January 10, 2010
Listening With Your Other Senses

I have a common message in almost every photography class that I teach:  to see better, close your eyes.  This approach encourages photographers to utilize their other senses in making creative decisions about what and how they are going to photograph.  To gain the most from the magnificent gifts of our senses, we must use them together, not in near exclusivity of each other.

How differently beautiful is our partner when we look at her/him versus when we do so while also touching their face?  How differently dynamic is the beach when we listen to the birds, waves, sounds of children, blend of multiple languages, roar of boat motors? 

It occurred to me that I might want to do better at practicing what I preach regarding my outreach efforts.  I tell visual artists in my workshops and books to use their other senses, but do I also ask those who subscribe to my "listening" newsletter to use their sight to better hear their world? 

Listen under the colors and the moss

What do you hear in the image above?  Silence, birds twittering as they awaken or your own slow exhale as you pause to reflect on colorful beauty?  That would be great, because I suspect many people in this country club parking lot who were leaving a morning social event heard their cell phones going off, the sound of cars driving away and the low noises of people saying good bye to each other as they parted to their cars.  While standing there, my memory heard sounds associated with campouts with my sons, fishing conversations with my dad, and other wonderful events that happened under the colors of leaves and the drapes of Spanish moss.

Pause to look and see, really see.  What do you then hear in the present and in the treasures of your memory?

Listen to Life is a  free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2009 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

Recent Citings of Dion 

"Watch a gorgeous, relaxing sunset"
Woman's World, June 16

"Sweet Sendoffs" about "sending your kids to college with hugs" in August 2008 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

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South China Morning Post newspaper


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