Learning From Mistakes#2: Why You Should Invest Time in Developing Your Ability to See

by Melinda Eliza Sabo
( May 5th, 2011 )

Marcel Proust once said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new sights, but in seeing with new eyes.” I love this quote!  It reminds me that even right here in my quirky Midwestern downtown neighborhood there is something marvelous to see if I take the time to notice.  I make it a point to spend a part of each day developing my ability to see “with new eyes.”  As you’ve heard me say before – always having a camera handy and shooting everyday helps me prepare for my next big trip.  It also helps me to appreciate the beauty of my day-to-day life as it forces me to be sensitive to the world close to home.

Earlier this week I shared the first of three mistakes I made as a new photographer.  Monsieur Proust’s quote leads me to my second mistake…

Valentine's Day Balloons


Mistake #2:  I was all up in my head and I was 10,000 miles away from my heart.

When the passion for photography first consumed me, I hadn’t yet developed the ability to see – really see – what was in front of me.   What I know now is that photography is more akin to the surrender and discipline of mindfulness meditation than it is the precision, determination, and sweat of weight lifting.  It’s about patient study, living in the moment, and bold experimentation.

Exercise:

Take your camera with you everywhere you go for three days.  Challenge yourself to see more of what’s happening in your neighborhood and in your home and work environments.  Pull the car over and walk into that Art Deco building you’ve always admired.  Get down in the weeds and shoot some Spring flowers.  Take a portrait of a colleague or a neighbor.  Have a photo session with your cat.

Earlier this year I shot the above image of  lonely, rejected Valentine’s Day balloons.  I was so intrigued by this discarded romance that I immediately pulled over and braved the freezing wet-cold wind to get the shot.

In joy,

Melinda