We Look but don’t See

o2-conradie-jacques-butterflyHave you ever looked at a picture of something quite ordinary and thought – “that’s interesting” or “that’s beautiful”?

Nothing wrong with that of course. However it often is something that we either see almost daily without noticing it, or we pay very little or no attention to it.

Now I am as guilty of this as anybody else, but as a photographer I have learned over time to pay a little more attention to objects and things around me – not always successfully, but I try !

I believe one of the reasons why this is so, is that we get so bombarded with information that it becomes hard to absorb most of it, so we start filtering the input.


If you close your eyes – can you accurately describe what your watch looks like ? You’ll be surprised how many people get it wrong, even though they look at their watch many times a day, every day !

It is however quite satisfying to pay attention at objects around you and to start noticing how interesting some may be if seen in isolation. Objects do not have to be particularly beautiful to make an interesting picture.


A shot of an ordinary lightbulb against a blue background, shot at the moment the power was switched off, just before the glow of the element disappeared.


As an example: We have a small lamp in the room where we normally watch TV and I have often observed how reddish the glow of the element is before disappearing altogether when I turn the lamp off.

Then one day I decided to photograph that moment. I added a blue background to add some contrast to the glow of the element.








I think small children are much better than adults at observing and seeing details. Have you ever watched how a small child seems to be able to stare at an object without being distracted ?



Even a simple peg on a clothesline can draw your attention if you’re willing to see and not just look.


Have you ever taken a close look at the label on a wine bottle ?


So next time you have time to kill, try looking around you and make a conscious effort to SEE and not just LOOK. You will be rewarded for your effort.

Better still, take pictures of the objects around you – very often these type of pics are far more interesting than what you can imagine. Don’t have a camera with you? I bet there’s a camera in your mobile phone !








Even a simple doorhandle can be the subject of a photograph !


How about taking a closer look at something as ordinary as a cocktail tomato ?


I don’t normally walk around taking shots of tomatoes, but this one just happened to be close to hand when I tested a new camera of a friend 🙂



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