In the words of the late (and great) Elliot Erwitt “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

There is a great deal of wisdom in this statement and as I dive deeper into photography I appreciate it even more than when I first saw it.

First there is the bit about photography being “an art of observation”. Wow… Two things about this little phrase: one is that photography is about observation and two that observation itself may be an art, depending how you read it. If photography is indeed about observation, then it should be a slow process, definitely slower than what it has become now that everybody has a camera (in the shape of a smartphone) in their hand ready to shoot. Observation is about taking the time to see the connections that are not obvious with the first passing. It is these connections that tell the story of the photograph and without them there is usually less (if anything) to tell in the first place. Then we are told that observation is not a simple process, but no less than an art. Arguably then it takes talent, skill and work to learn to observe with an eye and a mind to see the story hidden in plain sight. One has to work on being observant and doing so takes dedication and time at least.

Then there is the part about photography being not about what you see, but rather how you see it. In other words, it is -according to EE and that other authority on photography, yours truly, ACG- about the beauty in common things. Beauty in beautiful things is an easy and, dare I say, boring subject. It is there, obvious, calling out to people to admire it and taking a photograph is like stealing from a church. A beautiful landscape, a gorgeous woman, an extraordinary object… boring! If an art is to uncover truths and convey subtle messages, it will do it through less obvious media, or so the dogma goes anyway.

This month’s crop of images is about what I just described. I think. At least that was my intention and the cause for my observations. As I was walking the streets of Hydra or Athens for that matter, I scanned for the less obvious, I let myself be fascinated by the mundane, the out of place, the ordinary. And then I tried to capture it in its “encrypted” form and pass it on to you so that you can decipher the message it contains. Can you?