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Jessica Art Blog

Listening with My Eyes

by Bookwyrme , May 13, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Rambling, listening with my eyes, watching

Someone once looked at some of my pictures and said that I was "listening with my eyes."

I'm not entirely sure what she meant, but it is true that, at least at this point, taking photographs means slipping into another mode, one where I'm concentrating on seeing almost to the exclusion of all else.

I usually have to take a couple of "throwaway" pictures when I set out, just to warm up.

And I can't do it and talk with someone else, not very well anyway. On walks I take with other people, I tend to take one or maybe two pictures at most. The dog, on the other hand, makes an excellent companion. She doesn't talk much and is quite happy to stop and sniff things while I take pictures. She doesn't always understand why I stop when I do--I may pass up several delightfully smelly trees before I pause at some not very interesting grass, but she's quite cheerful about the whole thing. And, sometimes it pays to stop when she wants to and take a look around.

It turns out that I can't listen to music on walks, either. I've been out a few times this week with the MP3 player, and even though the music is familiar, I still didn't end up taking many pictures.

So, yes, I guess I am listening with my eyes.




  Jessica Greenlee ( homepage )

05/15/2008 * 02:08:34

Thanks. I've read the book before, though it's been several years and I have forgotten most of it. I'll have to pick it up again.

Several members of my family paint and/or draw--one reason I started taking pictures is that I got to looking at things and thinking of different people who'd like to paint this or that scene--so I think we have a copy around here somewhere.


  Michael Mize ( homepage )

05/13/2008 * 22:51:08

Your explanation of your picture taking experiences are actually classic examples of the "conflicts" that go on in our brains while we are engaged in creative activities. I do very similar things in the classroom. For example, I can't draw on the chalkboard for too long while continuing to talk. It's a biological impossiblity. There is a lot of literature out there that explains it in better detail than I could in a brief response, suffice to say it's fascinating stuff.

Even though you're primarily a photographer, you might enjoy Betsy Davis's "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" She does an excellent job of addressing the roles of the two sides of the brain and their inherent relationships in regards to creative endeavors. She also has some nice thoughts about composition which might prove relevant to photography.

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