Friday, 3 July 2009

The camera teaches you how to see

On my website at I like to have a quote of the month. In October 2007 it was Dorothea Lange who said 'the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera'. What did she mean by this? I can only give my interpretation but there have been many times when I have seen more in the darkroom than when I was taking the photo. Photos are also transformed when they are converted to black and white. The 'camera' may allow form and structure to dominate over colour.

I think this quote could take care of quite a few blogs but I'll just give one more example. The photo above is a building in Kendal. It is still Burton the Tailor's shop but it is also a history lesson. Montague was Mr Buton's first name and he advertised himself as the tailor of taste. There may be many people who have walked past this shop many times and they have not looked up. They have missed their history lesson, but even if they have looked up they still may not know that he was a tailor of taste because the writing is so small, or they didn't have time to read the full inscription.

There are items of interest all around us but a camera can help us look.

Happy snapping

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