Thursday, August 2, 2012

You're Looking, But Are You Seeing?

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I had never been to this city before, so as you can imagine, I was excited to experience everything there was to see and do.  When you visit a place for the first time,  all of the sights, sounds, and smells of a place, and the tastes of all of the local foods keep your senses at a heightened state.

Of course I visited all of the usual tourist attractions - Independence Hall, The National Constitution Center, The Liberty Bell, and many more. But as I walked through the city I also noticed the magnificent wall murals everywhere. They are true works of art.  I also couldn't help but notice that the public bus stops had stained glass designs, each one different from the next.  The buildings at night are lit with ever-changing colors, and there seems to be a beautiful fountain around every corner.

When I visit someplace I also people watch.  I try to figure out who is a tourist and who lives there. It's usually not very difficult to figure out. The tourists, are like me, looking around, stopping to take photos, and maybe taking a little too long crossing the streets.  The people who live there rush by all of us, heads down, walking fast, seemingly oblivious to their fabulous surroundings.  And that makes me think....hmmmmmm, do I do the same thing when I'm in my own little corner of the world?  Am I rushing by all of the beauty around me, without even a glance?

As a photographer I think that I pay attention to my surroundings and notice the beauty in things that many others would just walk by. But I do realize that I can do much better.  I want to see my every day as a visitor would see it.  I want to notice the little things, and re-appreciate the big things. To stop and see things as if they were new and different to me.  To not just look at my surroundings, but to really see my surroundings with a fresh eye.

I have made a vow.  When I take a walk I will walk down a different street.  I will eat at a restaurant I have never been to.  I will visit "that place" that's so close to home, but that I've never visited before.  I will walk out my front door each day and take notice. Of the smell of the summer air, of the purple blossoms climbing through the picket fence, of the sounds of the birds in the trees.  I will be a visitor in my own little corner of the world.

Do you truly see the beauty of where you live? Can you look at things as a visitor would? Whether it be a big city or a small town, there's always something special  around every corner. Please share something special from your corner of the world with us in our flickr group.

You also have one more day to share your water photos with us before we move on to a new theme. We've enjoyed all of your beautiful entries this month and thank you for your participation.

"Look at everything as though you are seeing it either for the first or the last time, then your time on earth will be filled with glory." - Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


Robyn Greenhouse said...

So true - at home, we are so busy racing to get everywhere. Today I'm going to try to slow down and notice my surroundings. Thanks for the reminder! I'll bring my camera too in case I now notice that picture that's been waiting there!

Linda said...

I was guilty of rushing around not noticing the beauty around me. This little hobby/obsession of mine called photography has made me stop to photograph the roses! I want to see new places, really see them! And I take time to find something new in my daily routine. Every morning I walk the same 4 miles around my neighborhood. Every morning I find something I never noticed before. It's fantastic!
Great post! A good reminder to appreciate the beauty around us!


Dotti said...

Such a nice post, Judy, and I love your Philly photos. I and family members have lived in Philly at various times and it remains one of my favorite cities. But to your point, yes! We need to learn to "see", not just "look". I agree with Linda: Being passionate about photography does teach you to "see". This summer, I've been "seeing" more beautiful skies than ever before.


heyjudephotography said...

I like that you say you've been seeing more beautiful skies than ever before. Yesterday when I said, "doesn't the sky look amazing?" my son said, "Mom, you say that almost every day!"

terriporter said...

Love this post, Judy! So true, so true. Since becoming passionate about photography, I like to think I see things that "ordinary" people don't see! I often wish I had a camera lens embedded into my eye so I could just snap away whenever and wherever I wanted. Since that's not possible, I try to have a camera with me at all times and knowing that I do, I see things I would have never seen before. I love your son's comment, Judy, about your saying how beautiful the sky is. I can just hear my sons saying the same thing when they were young! There is so much beauty to be seen in the world and a lot of it is right in our own backyard. We just have to look.

Kim Stevens said...

Judy, that's funny, because one day last school year when I took my daughter to school, and mind you it's at o'dark thirty as the sun is rising, I said isn't that a glorious sunrise and she said the same say that every morning!! haha

Kim Stevens said...

One of the things I love about when I'm out with my camera snapping away, laying on the ground, stretched over a almost always someone will stop me and ask what I see. I love the look they give trying really hard to figure out just what it is I'm taking a picture of....I wish I had a camera for everyone, they would "see" things so differently don't ya think. Great post!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Ms J!
What a lovely reminder and post. I especially love the gate photo. (that needs to be printed!)

One of my favorite quotes is "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer. Thanks so much for reminding me to practice what i preach!


gina said...

Great resolutions, Judy! You are so right about not really appreciating and exploring the areas where we live. I know I enjoy showing visitors around my town, and being a guide helps me see it in new ways. And photography helps too. Is that beautiful glass at a bus stop? Sounds like Philly really supports art. wonderful closing quote!

Carol said...

Hi Judy - I was just thinking along these same lines. When I took my first photog class, I went out every night looking around - now I go with a subject in mind. This week I'm going back to a fresh approach. I have a few for our Flickr pool - but I'm going to get more as the week goes on.
Incidentally - I love Phillie! Did you have a cheese steak? When I had my brownie troop, we actually slept in the monkey unit at he zoo, so we could take the nocturnal animal walk. (The cheese steak smelled alot better than the monkey cage....)

Carol said...

You have the best morning walk ever! I love following you on Instagram!

Carol said...

Here's an idea too. I have a friend who's neighbor moved away. She asked me to create a reminder of Long Valley. I took alot of pics around town and made a collage, In the center I put a close up of the neighbor's front door, including the street number on it. We had it printed on canvas, and it came out really well.

heyjudephotography said...

This was my first time to Philly, not sure why, since it's so close, but I love it! I didn't have a cheese steak. Can you believe it? Definitely wouldn't want to sleep in the monkey unit, my hotel room was jussst right!

heyjudephotography said...

That sounds really nice. I'm sure it's beautiful. And hopefully you were able to look at your area with a new eye in trying to find reminder photos for her/him.

Natalie DeLuca said...

Great post Judy... I have lived in Buffalo, NY my whole life. I also went to college in Niagara Falls. The falls is such a beautiful place to take pictures. I try to go there at least once a month. My favorite time to go is in the winter. Yes, I know I'm a bit crazy running around with my camera when it is below zero. After reading your post I decided to take a ride and capture the falls on a beautiful sunny day. I'm still in awe everytime I go there.

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