Last week, I went to the big park near my house to test new settings for my GR III. While I was shooting everything that attracted my eyes, I had an encounter with a fool. It was disagreeable but it made me realize that we’re seeing the world quite differently as photographers.
A disagreeable encounter
I was in the park and I saw an intriguing metal construction that seemed to be a charging station for bicycles and kick scooters. I was photographing the charging station from different angles and I felt that someone was turning around me. Then I heard a guy calling me “Excuse me, sir, what are you doing?” “I’m taking pictures of a little bit of everything” I replied. “One must be stupid to take a picture of a box” he said and left immediately.
Seeing the world differently
I was upset at first that this fool didn’t have the courtesy to let me reply to his rude affirmation. But then, it made me realize that we have been seeing different things. He was just seeing an uninteresting box, I was seeing beautiful and intriguing metal forms. We were watching the same thing but our realities were drastically different.
How could that be?
How could two pairs of human eyes see the same thing so differently? Well, we all see differently. We’re not attracted by the same things. We don’t find beauty in the same stuff. What may be banal for someone may be fascinating for you. Another thing is that some of us, especially as photographers, are disregarding functions to focus on forms. We’re not looking at the world rationally. Instead of seeing the world with the logical, rational, and verbose left side of our brain. We contemplate the world with the imaginative—and I’d say romantic— right side.
An important rule
This encounter also reminded me of an important rule in street photography. If you feel someone is turning around you or watching you insistently while you’re shooting something: move! Look far away, make this face saying “oh, there’s something interesting there” and go there. There are all kinds of people out in the streets. And it’s better to not have the bad surprise to discover that you attracted a toxic person or a thief.
Seeing the world differently is one of the blessings one can get from photography. This is also what makes your photographs special and unique: you’ve your own personal vision of the world. You’ve your own reality that others can dive into through your shots.