Photography is an art of observation.
Its about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.
It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them.
Eliot Erwitt

 

 

 


 

Alexandra Horowitz’s On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes shows us how to see the spectacle of the ordinary—to practice, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “the observation of trifles.” 

On Looking is structured around a series of eleven walks the author takes, mostly in her Manhattan neighborhood, with experts on a diverse range of subjects, including an urban sociologist, the artist Maira Kalman, a geologist, a physician, and a sound designer. She also walks with a child and a dog to see the world as they perceive it. What they see, how they see it, and why most of us do not see the same things reveal the startling power of human attention and the cognitive aspects of what it means to be an expert observer.

On Looking is nutrition for the considered life, serving as a provocative response to our relentlessly virtual consciousness. So turn off the phone and other electronic devices and be in the real world—where strangers communicate by geometry as they walk toward one another, where sounds reveal shadows, where posture can display humility, and the underside of a leaf unveils a Lilliputian universe—where, indeed, there are worlds within worlds within worlds.

 

The purpose of this assignment is to get you involved with your own community and to bring attention to your perception of your surroundings.

Requirements are:

1. Read this

2. Watch this 4 minute video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrTEuYL1Y84

3. You are to take AT LEAST 4 slow and observant walks around your own block with your primary professional camera on different days or times of day. Your choice of materials (eg film, digital, video etc...) is up to you. You may NOT cross a single street.

4. Each walk you are to consider a different aspect of your own block and use your camera to show us that aspect.

5. In class next week you are to present between 5 and 10 PRINTS of your best images for discsussion and critique.

Read and Print this Photographer's Rights

Think Globally act locally


Suggestions (NOT REQUIREMENTS):

Details - with research to make them interesting
People - Portraits of your neigbors
Fashions - what do people war? Street style portraits focussing on style
Nature
Urbanization
Struggle of nature in an urban enviroment
ants eye view
1 minute videos
How does your block change at different times of day?
Take a friend or model and direct them
Laborers
Politics
Race, gender, sexuality,


Artists to consider:
Lisette Model
Arbus
Atget
Stieglitz
Robert Frank
Helen Levitt
Siskind
Bruce Davidson
Brassai
All street phoographers e.g. Papageorge, Winogrand, Friedlander
Joel Meyerowitz
Elliot Erwitt
Cartier Bresson
Stephen Shore
DiCorcia
Jamel Shabazz
Martin Parr
Etc... List of Steeet Photographers
Etc... The New York Photo League


“The art of seeing has to be learned,” Marguerite Duras