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John Suler
1,278 followers -
Clinical psychology professor at Rider University specializing in cyberpsychology & photography
Clinical psychology professor at Rider University specializing in cyberpsychology & photography

1,278 followers
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STEERING ONE'S WORLD

Taking photos on-the-road means taking photos of fellow travelers on the road. As with other pictures captured from a moving vehicle, subjects often zip by too fast for you to compose a decent photo. When you're stopped at a traffic light, as in this photo, you stand a better chance.

When we're inside our vehicles, we tend to think of ourselves as inside our own little world, a world that we control and steer. Photos of people in their vehicles conveys that idea of people being the masters of their own realm.
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OVER PASS

Here's one more bridge image for this series on photos taken from cars. Unlike the previous images, we're not the one making a symbolic transition. Instead we watch others as they cross over.

The original photo had captured an interesting lineup of subjects on the bridge, but otherwise it was an ordinary looking shot. Some cropping and texture overlays did a nice job of creating a more interesting composition, along with the feeling of a transcendent, archetypal tale.
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CROSSING TOGETHER

When crossing bridges in a car, you have to stay on your toes to get some good photos. Just keep clicking away while framing the scene as best you can. With all those geometric and receding lines moving past you, the shapes in the composition will change rapidly. If you stop to check the LCD screen, you’ll probably miss something.

In this photo I managed to capture a father and son that I saw crossing the bridge. Symbolically, it gives us pause to think about the transitions they are making together in their lives. I like how the perceptive father sees me taking the photo, while the son cheerfully and unselfconsciously walks alongside him.
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GOING UP

Here's another bridge for this series on photos taken from cars. In this one the "crossing over" symbolized by the bridge feels ethereal, even spiritual.

To emphasize the tallness of the bridge towers, as well as the idea of going upward, I stretched this image into a vertical format. That distorted the shape of the car, which now looks something like a space vehicle. So we're either on a spiritual OR a sci-fi journey into the heavens.

On these Google+ pages vertical images tend to capture the eye more quickly than horizontal ones, mostly because they are bigger. However, horizontal images do a better job of conveying the feeling of lateral movement, which is usually how we experience travel over land. This image is an exception.
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BRIDGES MEAN TRANSITION

Bridges provide another unique opportunity for photographs taken from vehicles. From a practical standpoint, these kinds of photos are often only possible if you're in a car. Similar to being in tunnels, only a crazy daredevil photographer would be standing here. From a psychological perspective, photos of bridges can capture ideas about change and transition, which is an important feature of drive-by photos in general. In the case of this photo, the transition to the other side feels light and happy.
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SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT

If a road symbolizes the path of one’s life, then your photo of other travelers on the road says something about how their life path compares to yours.

In this photo, we share the mysterious, eerie, and uneasy road with several other explorers, but they are moving in the opposite direction to us, like ships passing in the night. We are headed to a place that they are leaving.The dim light due to fog, the bare branches of the trees, the slightly unnatural colors, and the uneasy tilt of the photo all contribute to this feeling tone of the image.

As you might surmise from this and other photos I've posted in this series on "drive-by" photos, I have a penchant for mysterious atmospheres. For me, it makes for an interesting journey.
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THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
(for a good reason)

Sometimes when we’re on the road our minds are preoccupied with things other than taking photos, like when driving feels dangerous. But as with all things on the road, that’s part of the adventure. If possible, and as long as it is safe, I try to take a photo.

In this case an unexpected rainstorm suddenly swept across the highway as we drove through the mountains, making visibility next to nothing. Once we slowed way down and reoriented ourselves to the drastic change in conditions, I thought to myself, “Oh! This might make for an interesting photo.”

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STANDSTILL

If you’re stopped at a light or at a standstill in bumper-to-bumper traffic, is that still “drive-by” photography? True, you don’t have the sensation of motion affecting your photos, but you probably still have the chance to capture images of being on the road. Don’t assume that just because you’re at a standstill, there’s nothing to photograph.

Even if it seems like a totally boring intersection, or you’re catatonically staring at the monotonous mass of cars surrounding you in bumper-to-bumper traffic, look carefully. There might be something very interesting to photograph, but you're just not seeing it. Seemingly boring intersections and monotonous traffic jams might hold many interesting secrets. They are also part of the travel experience.

A photo of something boring, tedious, or monotonous doesn't have to look boring, tedious, or monotonous. In the case of this photo, the traffic jam going into New York City has an almost apocalyptic feeling, like a mass of lemmings headed towards the sea.
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AI ANIMISM

Some researchers in the field of artificial intelligence talk about the “singularity” as if its some kind of on/off switch. First it’s a mindless machine, and then presto: It’s a sentient computer-generated being with its own subjective perspective, self-awareness and will!

If only consciousness, self-awareness, will, and other such human concepts about the mind were so obviously binary and simple. Psychologists realize that things are considerably more complex than that, that sentience is not some unitary quality that magically popped into existence during evolution, monopolized by humans. It comes in all shapes and sizes, often surfacing in creatures where we never expected it.

Throughout history people have believed that animals, rivers, mountains, the sun, wind, tools, works of art, architecture, and you-name-it possess some form of spirit or soul. So why not afford that privilege to AI?

If we can learn to think of computer-generated beings in this way, to respect them in this way, we very well might prevent ourselves from abusing our machines in how we create, use, and react to them – an abuse that eventually blows back to hurt us.
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