Spreading the Word: Art of Close Looking

What is visual literacy? What is the value of close looking? In her recent article for Psyche, writer and art historian Grace Linden explores the idea of visual literacy as a skill that needs to be learned (and taught). We do not just see what is out there, fully and objectively. We see what we are trained to see. An increasingly overflowing stream of images trains us to look quickly and be distracted.

Looking closely, just as listening attentively, is a skill we can learn and hone throughout our lives. This has the beneficial effect of developing patience, the ability to sit with confusion and ambiguity, stretching the moment and avoiding distraction. That is precisely what the constant flow of images does not want us to do. As Linden says, “The endless visual stream is meant to keep you distracted because if you look closely you will see more clearly”.

Link to the article: The Art of Close Looking. Enjoy!

If how we see is determined by what we know, believe and have been taught, then not seeing is also a reflection of these conditions.    

Grace Linden
photo of tourists in Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in front of a painting
Tourists in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Keeping up the “Spreading the Word” tradition, I hope to share an insightful and mind-broadening article, podcast episode or video every weekend. Humans have always turned and returned to storytelling to find meaning. My weekends’ “Spreading the Word” posts are an online version of sharing meaningful stories.   

keep exploring and storytelling!

P.S. Thank you for visiting me here on the humanfactor.blog! If you enjoyed this post and are interested in more philosophical content, I invite you to explore the blog, leave a comment, like, and subscribe to get notified of new posts (twice a week).

Image credit: Photo by redcharlie | @redcharlie1 on Unsplash

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