This exercise was taken from the “Thinking Sideways” chapter of Freeman Patterson’s book: “Photography and the Art of Seeing. A Visual Perception Workshop for Film and Digital Photography“. It’s in a section entitled “Familiar Things”, which is described as follows:

The next three exercises will help keep your spirit of discovery alive, make you more aware of familiar things, and help you break the grip of fixed ways of seeing and photographing.

This was the first of the three exercises.

What were my feelings after completing this exercise? I think it was very useful. The subjects of the ten photographs had been there for years, but I’d either not noticed them, or had not considered them to be worthy subjects for a photograph. So it certainly made me “more aware of familiar things”.

Did it make me break the grip on fixed ways of seeing and photographing? I’m not sure. I suspect that I relied too much on the same idea: take something familiar and show it in an unfamiliar way (e.g. closeup of a small detail; unusual angle etc.). I have a feeling that there’s probably an entirely different way of approaching this exercise and I’m just not seeing it. I’d love to have been able to see what others have come up with. I’m sure my reaction would be “I never even thought about doing that”.

I wanted a picture to illustrate this post so I got inside the bathtub to get a wider view of the bathroom. As I was taking the picture I realized that behind the shower curtain was an area that I had completely missed. There were probably a few more pictures there if I’d looked!

So – a worthwhile exercise and I quite liked some of the pictures: Vortex; Folds; Gradient; maybe even Self portrait and Sparklies.

Bear in mind that this is only the first of three exercises. Maybe the next two will concentrate on breaking the “grip on fixed ways of seeing and photographing”.

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