How to Look at Everything

How to Look at Everything

How to Look at Everything

How to Look at Everything


How should we look at the world?

How can we live our lives fully?

In How to Look at Everything, acclaimed photographer David Finn turns his keen focus on how to experience the world around us in greater depth. The author of Abrams' best-selling books How to Look at Sculpture, How to Look at Photographs, and How to Visit a Museum here turns to the problem of developing an enriched way of seeing. In a thoughtful series of essays, he offers a personal view of how to enjoy more fully the pleasures that make life truly worth living: beautiful sights, fascinating objects, shared experiences, and warm companionship.


The word everything in the title of this book may seem too all-encompassing, but I have in mind the incredible range of things we can see when our mind pays attention to the images transmitted by our eyes. Everything includes the stars in the sky, the branches on a tree, a matchbox cover. It includes anything we may see at any time in any place. Our subject, however, is not what we look at, but how we can open our minds and hearts to see more than the literal image and be inspired by the vision that takes place in our minds. As the painter Agnes Martin put it, "when your eyes are open you see beauty in anything."

Think of looking at the sky on a clear night and seeing the pin- points of light against a dark background. Speculating about those stars is one of the most provocative experiences known to mankind. Ancient cultures built entire beliefs about time, eternity, and the meaning of existence around the movement of the stars. the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy once wrote that when he followed the movement of the stars he felt that his feet no longer touched the earth. He found himself in the company of Zeus, feasting on the food of the gods.

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