It seems from looking at the Collins Dictionary that the English phrase look at is more accurately translated as ansehen.
I guess the English distinction between see and looking at is almost of a passive versus active nature.
In spanish we use to look (mirar) for a quick view. To observe (observar) for maintain the view over something/someone or a place and its details. And watch (ver) as when you stare at a TV/PC/smartphone screen or a live match or concert paying attention to what's happening.