This week we're talking about perspective. I've learned a lot about this through my new hobby, photography. It started simply enough--just taking pictures. I have some favorites I took over the years with my film cameras and point-and-shoot digital cameras. Then January 2009, while in India, I took a photo I couldn't stop staring at. Something about it drew me but I didn't know why. There was a girl on my team who had a "serious" camera so I asked her.
This girl explained that the perspective grabbed my attention. It was a photo of a leper woman up close, in the first third of the shot. Despite the empty space on the right, somehow it worked. The lines in her face were so clear, while the colors behind her were just a blur. Sarah explained to me the "Rule of Thirds", which has to do with capturing a subject. She explained how our eyes naturally travel to certain places and if there's a void, we pass over it. But if there's detail instead of empty space, like this photo:
... we find that sweet spot.
Until that day, I tried to center my subjects in the view finder. I'm big on balance and on symmetry, especially in art. But Sarah's simple lesson changed everything for me. She gave me permission to be off-balance. And when I started doing that--allowing possible imperfections--I started taking shots like this with my rinky dink point-and-shoot:
This year I've learned to be a little off balance. When decorating my new room everytime I encountered a decision I tried to think out-of-the-box... or at least, out of the box for me. I have a tendency to do what I did before simply because it worked. I'm learning to be "off balance" in my schedule, meaning trying something during a certain time of day I wouldn't normally do that--like working out later instead of during the morning. You know what? It worked.
I've really tried it in writing as well. Whenever given a suggestion on how to strengthen my novel, I tried it. I figured that even if it didn't work, I wouldn't know unless I put on those lenses. And you know what? Each new thing I tried made the story better. More three dimensional. It provided more room for conflict, tension, and to play with my prose. Those problem areas I knew weren't right but wasn't sure how to fix? It took care of that too.
Sometimes all we need is to be willing to be a little off balance.
See y'all Friday!
**Photos by Kristen Torres-Toro 2009**
4 hours ago