Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8 Types of Seeing: Are You Up for the Challenge?

Even with an abundance of camera equipment and the latest technology it is still imperative that a successful photographer must still have an eye, or visual acuity, for composition.  I was reading a Clive Scott article on The Spoken Image - Photography and Language and it referred to the types of vision identified by Maholy-Nagy.

Basically Maholy-Nagy summarized eight different types of vision.  Although he created this list decades ago, the types of vision is still applicable today, albeit with somewhat different tools or approaches.

  1. Abstract seeing (photograms, smartphone apps, etc)
  2. Exact seeing (reportage, documentary, photojournalism)
  3. Rapid seeing (snapshots)
  4. Slow seeing (long exposure, time lapse)
  5. Intensified seeing (micro/macro-photography, filter photography)
  6. Penetrative seeing (radiography, infrared)
  7. Simultaneous seeing (transparent superimposition; collage, double negatives, layers, etc)
  8. Distorted seeing (tilt-shift lens, pinhole, Lens Baby, smartphone apps, etc)
After viewing the list I thought it might serve as a wake-up call for those who have fallen into a comfort zone of always doing the same approach.  What if next time you ventured out to capture images you thought of these eight types of seeing.  So here's a challenge and exercise in stretching one's visual muscle.  


Challenge:

Identify and restrict yourself to only one subject matter across all types of vision.  In other words, take that one concept/subject matter and capture eight images, one for each of the eight vision types.  Upon viewing your eight images, ask yourself the following questions:


Questions to Ask Yourself:
  • What was similar among the eight images taken with eight different visions?
  • What was different among the eight images taken with eight different visions?
  • Was there something you experienced that you could apply to future images?
  • Was one type of vision more of a challenge for you?  If so, why?
  • What does this say about your style?
  • Did the eight different images evoke a variety of responses or emotions?  If so, explain or reflect.
  • Were your visionary skills enhanced by being forced to slow down and think before executing?
  • What will you do differently the next time you venture out to capture images?
Maybe this was just what you needed to think outside the box and free yourself from the constraints of normalcy and the usual routine.  Happy shooting.

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