It’s all about contrast and focus.
Do you notice the walls in your house?
Mentally you’re used to avoiding running into them. (Though I still have trouble with door frames every now and then.)
They break up the spaces of your home.
Give you privacy and separation.
They hold the roof up.
But in general they can pretty much go unnoticed and unremarked.
Now shift your attention to the wall. Find a bare patch of the dull boring wall and stare at it.
Not so dull and boring is it?
Well okay, maybe it is kind of dull and boring. But, the closer you look at the wall the more nuance starts to appear.
The walls are not really flat and nondescript. They can be kind of bumpy, or slightly irregular. Maybe they’re patched up like mine with a little putty.
Then there are the shadows playing across them. Light filters in and the color shifts in your mind’s eye as the underlaying true color remains the same as it ever was.
Then you look away again and your mind begins to edit them out. They’re just boring white walls again, no attention needed, nothing of interest.
The detail is always there, the depth is there, but most of the time you don’t notice.
You notice contrast where you give focus.
Where you put your attention the contrast deepens.
Where you focus, your mind begins to highlight differences.
Suddenly a simple wall becomes a battlefield of lightness and darkness. Shadows mixing with light in a contrast of image. You look away and it’s all gone.
Attention is in fact deceptive.
Inattention is equally deceptive.
If you don’t pay attention to something it will blend to all look the same.
If you pay too much attention to something the contrast will make you think it’s an ocean of malcontent and cacophony.
Seek balance between attention and inattention.
Find the placed where you can see the contrast, but know that we’re all the same.
Seek for the place where you are not deceiving yourself in either direction.
The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.
The mind is a contrast engine. Contrast creates drama. Contrast draws attention to the light.
A good photographer knows how to work with the light, drawing attention to their intended focus. Using darkness to draw attention away from what they don’t want you to see.
The images you are seeing are a lie.
Sometimes it is another lying to you. Sometimes it is you lying to yourself. They are images generated by the mind and constructed through a particular focus. Whatever they want you to see… Or whatever you are looking for. Drawing attention away from what remains hidden in darkness. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Generate your own light. Illuminate the corners of the world that often remain hidden.
Light is a tool. So is darkness.
Become the light where light is needed. Become the darkness where dark is needed.