Wednesday, October 24, 2007
New Perspectives, Part Two: A Different Point of View
We writers love point of view. We wrangle endlessly about whose eyes the scene is being seen from and whether the author has shifted view points or not. Photographers fret over proper angles to tell a story or bring out the character of our subject.
In fiction, unrestrained view point shifts are not a good thing, but in your creative life, well, that's different story. Sometimes seeing life from a new perspective gives you fresh inspiration and outlook.
Last week, I was invited to fly along with The Pilot Guy as he moved an airplane from the maintenence airport to it's new home airport. While he was busy flying, I had a wonderful opportunity to gaze out the window. We weren't too high--just a few thousand feet. High enough to be able to see miles, but low enough to pick out landmarks. Fortunately, we flew over an area I'm very familiar with. In fact, I was able to pick out my own neighborhood and house.
The tiny cars jostling for position on the overloaded freeways. The freeways themselves snaking across and through the landscape. Thousands of new houses being built in a neighboring sub-division. I knew it was big, but didn't realize how big until I saw it from the air. No wonder our local highways and streets seem more crowded. There's a lot of people out here.
We flew over several lakes, still overflowing their bounds from the early summer rains. Trees lush and green. Pools glinting from backyards.
From above, the air seemed very clean and clear. The challenges of traffic, shopping, and lawn mowing, unimportant. It was a lovely landscape tinged with golden late afternoon sun.
As a teenaged photographer, I remember an instructor at a week-long workshop telling us that if we can back from an assignment and our knees were not dirty, he'd send us out again. As he put it, unless you've photographed your subject from a flat on your belly perspective and climbed a tree and photo'd from that angle, you had not fully covered your task.
Even as a portrait photographer, I climbed stairs and ladders to give a new look to a bridal portraits. Getting on my knees and laying out flat to get a ground-eye's view added flair to a child's portrait.
Getting a new perspective can be a challenge, but it adds so much to your creative output. There are two ways to cover any subject. For example, if you are studying a mountain, you might take a helicopter flight over and around it. You can get the big picture that way.
The other way is to mark off a three foot by three foot section of that same mountain and go over that area with a magnifying glass.
Think of the different things you'd see. The emphasis would be different in both cases, but you are still researching and learning from the same source.
Sweet Autumn Clematis-detail
What ever you are doing, can you see it from a new perspective? A writer could view a murder scene from the viewpoint of a small mouse in the corner. Or what did the person on the top floor of an office building see when the cars crashed below? A quilter can swap lights and darks in a pattern to achieve a new look. An artist can feature a broad landscape or tiny details. Imagine a photographic study of baby toes or hands. So sweet.
What ever you do today, get your knees dirty. Then, climb to a new vantage point and see it from that angle.
I hope you'll be rewarded with an 'a-ha' moment of fresh perspective.
Sweet Autumn Clematis-full view