01 April 2008

On seeing

The "next blog" link at the top of most Blogger pages is horribly addictive. There is an option to turn it off, but it really irritates me to find a site which has done that, so I can't do it myself.

I gave in to the urge this evening, and came across this page. It's not really that remarkable, I suppose. But I see these pictures of rather mundane objects (particularly the toilet roll) and wonder at the gift this photographer has to frame and select this stuff to produce two or three stunning images a day. I carry a camera at all times, but I don't see what this person sees.

How do people learn that? (I don't buy that "innate talent" fudge; people get better at this kind of thing so they must be learning...) And how does one teach it? (Oodles of supportive but honest critical feedback is a sine qua non I know, but what else?)

1 comment:

  1. Hi James
    I've been learnng and teaching this kind of thing for a long time, and your post has made me stop to think about how I've helped students develop the skills required. First, you need to encourage learners to see differently- to observe relationships of shape, tone, line, colour without interpretation, so a landscape becomes a composition of related shapes and colours, not the sky, hills trees etc. Next, they've got to become habitual observers of such relationships. There are good techniques to help- one I like is looking for '3s'. Next, when you hold the camera to your eye, (or hold up the viewscreen to your subject), you must become aware of the frame, and how the subject interacts with it- a very simple notion, but one which is easily overlooked. One tends to look through the camera to the subject without thinking ahead to the print- make a conscious effort next time to see the black area around the viewfinder, and frame your shot accordingly. I could go on and on, but central to it is to encourage a delight in seeing things differently.

    John G Napier NZ


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