What is Photography?

Seeing is…

What?

Can you finish that sentence?

If you’re like most people you probably said, “Seeing is Believing.”

It’s one of the most commonly heard expressions from the time we are young until the time we are very old.

Of course it means that we don’t really believe something is true until we see it with our own eyes. Show me!

Once upon a time, I’m sure that served the population very well. But that was before Photoshop!

Now, so many photos are retouched and reworked that most of us can’t tell a real photo from one almost entirely made up.

Consider the photo shown here of the 4 spoons and 2 cherries.

While your mind might wonder how the spoons were suspended, you might better questions if there really were 4 spoons and two cherries at all.

In fact, this photo was made from only 2 items. One spoon. One cherry.

Can you guess the real ones from the copies?

Did you guess the cherry at the bottom was the original?

Most folks do. But it’s not. It was composed from the cherry piece in the spoon.

So you see, in this day and age we must discard the myth that seeing is believing.

In reality, most of us were never really taught to ‘SEE’ at all.

Sure, we all know how to look. We look at 100’s of things every day with barely a glance. We especially fail to ‘SEE’ those items most familiar in our family, homes, our neighborhood, or our work.

If you’ve ever been surprised and stumped when your wife say’s, “Notice anything different?”  Then you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Photographers however, ARE trained to see. In fact, seeing things differently, observing objects, scenes, and people from all angles in attempting to find the most pleasing or unconventional is exactly what makes great photos stand out.

In addition to the subject, the photographer SEEs the light too and how it interacts with the subject. A tiny shift of light or subject can make a dramatic difference in the impact of the final photo.

Compare that to a common snapshot.

The best way I ever heard for telling a snapshot from a photograph is that a snapshot is merely a frozen recording of an event. Maybe a birthday party, or special even where you held the camera at arms length and took a photo simply for recording that moment in time.

A photograph differs in that it is a carefully crafted and intentional photographic recording of a particular scene with the objective being to show that object in the most dramatic or beautiful way.

A snapshot is spontaneous. A photograph is planned.

Obviously a snapshot require little thought or skill. Most digital cameras today are sophisticated enough to make it almost impossible to take a truly awful photo.

A photograph however requires some study of the arts. Of light and color, form and composition. It requires technical knowledge of cameras and lenses. Today, digital photography most often requires further editing as well to really bring out the most in a photograph.

While it may have been great once upon a time to know that “Seeing is Believing”, today more than ever it is important to train your eye to really SEE.

Not only is it good for photo expression, but also because without it, you may be destined to walk through life missing the most beautiful parts. Don’t wait for the photographer to show you, enjoy the excitement of finding them for yourself.

A little training in digital photography, could Change Your Life in a Flash!

In fact, my audio program, “Change Your Life in A Flash” is a great way to get started.

Robert Schwarztrauber

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