“Floral Door Hardware” – Hotel California, Todos Santos
“When you take the time to look carefully, deliberately, to really ‘observe’, the fine details missed by our busy, ever filtering consciousness, expand our vision and engrave that memory more permanently.”
– Ed Lehming
It’s the details, those little things our brains tend to file away as inconsequential within the broader experience, that fascinate and perplex me. Our eyes see it all, but very little is retained, unlike the camera, which keeps a permanent record of everything. But, as I said in my quote above, you have to take the time to look for those details and consciously remember them, or the details are purged, as we hurry to take everything in. Are we really taking everything in? Yes, but so much more is lost. That’s just how our brains are wired.
I find that to be the saddest thing in our busy world, at least in western cultures. We save up and vacation in the locales of our imagining. But, when we get there we, and I’m speaking generally here, tend to go to the places we have seen images of and drink in a larger experience than the photos or videos of others provide. That is quite fulfilling as we are now seeing ‘more’. Yet, how often do we stand in a place and really experience it? Taking in every fine detail?
My example above is a piece of hardware on a rustic door at Hotel California, in the Mexican village of Todos Santos. We had spent quite a bit of time touring this well-known tourist destination. But, it was not till I was standing outside the door, waiting for the rest of my family to finish their various activities, that I noticed this beautiful, handcrafted door hardware. In the shape of a coneflower, the petals are brass, stamped with yet more detail and the centre, is forged iron. In my opinion, a wonderful addition to the weathered wooden doors leading to the gift shop. Then there’s the wood itself, with it’s complex grain and subtle colour hues. Who saw the staple? No cheating.
Had I not been standing there, I might have noticed them, but not the details. I’ve had the same experience when I take a hike with someone and find them surprised at the number of photos I have made of wildflowers and other items along the way that they missed, even though the believed they were taking it all in.
If you want to be an observer and savour and experience fully, you need to slow down, just like enjoying a good meal. Take it in, one small bite at a time and let the image fill your senses.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200