New Eyes

July 31, 2009

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes

but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


You’ll be shocked to discover that I do not sit around all day, watching my children play, eating BonBons and reading Proust.  But when I recently came across this quote, I thought I should start one day. 

As a child, I was regularly encouraged to go out of my way to see the world from another perspective.  This admonition typically applied to travel, and I’m grateful to my parents for every one of our family jaunts.   I am, however, aware that there are other ways see things differently.

A common exercise in photography instruction is to take a roll of film randomly without looking through the view finder.  Substitue “a series of photos” and “LCD screen” if you find yourself stuck on my use of outdated terms.  My first roll of film on this experiment yielded this.  This statue stands in my mother’s garden and I treasure its capture every day.



A serendipitous take on this exercise is to hand the camera to a young child (your judgment as to how young, of course).  Our family photos have taken on new life with new photographers at the helm, ahem, viewfinder.  Yes, my kids may not learn about film, but they do know how to use a viewfinder.  My main camera is very heavy, which makes intentional composition near impossible for them.  I think the results are delightful.  This is my favorite to date, taken this past 4th of July. 



A profound example of the power of a change our visual perspective is the work of Kevin Connolly‘s Rolling Exhibition.  Mr. Connolly’s perspective is very low to the ground.  He was born without legs.   His photo memoir, Double Take, will be released this October.

There are any number of ways to find a view different from my own.  The key to finding them is to look for them.


2 Responses to “New Eyes”

  1. Lori said

    I thought you were going in a different direction with this. What I remember most about having a small child, is how seeing ordinary things through their eyes, or things you did when you were a child (but not since) is fresh, new, and meaningful again. You’re right, though. I love the informal photos that somehow come out as artistically interesting as a carefully planned and staged shot.

  2. Joanne said

    The eyes of children are wonderful. At some point I will show you the pics my classroom ( 4/5/6 graders took) took. They are on slides so I can’t attach ( the old style viewing). We took a walk along the river by St. Anthony Main – the views they found amazed me.

    Asking children to take photos of themselves is also a wonderful way to see how they see themselves.

    Would love to go wondering with you and a camera some day!

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