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Author: Dorothy Berry-Lound

What do you see

What do you see through your camera when you take a photograph?

I specialize in photoart, also known as photo manipulation. As I stated in an earlier article, I see myself as a storyteller. So how does that work in practice? How do I explain to people what I do to produce my artwork?

I love this quotation from Edgar Degas:

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

What Do You See?

What do you see when you take a photograph?

With the advent of the smartphone we all take photographs everywhere we go. Snapshots, holiday memories, family memories. Perhaps the beautiful architectural lines of a building. A beautiful blue sky reflecting in a tranquil lake. Perhaps people sitting eating at a restaurant or some beautiful countryside.

What Do I See?

I see all those things and more. Sometimes I go out with friends and they ask me what I see in a view as they love the way I can weave a story. I might see there is a pigeon on a roof looking down to the street, or a cat looking out of a window. They become part of the story of the photograph. I see a tiny yacht in the distance on the lake that gives the lake a context, people enjoy boating on that lake. I feel the warmth of the sun or the cold of the wind and try to incorporate that feeling.

Keep Warm Eating Outside
Keep Warm Eating Outside

I see the table at the restaurant before people arrive and anticipate the diners’ arrival as in this image from outside a restaurant in Copenhagen. I see a dead tree in the middle of beautiful countryside or perhaps a building decaying surrounded by beautiful wild flowers. All visions with stories to tell.

Let’s look at a couple of my pieces to give you an idea of what I see.

Glance Down An Alleyway In Cortona

Cortona in Tuscany, Italy, was the setting for the feature film ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’. High on a mountain, with fabulous views and beautiful architecture, it is not hard to see why the town was chosen.

The Excitement And Anticipation Of Creation

On a recent visit to Cortona, I was surrounded by tourists thronging to the shops, bars and restaurants. But I was interested in what was going on in the alleyways and round the dark corners. These are nearly always places of discovery.

As always when I am on a shoot, I had already started to develop a vague excitement, the beginnings of a desire to get home. To start to create on the computer the picture I had in my head when I took the photos already in my camera. By this I mean, the final images I knew I was going to create and could see clearly in my mind.

This approach actually drives me nuts but it is what it is. When I am working on a photograph I work and work and work until I see in front of me what I see in my head. Sometimes it happens really quickly and very little work is needed on the photograph. Other times I can go back to something several times per day over several days.

Deciding On Whether To Even Take A Photograph

I was pleased with what I had taken so far during my visit to Cortona. I looked down the next alleyway and it had nice lines, contrasts in brickwork and I liked the lighting. It was warm and sunny and the light brought out the lovely earthy colors.

I was deciding what and how I was going to shoot when ‘the magic moment’ happened.

Walking The Dog In Cortona
Walking The Dog In Cortona

A man in an orange jacket came out of a doorway with dogs on a lead. And suddenly the image took life, it had a story! My pulse quickened and I had to slow my breathing and work really fast to take a shot before he moved. I knew it would be good and I was excited to start work on the photo.

Other people had stopped to see what I was photographing and all walked on without lifting their cameras. They couldn’t see what I could see, a visual story in the making. Looking at my final image now, what do you see?

Another Chance Glance

The second example is from Lewes in the UK. I was on a shopping trip with my Mum but had my camera with me as always. As I walked down the high street I happened to glance through an open gate and bammm! That magic happened again.

The Secret Courtyard
The Secret Courtyard

Here was a story waiting to be told. This time a secret courtyard was waiting to be discovered, full of magic and mystery. The nice thing about this image is that when it is on a plain wall it actually looks like you are looking through a window to the scene beyond.

So what do you see when you look through your camera? Let your imagination see the view.


How the death of an old oak tree inspired artist Dorothy Berry-Lound to create a series of images and a story, narrated with her own voice, in memory of the tree.

The Angel Played A Violin

Might angels walk among us? They appear in art, literature and in every day life, or so many people believe.