Wow vs Wow is about two visual experiences that have profoundly different qualities.
The first is a response of surprise to an image that meets our expectation or comes close to it. These expectations are shaped by what we consider beautiful and popular. While this Wow is exciting and enjoyable, its half-life is short and soon forgotten.
The second Wow is of a different kind. It reaches much deeper. We are surprised or even stunned because we are confronted with something we did not expect, something we were not prepared for. It may feel like seeing something the first time and may lead to a more profound way of seeing. In addition it stays with us for a long time. For the second Wow to occur we have to be open and receptive. We call it a direct visual experience because it is unfiltered.
I am always curious when people respond to a picture with a Wow. What does it mean? What is the viewer responding to? Is it the first Wow or the second ? What is it that I respond to when I react that way? This is not always easy to figure out because our eyes are greedy and easily seduced by what we see.
At times I respond to an image by feeling perplexed, not knowing how to respond because the picture does not seem to ‘fit’ any where. It does not address anything familiar to me. However, when you start to wonder about what you see it means you are beginning to open up. It is an invitation for exploration that may lead to a new way of seeing.