An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A matter of Perspective

Today, while driving my daughter to school, we listened to the Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate’s ‘Romanza Andaluza’ on the radio. It is a piece of music that we have both heard many times, performed by many violinists, but never with as much depth and feeling as in this particular performance by virtuosic Israeli violinist, Gil Shaham

As soon as the first notes played, Lily, whose head was buried deep in a novel, stopped reading, sat up in her seat, and listened enraptured. Each note played by the violin was crystal clear and perfectly placed into the layers and textures of the music that spoke with such longing of the beauty and majesty of Andaluza.

Listening to this engaging interpretation, it struck me that all art is a matter of perspective - of how a particular artist or musician perceives his world and then communicates those ideas and feelings to his audience.

Perspective is what sets successful artists and musicians apart in a world that is full of very talented people. It is what grabs us by the heartstrings and motivates us to buy tickets to see that amazing pianist in concert, or pushes us to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on purchasing a painting or sculpture we have fallen in love with and just have to own.

And perspective is even more important in the world of art photographers, where in this day and age everyone with a digital camera can turn out very respectable photographs, making it ever more difficult to stand out from the crowd.

In fact, everything in life is a matter of perspective. How we respond to anything is directly affected by how we see it and how it makes us feel.

Finding your own perspective in any art form can take years of practice and experimentation for some, and this on top of an existing gift or talent for the chosen artistic pursuit. A few very lucky ones seem to be born with it, that spark that engages and ignites something deep within anyone who is exposed to it.

In my experience with art photography, perspective cannot be taught or imitated.  It is the way in which we ‘see’ our world through the lens, and that view is unique to each and every one of us.

Our unique perspective can only be discovered as we immerse ourselves in our lives and relentlessly pursue our artistic dreams.

According to the writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau:
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

And as visual artists, musicians, or performing artists, it is how successful we are at communicating what we ‘see’ through our art or our performances that will set us apart from the crowd. 

Likewise, it is this unique perspective, rather than the mere reproduction of reality, that captivates and enraptures one when viewing a previously mundane aspect of life that has, quite simply, been transformed into something beyond our own imaginations. 


  1. Your posts and images always captivate me my friend! I totally agree with you ~ Simple things can become magical depending on how we look at them!

  2. Awesome Post Renee!! Uplifting and right on the mark!!

  3. Great post! wonderful photos!

  4. Very interesting post! Best wishes Blu

  5. Renee,

    Not only am I enthralled by your expression, I'm equally impressed by the grey-scales in your images.

    Back in the day of my academic study of art, I learned a modified technique of Ansel Adams to properly configure the infinite grey scale of black and white film to fit the limited scale of black and white paper.

    So I'm curious, in digital photography, do you have to think about grey scales as you "expose and develop" your images?


  6. Hi Mike. Thank you for your interest in my work.
    I find digital totally different to film. I used to use the black & white setting on my digital camera but was not impressed with the result. Now, I shoot in colour and when I am converting the raw images in Aperture, I use the sliders and convert to black and white according to how I see it. I don't have any formula - just adjust the sliders until it looks right.
    I have never had any training with photography and do not have much technical knowledge. I'm not sure if it is a good or a bad thing, but I feel it does make me have to be more creative, which is probably a good thing!
    Kind regards

  7. Renee,
    Excellent post and stunning images!!

  8. Your thoughts on perspective echo mine. There are dozens of ways to frame any image, and finding that special "zing" is what perspective is all about. I enjoyed your pics and your thoughts!