Monovision

Posted: July 2, 2019 in Art photography, composition, ideas, Photography


The photographer looking at the world using a camera such as a DSLR is seeing in two dimensions. The depth proved by humans’ stereo vision, binocular sight, is not present when looking through a single lens. Monocular viewing also restricts the “field of view”. Using a camera entails capturing a slice of time with a fixed focal length; a purposeful selection of peripheral vision. A friend asked me why no one had invented a device that would allow you to see the world with a the field of view from 10mm – 500mm in a compact device.  The glib and accurate answer is, “you have two already”.  Seeing and thinking in “restricted periphery” is a skill which requires the exercise of concentrating on your sense of sight and using your knowledge of optics and photography — allowing you to visualize the world in every focal length — the ultimate in vision.

Peripherally, a colleague of mine early in my career, coincidentally named “Wink”, had an eyepiece diopter made to match his vision correction (ie his glasses) and used it on his Nikon F. When he needed clarity — precision — he would look thought the camera, his eyeglasses to the world. Wink lived life on the manic edge, so for him clarity was paramount. Most of us use our visual imaginations to sense and focus on the world photographically, avoiding the distractions and distortions created by the visual chum.

~John

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