To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has very little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
So, to answer the question I posed in the headline: No, you don’t see what I see. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Take this photo, for example:
I made this photograph on a very busy street in Rome. People were everywhere, yet, I captured what is unquestionably a solitary moment. I remember making this photo. I noticed the little girl was lagging behind her family. I loved the color of her dress and hair, and how she had the confidence (or was this was an act of defiance?) to do her own thing–even on a busy street.
This photograph says as much (if not more) about me, the photographer, as it does about the subject. This particular moment caught my eye because of who I am. It wouldn’t surprise me to know that other people, on that same busy street, noticed things that I missed completely. Lighting, exposure, composition and focal length, are all important. But it is the intangibles, at least in my opinion, that matter the most when it comes to “making” (not “taking”) good photos.
Recently, I’ve heard a few people lament that if they had a “better” lens they could take really good photographs. Um, no. The quality of the lens (and other equipment) only comes into play after you have developed an eye, and learned how to express a perspective.
Writers have access to all of the same words in the dictionary. Yet there is little debate that those words take on the distinct tone of the person using them. The same is true of a photographer. You can put five of us in an identical setting and you will get five unique visual interpretations. Well, that’s true if you have five people who know how to “make” and not “take” photos.
All of this has been on my mind lately because I am working on claiming, honing, and honoring my photographic voice. As with all things that are viewed subjectively, it is sometimes difficult to have absolute confidence in this voice, but I am getting there.
I am a photographer–hear me roar! (how was that?)
By the way, I have a new website dedicated to my work, you can view it here.