Thirteen: Concerning the need to look closer

Originally Posted 11th February 2011

Today I want to talk about looking closer, looking beyond the obvious and seeing what is really there. There is no topical reason for this choice today, it is something I have try to do and have been thinking about recently. The choice of this topic came from a random browsing of my photos and finding two very different photos that I had forgotten about, and that illustrate this point admirably:

The first is this, a photo which not only displays my previously mentioned affinity for both repeating patterns and abstract photography but also is tells a tale of why you should look around you at everything that is there, not just the things people are directing you towards. This was taken in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is the view through a barred opening onto the stripy wall over the foyer. As I was taking this photo leaning on the wall peering through the gap, another visitor to the gallery happened past, he had an audio tour which was doubtless telling him where to walk and where to look. A he passed me he looked at me in a confused manner, then started standing behind me in an attempt to figure out what piece of art I was looking at and why his audio tour was not telling about it!

The second photo is of this little sparrow, possibly the best bird photo I have ever taken. It was taken at Marwell Zoo, a place known for exotic and endangered creatures, not necessarily British garden birds. This fellow was sitting on the fence of the Tiger enclosure and while everyone was looking only at the giant stripy pussy cats I spotted this chap and managed to get an amazing photo.

In both of these cases, I spent a good deal of time looking at the items on display as well, I have my fair share of photos of tigers and looked at my fair share of art and enjoyed both very much. My point however is not to only look at what is being put on display for you, look past the obvious and into the corners, look at everything that is really there. Look at the sorts of things you can miss if you don’t.

This principal is an important one when looking at the world around you, but it is also a pretty good thing to attempt to do when meeting people. look past your first impression to the real person inside, the person who may be being suppressed in favour of making a “good first impression”. Through this attempt to see people you will find yourself not dismissing people on face value. This way you can find some spectacularly good friends in places you may not have expected. After all, do you always project the real you within the first moments of meeting someone?

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