Now that I have digital camera in my phone, like almost everyone, I have become a much better photographer. The instant feedback showing how my photo turned out helps me make choices about framing my picture.

But there is one thing a camera can’t change. It shows everything in the range of the lens.

When I look with my eyes, I focus on only a few things. A camera looks at everything.

This is why I find it hard to take a photo of the moon. The moon fills my eyes. It’s the only thing I’m looking at in the sky.

A camera is not that choosy. The ugly power lines can seem even bigger than the magic moon.

I went to the Art Institute of Chicago this weekend, and saw paintings. Paintings are the thing, the first definition of art. Are you an artist? You must be a painter.

The painting does what the camera cannot. It draws the eye to the desired object.

The world, the literal world of the camera, is always much bigger than we can take in. Our eyes choose a few things. What we value, what we fear–this is what pulls our eyes.

I saw a painting by Sargent wherein the ladies face was distinct, but her dress was blurry. The impression of dress was enough as we looked at her face, at how she stood.

The artist is arranging us, as much as he arranged the paint.

I paid for the experience of seeing this art. I am glad to be so manipulated.

I know I am manipulated all the time in my life, with messages and advertisement and instructions.

Professionals also create most of those, too.

Somehow, this is not that. These arrangements, this portrayal of impressions and ideas, are a window outside of my daily life. That makes all the difference.

Comments are closed.