Even when the weather is bad, I go out to wander and make pictures for thirty or forty minutes. Every working day, this is my lunchtime habit, a recursive practice that is exercise for both my body and my mind.
Because the available time is so limited, I can’t get very far from my school, and end up revisiting the same places many times. This makes it a challenge to uncover new details and to find new insights into the already familiar.
Creatively, this is good because it forces you to be more attentive and doesn’t let you get away with just making the obvious compositions. It forces you to work harder, to look closer, to be more aware of your surroundings, and to be more inventive in how you approach them.
It’s also good practice for life. We go home to the same place every day. Likely to the same office, too. We travel the same roads, shop at the same stores, repeat the same actions, day in and day out. But noticing less and less as you settle into the assumed mundanity of it all doesn’t mean it has to be that way, and it certainly doesn’t mean that there’s actually less to notice.
There is always something new to observe.
I practice this sort of engaged looking daily. Making pictures is part of how I choose to go about it, but that’s only one of many ways.
The important thing is in the doing, in the daily practice of paying attention and seeing what you can see. The more you do it, the more surprised you will be by just what there is to discover.
There is so much that’s been there all along, in plain sight, patiently waiting to be noticed. You just have to look for it.