Shifting My Gaze

Thinking past the Noticing project, one of the ideas I’ve been wanting to work on is taking the things I’ve learned from that project and shift it to city scenes.  In my photographic infancy of a few years back (which is an interesting idea in itself, sometimes I feel like I’ve come such a long way is so short a time, and sometimes I feel like I’ve gone nowhere), I spent a lot of time wandering downtown building my compositional chops.

Cities are great for this, things are mostly straight to begin with, and the task is to line things up in interesting compositions.  I find woodland scenes to be more challenging this way, because they are so much more random.  I wonder if this is why my nature work is more about pulling out the details?  Really, I think that is caused by my curiosity: I habitually lean in for a closer look.

Back to the city, one of the main things I learned from Noticing was the importance of saying something special.  Of comminacting an idea or emotion in an image in a way that, when possible, was new and different.  I found myself often, when out in the yard with camera, composing an image of a flower and recognizing the shot.  I had done this before, I’ve got to find something new here.

This last weekend I went to see an artist’s talk by good friend Andy Chen at the KellarMahaney Gallery in Zionsville.  In his talk Andy mentioned something that he’s said to me in the past, that the projects we take on need to be things we have ready access to.

I think a big reason why this might be is that it simply allows us to work past the obvious.  In thinking about spending time downtown I’m excited to explore it deeply, to look past the surface.  I think it helps that I’ve spent so much time wandering downtown with my camera already.  Not only did it help me learn to compose an image, but it also gave me time to photograph the obvious.  Now I can get down to really looking for the special views and moments of my town.