Sometimes, all you need to do is look around to find that things are not as one-dimensional as they seem. Right now, the trees are not as bare as they were two months ago, short skirts and white legs can be seen on the streets again, and people are finally able to sit outside to enjoy an afternoon drink rather than fighting for a table inside. But have you ever wondered, while sitting at that table or walking down that street, what would happen if the simple act of daily observation was recorded? If someone was watching you?

It’s an idea brought to life in the NGV's latest photography exhibition Looking at Looking: the Photographic Gaze, which brings together the work of Bill Henson, Ashley Gilbertson, Anne Ferran, Charles Green and Lyndell Brown, Thomas Struth and a host of others.

Set in a small, relatively private corner of the gallery, the exhibition features a series made up of nameless faces and bodies captured in various moments and gestures – from a man rushing down the street, to a woman thinking about what to make for dinner.

The effect is that of embodying the gaze of the artist; you find yourself looking at the works from the perspective of someone who once looked as well.

This small, concisely curated exhibition is one that triggers you to ponder the mind state and perspective of the artists. Here, looking isn’t creepy, shameful or distasteful, but rather, filled with intriguing and beauty. It draws you back to look again and again.

Looking at Looking: the Photographic Gaze runs at NGV International until March 4 2012. Entry is free.