Perspective - Or Is What You See Really What You Think It Is?
August 13, 2014
I've always been fascinated by perspective, not necessarily from an artist's pointof view, but from that of an ordinary everyday person. I love that two people can look at a situation, scene, picture, book etc and see completely different things. Sometimes it can lead to misunderstandings, particularly when you have already formed an opinion on something, your view of it is now altered, and you will never look at it again with an open mind.
Take this example - a couple of weeks ago my family and I visited the new library in Birmingham. It is truly a stunning building, and as the day was bright and sunny we climbed right to the top to see the roof garden. Here, with a view to nearly the whole of Birmingham, you can sit and read to your heart's content; wow, was my first thought. I noticed an Indian gentleman sitting in the sun, wearing a sky blue kurta, engrossed in a book, and looking so peaceful. My first thought was one of envy, not because I wasn't having a lovely day myself, but because I thought it magical that he had time in his day to immerse himself in his reading, something that was so obviously bringing him pleasure.
We wandered around a little, took some photos, oohed and aahed generally and then made our way back inside. As we did so we passed by the gentleman again, and this time coming from a different direction, I was able to turn back to see what he was reading (I'm so nosey like this), only to see that his book was entitled 'How not to worry.' My perspective changed in an instant.
As a writer then, I love perspective, it's such a useful tool, and can generate wonderful twists for your characters and scenes. It's something I deliberately tried to use whilst writing Letting in light. I wanted my character's skewed way of looking at his world to influence his actions, and to learn that by adopting a new perspective, nothing had altered, but he suddenly gained the power to accept, move on, and live a different life. 'After all, life, like art, is all about perspective, and sometimes it just depends on your point of view.'