.
Let us say that I choose the stamens as what attracted me to this flower in the first place.
I look at these graceful stamens reaching up to the sky, all neatly lined up, the filaments are glowing from the back lighting, the stamen heads are full of details.
So, I simply get a perspective that is appealing for these stamens and then photograph them, … right?
Concentrate on the stamens, and everything else will fall into place, … right?
Well, ….. no!
Going a step further, I will concentrate on photographing “grace”, or “uniformity”, or maybe the “glow”.
It’s really no different than many of those well known portraits that you sometimes will see that stays in your mind forever, where the photographer did not zero in on just a person’s face that shows wrinkles, or smoothness, etc., but focused more deeply on a face that maybe shows “strength”, “weakness”, “age”, “pain”, “fear”, “happiness”, “grace”. They have focused more on the deeper character of their subject, a bit more beyond than what is normally seen, just like we should do for any subject that we photograph out in nature, or maybe in our own gardens.
So, … can I teach someone to see?
I am still not so sure, but by me trying to get a individual to open their minds up and to tune into their selected subject, to dig deeper into their own thoughts about what they are viewing at any particular moment, and in some ways to become emotional about their subject, … then maybe one can teach another to see.
Or, ….. maybe I have just confused you and myself even more! :)
Oh well, … just some thoughts for today!!
© 2004 – Michael Brown
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Having a group outing scheduled for tomorrow, then back to shooting Tuesday.
Also have all new cameras coming in Monday.
Everyone take care, and thanks for stopping by!
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