I bought a fancy dancy new camera few weeks ago. It was something I really wanted for my company and myself, but I hemmed and hawed about the actual purchase for several months. I spent way too long thinking up different ways to justify the large expense (“I can write it off!” “It’s an investment.”) and lusting over different models online and at National Camera Exchange, but it took me a while to “press the shutter button” (as it were).
When I got it home, I didn’t quite know what do to. I skimmed the first few pages of the instruction manual, ate dinner staring at the sealed camera box, and then finally took both camera and lens out of their respective containers and connected them. At the risk of sounding melodramatic (or hyper-chromatic), my vision has not been the same since. Before I purchased my camera, I assumed that it would compliment my writing in a very clear-cut, fiscally advantageous kind of way (mostly travel photos to go along with my travel writing and iPhone app projects). I had no idea that my newfound love of photography would open up a whole “canister” of philosophical musings.
It’s a word we hear and use often, especially when trying to come to grips with or better understand a particular situation. While physically playing with perspective during my photo sessions, I’ve begun to meditate on perspective in the larger, more abstract sense of the term. As I position myself so that x object lines up better with x backdrop, I think about how events in my past can be better understood when examined from a different angle and perhaps juxtaposed with current events. When I swap out my telephoto lens for my fisheye, I realize that sometimes a different, “atypical” lens is needed in order to capture the unique beauty of a scene. As I crouch down and contort my shoulders to get the “perfect” shot, I am acutely aware of how uncomfortable the process of gaining perspective can be. As I edit my photos at the comfort of my laptop, I reflect on how various situations I’ve experienced seem to make so much more sense after I take a step back and play with their details or over/under expose them. When I crop a boring image to make it more interesting, I realize that perspective can lie while simultaneously revealing deeper truths.
I am confident that, along with my photography, my views on life will become more refined over time. In the meantime, I’ll just keep practicing.