Intuitive photographer Debbie “Sophia” Phillips Noll’s recent “Eye Spy” submission to “National Geographic” magazine was published recently in an online story for its “Your Shot” online community. Noll’s photo series of sunflowers was shot locally with a Nikon camera at 400 ISO. She is one of 21 winning photographic essay contributors chosen from 7,425 entries. Her work is displayed third in the online publication, which qualifies it for inclusion in a future print edition.
A series of three photographs offer a visual narrative told from the perspective of the sunflower as a metaphor for the expression of nature, exploring a limited point of view through the camera’s lens.
Curated by Asher Jay, a “National Geographic” explorer and creative conservationist, the assignment ran from Sept. 7-28, and required the submission of “a visual story comprised of three images told from the perspective of the subject, removing bias, and rendering the photographer a silent observer.”
“You need to click a picture of an eye open, the same eye closed, and what the eye is looking at,” Jay wrote in the assignment. “…no two eyes see the world in the same way.”
Noll’s three photographs depict metaphorically the “eyes” of nature personified as it unfolds perceptions of beauty. The interconnectedness of the living world around us is told through a limited narrative point of view.
In the first frame, the eye of the sunflower is closed, blind to the beauty around it, yet beginning to unfold. The second frame, that of the opened eye of the sunflower, shows the beauty contained within has now been released. A honeybee, attracted by the offering of nourishment and sacred geometrical patterns of the inner eye of the flower, approaches its center. Finally, the viewer beholds the field from the perspective of the flower. From here, just behind the flower’s head, the tallness of its form is echoed by the multiplicity of others of its kind, each facing the sun and the highway horizon line.
“All are turned towards the direction of the sun from which they gain their strength, unable to see the true beauty of their opened flowering eyes,” writes Noll in the story.
Noll’s artistic vision may best be called intuitive, she says.
“With camera in hand, my awareness scans the elements around me directed by an inner guidance. My senses beckon me to look in unexpected places,” she says.
The images she discovers as a result are unusual, stunning and breathtaking perspectives on the beauty of nature.
“If I can inspire one person to reconnect with nature, to get up, go out, and really look at the world, to engage with it using all their senses, then I have done my job,” she says.
Debbie “Sophia” Phillips Noll and her intuitive photography are at “Sophia’s Perspective” at http://www.sophiasperspective.com. To view Noll’s winning photographs, visit http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/stories/eye-spy/.