By: Steve Grant
Photography is essentially about how we as individuals see things, and then being able to capture that moment in time when we saw something, via the use of a camera. Sure the technical know how of how to operate the camera is important, but the most important thing in image capture is seeing the image in the first place. There is a strong analogy in this regard with artists, who also need to “see” their subject matter before they can copy it onto canvas.
Photography, and in particular landscape photography is so dependent upon the photographer’s ability to see and visualize the final result before he or she presses the shutter release button. This “seeing” is what really separates a point and shoot photographer from the serious amateur or professional. Once all the technical aspects are taken out of the equation, the only real difference between individual photographers is how well they see their subject matter.
Seeing is the ability to look well beyond the clutter, and be able to see the important from the unimportant. It is being able to look into a scene and crop out all the irrelevant areas both mentally and then with your camera. For what you leave out of an image is just as important as what you include. Without this ability to see, no photographer or artist will be able to consistently observe and capture really interesting and captivating images. It really is what photography is all about. It is displaying to others how one sees the impact and beauty in things. In a way it is displaying one’s soul and how you view the world.
The ability to better see can be developed by practicing it. Don’t just look, but study your surroundings, really observe what is before you, and look into it in detail. Take time to look up into the trees, and to look down at the ground. Turn around from where you have come from. Things usually look very different from the opposite vantage point. Life is a journey, not just getting older. Take time to really see the beauty along the way, and if you can, capture those magic moments with your camera to share with others.
To quote the Dali Lama, “many people look, but very few see”, and it so true.