Photographing the unseen

Photographing the unseen

The photos in the sidebar on the right (or beneath the posts or post excerpts, if you’re viewing this site on a phone) are those I’ve posted at Instagram.

More than simply providing some visual content for a text-based website, these pictures illustrate what it means to give attention to the unseen.

On the trails where I take these pictures (latterly in Western North Carolina and now in Central Arkansas), anyone seeing me pointing my phone at a puddle or something else that seemingly doesn’t merit a glance, might wonder (or actually ask): what’s he photographing?

Reflections are to my eye among the most intriguing elements in the physical world because they form a bridge between the objective and the subjective.

In its precise details, a reflection can only be seen through one set of eyes in one moment. A different angle, a different moment, a different reflection.

A reflection exists, literally, in the eye of the beholder.

The photons landing on my retina are different from those landing on yours. Moreover, this retinal capture is only the starting point in a highly interpretative process we call perception.

Reflections readily open the doors of perception. They can facilitate a purity of perception through which we see light, color, and form more clearly — precisely because we’re not sure what we’re looking at. Seeing isn’t obscured by naming.

Many of these images look like hallucinations or photo montage as light bouncing off a rippling surface mixes with light coming through the surface. The surface is both mirror and window.

The disparate elements of sky, clouds, water, rocks, mud, and vegetation, swirl together in an amalgam of color and form.

The ephemeral coalesces in a still image as the camera captures what might otherwise have remained unseen.