THE DIGITAL IMAGING REVOLUTION is not merely the shift from one kind of recording medium to another, any more than the change from horse to automobile was merely an “upgrade” in transportation. It actually gives us two paths forward; an easy road, where photography is the mere servant of technology, or the steeper trail….a vital re-discovery of what it is to “write with light” as proactive, deliberative artists. To choose the latter, we must do nothing less than teach ourselves how to see anew, returning to the sense of wonder that characterized our first breathless attempts at capturing life in a box. THE NORMAL EYE, taking its title from the workings of prime, or so-called “normal” lenses, hopes to address the photographer’s quest for his own best vision.
Ironically, in a medium which offers more and more in the way of auto-generated effects and guaranteed results, we can only reclaim the mantle of photographer by prying our fingers off the presets and steering the process with our own direct touch and vision. This process of “normalizing” our eyes reboots our settings and re-connects us to the shooters we once were, putting the tools of this magnificent age at the service of our instincts (rather than vice versa). In that moment, we make the journey back from merely taking pictures to making images.
This journal will not pretend to be a clinical workshop, as there are legions of pros infinitely more able to teach and explain than I ever can be. Rather, it hopes to be a passionate discussion between curious amateurs who are taking their art back into their own hands, opting for adventure, even failure, in search of the sublime. THE NORMAL EYE, then, is a celebration of photography as an original and ongoing act of art, perhaps the most democratic platform for artistry the world has ever known. It is a chronicle of our lifelong efforts to learn, re-learn, and re-re-learn, how and what to see.
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Welcome to this exchange. You are its most vital part.