Sunday, 26 August 2007

Seeing, hearing

Banks of the river, Heidelberg, July 2007

Photography is supposed to be all about the art of seeing (or is that Art of Seeing?). This idea has always sat a little uneasy with me but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Now I know. The image here was the eureka moment. The original has a whole lot of flat grey sky, which wasn't anyting of what I was actually observing at the time.

While working through the pictures from my Heidelberg trip, I realised that it is not about what the photographer saw, but what he was looking at. It all comes down to definitions, I suppose. From my dictionary (Chambers):

see: to perceive with the sense in the eyes

look: to direct the sight with attention

regard: to look at: to observe

OK, there are plenty of other definitons following on but these are the key first entries.

For me, a camera sees: it passes light through a lens to a recording medium. It takes the photographer to turn that into the attention of looking. The beauty of the English language is there is such a variety of words as to be able to finely grade meaning and usage.

It is a visual analogy to hearing - to hear is to perceive sound, to listen is to pay attention to the sound. This was a distinction passed to me by several teachers in school and has stuck with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like comments, especially constructive ones.
Comments get emailed directly to me before publishing , so if you want to get in touch drop a comment.
All comments moderated by me before being published, keeps the spam at bay.