Jack, every image that you make will be seen
from the perspective that you take.

I’ve taught various levels of photography to college students for about 35 years before retiring. I had several moments of “flash” awareness, where a basic concept grabbed me, and I understood some of the nuances.

My favorite moments were the “double meaning” concepts like “focus”, “contrast”, “depth”, and my favorite, “perspective”.

With a camera, the words can be used in several different ways, and all the ways are important to master. Some people only pay attention to a single definition, because it takes less time, and the moment is fleeting.

One can look at the viewfinder and think “perspective”, so you check for railroad tracks disappearing into the distance, or fence posts receding over the hill. It’s much harder to realize that the view is seen from your standing height. What is the view from kneeling, or laying down? We generally don’t know because we are trapped by time.

It’s a good idea to first become a master of time, before we become a master photographer. The captured image is a “frozen moment in time” even if we are caught up in the frenzy just before the click of the shutter.

With some manipulation of controls you can stop the action as if there is no movement. Or you can follow the action for sharp detail, leaving the background in a slight blur. This takes a lot of practice to decide how to handle the image desired.

The finer points of perspective takes even more practice and more time. Every image that you make will be seen from the perspective that you take. That’s a truth that should be tattooed on the finger that pushes the shutter.

Expanding that concept to communication with others is a worthwhile exercise. Every point that you speak, comes from a perspective that you take. We can rightfully ask, “Where are you coming from?” Are you standing solid, or on shifting sand? Are you looking down from a distant, safe, high point, or are you on the same level? Are you looking up from a hole in the earth, and everyone seems to be striding like giants above you?

The concepts of photography extend to real world “perspectives” if you allow it.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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1 Response to Perspective

  1. Anonymous says:

    So true. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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