673 – De Colores

Some days ago Mark Hobson, “The Landscapist“, wrote a very interesting blog entry “on seeing“. He says

So, it comes as a surprise to me that most others do not look and see in anything like the manner I do. It has become increasingly obvious to me that most people are almost blind to the physical world around them. They seem to look and see enough just to navigate (I mean that literally) their way around the planet but beyond that actually take notice of very little of the physical world that they inhabit.

and later down, after some examples

It is often remarked, when someone does something remarkably stupid, “Where was he/she when they passed out the brains?” I am beginning to wonder, “Where the hell were they when they passed out the eyes?”

Contrary to what the latter quote may seem to imply, Mark Hobson’s humorous rant was in no way judgemental, he simply reports this as facts, but it immediately connected with me, I read it a couple of times and I thought about what this means for me, for my work and for the satisfaction that I can get out of it.

Take this image, shot yesterday, Saturday. I was on my way to the lake and I stopped in one of the places that I often do, knowing they are always good for an image, regardless of the lens mounted. I arrived there, saw blossoms in blue, yellow and white against a rich green backdrop, complemented by the brightly red insulators on the fence posts. Wow! I even knew what the final image would look like, the rough composition, the distribution of sharpness, etc. I needed to experiment with aperture, because my use of the 70-300 at 300mm has not become fully automatic yet, but basically all was there from the instant of first sight. This is a photographer’s view. I know that most people, seeing me crouching there, would ask themselves what the hell I was doing and why I did not take a nice image of the gorgeous panorama.

Well, I guess in this case the outcome is an image that easily communicates what I saw, and most of the people, who would not have seen what I did, will admit that there was at least some value in taking the picture. This is not always the case though. Sometimes not even the final result makes those, who have not “got it”, get it.

What does it mean to have “got it” anyway? It is certainly not about intelligence, because I know extremely bright minds who are completely blind to those things. It is also not a general sensibility that one has or has not and that applies to all senses.

I am sure that in most cases when I am pleased with a work and most people don’t “get it”, there is still something to be got, and that the general refusal is not automatically a sign for a “miss” (though that can be as well). For me the proof lies in the fact that those people who still like it, are mostly fellow minds, artists whose works appeal to me, who speak a similar language.

Can it be learned? Yes, I think so, at least to a certain degree. I think I wouldn’t have seen this image a few years ago, i.e. before my liaison with photography. Being curious, experimenting, seeing results of others, all that makes you see potential that you wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. Openness and curiosity, these are two important aspects on the producing, as well as on the consuming side. I guess you can only see what you are open to see, and this applies to artists and audiences.

And then? I believe the rest is passion. I am passionate about photography, and that makes me “get” some things that others may not get. Others are passionate about quantum physics, and it is immeasurable how much I don’t get about that. Nothing to worry about, nothing to brag about. We are what we are, we are different and that’s a damn fine thing. The world would be boring without it.

The Song of the Day is the Mexican folk song “De Colores“, sung by Joan Baez on her 1974 album “Gracias a la Vida“. Hear it on YouTube.

10 thoughts on “673 – De Colores”

  1. Well said!

    I wonder how much different are those who see – being at the same place at the same time, the photos turn out very different. Someone focuses on people, another looks at the sky, and yet another on an object dropped beside the road…

  2. When my wife and I are out with our cameras we always see different shots, as I said in a description in our blog we can stand side by side and see two different images. Reading Mark over the last year for me has opened my eyes to “see” things I probably would normally miss.

  3. Great colours and composition. This is one of the reasons I keep coming back, just for images like this and the way you can find subjects where others, myself included, would not. But I am learning albeit slowly and it’s on my mind every time I go out, camera in hand, searching for images. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Andreas,

    I really love this image. The colors, the choice of depth of field, the placement of the fence posts — everything about it appeals to me. Of course, the payoff is the red insulators.

    No way will you ever have the disease that Mark Hobson describes!!

  5. Some months ago I started reading your blog postings in consecutive order starting from #1.

    Now I have finally caught up with _that_ posting last August which made me notice the exceptional quality of your photography. Really admirable dedication to quality – and continuously pushing the envelope.

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