18 December 2009

How do you see the world?

Or don't you?

That is my question du jour. I have been accused by many that I see the world around me as if I am looking through the lens of my camera (whether I have it with me or not!!!).
Yes it is true, that when I look around me, I look at things, people, situations, and always think how they would look better in a print or (worse yet) what I would have to do if I had taken it as a picture and then would have to remove obstructions...
Sad, you may think. But not really. I am always busy looking around me. At people, at the empty Styrofoam cup that the wind blew to the middle of the road, at the seagulls soaring in the strong breeze, at the window cleaners hanging from two ropes...
I do this even when I do not have my camera with me. Am I missing the proverbial big picture by focusing on specific components of life around me? I am not so sure.
Take for instance what happened a couple of days ago in downtown Boston.
It was a warm (for December) sunny afternoon. I was walking on Summer street on the bridge over the channel that goes in front of the post office. A lot of people were walking as well enjoying (I m assuming) the sun's visit during their lunch break.
As I am looking around, I notice, in the water, something that clearly is not a duck or a floating coffee cup. I look again and, because of its shape, I suspected that it was a seal. I waited for a few minutes until it came back up again (I guess it had found food). Yes. Now I was sure it was a seal.
I got mad at myself for not having my camera with me. I look around me again, but everybody is busy walking and talking on their cell phones or listening to music. Nobody was paying attention to what was ACTUALLY HAPPENING around them. "Come on people; how can you be so oblivious? When was the last time you saw a seal swimming so close to the Federal Reserve Bank." I wanted to scream that, but since I did not care to wear a straight jacket, I chose to scream it in my head.
That's when my iPhone came to the rescue. No, I am not crazy about that small tin can, but it will have to do. I snapped two images. You cannot really tell but the seal was looking at me. Did it realize that I was the only one who noticed it, standing there at the edge of the wall, staring at it like an idiot? I doubt it, but thank you Mr/Mrs seal for posing for me.
A woman walks by with her dog. She was looking at the water. "Great" I thought. "Finally, someone else who noticed the seal." I asked her if she saw it but she disappointed me telling me no. "How the hell could you miss it?" I thought to myself. "You were looking at the water, there was this black spot moving and making ripples in the otherwise calm waters?!?!."
And then the seal decided to go elsewhere. Perhaps somewhere where people would appreciate it more (or perhaps where there is more food).
At least, I was able to take this picture with my cell phone. Not the best picture I have taken, but it reminded me how important it is (at least for me) to observe, observe, and observe.

(note on the reflections: the reflection on the right side is that of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, the one on the left is that of One Financial Center)
- Andreas

www.andreasthanos.com -- Commercial Photography
www.marbleheadphoto.com -- Portrait and Event Photography

1 comment:

  1. There's a book that's been helping me "see" things better...

    Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson.

    Nice to appreciate the beauty that is all around us, things in the open and things that are hidden, up high and down low, the ordered and chaotic.. What a great journey. Cheers, Monica