see2think

thinking with pictures – metaphors that let you see the subject from new angles


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A-ha moments in photo-walks, the thrill of serendipity

red maple leaves newly sprung

New red maple leaves at base of tree trunk [click to view in full]

The Persian story of Princess Serendeep is filled with Forrest Gump moments where surprising events occur, propelling the story forward. Serendipitous flashes of insight, realization, epiphany, or visual delight in the play of shadows, texture, line, and color seem to be a central source of satisfaction for Street Photography and ordinary photowalks in search of subjects to compose and capture, whether the arena is wide-open landscape, building interiors, the macro world, or unfolding live events on stage or in streams of consciousness during the course of ordinary life.

At late morning today the glossy luster of newly sprung maple leaves presented themselves during my walk. So I went back soon afterwards with a camera to capture this picture to serve as a writing prompt for the small thrill of discovery felt when being surprised at a great beauty spotted unexpectedly. A similar excitement can come in the world of ideas and learning a skill or a body of knowledge. Every so often seemingly unrelated pieces intersect and the resulting recognition of something significant fills one’s heart for a moment. Perhaps the thrill of the hunt for new understanding, unexpected beauty, or elegant solutions to a problem is one of the drivers that makes a person press on, looking for the next meaningful thing.

Two quotes come to mind with regard to seeking or mindfully noticing the things one is surrounded with. There is a saying among photographers to the effect that “amateurs talk about gear; professionals money; and artists light.” In other words the preoccupations that fill the person’s mind in each of these capacities can differ widely. The other quote appears in Kenneth Tunnell’s 2019 book, Seeing the Unseen, in which he quotes Ulrich,

screenshot of p.2 Seeing the Unseen

from page 2, Seeing the Unseen (click for full-size image file)

“…Taking delight in… embracing questions and discovery… fundamental qualities shared by both the artist and seeker” nicely describes those serendipitous moments when one stops to pay attention and says “ah – there now is a photo.”

So the same spark of excitement seems to reward the person who looks with care, with or without lens, and the person who thinks with care, with or without recording medium. Truly, seeing and thinking seem to run in parallel and sometimes are integral to one another.

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Quoting for photos

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
Ansel Adams

I do not object to retouching, dodging. or accentuation as long as they do not interfere with the natural qualities of photographic technique.
Alfred Stieglitz

No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.
Claude Monet

Seeing these and others in print caused me to seek more online. The result is a compilation of quotes by Photographers or about Photography taken from WikiQuotes and elsewhere online.