What is a forest? Is it a tag put on our mind by books and teachers during our childhood? Or is it a mass of shapes, textures, lines and colours of living creatures?
One of the main barriers to “see” are the “tags” or structures embedded in our minds. When we are kids, we tend to live in a “visual” world, where imagination runs wild and we think in terms of images, rather than words. Years of education come later, and words, structured ideas and preconceptions add a new layer to the way we see and understand the world. What as a kid was the foot of an elephant, now has become the trunk of a tree. What was a green shape later becomes a “mere” tree top…
As photographers, and as artists in general, it is our responsibility to regain that fresh way of seeing the world, of understanding it. Only by doing that, can we really stop looking around, and start really seeing. And only when we see, we can use what we see to tell others what we feel…As simple as that.
This morning the day dawned quite cloudy, and before starting to work I decided to go for a walk in a nearby forest. Before entering the woods, I decided I would face the “subject matter” by forgetting completely about it. I would not think in terms of “forest” or “trees”, and I would focus solely on the formal elements of the subject and its graphical possibilities. An hour an a half later, I came out with the card plenty of quite weird images. By no means they were masterpieces, in fact I will surely erase them, but they had forced me to look at the subject with different eyes. Exercises like this might not yield everytime the image of a lifetime, but they are some of the most useful trips to exercise the eye, connect with the subject and, why not, have a lot of fun!
Thanks for reading and great light to you all ;-)
Note: All images have been made “in-camera” and under no effect of psychotropic substances of any kind…Click on the images to see them bigger!