Stare? Okay, I am a Southern gal and was admonished for staring as a child. I was taught that it was impolite to stare. However, I am older now, and I think, in certain situations, it should be encouraged. WHAT?!
In a recent course that focused on creativity, the instructor challenged us to go somewhere close to home and sit for an uncomfortable, awkward amount of time. The exercise was to illustrate how much we do not see, or miss even though we think we are observant. The point of the challenge was that after we sat observing, noticing things that we would have normally breezed by after making our photo, THEN we were to make our photos. I thought this was a powerful exercise, but I pride myself in noticing the photographic gems hidden in plain sight. After all, that is part of my Artist Statement. Plus, I reasoned, I do not live even remotely near a suitable park, etc., so I tabled the assignment for another day.
WHAT I LEARNED
On a recent trip, I decided to take a few moments to sit in a park with this exercise in mind, enjoy the day, and observe. Sure I noticed the children playing, the cute puppies and dogs, but then I began noticing the reflections on the building and in the water fountain, the coin wedged between the slats of the park bench where I was sitting, … Just as I was thinking how truly eye opening this was (no pun intended), I noticed the folks taking selfies. No judgment, but I often wonder if they ever actually SEE where they are? Is it just a social media checklist… Rome Colosseum - check, Machu Picchu - check, Grand Canyon - check… After this exercise, am I just as guilty of not seeing?
I think one reason I like this quote is because it reminds me that my curiosity is a good thing. I just need to slow down and indulge it a bit more, because life IS short, and I DO want to “die knowing something”; or at least creating something.
What about you? Are you curious? Do you ever put away the “blue screen” and just look? Whether you do or don’t, I challenge you to go someplace and sit, look, observe, for 15 minutes. All the other things on your perceived to-do list, social media, etc. WILL wait for you. I promise.