The Art of Seeing

French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry posits that “to see is to forget the name of the thing one sees”. This aphorism, that has roots in Zen Buddhism texts, has inspired artists like Robert Irwin, minimalist photographers Uta Barth, and Michael Kenna. This idea, of seeing only for the sake of seeing itself, becomes an aesthetic experience uninhibited by intellect, unmutilated by thought, and unsullied by composition. Instead, one is sedated to sync to a slower rhythm, to be and experience something more subconscious and profound.

Because this anthology of minimalist photographic images aims to express a body of idea and emotion, it falls into the realm of fine art photography. Though it embodies the idea of out-of-focus contemporary minimalism, it can also be seen as conceptualism for its obscurity between its true subject and subject matter. Though actual subjects include urban backgrounds; trees, buildings, and city expanses, the obscurity of the backgrounds reveal a deeper subject matter - the art of seeing. This reflective artistic intention implores the viewer to experience the abstract and subjective inspiration of idea and feeling. While intended for an audience that can slowly and quietly contemplate how they see, and not what they see, this body of work is applicable outside of the gallery for all to experience.

This project was initially incredibly difficult for me. I had an intended purpose and intent for a body of work, but for the life me I could not for it into a visual interpretation. Instead, I was forced to begin with the general idea - the art of seeing. Like a personal meditative practice, I had to implement my idea of seeing for the act of seeing within the process. When I was able to put into practice what I wanted this body of work to represent, this finally allowed the visuals to follow. The final outcome, this body of work, reverberates to the slower and delicate pace needed to truly experience something profound.