Actively ‘seeing’ the world around you is a big part of photography. When you’re more attuned to your surroundings – light, colours, the composition of objects – the photographic possibilities increase dramatically. Look hard enough, and rooftops may turn into mountain ranges!
But in our daily lives, it’s easy to tune out to our visual world. We stop really looking, because we feel like we’ve seen it all before.
Finding ways to get into the habit of actively seeing, all the time, is key. And one of the easiest ways to tune into the visual world is through travel. When you drop yourself into a new environment, you spend so much more time observing and reflecting. Those are skills every photographer needs.
Fortunately, you don’t have to hop on a plane every time you want to sharpen your ‘seeing’ skills. Here are some quick tips to help you get in the habit of seeing by ‘traveling’ within your own city.
Take a New Route
Whether you’re walking, biking or driving, the frequent change in your surroundings will help keep you interested and visually engaged. Good practice for when you’re out and about with your camera!
Change Your Schedule
When you travel, daily routines are often dropped in favour of experiencing a place at different times of day. In your own city, make a point of going out at times of the day when you’d usually be at home. An early morning or late-night adventure can give you a new perspective and new photographic material.
Be a Neighbourhood Tourist
Do like photographer Louise Hawson of 52 Suburbs, photographing the neighbourhoods in the place where you live. Start by visiting areas that you don’t know as well, where you’ll have a better chance of noticing the details that you’d overlook in a more familiar spot. Don’t limit your explorations to the outdoors: Step inside libraries, bakeries, and government and religious buildings to get a better sense of the neighbourhood.
Foster the Right Attitude
Whether you have a camera in hand or not, encourage yourself to view familiar places as though you’re visiting them for the first time. You’ll be amazed at how your perspective, even of your own neighbourhood, can change.
Do you have any tips for seeing familiar places in a new way? Be sure to share them in the comments below!