We often go through life on routine. We tend to look at things the same way. Today I saw a post on Sonya Lira’s photography blog about looking at things from another perspective. This got me thinking and I decided to make a post about it.
Of course everyone can use that advice. In this ultra-politically divided time we often can’t see the other point of view. We tend to see a black and white, cardboard cutout, made-for-comedians version. Maybe we should talk to someone on the other side of the political divide and try to see it from their perspective. This blog, however, is not really a political/social commentary type of place so I’ll leave the exploration of that idea for someone else.
What I do write about is creativity and the arts.
Would the arts even exist without the ability to see things from a different perspective?
As Sonya’s post demonstrates, quite a bit can be added to the visual arts by taking a different point of view. I don’t care what people think, I often sit or lie on the ground to get a picture. I might frame things from a handful of vantage points and pick the most interesting one. Same goes with my drawings. I had a drawing class where the instructor would make the students start over again if they took a normal view or framed it too conventionally. Great lessons.
And there is poetry. OK, what is poetry except looking at the world from a different perspective? That is the whole point of it – to step back and say truths (at least what feels like the truth to the poet) in a way that magnifies the truth and makes sense out of the seemingly incomprehensible.
Writing in prose is pretty much the same as with poetry but not quite as dramatic. An author who looks at the mundane in a new way to make it interesting is more highly regarded than an author who takes the fantastic and makes it seem mundane. Hmm, now taking the fantastic and making it mundane is actually a good trick. Maybe I should say “takes the fantastic and keeps it as merely the fantastic”. Ah, much better. You see, making the fantastic mundane is a matter of perspective and can make the idea fly more than keeping it straight fantasy.
We’ve all read books from the villain’s point of view or that sympathize with a scoundrel. We’ve read about fantastic lives where the person living it doesn’t realize it is so fantastic. Imagine a person in the 18th century reading about a person who holds a device in her hand that allows her to communicate instantly with anyone on the globe, gathers news, accurately predicts the weather and even takes dictation. It would be total fantasy and yet to us it is boring, mundane.
So your job as an artists to take the ordinary and make it special. An average day in the life of a poet is a gem, in the hands of a brilliant author it might be a bestselling story. A little flower in a field filled with thousands of them, fields we see every day, becomes special in the hands/eye of a good photographer.
Silly Selfie by Trent P McDonald