For the Love of Seeing
“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” Ernst Haas
Over the past few months I’ve been interviewing a number of people who’ve come on my workshops to find out how I can keep making them better and better. One thing that has really struck me is how so many people said that photography has improved their enjoyment of their lives because it helps them see and experience the world in a deeper and richer way. It’s what many photographers call ‘The art of seeing’ or what I like to call ‘The way of seeing’.
One very kind gent (thanks Dan!) pointed me to the Dorethea Lange quote “A camera teaches you how to see without a camera” (which I have stupidly missed my whole life) but that sums up my whole philosophy – and so many of yours too – of photography.
Learning how to ‘see’ this world as it really is – to notice that beautiful light breaking through the clouds on a grey day, the deep opulence of a autumnal tree, the intensely muted colours of a broken building in decay – has not only helped me take better photos but it helps me enjoy the world around me and be more connected to this incredible place we live in. And so I was delighted to connect with so many of you and see how enriching it is for you too.
But like everything worth having (a healthy body, a calm state of mind, a happy marriage…) to keep reaping the benefits you have to keep to stay committed to keeping it in you life.. The ‘way of seeing’ is something you have to inhabit on a regular basis – that curious, mindful, watchful almost meditative state in order to connect with your surroundings. And the more you do it, the more you get to ‘see’ those incredible photos. No-one is going to be capturing incredible photos as they rush to catch a train, or full up in thinking about their to-do list.
I know it’s really hard in this world that we live in – rushing too and fro. It’s at odds for sure with how we live our lives and our crazy, high tech stressy world.
One thing that I also learnt from my interviews is how many of you felt like workshops acted as a reminder to keep developing your way of seeing, to pick up your camera, to continue on your creative journey, to remember this very special thing that you’ve chosen to do that makes you feel so happy and …so alive. And I wondered if there was another way I could help…
So what I’d like to do is pick up on these themes with my blog posts – and over the next few months I’d like them to act as a catalyst – to perhaps remind you to pick up your camera; offer my tips on continuing to develop the way of seeing and tell you some stories about things that I’ve seen, photos I’ve taken that have served as massive injections of inspiration for me. I hope with these ideas you can pick up some tips and ideas that will help your photography. I would really like to find ways to encourage you to keep taking photos, keep pushing yourself to see more and reap the incredible benefits that a creative practise like photography will bring to your life.
Would love to know what you think.
All the best,