I love this photo. I walked past it on the way to the final keynote of the CALI conference. I saw an interesting juxtaposition (one of the Big Secret storytelling techniques I spoke of in my own keynote) in the goldfish crackers on the sidewalk. My photo intuition said “take the photo”, but I made that mistake of hesitating

This is not my photo.

This was waken by David, a conference participant I met at CALI. He sent it to me via email; before the last keynote, he came up to show me the image on his camera, saying he was inspired to look for details like this, or as he wrote:

Your keynote gave me the motivation to keep my eyes wide open.

The funny thing was I had missed what he saw, by taking he photo with the water utility cover next to the goldfish. Fish out of water. Or David Foster Wallace style This is Water.

He saw a detail I missed, and one I hesitated to stop and take out the camera for. If you hesitate, you lose the opportunity.

But this is in line with one of the best outcomes I always enjoyed in ds106, when students say after out photo scavenger hunts, or doing daily creates, or recording ambient sounds- they see/hear the world differently when they are paying attention to details like light, shadow, composition. It’s why I keep a daily photo habit going, not just to say I have a photo day, but this practice of finding something of interest in the world everyday is a very mindful activity.

It came out spontaneously during my talk, but what I found out is most interesting in photography is that you are creating be deleting- you are cutting everything out of the world we live in by the sheer act of choosing a frame of composition in the viewfinder.

And I could not be happier to hear David picking up on that. And seeing he got a better photo than me is a bigger reward. I took a snap with my iphone after, and it is not as good-

Fish Out of Water
flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Photo by David H shared via email. Technically, I have not asked permission (yet) ;-)

The post "Seeing Fish Out of Water: Best Possible Outcome from Conference Talk" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (https://cogdogblog.com/2015/06/seeing-fish-out-of-water/) on June 21, 2015.


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