Can Your Eyesight Literally Affect Your Photography ?

July 30, 2017  •  1 Comment

You might find this question kind of odd and wonder how on earth I came up with it, I think it is a valid question though. Short answer to the question, yes to a much higher degree than most realize. Long answer….continue reading.

 

The question has been on my mind for a while, out walking our bitch ‘Nikki’ in the woods I have noticed that I don’t see details very well until I’m pretty close. Since a couple of years back I have +2 reading glasses, something I haven’t dwelled on since, as far as I know, this is not uncommon at the age of 53 or even younger. Yesterday out with Nikki and my wife, when asking my wife at what distance she saw details on the trunks, it really dawned on me how poor my eyesight had become. She saw details much further away, we are talking three or four meters, a considerable difference compared to one meter, the distance I needed.

 

We All See The World Differently

 
GentleGentleSouthern Sweden May 2015  

If you are like me and have a passion for reading books on photography, you have probably come across the maxim “-We all see the world differently, therefore each photograph is unique, it’s your vision, only you can create a photograph the way you do. Go ahead and photograph iconic locations, yours will be unique and therefore worth doing.” Incidentally, I don’t think the last statement is true, there’s a limited ‘need’ for photographs of - for example - Grand Canyon. Even worse, there’s a limited way of shooting it, thus making millions of photos look exactly the same. I’m drifting off topic, let’s continue.

When authors speak on the topic of seeing the world differently and how that affects our photographs, they always refer to the indisputable fact that, due to our life experiences , we actually do see things differently, we even see different things at any given location. In other words, when they say “-We all see the world differently”, they never mean it literally.

The point I’m trying to make is that, depending on our eyesight, we literally see the world differently and that affects not only what and how we photograph, but also how we process our digital negatives. In other words, our style is not only dependent on our experiences in life, the pure physical factor of our eyesight also plays an important role. Not only does it affect the details we see at certain distances, it can also affect how we perceive color, a fact I had never heard of until our daughter told me about it when she started to wear glasses not so long ago.

 
FragileFragileSweden April 2016, Söderåsens National Park.  

With all this in mind, is it possible that I create the photos I do and like the photos I like because it resembles the world as I -literally - see it ? That detail rich photos with saturated colors creates a sensory overload that in turn gives me a sense of a very busy composition, something I know I don’t care for ? If I’m right, does it have any practical implications, what do you think ?

I have to admit that I’m dying to know if my style would change if I saw an optician and got glasses. If I do, I guess I will have to write a follow up to this post.

 

 


Comments

Javier Molina(non-registered)
Good point, Anders. I have been photographing since my early teens and have found my 'visit' has not changed much. By 'vision' I mean my style (composition, light, and colour recently). Yet my eyesight has deteriorated somewhat: I need glasses to read, my long distance is fine, not perfect just fine. It is my opinion that one's vision is not limited to what we can/can/t see; in fact that is only a portion of the complex act of expressing one's vision. Hence I agree with Alfred Stieglitz's statement: 'it is not what I see but how I see it.
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