Had some really interesting and forthright emails and comments on the last long blog on ‘why we press the shutter’. Funny how sometimes things just mesh in harmony and we all have a chance to stop and at least make a quick ponder on our special place in the photographic endeavour.
But it must be in the air at the moment, as I received an email update from Jon Young, he of “What the Robin Knows” and founder of 8 Shields Institute. For those that haven’t grasped his work, have a look at the website. He is primarily a mentor for developing the, ‘nearly lost art of understanding bird and animal language’. Sites are here Jon Young and here Bird Language. Ok, its a place to buy stuff, but look among the ideas. They also have a Free 8 week course, which is really a condensation of the book “What the Robin Knows”.
Anyway marketing pitch off, I got an email from one of his colleagues Josh Lane, and you can find the whole page here, Seeing with New Eyes
He puts it best this way, and I’m lifting out a couple of paragraphs, so hope the thought police are not on the job too much. Check out Josh’s full quote above.
“On one level, this ability to perceive and behave unconsciously helps us in daily life, as we can learn to do many things at once without having to think about them. On the other hand, we can too easily go into “autopilot” and miss out on a lot of the world around us.
The next time you walk out of your front door, or go to your sit spot, set the intention first to approach that place with beginner’s mind, as if you have never been there before.
Open your senses up. Pretend to be a tourist admiring the architecture of the building, or a birder who is on a distant safari watching and listening keenly for exotic new birds. Let nothing escape your attention.
Develop this practice for a week. Perhaps that same tree you have walked by 100 times before will catch your attention in a new way; maybe the afternoon light will hit the branches in a way you have never noticed before. Or, a flower growing in the cracks of the sidewalk will call to your senses and remind you of the beauty of the earth. Let your awareness be open and expansive, as you see familiar places with new eyes!”
Think this is what I’m wrestling with in my own work. As I replied to Steve Hayward He of Devophoto here on Flickr;
” I’ve been struggling of late between the need for technical shots of details and the need to develop a sense of place for the bird.”
And I think now that Josh has sussed it out. Being so conscious of the right exposure, and the right location, and the right angle and the difficulty of filling the frame, I’ve been forgetting to look, to be open and expansive and to see the familiar with new eyes.
We’ll see. (pun intended).