Once you really commence to see things, then you really commence to feel things. – Edward Steichen
What does that mean?
This quote is by a world famous photographer, which is a very visual medium. The photographer sees something, but a good photographer shows the viewer something. That is a transition that is often missed as people take classes on the technical aspects of this art form.
The quote has a predicate, on which the rest of the quote is built. “Once you really commence to see things…” or when you can finally see things, is how it starts. Think of the most memorable photos you can remember. I would imagine most of them show you something you hadn’t seen before, or at least not like that, right?
The quote finishes by saying that now you see things, you can really commence to feel them. Think about the photos again. What did those photos show you, and what did you start to feel, which you hadn’t really felt before? To me, that is the heart of this quote. Seeing things, whether by way of photographs or in person, and then feeling a connection to what you see.
Why is seeing or comprehending important?
For the purposes of this blog, I am going to equate seeing things with comprehending things. Whether it is an award winning photograph or something on TV, the movies or on the news, until you comprehend what is going on, until you “see things,” it’s hard to feel much about it.
That’s why the best photos tell a story. They let you see, comprehend, and begin to feel what is happening. The emotional reaction at the end of this chain of events, however, is what often drives people to take the pictures. You have probably seen commercials on TV late at night which show very grim pictures in an effort to tug at your heart, and thereafter, your wallet.
But without seeing, without comprehending what is happening, there is often very little knowledge, and almost no emotion. Consider pictures from the famine in Ethiopia in the mid 1980s, or the Berlin Wall falling in the late 1980s (here and here). Those photos helped us see, and then to feel what was going on quite some distance away.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Take a moment to consider some of the things in life you never knew you didn’t know, until you saw them. Perhaps your first love. The first time you saw a homeless, hungry, or helpless person. When you first understood the implications of a great triumph, or a terrible tragedy.
Usually, as humans are largely visual creatures, we have to see something to comprehend, and then to feel. But not always. What can you remember not seeing, but reading or hearing, from which you drew comprehension, and then feelings or emotion? I came up with a few, how about you?
What I consider one of the most moving pictures I have ever seen, and it’s here, right next to me, is often titled “Earthrise.” It was taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts, and looking at it still puts a lump in my throat. Until I saw that picture, I never really understood how precious our planet is, and how much I wanted to see it from the outside.
While I had read nearly every Science Fiction book I could lay my hands on, until I saw that picture, I didn’t comprehend, and never really felt what space was really like. How big, how beautiful, how far away the moon was, none of these things were felt, only coldly understood as numbers.
What is going on in your life that you think you understand, but don’t really feel? What could help you better comprehend the situation? What could help you feel more connected to what is going on? In some parts of the world, freedom is taken for granted. Watching the Berlin wall fall helped many people comprehend and actually feel their freedom for the very first time.
Take a little time and do a search on the internet for images related to one or more of the things you want to comprehend a little better, and feel a little more. There are plenty of search engines, including specialty engines on photographic sites.
Take a moment and make something a little more real. See something for the first time, or comprehend it for the first time. Feel it move within you. Pardon me while I stare at the Earth some more.
From: Twitter, @BH_Event_Space
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edwardstei142869.html
Photo by NASA
Happy Birthday to Éduard Jean Steichen, born 27 March, 1879.