28 Oct

Found while walking

Part of the brilliance of a photographic observation game like noticin.gs (which I wrote about the other day in the context of synchronicity and gaming) is that – as the name implies – it encourages you to be observant and notice things when you’re out and about in the context of your everyday life.

Burgers/Pies/Dogs/Tea/Coffee

Paul Mison wrote about noticin.gs recently saying that it’s “helping [him] to look around” and that’s absolutely the same feeling I have.

I’ve got a long history of capturing random spotted/found/noticed things and moments from my commute and daily wanderings, stretching back many years – and not just photographically, either. Sometimes with the camera, sometimes with words, sometimes just by making a mental note – it’s the habit of receptiveness to the world around that’s interesting.

This relates to something else I wrote a while back about super-noticing:

Super-noticing is something which happens a lot if you’re trained to be receptive and observant, but also if you’re thinking about a particular thing.

This in turn relates to another earlier post about the ethnographic discipline of pattern recognition:

Part of the toolkit of ethnography and anthropology in general is observing patterns. This could be patterns in behaviour, appearance, ritual, language or otherwise. The anthropologist’s job is to spot the patterns and try to understand what (if any) significance they have, especially in relation to social or cultural environment, or other prevailing conditions.

The discipline of noticing stuff is part of what makes receptiveness and observation useful in life, as well as in anthrolopology and social gaming. But it’s good to have a particular outlet (or should that be inlet?) for the activity. As I wrote in the super-noticing post,

“Flickr is great for developing a discipline around noticing, too, and Flickr groups in particular – if your eye is receptive, then every journey out into the world can be filled with potential squared circles and little fellas and malapostrophication and more.”

Well, noticin.gs turns that hyper-receptiveness up to 11, but inverts it – it’s not about seeing the patterns so much as the anomalies – the things you spot which shouldn’t be there, or stand out, or catch the attention because they don’t belong, or are otherwise notable. Noticeable. Noted.

Once you start playing noticin.gs, it’s very difficult to stop noticing things. Above and below are just a few of the things I’ve noticed while out and about, captured with my phonecam, and filed to noticin.gs.

Walking away

Old dog

Bridge steps

Free Wifi

Caught

Written on the pavement