It’s A Matter of Perspective

There is a recent craze about photography.  After the advent of digital cameras came the DSLRs.  I cannot help but be amused.  Pair it with social networking sites and you are on a roll. 

Growing up, I have always enjoyed browsing the library for books and magazines.  Most of the time, I end up with picture and coffee table books from China and Taiwan.  I have always admired the shots.  Now that I have a camera of my own, I try to mimic the artistry that I have always admired-with my digital camera, hahhaa.  It is also not uncommon to see me rush from one scene to another in an event or a trip.  Most of us, even, get so caught up with picture taking that we sometimes take the moments for granted. 

I was with a friend touring the Grand Canyon almost a year ago.  As tourists on a tight schedule, and what with the short autumn daylight, we found ourselves rushing from one spot to another.  Huffing and puffing the cold thin mountain air as we climbed up and down the boulders.  We were very busy elbowing our way among the other tourists for the next scenic spot.

At one point, I told my friend to stop.  I told her that our 45 minute – stop was almost up and I have not quite taken in the whole magnificent beauty of this natural wonder.  I just wanted to take it all in and enjoy the moment.  The Grand Canyon is so breath taking that I had to pause and say a prayer of thanks for that rare experience.

Pictures, no matter how beautiful, can never quite capture moments.  Sure they can preserve a smile, a twinkle in the eye, a big laugh, but it will never capture the emotions, the feel, the smell, the experience. They can also be very limited in perspective.  Now in photography, a perspective IS a technical term, and that perspective is hugely dependent on the photographer.

A scene can be captured in many different ways depending on which perpective the photographer chooses to frame.  In this sense, a picture cannot quite encompass the whole beauty of a scene or moment.

This is no different from “perspectives” in discussions. In relating to people, we have to take into account the varied perspectives each has to contribute, otherwise, we will not have a full understanding of where this person is coming from. But just like a picture, this perspective is hugely dependent on what the other person wants to relay.  It is chosen, then framed before it is shot.  It could be just a fraction of what the whole scenery is, a fraction of truth.

It is then important, that as we seek to understand people’s varied perspectives, that we also be critical to what is being presented.  If you are a manager in the workplace, avoiding the usual trap of being bogged down with details, you usualy rely on your supervisors for input and advise.   On the other hand, if you are a subordinate, you usually rely on your supervisor or manager for the same input and advise.  While this works in an ideal setting, challenges cannot be avoided.  These varied perspectives, again, are hugely dependent on the “photographer”.

Many of us take each other’s word as truth.  It would not hurt to stop, put the camera down, and really take in the scenery.


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