Through the Glass, Darkly

Last week I wrote about “Learning to See” and how important it is that we develop a photographer’s vision. Recently I was reminded again of how this aspect of our creativity has to be constantly nurtured and inspired.

This photograph was taken on a sunny winter day through the window of our front door. I love how focusing on the glass turned the outside world of our neighborhood into an impressionistic landscape – something that I would like to paint if dabbling in oils was one of my talents. Colors blur into barely recognizable shapes and the imperfections in the glass add an interesting texture. While you can still tell what the subject is, it has been rendered as something mysterious and magical.

What I learned from this shot is this – I look through this window every day when I go out to retrieve the newspaper. It provides my first inkling of the day’s weather conditions – will the day be sunny or gray? Is it snowing? That window is a small part of my morning routine. And yet, my eye ignored the photographic potential hidden right in front of me, through that glass.

It wasn’t until I received a weekly photo prompt (courtesy of Digital Photography School) that it came to me what I was missing. The prompt was “Window”.  And the next time I looked at that window, I saw it with a photographer’s eye. I saw a view into my daily world that was different, unique, beautiful.

Prompts and weekly assignments are good. They nudge us in directions in which we might not go without that gentle push. Find an online community that supports and stimulates you and your art. Work through the prompts and challenges that speak to you. Interpret them in a way that is meaningful to you.

And remember, “learning to see” is merely the first step. We have to continually practice the way we see the world around us because it is all too easy to look past the beauty right in front of us.

What have you been missing?

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Posted on February 8, 2011, in Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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