Friday, August 2, 2013

What are YOUR Blind Spots?

We all know what they are…you’re driving and there could be someone right next to you—but they're be invisible.  It takes extra work when driving to check your blind spots because failure to do so can have catastrophic effects if you’re wrong.

What does this have to do with photography you ask?  Everything!  Photography is an art of expression.  Done right, the photographer conveys to the viewer not just the facts of what was in front of the lens, but conveys an entire emotion of that very moment.  Done right, you will feel nearly the same things that the photographer felt at the time of capture.

So in a photographic sense, what’s a blind spot?  I’ve stumbled onto one of them after following the suggestion of a fellow photographer friend of mine to check out the subject of “contemplative photography”.   Turns out, this subject is well documented, and is the subject of several books.  It’s an aspect of photography that really transcends image capture and punctures the barriers of perception that define for each of us just how much we see.  We all have filters to varying's by contemplating that more of what we're looking at begins to reveal itself.

You know those pictures that you’ve been presented with where you see the old lady, but if you look at the image long enough, or in a slightly different manner, you see a young beautiful woman?  In a way, that’s what I’m talking about.  Both are present at the same time, and yet some people see only one or the other…and it’s only after a bit of contemplation, that both are revealed.

According to Andy Karr, author of “Practicing Contemplative Photography”, this is a method for seeing and photographing the world in fresh ways, that reveals richness and beauty which is normally hidden from view.  There is a mystical and somewhat philosophical quality to this topic that still escapes me, but I’m getting the idea of it by studying Andy's writings on the topic.

I’ve also done some experimentation of my own, following the guidance of de-emphasizing an image's subject matter and instead emphasizing, or trying to notice and perceive the qualities of Color, Texture, Simplicity, Light, and Space.  It’s harder than I thought it would be.  These attributes are present in every single photograph, by definition, but they are not typically noticed unless brought to the forefront by a photographer skilled in seeing them, and then illuminating them in an image capture in such a way that others can see as well. 

For many of use, life is full of blind spots…for photographers, every opportunity for image capture is as well--and it takes extra work to develop the good habits to check blind spots and avoid their pitfalls.

Feel free to share with me any comments you might have by email me:

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