Thanks to several for the identification of Newton for the quote I used. I wil not forget the source again.

Ed, I cannot imagine how you took my comments to have anything to do with anything technical.

Aurore, it is a pleasure to read your long response. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding of language here, partly, at least.

Of course, and really, I hope it would go without saying, that when photographing, to see the world freshly, as for the first time, is the goal--to be totally open and fully tuned in--and, to see, really see, as much as possible. What each of us are capable of seeing is a function of who we are. And who we are is a function of both what we are born with and the experiences we have had. The experience of others' art, and to see what other artists have seen is one way to expand one's own experience of the world. And it makes it far easier, really, to then go beyond them.

Take Weston's peppers, for example. Few people have really looked at peppers as intensely as Weston did. Occasionally, I find myself really seeing vegetables the way Weston did. That does not mean that I have even the slightest interest in photographing them, but probably, had I not seen those photographs I would not looked as carefully at vegetables. So as a result of those photographs my experience of the world is enhanced. Will that ever come out in a photograph I make? Maybe, maybe not. It does not matter. For me the point is to see as much as possible. Thereby my experience of the world is enhanced and I become richer for it. And hopefully that richness will find it's way into my photographs one way or another.

And since on one level all art is a self portrait, whether we want it to be or not, all one's life experience will find its way into one's art; whether we want it to or not.

Of course, there is no substitute for direct experience. Experiencing art is one way one's own direct experience of that part of the world that is not art may broaden and deepen. That has to be true. Why else would art be important at all or why would they build all those museums to it?

Bottom line: it is my belief that the experience of art, in all its forms (including photography) expands and deepens, rather than limits, one's direct experience of the world. Why willfully limit oneself? We're all limited enough already by who we are. I'm for whatever will expand those limits--and art is one of the things that will help do just that.