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Thread: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

  1. #21

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Viewing card is a useful aid, and of course practice/work is always the way to get the most out of whatever aptitude ("talent") you have.

  2. #22

    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    [QUOTE=Michael R;1592556]Viewing card is a useful aid, and of course practice/work is always the way to get the most out of whatever aptitude ("talent") you have.
    A big thank you to you all for your thoughts and insights, I managed to borrow a book from a friend, Photography And The Art Of Seeing (Freeman Patterson). My wife is a primary school teacher and we discussed some of the authors ideas. My wife did lessons with 7-8 year olds that entailed taking an Ipad outside to take photographs on a theme or topic, for instance it could be just one word, "Happiness". The results showed that about 3/4 of the children took images of each other smiling, a few took pictures of objects that made them happy such as flowers or swings etc. Some of the pictures had absolutely no link to happiness whatsoever. My point is that I usually go out to photograph something that I have in mind for instance "shapes and patterns made by tree roots", if I don't find any compositions I come home empty handed.I don't think I have been looking hard enough, I should take photographs that are not masterpieces and build on the knowledge I would gain from the experience! This post and the book I have just read has prompted me to carry a viewing card and to open up my mind to be more flexible with my approach and to scout out locations before attempting to photograph them. Once again thank you for the interesting replies.

  3. #23

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    It’s funny you mention Freeman Patterson. I often suggest Photography and the Art of Seeing (and also Photography for the Joy of It) to people. In my opinion one of the best books you can read and perhaps the only book that can actually help someone to see slightly better.

    [QUOTE=GoodOldNorm;1592612]
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Viewing card is a useful aid, and of course practice/work is always the way to get the most out of whatever aptitude ("talent") you have.
    A big thank you to you all for your thoughts and insights, I managed to borrow a book from a friend, Photography And The Art Of Seeing (Freeman Patterson). My wife is a primary school teacher and we discussed some of the authors ideas. My wife did lessons with 7-8 year olds that entailed taking an Ipad outside to take photographs on a theme or topic, for instance it could be just one word, "Happiness". The results showed that about 3/4 of the children took images of each other smiling, a few took pictures of objects that made them happy such as flowers or swings etc. Some of the pictures had absolutely no link to happiness whatsoever. My point is that I usually go out to photograph something that I have in mind for instance "shapes and patterns made by tree roots", if I don't find any compositions I come home empty handed.I don't think I have been looking hard enough, I should take photographs that are not masterpieces and build on the knowledge I would gain from the experience! This post and the book I have just read has prompted me to carry a viewing card and to open up my mind to be more flexible with my approach and to scout out locations before attempting to photograph them. Once again thank you for the interesting replies.

  4. #24
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Principles and guidelines for organizing elements of an image have been around for centuries (millennia?). In contrast to Vaughn, I think they are useful for beginning students; why re-invent the wheel?

    Doremus
    Because some people are surfing
    and have no use for wheels.


    PS -- wheels slow down a surfboard.
    Last edited by Vaughn; 20-Mar-2021 at 15:40.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #25
    John Olsen
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Thanks Doremus, for the fine essay.

    I hike with a viewing filter and compass to select scenes and to choose the lens/film and time of day for my return. By not having the obligation to take a shot right away, I feel more free to move around to optimize my concept, delay until a better season, or cancel it altogether. Then I jab a stick in the ground for my tripod location and check for any needed scene alterations (interfering foliage, trail signs, etc.). It's slow, but I enjoy the whole process.

    And yes, 30 or so years ago I read the Freeman Patterson books and studied the classic greats. I'm still hoping to get good at this. Looking at work on this forum is more exercise in that direction too.
    Last edited by John Olsen; 20-Mar-2021 at 16:57.

  6. #26

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Take a drawing class... (seriously!!!) One thing you learn early is you start with line of form... You soon start to see lines of form in everything...

    Like with a face, you start with two arc lines that cross and build from there, adding protrusions, then filling in details like texture until you go too far, and chaos creeps in...

    Then you realized that photography works in reverse, when you start with chaos, but apply order and work down to basic line...

    The challenge is to decide when enough...

    Steve K

  7. #27
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Interestingly, when I draw, I start with the shadows that define the major shapes and dynamic of the subject or scene. Lines are added later.

  8. #28
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    I did take a drawing class...I was lucky to pass...
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #29
    Sean Mac's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    "If we master a bit of drawing, everything else is possible." Alberto Giacometti

    A few years study with a great Art Teacher transformed my understanding of images.

    A crop from a 35mm snapshot and four or five hours with some pencils....

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Isabella Sketch 2 small.jpg 
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    Her parents have a more finished version framed and hanging on their wall.

    I have maybe thirty hours of time in those sketches, the paintings are still just works in progress

    Drawing was a very worthwhile investment of time for me

  10. #30

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Something I have discussed with other news photogs is how we get "into the zone" when shooting, where everything sort of drops away and we become the camera, like looking through a tube, hearing nothing, seeing only a series of potential photos and choosing from them. I do my best when I can willfully snap into this state, and I can do it on the street without a camera if I want to. Unlike a lot of the contact sheets I've seen with long series of the same subject when photogs are working in a studio mode, mine tended to be a series of discrete completed pictures which were basically uncroppable single shots. I'd go out for a day at a bunch of locations and come back with only one 36 exp roll shot. Even now, years later with a digital camera, I just push the button once and have never used a motor, even when I was working for a newspaper. Because of that approach, conservative of film, shooting large format has never been a problem.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

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