Sunday, 26 August 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.