‘Seeing the Gorilla’ – About the name

Odd name for a photography blog, right? Bet you were expecting something tech to do with apertures and shutters, or some name to do with light or something.

So why the name?

It comes from a selective attention test where people are asked to watch a video of people playing basketball. The trick is to count how many times the players wearing white pass the ball.

Did you see the gorilla? If you did, well done. If you didn’t, join the club! Most people don’t! There are variations on this experiment where radiologists are asked to examine chest X-rays that also have a small gorilla hidden in them. Over 80 percent didn’t spot it!

The idea behind the name is that we, as photographers, need to “see the gorilla,” and that means taking in the view in front of us, scanning the viewfinder from corner to corner, or examining out images carefully in post-production. We need to be able to spot that gorilla, whether it be something amazing to photograph (awesome light, a good composition, a fantastic portrait), or something unwanted (a tree growing out of someone’s head, lens flare, or poor lighting that kills an otherwise excellent shot).

This, we believe, is what turns good photography into great photography. Not the camera you use, or the lenses you have, or how good you are in Lightroom or Photoshop, but seeing what’s really in front of you, and capturing that light so it can be shared with others.

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