It has been said that we should see things as if seeing them for the first time. This is crucial to photography. Example of futility. Uncle Birney and I went to his home after work. I mentioned to him the issue of seeing things for the first time, whenever you look at it. He was not a photographer but very smart. This issue had been bugging me for a while and I found no reasonable solution.
There was a tree in front of the house on the lawn. We stopped walking. Birney told me, there is a million dollars buried under the tree. You can have it all, but…there is a teddy bear leaning against the tree. He said, open your mind and tell me if you see it. After a few seconds, I said, yeah I see it. Then Birney told me, you can have the money but if you see the teddy bear, the money vanishes. I said, that’s easy. Then I realized for all of my life, I would see the teddy bear before I ever got a chance to get the money.
His mother, my grandmother, once told me to never poison my mind. I didn’t really pay attention but later, when I needed visual rescue, it dawned on me that Birney and Nana taught me a lesson I will never take for granted. It’s the lesson of SEEING.
See, pun intended, when I was told to see things as if seeing them for the first time, in my mind, it was impossible. I already had the vision planted deep in me poor head. How is it possible to see things for the 1st time after I already saw them? Can’t be done. So, Nana was right about poisoning the mind. Seeing something is poison in your mind. We can’t escape that. Trying to see past that is futility. BUT…There is a way to stay focused and attempt to have the original thought. Birney gave me the path to this. See, every time we look at something again, we see the teddy bear. Trying to rid of that is impossible. The trick is to accept the teddy bear and see the tree differently. I tried, but never got the money… and of course, Birney told me no one else could help in any way.
So, seeing something different versus trying to see it for the first time, is completely different. As photographers, we simply must allow a different vision to the commonplace in our lives. Traveling to other countries, places, etc is nice but you can never run from yourself. The simple truth of this is…. no matter how hard you try, you can never make the same photo with 2 different exposures. Put the camera on the motor drive, it fails to duplicate the first frame. There is always some poison in the mind of the photo.