Look versus See


In 1851, Henry David Thoreau wrote. “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
It is my belief, that to truly be an artist you must fully understand that statement.


I wrote this after reading a wonderful article, “Look and See” by Amy Gulick in the November , 2017 issue of Outdoor Photographer. Amy Gulick is a founding Fellow of Conservation Photographers and you can list her at AmyGulick.com.

I believe that ‘Look versus See’ is the critical core of art, but especially the art of photography. It is the very essence of my personal photographic religion. There is so much that we do not visually and intellectually recognize even though it could be ‘right in front of our noses’. It does not exist in our intellectual consciousness. We are missing out on an enjoyable life experience. An opportunity to capture a piece of life and the world around us.   

How many times do I go out on an enjoyable venture to experience the beauty around us and I produce a photograph and realize either after the fact, or maybe someone pointed it out to me, that I was so totally obsessed with my desire to ‘shoot’ my intended subject that I completely missed a really fantastic shot that was right there!

To become an exceptional artist … not just a photographer … we must ‘open’ our minds, intellectually and visually, to recognize and experience what should be ‘obvious’ … to take a stroll outside of our comfort zone.

It would be a wonderful, delightful, experience to take an outing with my wife and daughter to a setting and just sit there discussing, exchanging, what each of us ‘sees’. Wouldn’t you like to do that with your good buddies? Digging deeply into what is surrounding us.

I strongly suggest that you read Amy Gulick’s article. Make sure you read the part about her trip to Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley to capture the fall colors. A true example of this blog.

I am a photographer because it allows me to capture pieces of the world around me, bring this experience home so that I can replicate the wonderful feelings and enjoyment … OVER AND OVER.

Visit our gallery, www.TheWaveLandGallery.com to see what we see and share our enjoyable feelings.