Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seeing Structure

The picture above is from my phone's camera. It is not really how I see things. My mind tends to isolate structure. This reminds me of that Disney show where Eyvind Earle draws the structure of a tree in an abstract way that isn't really that different from the method of Piet Mondrian. So, that picture is what my camera sees. (The Disney show I mentioned is "4 Artists Paint 1 Tree".)

Let's zoom in (sorry for the poor pixelation quality) and we get a bit closer to what my mind isolates out of the scene...

That image above doesn't really show the clarity of shapes that my mind isolates of the scene but it gets across the kind of zooming in selectivity of the mind. The image below is more like it:

I try to explain this to photography students -- our minds are very selective and our vision works almost like a telephoto lens or a zoom lens. You see this all the time with someone's travel photos -- they saw a moose that impressed them with how huge it was but in their photo taken from the car the moose looks like a distant speck of dust in a cornfield, or the mountain seems smaller than a mole hill. Besides the fact that they were using the wrong equipment when they took their pictures, they did not distinguish what their mind was capable of doing from what their equipment was capable of doing.

Allow for structure, whether in what you really see or what you fabricate. The human mind delights in structure and it gives a great confidence to some (but not all) artworks.

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