Do You See What I See?
By Carly Buccino
Introduction Do you see what I see? This photo essay includes a compilation of photos that are taken of the same subject during the day as well as the night. There is an emphasis on lighting and how it affects people’s outtakes on various subjects. The photos focus on perception and the fact that everyone takes something different out of the same thing. I chose this topic because I think it is very intriguing that I can look at something and see one thing, while someone else looks at the same thing but sees something totally different. By taking these photos I wanted to show the comparison between night and day and how a subject can become something it was not intended to be when put in different lighting. It occurred to me that I did not want to do photos of a girl crying and have everyone think, “sadness.” Or a picture of children playing and have everyone think “fun” or “happiness.” Instead, I wanted to leave interpretation up to whoever looks at this photo essay. Just because I took the photograph and think a certain way about it, does not mean that my audience should think the same way. I got the inspiration for choosing certain subjects by paying attention to the seemingly meaningless things around me. All of these pictures take place outside with subjects that I passed everyday and did not think twice about. Once I stopped to take notice of my surroundings, I found that the meaningless things can in fact have intricate meanings and can be perceived differently at night and during the day.
Composition Analysis I chose these twelve pictures because they are all subjects that we may pass every day and never think twice about. I think it is important to bring into focus the images in life that do not necessarily mean anything to us or outwardly move us. These pictures were taken in between my house and Rowan University’s campus. I observed my surroundings as I walked to and from school. I noticed things that I never thought twice about. I hadn’t looked at the inside of my shed in months. When I looked at the hose in my backyard, I realized how interesting it looked when it was wrapped. These are things that I do not take time out of my day to notice, and I don’t believe others would either. I decided to take pictures of the same subjects during the day and night in order to highlight perspective. I wanted to show how differently things could be viewed. I really believe that no two people see something exactly the same. We all have different perspectives and takes on things. That is why I thought it would be intriguing to take pictures of the same thing in the light and in the dark. How can one image look completely different during different settings? I wanted to portray the way I found these images during the day when it was light out and during the night when it was dark out. One image transformed into two separate, very different images. I wanted my audience to go away feeling the sense of freedom and interpretation. Rather than showing them pictures with an outright feeling such as a baby crying (sad) or an older couple holding hands (love), I wanted my viewers to make what they wanted to out of my photos. When I look at my photos, I see different things. When looking at the tree in my neighbor’s yard that I hadn’t taken a notice to before, I thought poverty. When looking at the picture of the couple kissing, I felt indifference. I wanted my audience to feel free to feel, not like I was forcing them to feel a certain way. Because really, everyone feels somewhat differently about the same thing. There are so many perspectives and feelings that can come from one subject. Who am I to hold my audience back from seeing however it is they see or feeling however it is they feel? For this assignment, I used my iPhone camera. I did this because my digital camera broke. However, I realized that my form of technology went well with my photo essay. Since I photographed subjects that were part of my every day surroundings that I barely noticed, when I did notice, I had my phone with me. When I did have a camera, I did not take it with me wherever I went. Of course I do with my iPhone. I captured these images to portray perspective and importance of things around us that we never notice. I was able to snag pictures with my phone when taking notice to these images. I then used HP Photosmart Studio to edit my photos and make them more interesting to observe.
Photo Analysis I chose this image to closely analyze because it is my favorite photo out of my bunch. It was my favorite to capture, favorite to edit and favorite to talk about. I have walked past this tree almost every day for the past eight months. It is in my next‐door neighbor’s backyard and I have never given it a second thought. One day I was walking up my back steps and looked at it. I realized how lonely it looked without any leaves, and how the broken down shed behind it makes the tree look powerless. I thought this was an image worth capturing. When taking this picture, I thought about the composition element of lines and how the tree branches and their shadows on the shed served the purpose of lines. I felt the need to follow them with my eyes. The lines are leading us to the sky, which is not the subject of this photo but is a very nice sight. I immediately look at the tree when focusing on this photo, but following the lines leads to a beautiful, blue sky that acts as a complimentary background. Burgin says, “Work in semiotics showed that there is no ‘language’ of photography, no single signifying system upon which all photographs depend” (131). Burgin’s theory goes hand‐in‐hand with my goal of this project. Photographs do not fit a certain mold. There are different meanings and interpretations of a picture. Some people may look at this image and think about poverty. Some people might think of cold weather. There is not a certain path for people to follow when looking at my photograph. I leave it up to them.
Works Cited 1. Burgin, V. (1977, 2003). Looking at photographs. In A. Wells (Ed.), The photography reader (pp. 130 – 137). New York, NY: Routledge. [PDF]