by talkbackty on Jun 21, 2011

That picture was drawn by my roommate Rolando on our white board next to our door. I was on the couch, he was walking around, we were talking, he started drawing. He stopped there and then I looked at it.

Here's what I said, "Hey that's really good. It looks like a little cartoon character whose sitting, staring off into the distance. Seems kinda alone and sad."

Rolando's reply: "You're insane! Those are just lines. I wasn't even done yet!"

If that was a Rorschach test then I failed miserably and a psychologist would be having a great time diagnosing me. At least, that's what Rolando probably thinks.

For me, I still see what I originally saw. Even when Rolando did finish and what your looking at became the Foot on the island and he added the Black Rock about to crash into it. (That's all stuff from LOST, no worries if you don't understand).

My main point is that what I saw, and what I see, is fundamentally different from how others view things. To me, life is all about perspective. How we view the world changes with time and new experiences. It is shaped by how we were raised, our race, our nationality, our religion. Everything adds another layer to our image of the world.

From a photographers perspective, I think of it as the different lenses someone can use. A telephoto can allow you to see great distances, a wide angle can let you encompass a whole landscape, a fish-eye can distort your view.

We all have different lenses. We are born with a certain disposition, a certain way of handling incoming stimuli. Then on top of those lenses we add filters. There's a great quote from one of the creator's of the Blair Witch Project. When asked how they shot a feature-length movie in such high quality with only a $300 camera, he replied, "With $600 worth of filters."

Filters are our experiences. Did you come from a rich family, that's a filter. A poor family? That's a different filter. College? Filter. Military? Filter. Kids? Job? Relationship? Filter, filter, filter. A good photographer can take just about any lens and with enough filters get any shot they want.

That's how I think of it at least. We continually are adding and removing filters to our life. Maybe you can't remove them. I'm not sure about that point right now. But you get the basic idea.

That's why even with my own photographs I can have different perspectives on them. And let me be clear, I took all these. Some were difficult and required a long set-up and post-production work. Some I saw, positioned, and fired away. But none are snapshots. I try to put a lot of thought into my work. I'm not great, however, I am conscious of it.

But let's look at a few.  (All available in gallery, plus more.)

The first took awhile to set up.  It required a tripod and some other equipment.  I really liked the end result.  Two weeks later I looked at it again and found a part I love even more.  It's end the red box below.

This tiny, fragment of that larger picture is my favorite part.  When I was actually out taking the picture it was a secondary thought.  My focus was on the main fall and that stick leaning into it.  Now whenever I look at this photo, this is all I see...

The next photo I just took yesterday.  I went out with some friends and saw this tree.  I walked around it for a bit.  Trying to figure out why I liked it.  There were plenty of trees.  But I kept looking at this one.  

I still can't figure it out.  I know why I took the picture.  The tree was isolated from others.  It was resting on the very last piece of earth before the water.  The hard lines contrasted against the softness of the sky and clouds is visually appealing and draws the viewers eyes.  The orange of the limbs against the blue of the sky makes the image pop.  Those are all reasons I thought the photo would work.  

But there's more I can't describe.  There's something about that photo that I absolutely love and can't explain to anyone.  Some people look and say...that's a tree.  I don't.  

Rolando was flabbergasted, and probably concerned, about what I saw in his half-finished drawing.  But we were just looking through two different lenses, with very different filters on.

That's why I think it's so important to be conscious of others views and perspectives.  That's why I'm so glad to live in the time that I do, because we are able to read and see and experience things that were never before possible.

It is, quite simply, a beautiful thing.