Can Your Eyesight Literally Affect Your Photography ?

A Study In Colours - Volume ElevenYou 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 Border Collie ‘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 54 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.


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.

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.

What do you think, leave a comment and let me know?

High resolution version and EXIF of the photo in this post found in my A Study In Colours  portfolio.

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Thank you for your time.

6 thoughts on “Can Your Eyesight Literally Affect Your Photography ?

  1. I believe age softens our vision as it does our opinion of the world and of people …
    And truly believe that a good photograph is the one that the photographer has stamped his/her ‘vision’, otherwise it is just a snapshot and anyone can do that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If your eyesight is “shot” like this I would’ve spontaneously said that yes, of course it affects your photography – but then what happens if you look at your own photos on screen? You’re pretty close to it, so you will see all the detail that the camera saw, even if you didn’t see it on location, no?
    And as far as eyesight goes – I have the opposite problem, I can’t see really sharp up close anymore and need reading glasses for that. The number of times I’ve cursed my macro photography skills and the lack of focus until I realized that it was just me not seeing the result on the camera display sharp anymore… 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I look at the photos on the screen I see all the details. The kicker is that to me, a standard landscape photo almost looks unnatural, this is not how I see the world these days.

      Maybe that’s why I these days only do what you see in all my portfolios with the exception of “What Else It Is” ?

      Incidentally, ICM and long exposure is very similar in the way that you never know what you end up with, the scenery and light doesn’t have to be perfect in order to produce a pleasing photo.

      I also need reading glasses, if I forget them when I go out shooting there’s no way I can check critical focus, check if the the lens needs cleaning or anything else that requires normal eyesight. It takes a while to get used to.


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