I think photographers are special. Photographers see and feel differently from other people.
“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.”Anon
I am convinced that photographers see more than people who are not photographers. I am sure that photographers look continually for opportunities to see. When they do see, they can in that moment. Concentrate. Look for details. Wonder. Feel as well as see.
“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”Don McCullin
Is there any Evidence?
Do Photographers See More?
In 2015 Canon undertook an experiment in which three people were asked to look at a picture. Eye tracking technology was used to analyse their eye movements. Showing where they focused and for how long.
Canon invited a non-photographer, a photography student and the professional photographer who shot the image. Each viewed the image.
The non-photographer focused on ten or so points that drew her attention with a total of 212 eye movements.
The photography student made twice as many eye movements. He also spent time looking at different areas of the image.
Finally, the person who photographed the image paid the most attention to the detail. Nearly 1200 eye movements.
See the chart above.
What does this prove? Well, nothing it was not a properly controlled test. It is just a little piece of flimsy evidence that supports my hypothesis that photographers look and see more.
How about feeling?
Do Photographers Bring Feeling to a Scene?
In another experiment, Canon examined the power of perspective in portrait photography. The camera company enlisted the help of 6 photographers and asked them each to independently shoot portraits of a man named Michael. But there was a twist: each photographer was told a different thing about Michael’s background.
The photographers were told that Michael was: a self-made millionaire, someone who has saved a life, an ex-inmate, a commercial fisherman, a self-proclaimed psychic, and a recovering alcoholic.
But… Michael is none of those things. He’s an actor, and as he followed the photographers’ direction, he did his best to take on the personality of each character.
The photographers, guided by their fictitious brief, had drastically different approaches to photographing their subject.
“A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it,” Canon says. This experiment, titled “Decoy,” was intended to prove that point and “shift creative thinking behind the lens.”
The experiment is demonstrated in the video below:
A photographer’s feelings, attitude, character, opinion, and knowledge will all be captured in every picture they take.
Photographers are the luckiest people. We don’t just look. We see and we feel. We often capture moments that others would miss, and in sharing that experience we allow others into a private world that is uniquely ours