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.