What A Camera Taught Me About Perspective


perspective  (pəˈspɛktɪv)
— n
1. a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2. the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: try to get some perspective on your troubles

That’s how the World English Dictionary defines perspective.

A week or so ago I mentioned that focus is essential not just in photography but in our day-to-day lives. Much like manual mode on a camera, we need to learn how to focus ourselves instead of operating on auto focus.

Sticking with the photography analogy, perspective is another element that cannot be ignored. 

Overlooking Kyiv
From this perspective Kyiv looks beautiful

If I get on the ground and angle my camera, then I can give the perspective of you looming over me like a giant. If I stand above you, with the right perspective, I can make you appear dwarfed and overshadowed.  Or maybe we can stand in Paris and with a little direction about where to place your hand we can make it appear that you are holding up the Eiffel Tower.

Perspective can be a lot of fun to play with. But, we aren’t just talking about art (as much as I love the subject). We are talking about another essential element of our daily lives.

The perspective we approach life with completely alters our perceived reality. It’s a relationship. 

Perspective is all about how different objects relate to each other.

When I think about this in terms of life it makes me question how I see my relationships with others and with various situations.

Recently I have realized that sometimes I have a very skewed perspective and it effects my relationship with everything else around me.

For example, if I view my world in Ukraine for my American viewpoint of how I feel things should be done then I am setting myself up for huge frustrations and a lot of tears. However, on the days when I view Ukraine from a perspective of trying to understand the culture, then I am a lot more likely to have a successful day.

I think in many ways it is the difference between perceiving the situation as either an obstacle or a challenge.

An obstacle is something that hinders you. It blocks your way and creates a sense of inability. Sometimes obstacles just interfere and are just plain annoying, but other times they can stop your progress all together.

A challenge is something to be overcome. It may block your way but it stimulates creativity and action. You want to figure out a solution.

All too often I view things as obstacles and I name off a million excuses for why I can’t ______ (fill in the blank). Instead of taking a perspective that a task needs a little thought, creativity, or a different approach, I just shut it down completely and throw it in the corner as one more lost cause.

Ultimately the only perspective worth having is God’s, otherwise we are just wasting film (well I guess most people don’t use film anymore but you get the analogy…).

With God even the impossible is possible, which means that we will certainly have situations that come our way that threaten to ground us or block our view but they are challenges that with His help can be overcome.

I’m challenging myself this week to work on my perspective.

What are your thoughts on perspective? Do you find yourself expecting God to show up and make the impossible possible or do you find yourself sitting in front of the wall wondering how it could ever be conquered?


As a side note, tonight I’m leaving on a train for the southern part of Ukraine. Prayers appreciated as we have a rather crazy week ahead and a non-stop schedule of classes, time with students, parties and work.


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