Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Art Seen and The Art of Seeing

One tends to see--and find--what one is looking for. My little CoolPix camera always goes with me on my daily walk. I look for interesting and beautiful things along my way. Recently, on a lovely spring day with flowers in bloom, birds singing and beauty everywhere I'd taken a good number of photos along the way. Arriving home after one walk in which  I picked up a little broom and began my clean-up routine on the block where we live. For about ten minutes I scoured the surrounding block for cigarette butts, candy wrappers and other trash--and found plenty. When I'd completed my rounds it occurred to me that I'd not taken a single photo during the whole time I'd been doing my little around-the-block clean up project. The reason became suddenly clear to me: I'd been looking only for trash--so trash is all I saw. Had I been looking for beauty there was plenty to be seen. My self-appointed clean-up project had, in effect, acted like a filter, screening out all else except what I was looking to see. Look for beauty, and you'll see it. Look for trash and that's what you will see.

Of course this whole subject of how we see/don't see and visually "filter" our surroundings is a much bigger topic than this one little post. The is much more to think about and to say on the topic. More to follow in the days and posts ahead...

1 comment:

  1. After reading your posts, I definitely suggest that you read the book on the Hudson River School painters, "Knights of the Brush" by James F. Cooper.
    "Seeing" is the first topic he covers and even though I'm only about 30 pages into the book I think you will find it educational. GK Chesterton is mentioned in the introduction and I thought of you immediately! Keep posting too.