Photography is about seeing, not looking. A profound statement. But of course not one that is unique to me or one for which I can claim credit. It is a concept at the heart of ‘true’ photography. And it is one I have heard and read many times; in fact it is what jumped put at me while re-reading Freeman Patterson’s “Photography and the Art of Seeing” and Joel Meyerowitz’s “Cape Light”. But it has over the last little while become something of a revelation; not is a sudden flash of inspiration but more like a tiny kernel of truth burrowing into my brain. But why now?
I’ve been looking over a lot of the photo’s I’ve made over the last few months, many of which are ‘pretty’ flower pictures. And the ‘photography as meaning’ side of my brain keeps popping in to tell me that that is all they are; pretty pictures with no real meaning. But I think I last I realize that they are not. Making these images had made me look closer, to see the how and why, the line and colour and to perhaps appreciate or understand one little part of the world around me a little better. And I think, ultimately, that that is the appeal of photography to me. I have always been an observer of the world around me, and photography has helped me tune my vision and better appreciate even the seemingly insignificant things. And if you better see the little things, it helps put the larger questions into proper perspective or order.
So pretty flower pictures are OK; and so are dinning room chairs and dirty shed doors.