Visuacy and learning to see – really see: Vera Sytch’s story

Every day we see thousands of photographs. If I’m not mistaken Kodak used to run an ad many years ago saying that our eyes take a million photographs everyday. Both the images we see and the ones we ‘take’ as photographs now exist in our lives in vast numbers – even without film and television. But we never have time (or inclination) to stand and stare;

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” Walker Evans

We flick our eye over each photograph and rarely have the compulsion to dwell, meditatively, on an image. But surely like paintings, or art generally, good photographs are something to get lost in? Their increasing disposability and virtual costless production mean that we have to make an effort to find photographs worthy of a contemplative approach and frequent re-visiting.

My effort to find such photographs is part of my current search to understand more about the essential nature and spirit of photography. Surely we must also entitle all children to a proper basic education in visuacy. One photograph I return to time and again is a photograph by Carol Guzy HERE.

In the search I also came across a deeply moving personal testimony about the day a woman came to see, really see properly for the first time.

Her name is Vera Sytch and she tells how good fortune, or God’s grace, she came to live after falling into icy water – when her fiancée died. After the tragic event her life changed. She says;

I spent the next year rediscovering the world around me. I jumped tracks from pursuing a Ph.D. to exploring the world through my camera. I felt that the blinders with which I’d been rushing through life had been removed. I slowed down and spent my free time gazing at icicles and snow, wondering why no one else took the time to notice their delicate beauty.


One wonders why the shift that took place in her doesn’t happen voluntarily in the rest of us;

People became more important to me. I realized that belongings are temporary but memories are forever. The only thing I truly own is my time, and how I spend it reflects what I value. My greatest treasures aren’t the material things I’ve accumulated, but the people in my life.

Read Vera’s full account HERE


All postings to this site relate to the central model in the PhD.

Summaries are HERE

Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach & coach mainly about interfaith as inter-spirituality - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

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