Whenever I see a photo of a bench I unconsciously project myself into the scene. It’s something I realized early in photography and a theme I’ve repeated through the years. An empty bench can be a metaphor for many different ideas. This one was at the base of the Coit Tower in San Francisco. In fact there was a girl sitting here earlier but I didn’t like how it turned out so I opted for the empty version.
As I was saying we tend to project ourselves into photos or scenes. I’m not sure we’re aware of it but it’s a natural consequence of seeing. Where we put our attention is where we go in our mind. You can say a lot of things about what and who we are, but one thing for sure is that we experience things. We experience things physically in the world and we experience things in our inner world of thoughts and feelings.
If we see a bench in front of us, whether we are standing there or seeing it in a photo it’s nearly the same experience. So if we walk up to the bench physically or in our mind it is of little consequence. We don’t need to be somewhere to experience it. This is the essence of projection and it is something we do all of the time, whether we realize it or not.
If we can pause momentarily and experience the sensation of looking out the window, in some small way we will each have shared a common experience.