A new way to look at Jackson Square in New Orleans

One of my favorite photography blogs is Münchow’s Creative Photo Blog. As you might guess from the title of his blog, Otto von Münchow doesn’t write about the technical aspects of photography so much as the creative part (his tag line is “Creativity is within us all.”) A lot of what he writes about concerns how to really “see” when we take photographs. And how it helps if we take different pictures from what we usually do. For instance, for a recent project in which he went in to his backyard to shoot rather common settings—a wrought iron bench, a gathering of leaves, some old garden furniture—he writes about expanding his vision by shooting in different ways: “It could be shooting with an unfocused lens, using long, handheld exposure time for blurry imagery, or it could be putting a 400 mm lens on the camera, using minimum depth of field, or something absolutely crazy. Again, the point for me is to expand and challenge myself so that I don’t get stuck in my present photographic vision.”

I love this idea. And he’s right. I don’t have my usual quiver of lenses and such with me here in New Orleans, but yesterday when I walked around Jackson Square, I decided to take advantage of a single lens and just try and look at things differently. To try and see the world through a slightly different perspective. It’s not so much that I was trying not to “get stuck in my present photographic vision,” as Otto says, but not get stuck in my emotional and intellectual vision of the world around me. In other words, maybe by looking at the world in a slightly different frame, I’d see and feel things that I wouldn’t normally. And that’s, I think, exactly what happened.

All photos by David Lansing.



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  1. Allan’s avatar

    It’s about the eye and composition. We are often too rushed to see what we’re taking or what is around us.

    I keep thinking back to the most enduring photographs, like Ansel Adams, and think what he did with a bloody big box, a hundred pounds of equipment and patience. (I’ve never seen a picture of him, given all that he and his assistants had to cart around, I wonder how fit he was?)

  2. Barbara Stoner’s avatar

    I am not a photographer. I was always the one forgetting to take the damn picture. But when I drove around England for the first time, I bought a little Canon PowerShot A510, and from England through Turkey, Greece, Italy and France a few years later and then back to drive England once again, it has taken some of my favorite pictures in the world. Maybe because I was there and I took them. I don’t know. And I love the work of other photographers, including David – thank you for taking me to Lake Paradise and now back to New Orleans. I’m still not a photographer – I’m a writer. I do pictures in words. But that trusty little camera is still sitting right here ready to go again. The lens cap failed long ago and I can’t imagine winning any prizes. But even non-photogs can do wonders, even if only for themselves, with one little camera that does the right job.

  3. Otto von Münchow’s avatar

    Only you yourself can really judge how different the pictures are from your usual emotional and intellectual vision, but in the end what matters is the willingness to go outside the regular path. Personally I think the pictures are great, I really love the use of bokeh and the grungy feeling you have created. The slightly faded colours as if the photos were taken during the 60′s or somewhere around there adds an extra level of visual play. My favourite is the last one, the donkey feel so sad and lonely, while people on the carriage almost seems completely detached. Very well done. And thanks for the lovely words and the referral.

  4. Angeline’s avatar

    Fabulous photographs! They really are great, and so very different for you (from what I’ve seen).

    I almost jumped out of my chair when I saw your first sentence. I can’t remember how I happened upon Otto’s blog when I started over on WordPress, but I immediately became enthralled with his posts and photography. He is a great teacher and always provides insightful information especially to a beginning photographer like me. Otto mentioned a book, which I’m reading now, called Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood; it delves further in to “seeing”.

    Wow…I just keep scrolling back up to your photos.

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