Introduction to GUP #55 - Wonder




Life is full of little mysteries. While we often approach photography as something descriptive or explanatory, the truth is that it doesn’t need to be either. Photos can also present to us a scene inexplicable.

And isn’t it wonderful, to interact with something that doesn’t reveal itself immediately but holds close its magic?

It is all too easy to look upon the world with a cynical eye, to dismiss anything we encounter as known and uninteresting. Yet this flawed conclusion – that what we behold is already and sufficiently understood – is precisely what prevents us from truly knowing it, by cutting short our exploration.

We have all brushed up against the sublime feeling of wonder, realising suddenly that we know we do not know.

Though we may seek to recreate that emotion, it is hard to find it by turning over rocks at random. But this is not because the rocks are lacking – it’s because we are.

English author Eden Phillpotts wrote: “The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” As we click through countless browser windows, scroll through never-ending streams of images and turn through pages of books and magazines, we can opt to view and discard as quickly as possible, assuring ourselves of efficient consumption without the nuisances of chewing or tasting. Or, to allow ourselves a bit of wonder, we can first find within ourselves the potential to forget what we think we know.

Katherine Oktober Matthews, Chief Editor