Looking and Seeing

This morning, I came across this awesome photo essay;

“American Happiness: Can Shopping Solve Our Problems?” by Brian Ulrich

I know that nothing I am about to say is revolutionary, but it’s all still thought that has passed through me recently, which in context I guess makes it unique; I was amazed, when looking at this, to notice how little I was actually observing each photo. I was simply skimming each, much like most of the probably thousands of images I see on the internet every day. Specifying ‘the internet’ excludes traditional television and print media. I wonder how the inclusion of those forms would jump the number of daily images I consume. But do I really taste them?

It made me sad to realize that the only reason I even took a double-take of these photos was because they were labeled as ‘photo journalism.’ Of course, there is a certain amount of expertise applied by this term, eliciting my desire to take a closer look. I am not ashamed of being aware of the presence of training and the difference it makes. I am ashamed that the label is the only thing that made me take any kind of extra look at any of the images on the whole site (Motherjones.com), or any others I had looked upon this morning.

I took a walk yesterday, and was just filled with appreciation for my life, and for life in general. I think a big part of that was that I got the hell off my phone, didn’t put in my earbuds, forced myself to look up and out, and to take notice. I saw the cracks of sky between the trees, the sun streaming through, the formations of melting ice on the sidewalks, defects in the siding of the houses I was passing. Again, I know none of what I am writing about now is revolutionary. That’s not really what I am going for, I guess. To say that nothing should be said because it already has been by someone else is a misnomer. Each experience documented and marinated on is a product of a unique setting; a specific person, a specific place, and a specific time. Energy, space and time. Dance.

I digress. What I mean to say is simply that there is some serious worth in noticing the things around you (when you are driving, when you are walking, when you are talking, eating, resting, breathing), and taking some time to ponder them later.

Various collections of information have recently suggested that allowing the mind to wander promotes and sustains creative thinking (a field of interest indeed. Check out this article). And what better a subject than the small noticeables that have crossed your path?

Onward, daydreamers.

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