It’s there in the title – Something In My Eye. If I get something in my eye, I can’t really see anymore, at least not until the thing is removed. If something comes too close to my eye, sometimes I close it instinctively. If I put a finger close up to one eye, that finger just becomes a shadowy blur as my other eye sees around it.

Cameras, on the other hand, don’t have a second “eye” to see around obstacles. And they don’t feel pain; if something gets in the camera’s eye, it continues to stare. It can even focus on the thing that’s right up close to its lens – something you and I probably can’t do. All this reminds us that cameras – despite being invented to imitate human vision – have their own distinct ways of seeing.

And when we become aware of this, it opens up a world of artistic possibilities.

We often have a pretty fixed idea of what a camera is supposed to do: a camera is supposed to freeze a moment in time, exactly as it was seen. This year’s theme invites us to reframe our thinking, asking not “what is a camera supposed to do?”, but “what can a camera do that the human eye can’t?”

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