Point of View...

When I photograph, I am trying to grasp the whole. This requires me to trust my instinct and impulse of the moment. I cannot do this with thinking alone. It helps to use the same lens all the time because one gets used to the field of vision of that lens and can grasp the whole more quickly. Zoom lenses are the work of the devil. They are seldom sharp on the edges, and more importantly they don't encourage a person to establish a real point of view.


Philip Perkis Teaching Photography: Notes Assembled



The real point of view that Perkis is talking about can only be achieved by seeing with the eyes, not the lens. Grasping the whole is what I do everyday, everywhere I go. It has nothing to do with holding a camera up to my eye. I abandoned zoom lenses over a year ago and now shoot exclusively with prime lenses, and 90% of the time with a 50mm lens. I have become so accustomed to the field of vision of the 50mm lens that I often find it startling when I change lenses. I visualize and frame my images with my mind's eye without ever having to look through the viewfinder. I zoom with my feet and my eyes, not with my left hand. My point of view is established way before I peer through the viewfinder. This has allowed me to fully trust my instincts, with regards to what I decide to collect images of, as well as what I choose to walk away from. I pay less attention to composition and framing, and have the freedom to focus on more important things like light and shadow and movement.
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