Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Day In the Life

Day 19 of 365 Tiny Changes

Sometimes I see something, or hear something, or watch something that really resonates with me.  Things that make me go, “Hmmm.”

Last night we watched a movie called The Sensation of Sight.  It is one of those “day in the life” movies.  Slow moving, quiet, deep movies.  Until recently, I couldn’t stand to watch these type of movies.  Movies that are basically a snapshot of a day in someones life, bored me.  Woodie Allen movies are this type.  BORING!  Sense and Sensitivity is another one.  Could a movie drag on any longer? 

Nope, “day in the life” movies were not my genre, with the exception of one aspect, the cinematography.  These types of movies are generally so slow moving that the director has all the time in the world to focus on the perfect framing of each shot.  From a photography point of view these movies are always a joy to watch, for me.

So to get back to last night’s movie.  The cinematography was wonderful.  The plot was interesting.  It was about a man who observed a tragedy that forced him to look at his life and ask himself, “Why?”  The movie opens with him leaving his wife to begin his search for the answer.  The camera follows him through his quiet search and introduces the viewers to the people he meets along the way.  In the end, through or because of the people he meets, he “gets it”, his answer to why, and is able to move on with his life and go back home to his family.

This movie forced me to realize that each of us are very similar to this man.  We all live in our own world with our own story and our own quest for why.  To me we are all similar to the mythological figure, King Atlas.  We all walk around with our own world on our shoulders.  We meet ,and interact, and even form relationships with, other people, but in reality we still have our own private world to deal with, to carry around with us, every where we go.

As a photographer I learned a long time ago that by simply moving my camera the tiniest of tiny bits I could get a completely different shot.  I even discovered that by not moving the camera, but by waiting for some outside force to change, such as a cloud to move from in front of the sun, I could get a completely different shot.  For example, a photo of a meadow under the warming rays of the sun, or the same meadow under the chill of a cloudy sky, are two totally different shots.  They give the viewer two different interpretations, or perceptions, of the same meadow.  It’s the same meadow, just appearing otherwise through distinctive circumstances.

That is how, I think, we truly differ as human beings.  We crave relationships, unity, sharing, but we all have come to this time and place from different view points, different circumstances.  We live within our own realities.  Correspondingly, it is truly impossible to “know”, or “understand” anyone else.  We have words to help us connect, such as empathize, and sympathize, but deep down we realize we can never “know” how the other person is perceiving their life, in our world.

This may sound sad.  It doesn’t have to be.  We assume that because we can’t truly connect with others it leaves us to live in our own private hell. I think it is a blessing, in disguise.  Just like both photos of the meadow, one with sun shine and one without can both still be beautiful shots, each of us can still live in our own beautiful world.  I believe, each of us has the ability to create for ourselves our own Secret Garden.  A place inside ourselves where we can go, to be quiet and safe.  A place we can use as a jump off point for our perception of the rest of the world.  We can share this place if we truly connect with someone else, but we wouldn’t want to share it with just anyone, because it belongs solely to us, it is of our own precious mind.

Perhaps this is where the beautiful cinematography of these movies comes in.  The camera shows the viewer the beauty all around the characters.   The characters move through the beauty, but don’t really react or interact with it, until, they see the light in their situation, and suddenly,all of Life Is Beautiful.

Perhaps this is one of the benefits of getting a little older.  I’m more willing to take the time and the patience needed to sit through a “day in the life” movie.  I am more willing to attempt to understand the quiet, deep message the writer and director are trying to portray to me.

Tiny Change 19:  Sit quietly, alone for 5 minutes each day to enjoy the secret garden of my mind.

Best Regards,

King Atlas

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