What do you really see?


Looked down from our bedroom window to see this…


By Caitlin Kelly


I think about this a lot.

For a writer, I’m a highly visual person. It informs how I live, how I think, how I write and how I connect to the world.

My father was an award-winning film director.

My husband is an award-winning photographer.

I sold my first images — three covers — to a Toronto magazine while still in high school and went on to sell my photos to Time, The New York Times, Washington Post and others.

I see beauty everywhere, all the time. I could spend all day photographing the world.

But I wonder how many people now — staring into their phones — even see the world around them. I shout “DON’T WALK INTO ME!” at anyone phone-staring while ambulating.

It’s disturbing how little we notice of the subtleties: the changing light season to season, how it gets low and yellow in fall; the specific bright green of spring vegetation, the minuscule worlds beneath our feet in any forest.

My daily joy is my Instagram feed, with spectacular images from around the world — Scotland, Finland, Italy, many by talented amateurs (check out Grant Kaspo’s stunning photos of Scottish mountains, in all seasons and hours) but also by legendary pro’s like fellow Canadian Gary Hershorn, who I met a long long time ago when we both worked in  Toronto and now live within an hour’s drive of one another near New York City.

Recently asked by an awestruck Insta follower, “How do you do it?” Gary replied “You just have to look.”


Are you looking?


16 thoughts on “What do you really see?

  1. Jan Jasper

    I have always been acutely aware of the way the light changes throughout the day and evening, and also how it changes through the seasons. I am fortunate to have a house with a lot of windows, so that lets a lot of light in. This is probably related to why I love Farrow & Ball paint.

      1. Jan Jasper

        Most of us don’t paint our rooms black, but I have to point out that black has undertones too. As does any gray. I know more about textiles than pigment (it’s dyes that are used). There is no neutral black, there’s always a touch of green, or blue, or purple

      2. There’s a book all about Black, on my bookshelf. I am endlessly fascinated by color and its meanings over time. I follow several archeologists on Twitter and have learned a lot from their tweets w photos.

      3. Jan Jasper

        Caitlyn, is that book about black titled “Black, the history of a color” by Michael Pastoureau? I’d like to buy it.

      4. Jan Jasper

        Caitlin, You’d enjoy “The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Clair. It’s fascinating, all about color in history. Another book I love is “Choosing Colors” by Kevin McCloud, which is much about color combinations, but also a fair amount of history.

  2. yes, I am always looking and tend to notice things that many might find insignificant or just bypass. these are the interesting things in life.

  3. Being classified as legally blind for 20 years and then receiving the miracle of my eyesight. I relish the beauty of nature and architecture. I hope to one day travel overseas and see more of the world.

  4. Juliet in Paris

    Oh, yeah, I’m looking so much my eyeballs are ready to fall out. I’m currently in the heel of Italy, in the gorgeous small city of Lecce. First thing I noticed in Italy is how stylish it is, and the men are gorgeous. Sheer delight. Wandering, walking and taking lots of photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s