General Photography

Learning to See

Posted by: chunky on Wed Nov 30, 2011 19:29
Reflections of a Lifeboat.
Reflections of a Lifeboat.
"The camera is not important, that will take what you see. What you need to do is to learn how to see."

Ernst Haas.
Despite coming from an extremely artistic family on my father's side up to adolescence I had all the artistic skill of a paving slab.
Then when I was 15 I picked up a book called 'The Creation' by Ernst Haas. From then on my life took on a complete transformation. No longer frustrated at my inability to draw, paint sculpt, design clothes or make incredibly beautiful furniture I picked up a camera and forged forwards with a passion that developed into an obsession.
It was at University that one of my tutors pointed out to me the above quote of Ernst Haas' and suggested that my course work would improve dramatically if I took note of it. Whilst technically competent my work was "...lacklustre". My mantra that long summer vacation was "....learn to see".

I spent hours looking at everything I saw that caught my attention.Routemaster buses to lego bricks were studied in minute detail, shape, texture and light all became essential elements when composing an image. Minute and careful examination of even the most mundane subjects became second nature and I began to improve my portfolio . I no longer had to think about what to photograph. My head was filled with subjects I wanted to 'take' and how best to do it. Photographing a fine bone china tea cup and saucer to display the texture of the china.
Photographing the rolling hills in the Scottish borders to capture the various shades of green all became immensely enjoyable challenges.
I have encouraged many people to 'see'. I have been blessed with several grandchildren one of whom has a real passion for photography and has already developed an 'eye' for composition and can see the beautiful and interesting in just about anything.
I recently attended her first solo exhibition at her local town hall.
I am not ashamed to admit that a tear came to my eye when a local reporter asked her what her greatest influence was.
Her reply? " ........ my grandad. He taught me how to see"

The attached image is not supposed to be a contender for a great picture award, but whilst taking a photography workshop here on Skye 6 out of the 9 workshop members did not see these reflections. By the end of the week they were all rejoicing in how their picture taking had improved now that they could 'see'.

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