Still Learning To See

Finalist #18, where on Earth am I?

It is not unusual, when people see some of my photographs, especially the abstracts, for them to ask “What is that?!” or, a bit more politely, “Where was that taken?” Initially I resisted responding because I wanted them to just get past those questions and enjoy what they were seeing, whatever it was. But I’ve learned—mainly from observing myself in similar situations—that the human mind needs something to grab onto. Once we have that, the human soul, if I can make that dichotomy, can then appreciate what it sees.

This is one of my favorite “What is that?!” photographs, taken on a December Lake Michigan beach near South Haven, Michigan. I surmise ice had formed and pressed up on the sand, only to melt and leave the patterns and some remaining frost on a small area of the beach where I was standing. Or, sometimes when I’m feeling a bit frisky, I just tell people I took it from the seat of a high-flying airplane. Either explanation, spoken with authority, seems to satisfy so they can enjoy the abstraction.

CVMC Finalist--3

Jokes aside sometimes it is challenging to know what I’m seeing in a photo. NASA has done a fabulous job of publicizing many abstract photos of Earth taken from satellites. A new book, Earth as Art, has many stunning examples and can be downloaded as a PDF or iPad app at no cost. We did, after all, pay for the satellites! Thankfully there are concise explanations about what we are seeing for each image! Enjoy.

This entry was published on December 8, 2012 at 7:39 am. It’s filed under Abstract, Ice, Photograph, Water, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Finalist #18, where on Earth am I?

  1. Still chuckling at the idea of you being “frisky” and telling someone this was a photo from a plane 🙂 Thanks also for the info on “Earth as Art”–I found a website that lets us just view the pictures without any downloads.

    And I agree with your dichotomy of mind and soul–certainly the great scientists like Einstein combined them both. The goal of the mind is truth, while the goal of the soul is beauty IMHO. I love how Keats wove them together in his Grecian urn: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”–that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”

  2. I love this picture. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was sand! I remember walking along the bitter cold Lake Michigan with the sand and ice crunching under my feet. Great job!

  3. That’s the point of abstraction…it stands above the real thing.
    But it is true that a lot of people have a hard time thinking in an abstract way. And sometimes we need something to hold on to, and that would be the reality.
    I like your abstracts the way they are, and they are completely satisfying…without the explanation. But apart from that another element can indeed play….the satisfaction to a bit of curiosity.

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