Listen with Your Eyes



When I take my camera out and about, I always start out with the best intentions. I always plan to take my time and focus, pay attention to lighting or the rule of thirds or whatever, trying to get the best picture possible. But I have a weird confession to make. For some reason, I am totally self-conscious when I’m out in public taking photos. Even starting with the best intentions, I find myself rushing as fast as I can and taking quick pictures without spending time on getting the shot I really want. Sometimes I barely even take time to focus the camera. Isn’t that crazy? I know. It totally doesn’t make any sense at all. But unfortunately that is how I roll. Hahaha. Please tell me I am not the only one who feels like this? Actually I hope I am. I really hope that no one else has this quirk in their photographer persona.

I am always impressed by photos that make you feel like you are part of the scene. Photos so rich with story that you can imagine the smells, the sounds, the energy in the air surrounding them. I really believe that to capture shots like those, you have to know what you are looking for. You have to listen with your eyes. You have to take your time and find the moment. The moment that captures the feeling.

In this photo, the focus is on the sparkler and hands in the foreground. The woman is out-of-focus, but definitely still important… right down to the comfortable baggy sweater. But your eyes tell you to focus on the magic the sparks of light offered as well as the cupping of her hands around the base. You can almost hear the little pops and hisses as it burns.

Listen with Your Eyes
by Morgan Sessions


In this photo, the moment is captured as the wave slams into the rock, splashing into the air. You can definitely hear this with your eyes. You can also see the wetness of the rock and it is almost tangible to know how it feels to be standing there, taking the picture.

Listen with Your Eyes
by Justin Leibow


Here is a photo that also provides a very auditory experience through the visual. You can hear squawking of the gulls, the flapping of wings, and even the gentle lapping of the water onto the shore. You might even imagine a foghorn or a ship’s motor in the distance. There is a lot going on here.

Listen with Your Eyes
by Patryk Sobczak


And finally, this photo gives us a glimpse into another sort of story all together. Looking at the picture, you might be able to hear the clatter of silverware against plates, hushed conversations, a waitress taking an order, or the sounds of the cash register totaling someone’s bill. There is a lot of story here, from the worn wood of the table, the metal mugs, the toothpick holder and all of the other soft details. What do you hear?

Listen with Your Eyes
by Andre Freitas


Pictures like these make me want to overcome my inhibitions so I can step out and find some confidence behind my camera. I want to seize upon the small, visceral details that help to tell a story. I want to capture rich specifics in a scene. I want to take pictures that cause people to lean in and listen with their eyes.

Now I want you to head on over to the Challenge Forum and discover your mission.



About the Author: Kimberlee is a lover not a fighter; a stay-at-home gran, a poet, and a lifelong learner. She grooves on saturated colors, Tuesday dance parties, optimism, glitter and sunshine. She colors outside the lines.  She is a dreamer. She is a collector of moments.  She is all about the story.  Kimberlee completed her MFA in Creative Writing and is currently working toward a M.Ed. in Instructional Design.