Using multiple lenses to shed additional light
Year in Perspective
As we come to the end of the calendar year, it's a good time to reflect on what the year past has held and what we hope for the new year. I found some beautiful composite photographs which combine an entire series of movements into a single image to be a helpful metaphor for gaining perspective on the year.
You can see Shinichi Maruyama's gorgeous images over at the Slate photography blog. Maruyama uses a high-speed camera capable of shooting 2,000 frames a second to photograph a nude dancer going through a routine, then digitally composes thousands of shots into a single image. The results give a sense of movement that I'd only seen before with long-exposure photographs, but the crispness and clarity of the high-speed frames makes the images feel alive and immediate, not blurry and lethargic. You can almost pick out a single instance, but as soon as you do, another fraction of a second is clamoring for your attention.
It's very much like life.
When I saw these images, my first thought was that they might be the way that something with a much longer perspective would perceive a human being. If I could get inside a tree's view, or the landbase's image of me, might it not look something like this, a cloud of motion over a wide range of spaces? At every particular instant, the person is in exactly one place, one position, but the movement is so fast that the summation would seem more like a cloud of possibilities.
I began to think about how my life would look if I visualized it over the course of the year in a composite, not just of my physical positions, but more generally, with each moment's image affected by my intentions, my attitudes, the work I was doing and the way I felt inside at the time.
I began to see the trajectories and movements that can be discerned within the images. In a few of them, one foot is visible as a fixed point, supporting the dancer throughout her routine. I wonder, if I could see myself as my landbase sees me, would I have that kind of support from my grounding and centering?
In others, the arc of a leg or an arm is visible: a sweep of purposeful movement from beginning to end. When I went back to review my year, I found some things that I had moved through in a similar trajectory, going from intention to objective methodically, if not always as elegantly as a dancer's gesture.
Some places a single movement cannot be determined, but the viewer can tell that the dancer's body spent time in this space, and not that one. I thought about ways that I was pulled this way or that into a particular project: hours and days spent out of my usual positions, extending myself like a dancer reaching out a little bit further.
What did your 2012 look like? Can you use these visualizations to help you shape your ideas for 2013?
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