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Heightened Awareness in Art and Design

Last week, I took an all day workshop in New York City for Adobe Photoshop.

I had the pleasure of meeting a woman, Sarah, who was a high school art teacher.

She was telling me that some of her students enroll in her class just to get the credits.  They have no interest in art and their attitude towards it is very indifferent.

She described these students as being the most challenging but also, the most rewarding to teach.  Sarah said that she especially enjoys witnessing the “Aha moment” when they first come to realize that art and design is everywhere.

This may seem like an obvious realization to most of us, but the majority of the population walks through life looking but not really seeing. Sarah said that even some of the boys that had no care about fashion or what they wore, began to take notice of color and patterns in their clothes.

This heightened awareness would soon make them see all kinds of ordinary things as works of art and design, from food packaging to street signs.

The cool look of the cell phone itself, either in their hand or on their wrist, all designed with a purpose to fulfill a function while being aesthetically pleasing.

This leads me to how we “see” as photographers. We really do “see” beyond what is presented to us, or at least we try to communicate what it is we are seeing through our camera lens.

We present it to our viewers thinking that they may have never looked at a landscape or an object in quite the same way. Introduce light and a perspective and it transforms into a realm of what we see it to be.

As photographers, I think this is the most important responsibility we have.

In keeping with Marc’s theme of quotes from photographers, I think this one by

Elliot Erwitt is the most appropriate for what I am trying to express.

“To me photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things we see and everything to do with the way you see them.” —Elliot Erwitt

—Diane Luger, Co-President, LICP