Friday, January 27, 2012

looking out, looking in: seeing life through our lens

Our eyes take in an extraordinary amount of information each day, but only a small portion of that information is actually processed by our minds. As photographers, we are constantly looking, even when we are not taking a photo, at the world around us, often subconsciously thinking, "How would I photograph this?" While this is a really great thing to do, we may often get bogged down in the hurry of every day life, or get in the routine of feeling a sense of obligation to take a photo and post it online somewhere, or else everyone will be asking us if we're feeling okay. It never hurts to stop and ask yourself, "I'm looking, or am I seeing?" Seeing is totally different than looking, because when you are looking, you could be totally zoned out and not even be thinking about what is around you. When you see things, you grasp the bigger picture, the entire scope of the scene or the moment.

Simply take a moment to look out your window, wherever you are, even if you're at work! Start from the ground, working your way up to the sky, and do your best to notice every detail you can possibly take in. If you spend a minute or two doing this, you'll notice things outside your window that you may have looked at before, but this will be the first time that you've actually noticed or truly seen them.

The more you look out, the more you will look in, at the inner-workings of your mind. The things that we look at, through our lenses, are a reflection of what is inside of us, and how we see the world. Even the way we process our photos or our film is our way of expressing what is in our hearts, and our unique perspective on the world.

My husband is a photographer who specializes in rural decay, so I tag along with him to see new locations, and scenes I wouldn't normally shoot. I spend a lot of time looking into room and hallways, wondering about the people who used to inhabit them.

This photo by Tara on the Wander is a wonderful representation how we, as photographers, should look at the world - with a sense of child-like wonder, taking in every detail that our eyes can see.

Anna, of Anna Gay Photography
i love a rainy night {308/365} by tara on the wander


Kirstin said...

Anna, I love this post. I will definitely be trying out this exercise today and looking out to look in. Thank you.

Dorian Susan said...

Looking vs seeing. Great thoughts and love your image and the one you selected.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anna! I am going to look out the windows today and see. You are such an inspiration as well as an absolutely incredible photographer.


Liz said...

Wonderful capture!

Anna said...

Hi Anna,
Excellent point! As artists we definitely train ourselves to see and not just look. When our daughter was home on her Xmas college break, we talked to a friend of hers, that we hadn't seen in a while, for a few minutes. Afterwards, I made some observations which our daughter didn't think were correct....until she saw her friend again later. Then I heard,"Mom, how did you notice all that?". It's that seeing along with looking deal :)
Wonderful mood and light filled captures, both!
Alchemy of Art

Kat Sloma said...

Anna, thank you so much for this fantastic reminder that we need to stop and really see the world around us. I love your image and Tara's too!

Karin said...

Great shots. This morning, when I drove the children to school, the sky turned a gorgeous pink and purple as the sun was rising. They gasped with admiration and my eldest said: Look mama, it's just like someone with a big brush made a wonderful painting."

They make me see the world all over again.

tara on the wander said...

so true, looking versus seeing. and i so agree we can follow the lead of little ones to see with the wonder they do. thank you for selecting my photo.

urban muser said...

a great reminder to always stop and take in the details. thanks so much for joining us here today anna!

Holly {Soupatraveler} said...

i love this lesson Anna, and its something that I think I do myself...i often see that my surroundings have an impact within myself. Love the pairing of your shots too!

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