Even though it will never seem right to my internal calendar, across the U.S. many children have already returned to school. It’s August and there’s no denying that we’re well into the back half of 2018. And so for the past eight months “Perspective” has been my faithful companion – my one little word for the year.
I’ve learned in the near decade that I’ve done this exercise, that words with layers of meaning, and especially words that have clear application to photography are the ones that make significant, lasting imprints on me. Those words end up shifting the way I move through my days long after a new word has taken their official spot. I knew a month into 2018 that Perspective was going to be a keeper. When I feel stress and overwhelm come at me from all sides, “perspective” shifts to a mantra which helps me disentangle from everything that’s coming at me in 360 degrees. Poised at a vantage point above the madness, it’s much easier to make sense of chaos and determine where I need to place my focus.
In photography, it’s freed me to shoot a little wilder and more freely. There’s that discipline that many photographers practice of only taking one shot per subject. I’ve abided by it for a number of years, but this year as the seasons shifted from winter to spring, and then spring to summer, I saw increasing evidence in my scans that roll by roll, I was loosening my rules and allowing myself that second or third shot of the same subject – always from varied perspectives. It wasn’t a conscious choice, at least not initially, but I find it unsurprising that my preoccupation with “perspective” has increasingly manifested in the images I’ve made this year.
Head on or at angle, these pictures feel remarkably different to me.
Close up on a lone pinwheel, or pulled back so you can see that it sits in a row.
The “rules” of photography usually encourage you to get closer, but I think sometimes stepping back a bit farther allows you to tell a better story.
These minor variations, resulting from changes in my height or angle with regard to a subject are a great reminder for me that photography is every bit as much about what we bring to the camera – our internal perspective of what we are thinking – as it is about where we choose to settle our eyes and focus our lenses.
Keep your eyes wide open,