Wednesday, September 07, 2016

PhotoProject :: Seeing by Chance


This is my third seeing project and it loosely follows Freeman Patterson’s first Chance Exercise, from his great book “Photography and the Art of Seeing”


Choose a starting point and take a given number of steps (let someone else choose how many or throw dice or just pick a random number) Mark this spot and the count out just seven paces. This second distance gives you the radius of a circular area in which you must now find at least 20 things to photograph.


I had picked a particular track near the lake and stepped out 79 paces (I thought that would get me much further down the track, but I ended up close to where I had taken the shadow self portrait only a few week ago). Still it was by chance and coincidence is chance too. Looking around there was the track, dead grass/reeds and some fresh weeds! In the distance where some high tension power gantries and scrubby trees. nothing exciting to photography really. It is easy enough to take one or two obvious pictures of the area but Freeman warns this is not enough to start you seeing.

“You should feel desperation during this exercise. You will only start to make visual break throughs when you have exhausted the obvious picture possibilities.”

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Take the obvious pictures(s), get it out of your mind. Then spend some time looking a bit closer. What else can you see. is there a specific pattern of texture, strong lines of flow, interesting close up detail? What I saw first was there was not just one track (the human made walking track) but in fact dozens of animals and/or bird tracks through the reeds.


I also saw delicate laces in the dead grasses, swamp melaleuca


Freeman may be a harder task master than me and he goes on to suggest.

“If you want to challenge yourself even more, make thirty of forty images.”

I actually got distracted by a flock of cockies and went off to photograph their antics before I got my 30th. chance photos. Still I had seen and made images of things I would have normally walked past. Such is Life

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