Even after 25 years of semi-serious photography, I’m still learning to see.
Today I went with a couple friends on a dawn shoot. Although it’s fun and I enjoy the camaraderie, I don’t know if this is a good thing for my art or not. Photography has been a solitary pursuit for me and sometimes if I’m not concentrating, I can’t see.
While my two friends were yakking it up, I took this photo. I almost missed it, too. This is actually one of two that I took, but as I worked the scene I found this (better) composition. I really wanted to stay and explore more, but instead I went with my buddies who were anxious to leave – freezing toes may have had something to do with it. Maybe I’ll go back after the next snowfall and do what I wanted to do with this location.
Anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can make a picture. Learning to see is an essential part of doing that. Any photographer who tells you that you can ‘finish’ learning to see is crazy. It’s an ongoing process. So many times have I looked over some old work and upon remembering the location wished I had done things differently. My ability to see is always getting better, but it takes focus, dedication, humility and flexibility. None of those things comes easily. Seeing like a photographer is an art unto itself. It’s a talent that needs honing; care, nurturing and most of all practice.