Eyes on the Board

I was in South London yesterday and spotted this row of Eyes (knots in the wood) staring out at the world from a plywood hoarding outside a disused building.

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The Eyes stared out at me and my Eye spotted them. Central to our photography is the ability to see. There’s a fantastic quote from Joseph Campbell: ‘The eyes are the scouts of the heart’. Those eight words so succinctly sum up the relationship between our Eye and our creative heart. We need to keep that creative heart beating.

It has to be nourished. By taking images – getting out regularly with our cameras and practicing our craft. And we need to refresh our creative thinking by exposure to the work of other artists: whether it is online, or by visiting galleries and museums and seeing the work not just of fellow photographers, but of painters and sculptors too. And of course there is reading too: books, magazines. Immerse yourself in art and your creativity will grow. Sit in a vacuum and your creativity will die and with it your Eye.

Tonight I’m speaking at Northampton Camera Club about learning to see and the concept of creativity. The full title of the talk is: ‘Learning to See – Observations from a Visual Journey’. During the last two weeks I’ve been kept busy writing the script and building the Powerpoint presentations for this talk, and in consequence I’ve not had the time to view and comment on your work as normal. I’ll get back into the swing of things later this week.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to Eyes on the Board

  1. Hope that your talk goes (went?) well Andy.

  2. suej says:

    Wise words, Andy – sit in a vacuum and your creativity will certainly be extinguished

  3. Lignum Draco says:

    Very true. Being inspired by others helps us to find our way.
    It’s the repetition in your photo that attracts my eye.

  4. poppytump says:

    Very true Andy . Although I think *sufficient* time for proper observation, visits, reading, and talking to like minded people never mind getting out there taking pictures always seems to be in short supply for me ! My power walks which themselves have been a low priority just lately are some of the best times for creative ideas to re surface from inklings and thoughts I’ve been exposed to in those ways you’ve described .
    Wishing you all the best for your lecture tonight !

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Poppy. Finding the time can be very difficult especially for those in F/T work. An interesting comment on power walks – I find my mind is often at its most alert when I am exercising. When I was training for Marathons, I often wished I carried a small recording device with me, because my ability to write and think was always at its sharpest out running – presumably because the Endorphins were flowing.

      • poppytump says:

        Yes … exactly Andy – although of course my power walk pace is somewhat at lesser speed than that of your marathon training I’m sure 🙂
        Nice to see from your comments the lecture went down well !

  5. oneowner says:

    I would have loved to attend your speaking engagement. The subject is very interesting and is at the heart of the photographic process.

  6. Chillbrook says:

    The Northampton Camera club is very lucky Andy. I love the quote and would love to hear the talk! 🙂

  7. Len says:

    Look like you have been looking for eyes wherever you go Andy. Pretty cool.

  8. shoreacres says:

    What you say really strikes home. And, after a week away with friends, I’ve come to realize something else. I really prefer traveling by myself, or at least in a situation where I can do my own thing, for the most part. Despite being in the country for a week, in an area I love and with experiences I’d been looking forward to, there wasn’t a moment of solitude to write, or think, or even casually muse. Every time I stopped to take a photo, or sat down to think about something, I had the very clear sense that someone was waiting for me to get a move on. Sometimes, they said so!

    Now, I’m home, with not a single idea for a blog post, and no interest in doing one. It can’t be a coincidence that a vacation with others and a complete lack of creativity showed up together. Now that I’m home, I’m realizing how disappointed I really am with the whole experience, despite my love for my friends. I have limited time and money, and feel like I wasted both. It’s a good lesson for the future. We not only need to see, we need time to assimilate.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much Linda. What you write is such a common scenario. We need an uncluttered mind to allow our creativity to surface and many factors can suffocate that: other people with different agendas to ours, pressure of time, stress, chatter, and the inability to think clearly. I ski and climb on my own in the Alps because it gives me the solitude to plan my day and be in charge of where I go, when I stop and for how long, when I move fast and take decisions that might stop me achieving all I set out to achieve but will allow me to put photography first. I make the choices and live with them. I miss the ability to share the experiences with others, but I get to capture the visible memories. We need friendships but photography and friends are not always the best bed-fellows.

  9. Meanderer says:

    Well seen, Andy! Have you ever considered videoing your talks? If you popped them on Youtube your large WordPress audience would be able to see and listen to them, too!

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