19 Quotes On Perception

Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on perception.
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”  ― William Blake
“Look at everything as though you are seeing it either for the first or last time, then your time on earth will be filled with glory”  ― Betty Smith
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” – George Bernard Shaw
“It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.” – C. W. Leadbeater
“We are enslaved by anything we do not consciously see. We are freed by conscious perception.” – Vernon Howard
“All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention.” – Rudolf Arnheim
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”  ― Ansel Adams
“Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint.” – John Moore
“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” – Tom Robbins
“What I had to learn was, that I’m responsible for my perception of things.” – Chris Robinson
“We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.”  ― Stephen R. Covey
“Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” – Hans Margolis
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats
“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” – Jon Bon Jovi
“What the joke displays is a switch in perception. This is important in changing the way we think.” – Edward de Bono
“The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective.” – Al Neuharth
“No perspective, no perception. New perspective, new perception.”  ― Toba Beta
“The new limitations are the human ones of perception.” – Milton Babbitt
Find more Creativity Quotes here.
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We See As We Are

Reflection I, Cushing, Maine, 1999

There have been a few moments in my life filled with unimaginable stillness and clarity. I find myself continually looking for this quality wherever I go. I’ve found that what it takes to return to this state comes as much (or more) from within as from without.

The Buddhist tradition uses many metaphors that link states of sky or water with states of mind and these are in turn, used to cultivate specific qualities. I made this image (and others like it in the series) spontaneously, not to illustrate or practice Buddhist concepts, yet it arose out of a parallel impulse. I made this image to bring more of this quality into my life, into myself. All photographs are acknowledgments and recollections, some are aspirations too.
Though it’s rare to find incredibly still surfaces without a trace of distortion (by wind, weather, or currents), I have seen them many times. Few of them are picture-perfect, but they are nonetheless inspiring – even surfaces that are not perfectly still can be inspiring. So, to make this image, I made separate exposures of the sky and water and joined heaven and earth virtually. These images connect two moments of stillness and extend them through the creation of a third, one that is reenacted with each viewing.

Titles can speak volumes. How do you title images like this? Cushing, Maine 1998 and Clark Island, Maine 1996? The standard convention of place and date breaks down and if applied, seems complicated and ultimately beside the point. This image is a portrait of a state of mind rather than of a location – an internal space rather than an external place.

Whether unconsciously or consciously, whether unintended or intended, whether collective or individuated, all images portray states of mind. The most important question then becomes, what quality is that state of being?

What states of being are portrayed in the images you appreciate most?
What states of being are portrayed in your images?
Does intensifying your own state of being produce a reciprocal effect in your images?
Can you cultivate states of being through your practice of image-making?

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

Color Is An Event

Color doesn’t exist out there. Color is produced inside us. Color is the human response to vibrations in a narrow part of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Color is an event. In any color event you need a light source and an observer – and often an object that reflects the light perceived. There is no color without an observer – just energetic vibrations.


Our perception of color is complex; part physical, part biological, part psychological. Understanding more about our different responses to color and how they interact helps visual artists be more visually sensitive observers and more effective communicators.

Read more Color Theory.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.