Tuesday, July 23, 2013


   Each of us brings our unique perspective to everything we see and do.  I was reminded of that recently when I joined two dear friends for a visit to the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.  We went to see an exhibit of Faberge, the jeweler to the Romanov dynasty in Russia.

(Yes, I actually do go to museums to see things other than photography but, it just so happened that there was a photography show at the museum as well and I'll tell you about that tomorrow.) 

 The way my friends and I approached the exhibit experience differed completely because of the unique perspectives we brought along with us.

   One friend focused on the craftsmanship of the pieces in the exhibit, calling our attention to the minute detail of each piece, as well as the historical context in which they were made.  My other friend concentrated on the jewels and ornateness of each piece and speculated on the lifestyle of the czar and his family.  And what did I focus on? I was enthralled with watching people's reactions to the work!  I was very glad to have my friends with me.  They pointed out things I may have overlooked had I been there alone.

   This idea of perspectives has special meaning for the contemplative photographer, especially one who likes to  walk the landscape in solitude.  I have to constantly remind myself to shift perspectives from time to time.  If there are animals anywhere about, I am drawn to them first.  I am such an animal lover that a sheep is a magnet to me!  It is the same with people; I gravitate to them.  I must shake myself and remember to see other things as well.  That's why the visual listening exercises I employ are so important. (You can re-read my series on visual listening here.)  It forces me to adopt other perspectives and it heightens my awareness of the whole and not just a small, personally attractive part.  Keep that in mind when you go out into the landscape...from what perspective are you approaching the place?  What new, fresh perspective could you take?

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