Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 7, 2008

Perception

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:09 pm

Country Road Hangzhou

I found myself thinking about perception again, as it relates to how I photography, what I see and equally as important, perhaps what I don’t see.

As to how we are raised, we start to get ‘programmed’, not perhaps in the evil sense of this word, but the idea that our language and customs get taught to us at a very early age. We do things as a child that usually gets consistent reinforcement, such as our language and how we communicate.

While traveling around the United States, my language and cultural customs enable me to see things in a certain way, and it can be difficult to see things from a ‘different’ viewpoint. But its easy to move about and I take many of my photographs within a certain context.

When I travel to Europe, I run into stranger customs and language differences that effect me. Perhaps in a way that I ‘see’ differently than they do, I see the things that they don’t, perhaps not seeing the things that they do. But it is not too much unlike much of the US and there are enough similairities that you can easily survive, especially since many speak and write English. Thus we help the Europeans see themselves in a different context, much like Robert Frank did for the Americans with his photographs.

For me, Asia and my recent work in China, I am really disoriented, as maybe I might be anywhere in the Asia.  I can not understand any of the Chineese written characters, nor have any context to understand what is spoken. The culture is vastly different, so I bring my ‘American’ eyes and perception with me and try to make sense of or document the apparent differences, the strangeness.  Now maybe I understand why the folks visiting from Japan in the 80’s always had cameras taking pictures, we Americans were so weird in what we did in comparison.

Anyhow, I just find myself thinking about my perception of my reality and how that might be helping me or hindering me and what I might be able to do about it, as to grow my ability to ‘see’.  I know that in the past, to see a photograph that was not ‘normal’, I would not give it a second thought, just blow it off.  Now, even though I may not fully understand the point, I find that if it effects me, good or bad, I want to try to understand why.

Best regards, Doug

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1 Comment »

  1. Isn’t it just such a sweet ride, finding out why? I find perception to be an expression of our desire to see more and more. It’s like an organ that never stops developing. That’s just how I feel about it.

    Best wishes!

    Comment by Eduardo San Miguel — January 20, 2008 @ 7:10 pm


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