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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Look Watch or See

Before you even try to read my next post, please study this one carefully. Put the message in your [mental] pocket. To take it out once in a while to play with it. So you will get to understand and know it. 
I used to compare three verbs that are not as much alike as they seem at first glance.

to look                            underscores were placed by JoAnne Lakefield

1 often foll by: at to direct the eyes (towards) to look at the sea
2 often foll by: at to direct one's attention (towards) let's look at the circumstances
3 often foll by: to to turn one's interests or expectations (towards) to look to the future
4 copula to give the impression of being by appearance to the eye or mind; seem that looks interesting
5 to face in a particular direction the house looks north
6 to expect, hope, or plan (to do something) I look to hear from you soon, he's looking to get rich
7 foll by: for a to search or seek I looked for you everywhere
b to cherish the expectation (of); hope (for) I look for success
8 foll by: to a to be mindful (of) to look to the promise one has made
b to have recourse (to) look to your swords, men!
9 to be a pointer or sign these early inventions looked towards the development of industry
10 foll by: into to carry out an investigation to look into a mystery
11 tr to direct a look at (someone) in a specified way she looked her rival up and down
12 tr to accord in appearance with (something) to look one's age

to watch

1 to look at or observe closely or attentively
2 intr; foll by: for to wait attentively or expectantly
3 to guard or tend (something) closely or carefully
4 intr to keep vigil
5 tr to maintain an interest in to watch the progress of a child at school

to see [sees, seeing, saw, seen]

1 to perceive with the eyes
2 when tr, may take a clause as object to perceive (an idea) mentally; understand I explained the problem but he could not see it
3 tr to perceive with any or all of the senses I hate to see you so unhappy
4 tr; may take a clause as object to be aware of in advance; foresee I can see what will happen if you don't help
5 when tr, may take a clause as object to ascertain or find out (a fact); learn see who is at the door
6 when tr, takes a clause as object; when intr, foll by: to to make sure (of someth.) or take care (of someth.) see that he gets to bed early
7 when tr, may take a clause as object to consider, deliberate, or decide see if you can come next week
8 tr to have experience of; undergo he had seen much unhappiness in his life
9 tr to allow to be in a specified condition I cannot stand by and see a child in pain
10 tr to be characterized by this period of history has seen much unrest
11 tr to meet or pay a visit to to see one's solicitor
12 tr to receive, esp. as a guest or visitor the Prime Minister will see the deputation now
13 tr to frequent the company of she is seeing a married man
14 tr to accompany or escort I saw her to the door
15 tr to refer to or look up for further information see the appendix
16 (in gambling, esp. in poker) to match (another player's bet) or match the bet of (another player) by staking an equal sum

If I may roughly describe the differences between these three ways of making use of 'vision', I would do it like this:

The definition of looking is often about guiding either the eyes or view [def. 1, 5 ,11] or the attention [2, 3, 8a, 9] or even conclusion [3, 4, 12] into a certain direction.
But what about result? There are no guarantees: we either hope [6, 7b] or search [7a, 10], without a note about how it ends. Even having recourse to something is inconclusive: it means one is able o make use of something but that doesn't mean he will [8b].
So looking is definitely directive and suggestive, but it is inconclusive.

Watching sounds a lot more careful and aimed at detail, but I sense something stressed or negative too. It's mostly like keeping an eye out for danger, for things to be wary of, to make sure things won't go out of control.

wary: watchful, cautious, or alert;  characterized by caution or watchfulness

Seeing ... now that is beautiful!
It's about life: about sensing, perceiving and experiencing; physical or mental [1, 2, 3, 4, 8] or even with an abstract subject [10]
It's very decisive and includes the outcome [5, 6, 7, 16] or urges you not to just cast a glance - a look- at something but to study it. To undergo it !! [15]

I left out definitions 9, 11, 12, 13 ,14. They are all about seeing a human being. Let's play with it.
Seeing is about experiencing or undergoing. Or about doing a thorough in depth research for a conclusive answer, right. Keep that in mind when you look at these phrases....

I cannot stand by and see a child in pain Beauty... we are obviously sharing the child's pain, we are empathic.

to see one's solicitor Not for a cup of coffee and a chat, but for very solid advice
the Prime Minister will see the deputation now Again: not for a cup of coffee and a chat

she is seeing a married man ...
Is she looking at a married man? We all like to look at beauty, right. No harm in that.
Is she watching a married man? Is she afraid of him, or does she suspect him of a misdemeanor and wants to catch him at it?
No, she is 'experiencing' him. They are sharing some special  part of their lives....

I saw her to the door now that's a funny one. Isn't it enough to direct someone to the door? The indecisive directing as in looking. “I looked her to the door” :))
No, I saw her to the door.... because I wanted to make sure she would leave!! Not a very sympathetic expression. But some people just ask for being seen to the door.

Cameras, our mechanical eyes...

How do these things relate to our three verbs?

The easiest one is watching... can we use camera's for watching ? Definitely, they are called security cameras.

Can we use a camera for looking? Oh yes we can. It is the type of photography I'm not keen on. Just place a sound-activated camera in a crowd, like at a party, and it turns directed by the noise... or cameras with facial recognition technology. These cameras decide when and or how to make the shot of the subject they 'pick'. And snap... it makes a shot. Rather snappy. The outcome might be nice, but 9 out of 10 (999 out of 1000?) it will not be really worth while. Yup, that is looking : it has both directing and uncertainty about the outcome.

Now for the prize word: can we use a camera for seeing? What a question, that's the ultimate use of a camera. Seeing is an art word, photography is [or can be] an art.
Where most people look, or watch, or even scrutinize, a photographer may see something that the others overlooked, failed to see. The photographer uses his camera to emphasize or explain what it was that he saw. The photo may help us, overlookers, to focus and we might perceive the 'unobvious' too. If we take care to really study the photo, let it sink in...
Like I try to pass along ideas, visions and feelings with words, a photographer uses his pictures...

Is being a 'visual thinker' or 'picture thinker' a prerequisite to being a good photographer?

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