Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Vantage Point

What you see depends largely on where you are standing, how closely you are looking and from what angle. That’s why a vantage point is so very important.

Some of my recent photo outings to capture downtown views have proven this more than once. And yesterday, it proved amazingly true as I glimpsed a feature I had never seen before on a building I have seen thousands of times and probably photographed dozens of times.

This is the roofline of the Old Post Office. In the background is the Chemical Building. In the right of the photo, you see the outline of the giant sculpture that graces the roofline (a replica of the real deal that’s kept inside). Now, notice the mansard dome – that big black bulk with all the circles on it. Yeah. Cool portal windows. See those, too?(I’ve always liked those.)

Look along the very top. See the ornamentation? Look closely at the ornamentation. See the faces within it? No? Look closer. See them now?

I never did. Until yesterday. When I snapped that picture.

Even though I had taken this shot of the building a year ago in April.

If you look closely you can see the faces in the mansard. But I didn’t see them then – because my eyes were too busy taking in the bulk of the whole building, from ground level. Then, by having a completely different vantage point (high up and across the street), those previously missed faces were literally right in front of me. A little help from the zoom and they are completely in focus. Pretty amazing, huh?

It made me wonder just what else I’ve been missing – so I started looking around. I think my jaw dropped a dozen times in 30 minutes. (Watch for other missed architectural treasures in the weeks ahead.) It also made me wonder what else I’ve been missing not just in my environment, but in life in general. What else is right in front of me that I’m just not seeing, perhaps because it’s swallowed up by a preoccupation with “the bigger picture” – or because I haven’t moved myself to get another view?

I’m going to blame the MonkeyGirl for part of this line of thought. You see, she gave me a really cool frame last year.
One that, I’m ashamed to admit, had sat unboxed in my office. She gave it to me with a very specific purpose in mind: to display one of those otherwise unnoticed views I was lucky enough to capture. Thanks to my newly discovered vantage point, it is now out of its box and just waiting to be filled by a new discovery.

If you think about it, this frame kind of sums up life.

There are millions of “small things” that go unnoticed every day. Millions! For many, those small things could turn out to be things they care about or that could make them happy. Or that could change their lives.

It’s all a matter of how you look at it. And of where you happen to be when you’re looking.

If something doesn’t look right, try looking from another location (physically, mentally, emotionally). Or, even if you're pleased with the view, just to make sure you haven't missed something spectacular, change your vantage point.

You might be stunned by what you're missing.


MonkeyGirl said...

See there are things that I can pass on to the master!

Jayne said...

Very cool! I couldn't see the faces at first and then, suddenly, I could. I wish more architects still believed that functional can also be beautiful....sigh...