What are examples of not seeing the forest for the trees?

Posted December 29, 2011 8:25 pm  

Alexander F. Christensen of the Department of Anthropology of Vanderbuilt University wrote this is a 1997 paper on migration in Mesoamerica:

“When large tribal movements are studied at close quarters there sometimes emerges such a welter of small individual groups moving apparently in all directions that any picture of a coherent general movement is obscured. To this extent the near view is unable to see the woods for the trees.” (Southall 1954:140)


Vik Muniz, the Brazilian artist, loves to watch viewers of his constructions move closer and further from them, as the details visible only at close range coalesce into a recognizable image from farther back. In fact, he has built a large part of his career on this visual experience.  This construction of Renger-Patzsch’s 1936 “Beech Forest in Autumn” is made of cut paper.


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