Learning to See

We all hear about learning to see but what does it mean? Heck, we are always ‘seeing’ things. But learning to see really means removing our labels on things and simply seeing in terms of pure graphic design. Samantha has taught me a lot about just ‘looking’ without definitions. Sam gives an exercise to her students in her course Learning to “Speak” the Language of Visual Expression (starts on Feb 1, 2011) where she asks them to just sit in one spot and ‘look’. From this one spot she challenges her students to make ten compelling images. Personally, I never tried this exercise because I can’t sit still. But a week or so ago I sat down at the kitchen table and actually took the time to look around. In less than 5-minutes I started to ‘see’ images. I  made three images and was really getting into things when the phone rang (reality bites!). But I did learn that there are photos everywhere if we just slow down and really ‘see’.

©Darwin Wiggett - overall view from the kitchen (Canon G11)

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

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20 Responses to “Learning to See”

  1. Very cool exercise, I will have to try that! I have always had a fascination with the impossible triangle and the second image reminds me of that a little with the way that dominant diagonal seems to bend as it goes across the frame. Very cool!

  2. My G11 is coming to work tomorrow to do the same exercise at lunch time. Thanks to you and Sam for the inspiration!

  3. What an interesting exercise!

  4. That is an very interesting exercise. I’m going to try it out today at some point.

    I find when I’m wandering around taking street photographs, that my plans to cover lots of ground fall by the wayside. As I get more into the groove, I slow down more and more, and start seeing images all around me. The world is just bursting with inspiration, if you’ve got the right eyes on!

  5. People always say that in order to take better pictures you can’t just look but you must learn to see, but to start seeing you must really want to look first – i think Jay Maisel said that and i find it very true. I’m like you Darwin, i can’t sit in one place but one doesn’t necessarily need to stay put. Over the time i learned that slowing down is the REAL key to starting noticing sth beyond the ordinary, be it a slow walking around neighborhood or landscape or whatever. Anyway good post man!

  6. Darwin, I think these abstracts are gorgeous. Nicely done! Keep up the great work.

  7. Cool stuff! When I come up empty on a commute day I’ve been making a point of looking around my house/yard for “interesting” things to photograph. It’s amazing how much presents itself when one takes the time to look. That said, the interior of my house is in dire need of a paint job, and after seeing these photos it seems you and Sam have the knack. You guys want a job? ;-)

  8. Yes, I MUST try this! You’ve created some wonderful abstracts. Fantastic house you’ve got there Darwin!

  9. It is a great exercise. I wonder if I can cam up with such great lines and shapes in my house. I love the last image, I actually spent some time, unsuccessfully looking at your interior image to see where you took it :).

  10. Great post, Darwin and great photos. IMO it’s not movement of the body, sitting down, that opens us up, is lack of movement of the mind. A quieter mind allows us to see beyond it. Our minds slow down naturally in nature. That’s why we love being out so much.

  11. Sounds like Zen experience?? I should try this practice after cleaning up my house.

  12. Great post Darwin!!! I’ve finding that everywhere you look there is an opportunity for an image. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  13. Random comment, but I just love this site and your work! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Samantha’s ebook (Foundations) is great. It’s the first description of seeing that actually has exercises in it; truly making it a book on ‘how to see’.

    Keep it up!

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