Power Of Perspective
Photograph - Photograph
Earlier this year, I had a unique opportunity to wander around New York City for a few days. Soon after I arrived, a massive snow storm rolled into the city and didn’t let up for at least 24 hours. Unfortunately, most of my brief stay in NYC was overshadowed by the horrible February weather. While this certainly impacted my plans to shoot as much of the city as I could, I made the best of it and braved the weather with plastic bags on my feet and multiple layers of clothing on my back.
One of my previous blog posts already contained a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge but this particular photo has always been a favorite of mine. During my last night in the city, I took the subway into the city from Brooklyn and eventually made my way to the bridge. Once I figured out how to get on to the structure, I headed back towards Brooklyn with the city at my back. The snow had finally stopped falling but it was still extremely cold. This was my second trip to NYC and while I intended to visit the bridge during that first trip, I never quite made it there. That first trip consisted of 5 guys driving halfway across the country to sleep on Harlem floors and Brooklyn rooftops. Nothing was planned, nothing was scripted, and that’s what made that trip special. We spent more time partying than actually seeing the city and we unfortunately only made it halfway to the Brooklyn Bridge in an 8:00 AM drunken stupor before we eventually turned around. That said, this was the one location that I wasn’t going to go home without visiting on this second trip.
The walk from the subway to the apex of the structure was cold, wet and lonely. Wandering around alone, I had a lot of time for self-reflection. With so much time to myself, I did a lot of thinking; everything from my personal aspirations as a developing photographer to my understanding of American culture. Coming from a small Ohio city, I often wonder how differently I might see the world had I been born and raised in a city like New York. The sheer size of major metropolitan areas like NYC tend to humble my perspectives on the world and alter the way in which I see my position within it. Perspective means everything in life. Our individual belief systems are built on our personal perspectives, which are undeniably influenced by the world around us.
There is something about the skewed perspective and the criss-cross of leading lines in this photo that I find visually appealing. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of those landmarks that have been shot from every angle and in every direction. Standing atop the structure in the bitter cold, I wanted to create something that was a little different, a little skewed, a little out of the ordinary. I ‘d spent at least an hour shooting the bridge straight on, creating images that resembled classic parallelism. However, just as the abundance of self-refection changed my personal perceptions, my cold walk back made me change my photographic perspective. This photo of the Brooklyn Bridge reminds me how important perspective can truly be, simply because the variation in orientation changes the scene completely compared to the traditional view of the structure.
One of the supporting pillars of human individualism is the concept of “perspective.” It is rare for people to view things in the exact same way. This can be said for inanimate objects, conceptual ideas or even people themselves. We all see things differently and our personal interactions are based on our individual perspectives. Art, literature and even science are dependent on the power of perspective. However, perspective does not always lead to progress. We must be careful to understand the views and beliefs of others as theirs may differ from our own. While the concept aids in the creation of beauty, it also can be used to fuel confusion, corruption and even conflict. No war was ever fought with one side believing that they were in the wrong. Perspective means everything. It shapes our ideals and influences our actions. It can be twisted into a weapon or shaped into art. It is the responsibility of the individual to decide how to use it.
May 17th, 2012
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