I started a little tradition this December as a stand in for the Advent calendar. I am sending a text message every day to my kids, reminding them of a gift that they have. The first one was sunshine, the next air, then water, soil, snow, movement, memory, imagination, and today…sight.
I am a very visual person. I have a visual memory. A teacher once told me that there is an easy way to assess whether a child is a visual learner. Ask him to tell you the contents of his closet. If he looks away from your face and off to a neutral space in order to list things, he’s probably visual. He’s removing his eyes from distraction so that he can “picture” his closet. I heard this little trick and remembered all the boring afternoons I spent as a freshman at college picturing every detail of my room at home. (Yes, I was terribly homesick. Mostly for my sweetheart. Finally married that hometown honey on Christmas break my senior year.) I could still do it 30 years later. I close my eyes and see my room exactly as it was. (Where did my mother get that faux velvet wall hanging with the peacock on it? And why did I bring it to college with me?)
Things I love to see include landscapes, sunshine, animals, trees, the sky…anything natural. And people. Faces, bodies, those odd architectural places of form and shadow and contrast that only your intimate loved ones allow you to look at to your satiation. I can never get enough of staring at people I love. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated by photography. My sweetheart bought me a Canon AE-1 camera the second Christmas we were together. My mother asked me, “Are you going to accept that gift?!” Hell, yes! Why wouldn’t I? Oh, the relationship obligation thing. No problem; we’re going to be together forever, I told her. Jim died a year before the camera’s shutter gear got stuck. So, basically, I partnered both of them for the same amount of time: 30 years. Now, it’s the digital age, and I can’t afford to get the Canon repaired. I’m saving for a DSLR.
Visual images are so powerful for me. I don’t like the rapid, frenetic pace of graphics on TV or in movie ads, though, because they give me a headache. Fortunately, I don’t own a TV, so I don’t get subjected very often. We saw the Super Bowl at a sports bar last year and decided that we could make a drinking game based on a few visual cues: something exploding, rotating text graphics, and morphing forms. Everything was moving. Whatever happened to the timeless grace of a beautiful still shot? I get my fix on National Geographic’s website under “The Daily Dozen”. And I have to say that my sister’s photobucket is also a superb repository of stunning visuals. Thank you for those “prezzies”, DKK!
Appreciating sight. What are your spontaneous choices for favorite images?