An Eye for Detail

An exhibit of photographs by Michael Schwartz, a Patagonia resident for 15 years, was on display at the Gathering Grounds in November. Many of the 50-some images were taken during his travels to other parts of the world, including France, Vietnam, Thailand, Israel, and Africa. Schwartz says he is grateful to have had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling.

Whatever the location, the photos on display focused more on interesting details than on traditional “travel poster” scenes. Each was labeled with a short comment about the subject or how the photo came about. The photo shown below left is notable not only for its artful composition but also for the gestures and facial expressions revealed in the figures of the men as they converse.

In the photo at right, the overhead view guides our eye to the lush display of produce being transported.

And in the photo at top left, the view from above puts the viewer more intimately into the scene.

Schwartz says that he has always been drawn to photography, which, he adds, “helps me see.” Perhaps his comment relates to the fact that when we look through a viewfinder, our eye searches for what is visually meaningful and isolates it from the overwhelming amount of visual stimulus that surrounds it, allowing us to see it more clearly. Schwartz undoubtedly employs the same skill for culling meaningful detail from a mass image in his day job at Tenagra Observatory, where he works as an astronomer.