Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seeing Is Not Merely Looking

Puddle  (M.A. Reilly, Augusta, NJ, 2013)

"The question is not what you look at but what you see." - Thoreau

When I return home after traveling, I often spend the first morning out photographing what is local, known, familiar.  After three weeks in Europe, returning home had me itching to try my hand at seeing, not merely looking at the familiar.  With the shifts in time, I knew I would be up early, so I set aside the first few hours in the morning to practice seeing, again.

Patterns (M.A. Reilly, Devon, England, 2013)
After Stonehenge (M.A. Reilly, Amesbury, Wiltshire, 2013)
 I am reminded each time I make images in places new to me, how unfamiliar seeing feels.  I am always looking, not necessarily always seeing and this becomes so clear when I am initially in a new place.  I have to learn its ways. The quality of light is often different.  The geometry of space, unknown and untested.  Nothing baffles me more than cities.   The canyon-like geometry of Manhattan is simply not the definition of city when in Rome, or Florence, or London.  My images made in cities are more about looking, and less about seeing. I just don't see as well in cities.

The land, be it in Italy or England, is always somewhat familiar, regardless of location.  The way light falls across large spaces of curved earth may be different from what I know from home, but there is a familiarity to it nonetheless.  I see it.  I don't merely look at it.

Seeing is story-making. Looking is not.
Settling (M.A. Reilly, Amesbury, Wiltshire, 2013)

Making images is somewhat about line, texture, pattern and color--but more so about the exchange of
energy between the subject and myself.

Words fail me and I wish I could explain it better, but what I understand is that I simply feel the energy arcing between the landscape and myself.

I wonder if similar exchanges of energy hold true for other photographers? Singers? Painters?

Perhaps, you?

Here are a few images I made this morning:

House, Field, and Sunflowers (M.A. Reilly, Augusta, NJ, 2013)

Morning at Lake (M.A. Reilly, Ringwood, NJ, 2013)

Joy (M.A. Reilly, Augusta, NJ, 2013)
Truck (M.A. Reilly, Augusta, NJ, 2013)