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.