Tuesday, May 7, 2013

BEHOLD: Fifty Images

Early on in Christine Valters Paintner's new book, "Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice," she suggests this exercise. Find an object in your environment that is always there, but is not something that you pay attention to every day. Then let it show you fifty different ways to perceive it. In other words, take fifty different photos of the same, ordinary, every-day object. This is harder than it sounds, trust me!

I chose a blue and white striped pitcher that sits on my kitchen table. I occasionally use it for milk. I see it every day, but most days don't 'behold' it at all. The poster you see above is what came out of this exercise....fifty different images. A few are good photos; most are not. What I found happening as I worked through the process was initially an urge to make pretty pictures. But after the first few, all I could think about was finding more ways to visualize the same thing! I feel as if this really loosened up my approach. It made me forget about pretty and simply think about volume. As I viewed the fifty images in my camera, I drew some interesting conclusions about my particular way of seeing...where I'm most comfortable, which kinds of light and color appeal to me, which things repel my eye. And with some additional thought, I translated those conclusions into some equally interesting life lessons and insights into myself.

I think this is a practice that I will do on a regular basis or any time I feel as if I'm frustrated with myself because my photos aren't as beautiful as I'd like them to be. For me, it was an experience of having permission to not produce something pretty and that is freeing.
In case you're curious, here's what the little pitcher looks like. Another benefit of this process: I fell in love with it all over again. I really should use it more often!

If you are interested in purchasing the book or learning more about its author, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. might try this sometime
    Very pretty jug by the way