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Recently, I’ve found myself thinking much more about the structure of a photograph than I used to. Instead of following themes and ideas based around capturing scenes when the light was doing something interesting over a dramatic landscape, I find myself more interested in seeing beauty in everyday objects and creating photographs that ask and answer the questions I have. This train of thought isn’t something new, nor a sudden epiphany but a sudden slow growth of thought that has grown over time.

I began becoming more aware of the space and shape between objects in a photograph some time ago. It was born out of a desire to think about my photographs in a new way, partially out of questions I had about what I was seeing and partially out of wanting to view something differently.

I had been looking at the vernacular uses of photography from the 1960’s and 1970’s and there was something in what I saw that simply made sense. I’ve found that by thinking and looking in terms of snapshots capturing everyday life and subjects that I’ve become much more conscious about the experience of seeing.

Take this photograph I took this afternoon. While some might view this as very boring, personally I found it very interesting the way all the lines, shapes and spaces interconnected with each other and the resulting patterns they made. So, I went about taking a photograph the way I was thinking and seeing.

That’s what I’m thinking about with photography at the moment, The Experience Of Seeing.


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The other day I showed this image to someone and they thought I’d lost my mind. I think their words were something like ‘that’s one of the worst photos I’ve seen you take!’

I then explained that it’s a photo about thinking. During the Level 4 Lockdown I would go out walking in the afternoons, generally in the same place but sometimes my routes would vary. On these walks one thing I noticed was the lack of rubbish and it really stuck with me how much cleaner the world seemed. When we moved down to Level 3, I continued my walks when one day I came across a recently discarded McDonalds Cup lying in the grass. I realised how long it had been since I’d seen litter and how ironic it seemed that it was from a recently opened fast food outlet.

As I wanted to create a photo that reflected my thinking and asked the questions I had, the only way I could do this was to create a photo that reflected these thoughts and questions.

#theexperienceofseeing #lovindunners #majesticdunedin #johncaswellnz @johncaswellnz

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