Open Up Your Seeing

Open Up Your Seeing

I must admit that the last few months have been intense. As you have probably noticed, I’ve been working on many projects and there is no question that I didn’t publish enough on this blog. That’s changing now! 

The first weeks of this year have been spent reducing my commitments and organizing my photographic life! Just a week ago I re-launched Simplicity-In-Seeing in a brand-new form and some of you have already contacted me saying that you like it a lot. Indeed, I find it such a joy writing personal LETTERS about photography. Now let’s get back to today’s point.

When I looked at the imagery shot over the last few months, I realized that I haven’t shown you the imagery taken in Paris last year. As I look back at the photographs, I realize that many of the shots are not typical travel images and to be honest with you, I like it this way. 

When we travel, we are intrigued by all the new things we are going to photograph. Many photographers I talk to make up must-have shot lists and detailed plans of their trip to make sure they don’t miss anything. I know because I used to do the same. 

We run from one location to the other following our list but the more I travel the more convinced I am that this approach does more harm than good to our “seeing.” 

One of the best antidotes to such pre-planned shooting is to calm down and linger in one space (thank you Ibarionex Perello for this term). It is a deliberate state of mind which slows down your visual impulses and allows your vision to linger over the spaces that surround you. You might practice this observational state on your trips. When exploring cities, I find an area, street or even a small plaza where I slow down and just linger photographically. 

This approach allows me to extract all the visual opportunities in front of me, even if they do not necessarily represent the place well. When I was shooting the streets of Paris, I let my eye and imagination lead me to unexpected places. I refused to follow well-trodden paths and allowed myself to be led by light and visuals, regardless of the route.

Why would I take such a radical stand? Because almost every time I came back from my trips, the images shot during those slow and creative periods were of much higher quality than those taken under the pressure of running around and checking items off the list. 

I noticed that during my last visit to Paris I took many let’s say “unusual” shots which some of you could argue might have been taken in any other place. Maybe you are right, maybe not. I strongly believe that when you travel, it is worth forgetting where you are and letting your “seeing” open up to the visuals around you. 

Today I’ve selected some images which I took in Paris during a photographic outing.  

next time…

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

New 2018 “Visual Poet Experience” Workshops Announced

New 2018 “Visual Poet Experience” Workshops Announced

My team and I are very pleased to announce most of the lineup of photography workshops for 2018. We say most because we will most likely add one of the cities in Australia, and San Francisco (end of 2018).

Here is our lineup of “A Visual Poet Experience” photography workshops.

London / March 9 – 11, 2018

Berlin / March 16 -18, 2018

Toronto / June 8 – 19, 2018

New York / June 15 -17, 2018

Vancouver / August 10 -12, 2018

Paris / September 21 – 23, 2018  

A Visual Poet Experience? After receiving amazing feedback from my students over the course of the last few years, I realized that the commonly understood term “Street Photography” doesn’t give justice to what we do at our workshops. Of course, our visual exploration is deeply imbedded in the urban environment and has many of the underpinnings of street photography, but we go way beyond that.

During our workshops, we learn techniques and a design philosophy that not only match each student’s personality but also work in any visual environment. We combine unusual elements to create a STRONG and UNIQUE photographic message. In other words, we learn to craft images by arranging elements within the frame for maximum emotional and visual impact. I want my students to go deeper into their inner-seeing to craft their own stunning visuals.

Those of you who write poetry know that this genre of writing requires “all of you.” To be more specific, you choose words and arrange them in a new and unusual way to craft powerful verse. This analogy applies directly to photography.

Let me tackle another point. Some aspiring (younger and older) photographers say that they are not sure if they are “good enough” to participate in this experience. Let me debunk this nonsense. It is often the case that those who are new to photography make much faster progress in their seeing than those who have been shooting for years. Why? Because they don’t have preconceived ideas of what the final image should be. They are free to explore and experiment. If you are just starting, don’t be afraid – we old timers need you! J   

Having said that, I would like to thank my students and now friends for coming up with this expression, especially Peter from Calgary and Robert from Barcelona. I hadn’t thought about it this way before.     

Today instead of individual imagery, let me share with you a few screenshots from our personal photo books. They are entirely designed and produced by my super-talented wife, Kasia. Next time Kasia and I will share some thoughts about creating and designing photo books.  

Click on every image for a larger view.



2018 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved