The Power and Limitation of a Photo

I’ve been enjoying taking photos lately. And enjoying sharing them with others. It inspired me to add a Photo Gallery to this site. I’ve also been thinking about the difference between seeing a photo and experiencing a place.

Bright red and orange clouds float on the horizon and fade into a blue sky above. Silhouettes of trees can be seen on the shoreline. The sky and trees are all reflected in the water below.
Sunrise on Lake Willastein

Even the most striking photo cannot contain what our eyes and hearts can capture. The two-dimensional-ness of it cannot hold the full joy of the experience. It can’t capture the gratefulness that wells up inside at being there, at that very moment, witnessing the sun scatter colors too bright and varied to name.

It doesn’t capture the magic of not being able to tell exactly where the surface of the water is and the disorientation that follows. It cannot appreciate the moment when the eye lands on a plant that marks where the surface of the water actually is and how my mind has to recalibrate everything I see because it imagined the water’s surface to be higher. It can’t capture that moment of surprise and the enjoyment that comes from being a bit disoriented because the water and sky were conspiring to trick me and I feel pleased because I get the joke.

It can’t capture the amazement at the clarity of the reflection and the reminder that that the stillness of the water is the equanimity I should seek in my mind. Nor the moment of sadness and regret knowing that just recently I made a decision while the waters of my mind were rough and choppy.… Read the full post “The Power and Limitation of a Photo”