Stairs to the Unknown – Are we just looking and not really seeing what is before us?

November 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Stairs to the Unknown

We have packed our gear and are ready to head out for some Street Photography.  But, we get there and can’t seem to find anything that really catches our eye or that we feel is worth exploring.  Kind of like “Writers Block”!  We have a mind full of “Should or Should Not” do this or that and our creative side is suddenly buried somewhere deep within us.  We go ahead and shoot technical proficient images that lack any sense of emotion or mystery.  Why can’t we come back with images like we see and admire from other photographers?  I mean we have all the right stuff!  The latest body, a great lens and still our images fail to move either us or anyone that sees them.  What’s up?

Next time you go out to shoot before you even take your camera out of the bag sit down and just relax.  Center yourself and get accustomed to your surroundings in “Relaxed Attentiveness”!  Give that a try for thirty minutes and then quietly get prepared.  Take the time to really see what is and what could be.  Interesting geometric patterns.  An interesting triangle of light falling on a dimly lit stairwell.  Wow, is there something there?  Really, take the time to see!  Our camera does not see things in the same manner that we do.  It can only handle about a Dynamic Range of 9 EV.  Nevertheless, our eyes and minds are able to fill in the blanks and often it is those blanks that leave us wanting.  We missed what was really before us.  I believe that this is even truer with Street Photography, which has become very popular.  Even so many photographers come home with technically perfect images that fall flat in communicating what we felt.  Noticed I did not say, “What we saw.”  What did we feel?  How did what was going on in front of us impact us emotionally?  Did we communicate that to those that will look at our photograph or are they going to scan it once and decide there is nothing there of interest.

I like the above image not because it is complicated from a compositional standpoint, even technically difficult, or even perfect.  I just happened upon a unique triangle of light brightly shining on one wall of this stairs.  It has a unique abstraction to it, which I like. I have no idea where this stairs leads so it gave it a sense of mystery for me.  So from the abstraction and mystery an image was born.  For once, I was actually seeing and reacting to the environment around me.  I was in the “Zone”!

“Stairs to the Unknown”

What are your thoughts?



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