Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pay attention . . .

I had granola for breakfast with sliced strawberries on top. I sat at the table eating, reading my e-mail and didn't really pay attention to what I was eating and tasting until there were just two bits of strawberry left.

A wonderful breakfast and I missed it.

I missed the gingery flavor in the cereal, the taste of the pecans, the softness of the oat flakes, and the cold, fresh bite of the strawberries.

I had breakfast but I didn't realize it. I wasn't paying attention.

What does that have to do with photography, with the images I create?

I pride myself as being a person who notices things, who sees a lot that others miss. I even have a blog on seeing (woefully ignored over the past several months). I am a noticer.

I didn't notice my breakfast. And that's going to change.

Maybe we're conditioned to notice not everything, but selected things. Someone may be particularly attuned to sound. Another to color combinations. Another to makes and models of cars. To architectural styles, to textures, to shoes. And maybe that's a good thing, for if we noticed everything, we'd explode from sensory overload.

Where am I going with this?

As artists, it's our job to notice things. We see the designs and patterns on a sea urchin shell. We notice the way the shape of something over there echoes the shape of something over here. Or the way the wind blows the spray back from a cresting wave.

And all these things we notice we bring into our art.

That sea urchin design may show up on the side of a clay pot we're making. The echoing shapes may show up in a collage we're creating. And the spray off the crashing waves? Well, sometimes things are just meant to be quietly admired and appreciated for what they are. Simply noticing the spray adds to the quality of our life, and who knows (right now) how and when it will show up later?

What's my point?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Pay attention!

©Carol Leigh

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