Perry Miller was in the gallery and he saw the picture of the Amish buggy in the snow. The picture is “black and white” with a fence row down each side of the picture taking your eye to the Amish buggy moving down the dead middle of the road. The world is white. Snow. Faintly you can see some buildings and if you look closely you can see smoke rising from a chimney.
Perry loved the picture.
Perry is Amish and he has a wonderful “eye”. He also owns Heartland Wholesale which manufactures and distributes art work to Amish and Mennonite stores across the country. It is a special niche that his company understands very well. When Perry likes a picture it means something.
Then a few days later Perry was back in the gallery. He looked at the picture and said, “I don’t like that picture anymore”.
The obvious question is – and I asked it – “Why?”
The answer is that he can see (we all can see) the horse’s head.
As you may or may not know in this world of digital photography you can take hundreds of pictures in a matter of a couple of minutes with these DSLR cameras. So I had many shots of this horse and buggy. The one where you COULD see the horse’s head was the one I chose to work on because I liked seeing his head. It was different from many of my other pictures where the only hint that there is a horse pulling the buggy is feet and of course the logical conclusion that your brain draws that there has to be a horse up there… somewhere.
Perry explained that horses pull straight… or are supposed to. If you can see the horse’s head that means he is not pulling straight. He is not directing his energy as intended. He is distracted.
Perry asked me how close I was to the buggy. His question suggested that I was too close and distracted the horse.
I remembered being at 400 mm on the telephoto which would have put me hundreds of yards away given the framing of the picture.
So I Photoshopped out the horse’s head and sent Perry an altered copy so he could be happy.
I guess the point made is…or maybe better said the point remade is that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and what we English see is different from what the Amish may see.