I have a confession

I have a confession

Besides being late with another blog post, and having my languages so jumbled I can barely speak or write in english or spanish, I am also having a hard time photographing in this city. I had the same difficulty last year and perhaps that is what has drawn me back.

Yesterday Kyle was feeling a bit under the weather, so I took a short walk to get him some pozole verde (the sure cure for whatever ails you). The best source of this miracle is a restaurant, Tapatio, approximately 400 yards from our apartment. I can’t adequately describe to you how much life there is between here and there. Imagine within the length of four football fields is the symphony hall, 3 basilicas, 1 major state university, 1 garden, 1 plaza, a dozen street vendors, 100’s of homes, dozens of restaurants, and smells of both open sewage and fresh tortillas. Now line all of these items up and paint them each a unique bright color and insert 100’s of people making sounds that you are trying desperately to understand. This is just a simple errand to pick up a cup of soup.


Look at all those textures!

This city is in every way the antithesis of my artwork. The close proximity of everything and everyone, the brilliant colors stacked one upon the other, the cacophony of sound and smell has my brain on overdrive. And while the research on sensory processing by my good friend Dr Winnie Dunn has allowed me to understand intellectually why my brain is short circuiting I still find it disconcerting that I can’t “see” this city.

So yesterday as I was leaving for my walk, I gave myself an exercise to focus my eyes. What I am unable to do in this bombardment of stimuli is to focus, so by giving myself strict boundaries, I could begin to see. Using only my Iphone camera (so I would not get caught in technicalities) I would photograph anything yellow that I encountered. Things became more clear (and Kyle got rather hungry)!

A few selections from my yellow walk:



What tricks have you learned to help you “see”?


  1. Carlo January 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Truly digging yellow #6,guy in the doorway. I think you’re on to something,keep going,more walks.

    • Chris January 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Carlo – I love that shot too, the only one I was sorry I didn’t have my “real” camera for.

  2. Rebecca Stern January 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I love your yellow series! As I read this post, I immediately thought “she’s looking at too much…get small.” And the you did 🙂
    One of my tricks to “seeing” is to intentionally NOT look at things (like averted vision in astronomy.) It’s truly surprising how much you can’t see when you’re looking straight at something.
    Enjoy your new discoveries!

    • Chris January 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Thanks, Rebecca. Sometimes it just takes a bit to return to the basics that we know. Getting small is definitely one of them.

  3. bigjim January 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    you are so smart! i wish you were around when i was learning to read!! i am the opposite- i need to wide angle or i get lost in the details! miss you! tenga una tortilla para mÃ!

    • Chris January 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Jim – interesting that you relate it to reading. Wonder what Winnie would have to say.

  4. winnie dunn January 20, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    And so we learn a little more about how a SENSOR navigates! this was brilliant… I think that taking in a city/ space at the macro and micro levels yield a different experience… I have been taken by laundry because we dont see it much in the US anymore… so I search out places I can take pics of laundry hanging in plain sight. It reminds me that no matter how complex any place is, there are actual people living their own authentic lives. keeps me grounded and in awe of the human experience.

    • Chris January 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Winnie – Pegging the SENSOR meter in Guanajuato that’s for sure! Thank you for all of your insight it really does change the world! Love the idea of the laundry, it is on every rooftop here.

    • erin mcgrane February 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      winnie – so well said!

  5. erin mcgrane February 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    i love your eyes and i love your brain!!

    • Chris February 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Ahhhh, love you too my multi-talented friend!

  6. Janie Jones February 17, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Perhaps your experience is similar to that of school children who can’t do a page of math problems, for instance, despite having the knowledge. Teachers who realize the problem can use a more low-tech method of isolation than yours (a piece of paper with a hole the size of a single problem) to help the child focus. Just another way in which all things are connected!

  7. Christina R. February 21, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    I love this idea. In How to See, George Nelson talks about giving himself assignments over his entire life with his camera to keep his eye sharp.

2 Trackbacks

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