See Like a Camera - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

It's true. The world is flat.

At least, that's what your camera thinks.

Cameras see the world differently than we do. And when you take a photo you aren't taking a duplicate of the world, but making a flat object that has a completely different relationship to space, time, and the viewer.

Seeing like a camera is a skill. The effects of focus, time, and perspective can all be learned through trial and error, but they can also be taught. This is a workshop that will let you see photographically and learn how to create the images you're looking for.

Try this:

Find something appealing to photograph. Anything will do as long as it isn't moving and has an interesting background some distance behind it.

Take a photo with your camera at its widest zoom position, or your phone at its normal setting. Fill about half of the frame with your subject, leaving some room on both sides.

Now back up. A lot. Zoom in with your camera lens, or pinch-zoom with your phone, until your subject is about the same size as in your first photo. Move more if you need to, but only forward or backward, not sideways.

Take your second photo.

Now compare the two photos. Flip back and forth between them; examine shapes and how they relate within the images. What's different? Where has it changed? How can you use this new power for good?


Learning to see photographically is more important than the button-and-dial nuances of using a camera, but making the camera do what you want is the second half of taking the photos you want. To do that it helps to think like a camera, and by happy coincidence there's a workshop for that too. Send me an email and we'll make it work.


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