The Eye Is a Door: Photography and the Art of Visual Thinking is about seeing as a way of knowing and photography as a medium of thought and a mode of discovery. To photograph mindfully is to look and think, to open a door between what can be seen directly and what is hidden and can only be imagined.
The Eye Is a Door grew out of my experience as an author, photographer, landscape architect, and teacher. The book also grows out of “Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry,” the class I have taught at MIT for the past ten years.
It invites the reader to see more acutely and to explore the practice of photography as a way to discover, using landscape as the primary subject. Landscape is an ideal vehicle for honing the skill of visual thinking; landscape is always at hand, and its meanings are not just metaphorical, but real, their messages practical as well as poetic. The skill, once acquired, is transferable. The strategies– observation, pattern recognition, repatterning – apply to investigating human health and behavior, meteorology, molecular structure, or any other subject, anywhere – in the laboratory or studio, at home or in the field.