Being Seen

A few days back, I got a lovely text from a dear friend saying, “Thanks for seeing me”.

Who on this great planet Earth doesn’t want to be seen by others?

But here’s the rub, mystery, and magic of it all: we “look” with our eyes but “see” with our hearts and minds.
If the subjects and objects I photograph, during the course of my everyday routines, rituals, and rhythms, could speak, I bet that each would tell me, in their own special way, the very same thing my friend told me, “Thanks for seeing me”.

Thanks for looking at me. Thanks for paying attention to me. Thanks for noticing me.

In both life and photography, when you truly “see” something, you honor, cherish, and validate that subject or object.

When you bring your photographic attention to something that might go unnoticed and unapplauded, you uphold and authenticate that thing you point to your camera app.

But this skill and talent require ”seeing” and not just “looking”.

Probably one of my all-time favorite photography quotes is from photojournalistic and street photographer Garry Winogrand.

“When I’m photographing, I see life. That’s what I deal with. I don’t have pictures in my head, I don’t worry about how the picture is going to look. I let that take care of itself… It’s not about making a nice picture. That anyone can do.”

There’s that word again, “see”.

Seeing life.

And when you “see” life, you “see” clearly, cleverly, and consistently, the subjects and objects you photograph.



Jack Hollingsworth