John S. Miller/ Thoughts and Ideas / A Light on Perspective

  • 1st person singular: I'm having the experience. 1st person singular: I'm having the experience.
  • Still first person singular: I see them but it is I who am attached to the beam Still first person singular: I see them but it is I who am attached to the beam
  • First person plural: We share the experience of the moment. First person plural: We share the experience of the moment.
  • Third person singular: It's about their experience. Third person singular: It's about their experience.
  • Third person plural: They are having the experience Third person plural: They are having the experience
  • The Mooonbeam: Intimate Views The Mooonbeam: Intimate Views
  • First person singular: Light converges on viewer ('me' as in you) First person singular: Light converges on viewer ('me' as in you)
  • Third person singular: Light converges on them Third person singular: Light converges on them
     

In imagery, the concept of perspective is often discussed as a physical placement point of view. There are however many more subtle ways that the idea of perspective, or point of view, can shape our experience of an image. On this page I'm presenting you with perspective from a literary point of view while making the case that our anthropocentric world view can discount reality. I'm assuming that you the viewer are physically central and I explore additional point of view options. You are either having an experience as a participant or viewing an experience as a more detached observer like a reader engaged in a story about somebody else. In order to do this I'm shifting ideas we consider to be visual truths based on what is likely to be unquestioned experience.

There is a point of view in writing that assumes your position as reader. 'I did this' or 'they did that' are two different literary perspectives. 'I am' is first person singular. 'They are' is third person singular or plural. In both cases you the reader remain central because all is relative to you. The difference is in the distance from the action. The same psychological placement can take place in art. You are always central as the viewer but your distance from the experience of the apparent subject is the key issue. In my work, I always assume that you are my subject and that you are viewing the thing I've created. I try to contribute directly to your experience of the world you engage in so that you read my imagery as a participant. I want you to take away something that shapes the way you see and think about your world.

In the images above I suggest that you are seeing a beam of reflected light. There is an amazing intimacy associated with vieweing light on water at night. The reason is that all light beams converge on us as though we are unique and special. That moonbeam attaches to me (you) as intimately as your shadow does during the day. Logically you know that somebody else down the shore sees the same thing and that the beam moves with them just as it moves with you. Clearly there are not more moon beams striping the water. In fact there are no moonbeams at all. The lake is flooded with light and we see a beam because our eyes are a set distance apart and the light of the moon is in line with these sensors when we can see it. We don't pick up the light that isn't in line with our eyes. If the water is turbulent we pick up a broader swath of light. The moon beam is in our heads and is the result of our sensing system: our eyes and their location on our faces.

This is a case of believing what we see. But believing, knowing, and understanding aren't always related. Seeing may be believing but seeing is only part of the bigger picture. There is more to this world than meets the eye.