Head shrinking

I’ve been trying to see things differently.  I’m trying to really look at what’s happening around me and to not see what I’m expecting to see.  I feel like I’m missing things, important things that are worthy of finding and exploring are happening and it’s not for want of curiosity, my eyes just aren’t open the way that they need to be.  They used to be though.   

My daughters can see things like I used to.  In fact they see them everywhere–tiny details, incredible juxtaposition and visual irony that’s just plain ridiculous.  They’re always taking pictures with their phones or pointing things out to me.  Little scenes that they create narratives for, complete with characters and voices and subplots sometimes and all I can think is that it’s all so damn clever.  

My brother David still has that gift as well.  I posted this picture above a while back on Instagram and his comment was,

“Robot lady legs,” 

…which is now the title of the picture because it’s brilliant.  Completely fucking brilliant.  The arch becomes a pair of legs, but who’s legs are they?  Well, the light looks like pubic hair in a landing strip, so the legs belong to a lady.  But this is a very boxy pair of legs so she must be a robot.  Et voila.  His mind just sees things that the rest of us somehow forgot how to see and the fact that he still can gives me hope that if I try really hard to open my eyes again, I might be able to see again like they do. 

It’s not easy.  The first step for me is clearing my head.  Not thinking about what I need to find.  Not thinking about what time it is or what I need to do later, but being completely in the here and now.  The next step for me is limiting my vision.  I usually do this by front focusing my lens.  Now I have narrowed my view to happenings closer than two-and-a-half meters from me–everything further away simply must fade into nothing–beyond my focus range can’t exist.  The last step is to ignore the patterns I know and to see beyond the immediate state of recognition.  Our mind store memories based on hierarchical systems of patterns.  Part of a black line, becomes part of a letter, becomes the letter “A” becomes part of a word, part of a word that has three letters, that looks like the word “ass” because I’m looking at the word “ass.”  I try to subconsciously hijack that process and see what I could be looking at.    This is the hardest part, just letting my mind flow. 

I’ve had some success.  I’ve had a lot of failure, but like all things it’s a work in progress.  I was using this technique when I shot the picture at the top of this post.  It’s not a picture I would normally see or shoot.  It lacks the strict compositional bullshit dogma I’ve built around myself and is the polar opposite to the “Bag man” picture I wrote about yesterday.  It was straight from the subconscious, made possible with a little bit of head shrinking.   

Shot on a Leica M7, with an amber filtered 35mm Cron on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.  



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