It's all about perspective...
Thanks to my friend who has an in at a bunch of residential buildings, I got to explore and shoot all the way from the 20th floor in South Loop to the 40th floor in Uptown, Chicago.
One of the key things I took away from the experience was how dramatically different everyone and everything's perspective can be. During our 6-hour long escapade up and down Lakeshore Drive, we stopped at 6 buildings and the differences in lifestyle and populous were vast. Some of the buildings were historic buildings with units owned solely by the super rich. Others were section 8 housing buildings that were solely owned by the government. Seeing the city on all these different levels was a strong reminder to me the kind of division that exists in Chicago, and in the world as a whole...
Another way I noticed perspective was by the various engineers that took us to the tops of these buildings. Getting to see the buildings from the inside out, and the people that work behind the scenes in them was a truly unique experience. Many of the engineers were quite fascinated with my story and why I wanted to take pictures, to the photo gear itself. I showed those that took interest in me the different lenses I was equipped with, which included dramatically different lenses such as a wide angle lens vs. a zoom lens. It was like watching a kid experiencing something for the first time. Each time these 40 years old+ men would look through the zoom lens and see how insanely far the camera is able to see, their demeanor changed to a happy, curious, and fascinated one. I would then swap to my wide lens (which helps you see almost as much as you would with the naked eye) and they would be even more bedazzled, admittedly by how vastly different the perspective was from the zoom lens. Some of them also even took the time to thank me for enabling them to take back in the beauty of the surroundings; they were so used to the same view by being up on the roof decks everyday working, that they forgot how truly magnificent the views are.
And so it led me to realize. Life is like a camera. You are given your first lens through which you see life, which I say is like your original frame of reference comprised of personality traits, languages you know, family, past experiences, etc. And with your lens, you choose how to interact with the world around you. You let a certain amount of light in (aperture) whether that light is something good or bad in your life. You (should) control your sensitivity to your reactions of the world and situations around you, ISO is representative of this sensitivity to light / life (ISO is how sensitive the camera is to the light when taking a picture). Being open minded, someone with big ideas and big picture people who remain open to the vastness of potential can be related to taking a long exposure. Vs an extremely fast exposure, which can representative of short term, taking action, awareness, capturing / doing something in its best moment, fast reactions, etc. We all are given what we are given, our bodies (camera bodies), a persona / soul (the photographer), and everything from our past experience and neurological development that allows us to see and perceive the world around us (the lens). What we are NOT necessarily given, are all of the settings. All of the fine details of our future lives. All of the answers on what's the best way to do (or capture) something. All of the ways that we should react to situations. How we cope with adversity , how we choose to allow or deny people or things into our lives. It is up to us to figure out our own interworkings and evolve past our self-imagined limits.
Can we change lenses, can we change our perspective even after all we've been through? Sure. That's called metamorphosis. Breakthroughs. "A-hah" moments. Life Transitions. Midlife crisis. Enlightenment. The more lenses we have, the broader our ability to perceive the world. But even more importantly, the more we understand our own "settings", what makes us truly happy, how we should react to situations, who and what we let in, how sensitive or empathetic we should be, how open minded or judgmental we should be, then the more successful and conscious we will be. Learning to work what we have, in the state that us and the world are in, will help unlock the the routes to our destinies.
If you're ever having a day where you look down on yourself, nothing is going right, you failed, you got broken up with, you fucked up, whatever the case may be, IN THOSE MOMENTS TRY TO SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Go outside yourself and consider the grand variety of existence on this Earth, and how we are only aware of what's in front of us, however far our lens can see. Shifting your perspective by considering other's lives and other's situations which on some level, somewhere in the world, are much more difficult. Building perspective takes time though, so we should be patient in overcoming life's obsticals and in our own personal growth.
I'm not trying to tell anyone how to live their life, I'm simply stating how life can be related to a camera and how we can use the metaphor to think about our own perspective and potential. But on a last light note, I'd like to give you the behind the scenes of the day that gave me this insight.
Here's the snap story to give you a quick preview of what I experienced that day!