Standing at the top of a staircase looking down is a disconnected experience. Out of view is the first few steps necessary before reaching the bottom, the solid ground. Disoriented, a hand or two might grasp for something, anything to steady the mind’s eye. What is forgotten in the moment is the sensations traveling the length of the body from the feet; the pressure on the soles from the body’s weight. One end doesn’t know what the other end is doing.
(Yeah, I know. But this isn’t Politics 101.)
Taking this photo was a challenge for me. In order for me to orient my brain enough to feel solidly grounded, I planted my feet wide and took more than a few deep breaths before I could raise my camera up to take the shot. Yes, this is exactly what I saw at that moment in time, and looking at the photo now still threatens to disorient my sense of balance.
The deep richness of the wood spoke of hundreds of years standing around many people experiencing countless life events. The banister and staircase itself weren’t as old as the walls and floor, but they still held their own set of memories. Though the only light came from a setting sun, the cabin never became darkened.
And my own experience was captured in this photo as I walked through a preserved portion of history.
Then, it dawned on me: A photograph is so much more than just a pretty picture. It is looking through the eye of the photographer. The photo comes alive, not only with its own contents, but through the experience of the photographer.
The photograph is the closest you will ever come to seeing through the eyes of another. You are walking in the photographer’s shoes in that instant of time.
So much of what we think, learn, know, feel and trust is formed through the experiences of others. But, just how much of it do we miss when we fail to consider that another’s perception is not our own?
I can show you what I see through photography, but can you feel what I felt?
If you try, you’ll be that much closer.
See more through my eyes at Out in the Back Yard, my photo blog.