Here’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while: how do each of us, with our many and diverse experiences, look at the different things in life?
For example; I went to a wedding on the weekend. It was a lovely affair, the bride looked gorgeous and the groom was happy as can be, but the weather was horrible. It was overcast, cold and windy as we stepped into the cathedral for the ceremony. However, at the conclusion of the rites, we walked out into a perfectly lovely day – the sun was out, the skies blue, and even the wind had settled down. Everyone else was probably glad for the break in the weather, but me? I lamented the sunny skies because I had a tough time controlling the exposure between the bride’s glowing white dress and the groom’s black suit!
It’s a bit funny how this thought came about. Dylan and I were sitting in Hungry Jack’s having a good dose of junk, and we were discussing the comments left by people who had been through our house during open inspection (for those of you that don’t know, we’ve just recently bought our “for-the-next-40-years-kids-and-everything” house and have put our current residence on the market). One of the positive comments was “very impressed with the photography and artwork” – I like to paint in pastels as well, and have a few pieces hanging up alongside our photography. So I, following the very warped path my brain likes to take me down, said to Dylan, “Isn’t it funny how some people like art, and others like art and photography – like me, and others just like photography and not art – like you”. And he said back to me,”It’s not that I don’t like art, I just don’t appreciate it as much as you because I don’t have the same experience as you do.”
Now that led me to thinking, Well yes, he’s right (as usual). Because when I’m looking at a piece (normally some sort of digital fantasy character or environment concept art), here’s what goes through my mind:
“Oh, those are pretty colours, I reckon you’d make that by mixing [colour] with [colour] and probably [colour] too”.
“Hmmm, oh I see, the shadows fall there and there, because the light is coming from over there. Ooooh, purple in there! I didn’t think of doing that!”
“Wow, clever perspective, that would’ve been hard to do… so that’s smaller, that’s closer, that’s lighter, ahhhh, no wonder my attempts always look weird, that there needs to be drawn like that!”
“Nice abstract, how come my random blobs of paint never look that good??”
So I thought to myself, Surely not everyone thinks like this… and yes, I know, I have odd thoughts. But that would be only because I’m learning to paint digitally too, so these are the things I’m interested in, whereas someone else will look at the same image and might just think it’s a pretty picture because it has nice colours and a pleasing composition.
Another time I was looking through some wedding photos with some friends. Whilst they were oohing and aahing over the bride’s dress, I was looking at a stobie pole that appeared to be sticking out of her head in the background! Is it the curse of a photographer to notice all these things?!?
A work colleague came back from holiday once and she brought an album in of travel photos she’d taken during the trip. She seemed embarrassed when I asked to see her photos, saying to me, “Oh, they’re not very good, I just took them with my point-and-shoot.” I wanted to see them anyway, telling her not to worry about it, I was just interested in the places she’d been to. A little later another colleague said to me, “Were you really interested in those photos, or were you just being polite?” I was a bit surprised and replied that I was truly interested. It didn’t matter to me about the quality of the photos (some were blurred, some were crooked, some were over-exposed) but I didn’t expect exhibition-quality images, I was merely interested in places she’d been to, and what she could tell me about them so that I could store that information away for future reference. And in fact, in many of the photos, I could see the object of interest and envisioned being there myself and what composition I would have come up with. So whilst I might see things like stobie poles protruding from people’s heads, I think that I also see the potential in people’s photos and appreciate them that way.
I guess this goes for all sorts of situations in life, not just when analysing photography and art. When I see a magazine I like, I don’t have second thoughts about buying it. The other day I went to buy more dog food, and on the way to the checkout I saw a new novel by one of my favourite authors, and without even thinking about it, I’d picked it up and taken it to the cashier with me. It was $20, a pretty decent price for a new novel. But then I recalled a conversation I’d overheard, where a young mum said she put aside $20 every week, and that was her treat, for that whole entire week. And I’d just bought a new novel for that amount of money, on a whim, not even thinking about the cost.
But I digress (again). I’d like to know what you, our readers, think about when you see something – it can be about anything. Please leave a comment so that I don’t feel like I’m the only one with odd thoughts!