What makes us distinct as photographers is the ‘Ability to See’ the world in our own unique way. Others describe this as a process of cultivating ‘A Seeing Eye’. Whatever terminology we choose to use, what underpins the art of ‘Seeing’ is a heightened state of visual awareness. And as our awareness develops, it starts to become a permanent state of affairs. It doesn’t switch off simply because we have left the camera at home. We continue to scan the world around us for potential images. It becomes a subconscious state of mind.
Annie Leibovitz wrote: ‘One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.’
Even when we come home from a shoot and put the camera down, our home itself comes under scrutiny too. We see images everywhere. Nothing escapes our gaze, not even the mundane.
We haven’t had many sunny days recently but a few days ago I went upstairs into one of the bedrooms and sunlight was filtering through the blind. A trail of light flowed across the duvet and imprinted on the wall behind. A scene we might see a hundred times and dismiss – but I saw something there that grabbed my attention, and the reason for climbing the stairs was forgotten in the rush to find the camera and capture that scene before the light was lost.
Such behaviour may be met with puzzlement and bewilderment by our nearest and dearest, but I am willing to bet that many of you reading this will be nodding your heads at this point and thinking: – Yes, I behave like that too, and Yes, sometimes they think I’m nuts!
For another Post along similar lines you might be interested in viewing Four on the Floor.