What does the word perspective mean to you? I define it as one’s point of view, or how things are seen from where they are standing. Even, perhaps, their point of view based on the knowledge they have.
Let’s do an example of perspective from where you are standing, or sitting as the case may be. When you are at a baseball or softball game, there is a line that runs straight out from first base to the fence and another that does the same from 3rd base to the fence. Now, depending on the field you are on, those lines may or may not physically run all the way to the fence. On some diamonds they only run part of the way past the base line. On a field like that, how many times have you been sitting in the stands and an Umpire calls a ball fowl that you swear was fair! Or visa versa. The perspective from your vantage point may make that ball look fair, when in fact it wasn’t. I guess that’s why the umpire is standing so he can look directly down the line from home base, huh? But we still tend to argue over it anyway!
Perspective in drawing, means trying to create a ‘vanishing point’ within the picture to make the picture look more realistic. If you stand on a roadway that runs in a straight line and look off into the horizon, you will notice that the road seems to get smaller the further down the road you look. Eventually, it seems to ‘vanish’ altogether. If you’ve never really noticed that in a painting or drawing before (even a photograph)…. look closely at one that shows something in the distance. And even this perspective can change for you depending on what angel you are looking at the picture.
With that definition of perspective in mind….. I was once taught about what an audience really sees when looking on stage. Stage Actors are taught that our moves need to be big so that they audience can see them. I used to teach this concept to my students when I directed a children’s performing group. They would think that the moves we were giving them were too big. However….. do an experiment with me that I tried to teach them.
Find an object in the room in front of you. It doesn’t have to be very far away. Now close one eye and take your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and from the perspective you can now see with, frame that object within those two fingers on your hand. Keeping your hand in that position, open both eyes and see how small the area is between your fingers. It is much smaller than the actual object, right? This is what we would try to tell our students…. the audience is actually seeing you from the perspective between those two fingers, so the movements that you make that may seem big to you, are not really that big to the audience. It’s all a matter of perspective. By the way…. this works with leaving both eyes open too….. it’s just that the object is not quite as centered as it is when doing one eye.
Look at the picture I choose to go along with this blog…… it appears as though the sunset ‘fits’ right in the palms of the hands in the picture. Again…. perspective. Sometimes we see things not as they really are based on where we are.
I have a Sister that I work with in the temple. We are told when we are doing the ordinances not to rush. We need to say things slow enough and clear enough that the patron can understand them. Right now, I am assigned to work with this Sister as part of my duties. It was starting to get on my nerves that she was speaking so fast, from my perspective of course. Then one day I realized that I don’t think she thinks she speaks fast. If you knew this lady, it would make sense. Now bare in mind this woman is quite a bit older than me…… but she is one of those people who is always on the go. Very rarely have I seen her sitting down…. unless her assignment required it. She moves quickly from spot to spot. I think she could be considered a workaholic! Seriously, always on the go! It occurred to me the other day, that if she is always moving that fast, that it makes perfect sense for her to talk that fast! However, from her own point of view, she probably feels she is speaking at a very normal pace. In fact…. it’s possible that I sound like I’m dragging things out forever to her! What I perceive to be a normal, easy speed to speak in so that people can understand, is probably NOT what she perceives to be that! Now that I’ve figured that out….. who is right? I mean really….. who is right? What right do I have to tell her that I think she ought to slow down? None, really. How do you help someone understand that they are speaking too quickly when everything they do is done at break neck speed? I just don’t think they see it.
Here’s another possibility….. maybe…… just maybe, it’s really me who is slow and needs to speed things up a little! Who is the judge for that? I’m grateful to have learned this lesson. Though I’ve always understood that people have the right to their own opinions and to see things from where they stand….. this lesson in the temple of the speed that we talk, hit me pretty hard. Who would have ever thought that she may honestly have no idea that she speaks fast! As it is with people and their own perspective….. it may be all they know from where they are standing.
I am Grateful! How are you?