July 20, 2020

What aren’t we seeing?

Christina Riley, 31

Can the act of looking closer broaden our sight as well as sharpen? On daily lockdown walks by the sea I began picking up pebbles and shells, astounded by the colours and shapes that stood out from the sand. The collections became a daily ritual; diary entries clarifying hazy days. Shapes fit together like puzzle pieces carefully arranged to best display the texture of a stone or colour of a shell; tedious fixations kindling excitement and awe. Studies show that experiencing awe can increase kindness and generosity, opening our minds from insular self-interest to visualise something bigger. This year has opened our eyes — to natural beauty, needs, fear, injustice, mortality. Parts of life that have always been present, like pebbles and shells beneath our feet, only now we see them more clearly. What more is out there? What else would we see if only we stopped to look? Busy lives blur our vision, but it is possible to pull what we’re missing into focus, all hard edged and sparkling and raw. We have to find new ways of looking at where and who we are amongst it all, unearthing new sources of awe and seeing what needs our attention.

The Beach Today, July 1, 2020Digital photograph9 x 12 inches