The Way We See The World
I found myself wandering around Girona doing something I’ve never done before – watching intently how other people were experiencing and photographing the city. It could be because we were invited to Girona on a project with our good blogging friend Sherry to create photo guides for the city and several other medieval towns in the area. I stopped often to watch what people were looking at and how they were taking photos. I was impressed by the unique angles some people were attempting with their phone cameras, and then perplexed by several others, including the elderly man who wanted a shot of himself sitting on one of the bridges. He shooed everyone away, plopped himself down cross-legged, and raised his arms for the shot. It took several people to help him down and back up again, and he looked far from comfortable in this exercise, but he seemed pleased by the photo nonetheless.
There were just so many selfies. I am not a voice against selfies – I’ve taken selfies, and I enjoy them as a casual and quick reflection of myself in that space. Looking back on many of our own photos I see subtle clues as to what I was feeling that day. No one else may notice them, but I do. They will stand as a record for my time. But to the couple that took a half hour getting just the right angle on a bridge – take it and move on – please.
I kept thinking that it’s a tricky task that Pete and Sherry have, to create a product demonstrating their beliefs in what makes a photogenic spot, to turn something out to the world as an instruction of where to go and what to snap. I suppose we do this everyday in our blog and on social media anyway, routinely exposing ourselves and our views for all the world to judge. It is why Pete and I rarely offer travel tips on this blog. For one, we are simply terrible travellers and people should be very wary of following any of our tips. And for two, our beliefs may not be yours. You could legitimately challenge any of our “tips” and we could not fault you for that. Everybody will have their our own perspective.Which is what made this partnership essential and so valuable, at least from this writer who observed both Pete and Sherry in action. They were well matched to each other in that they are so different – Sherry’s composition is unique, she’s drawn to uncommon angles and those quirky qualities that make a macro shot compelling. Pete is all about the big sweeping landscapes and framing one shot within another. Their take on the variety of locations was often very different and always interesting.
And what makes this project most difficult – creating photo guides and walks for five different medieval towns – is that no matter the angle, the perspective is unique and almost every photo could be deemed a keeper. We were in Costa Brava, after all, with so much to see and admire. How are Pete and Sherry supposed to ultimately decide what makes the book?
The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see. ~ Barry Neil Kaufman.
They have to trust their instincts, as brains act as a natural filter. Because our active minds can’t possibly take everything in around us, they will disregard many aspects to automatically focus on what is perceived as useful. Or beautiful. Or interesting. And maybe your brain will see yet another angle that didn’t make cut. But between both Pete and Sherry, I do believe that a great balance was struck.
The resulting product will be a mix. For those who look for the finer details, the intricate carvings of a cathedral door or layers of dripping wax, you’ll find those. For grand vistas of bluebird skies and churches perfectly framed in arches, you’ll find those too. Maybe by the end of the photo guides, you’ll even be able to tell which photographer took which photo.
And the selfies? Yeah, good “selfie spots” will be noted in the guides as well. And of course we all took some of our own. But we’ll save those for another time.
Where we stayed
Our time in Costa Brava was in partnership with Costa Brava Tourism, Girona Tourism and Catalunya Experience. The photo guides I speak of will be available later this summer and we’ll be sure to let you know when they are done!