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Learning to See


Ok, on one hand this is a photo of the hind end of a horse - we don't even see his or her head and face. So why did I frame the picture this way? Perhaps you might take a moment to reflect on that - why take a photo like this? What might make it interesting or attractive?


As I've reflected on this myself, I realize that a photo of a white horse, head to tail, with no leather straps on him or her, would be pretty pedestrian. Our minds would just think, "Oh, that's a nice looking horse," and move on. Or perhaps we would spend some time looking into the eyes of the horse and feeling some kind of connection. Here, without his or her face, there's less connection.


Yet I like this image - it makes me really look at the shape of the horse, and his or her situation. I'm drawn to the way the combination of the muscled form of the horse and the unique lines of the leather straps creates a combination of calmness and power. I also notice that the harness straps have interesting curves, and that the horse's tail is braided and connected to one of the straps so it wouldn't get tangled. The muscles of the horse's hind legs suggest strength and grace, and a simple stillness in this moment.


Mostly, I find it pleasing to let my eye just roam over the image and take in the shapes and lines I see in the picture.


This raises some questions. Why take a photo of a horse but not include the head? Wouldn't many people just look at it and think, "What the heck is this about?" On the other hand, perhaps the uniqueness of this composition might prompt them to stop and take a closer look at the curves of the horse and the lines of the carriage harness more carefully, and truly see the horse in a more engaged way.


As I write this, I notice that the photo has a calming effect on me. There's a living stillness in this moment, and the horse seems to embody both a vibrant calmness and and a readiness to move. My eyes simply enjoy roaming over the image and taking in the unique presence of the horse. There's a lesson here for me - I can pause to see and enjoy what is actually in front of me rather than looking for a "normal" scene.


I encourage you to practice noticing things around you beyond the necessities of navigation and movement. Since most of us have cell phones with good cameras in them, we have a tool with us that can help us see the world by framing it through its lens. As the saying goes, "the best camera is the one you have with you."


Please feel free to post one of your photos in the Comments area beneath this post or any other post!



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