I find that behind the lens of a camera there lies great power.  Depending on the focus of the shot, the depth of field, the composition of image, or the perspective of the photograph, I can tell completely different stories from one real life scene.  You can put the camera on the floor and shoot upward, giving a wide, full of wonder image.  You can lift the camera up and shoot downward giving a bird’s eye perspective of what’s going on.  You can zoom in and get the lines on a person’s face, or zoom out and tell the story of many elements.

Here I’m telling the story of two sisters in a Gnobe Bule indigenous reservation in Northern Panama.  They were in their open-air home with their grandmother, wide eyed with wonder when I came by with my guide, photographing people in their village to tell the story of this amazing tribe of people and the work of a United Methodist project to help bring them services for education, health and sanitation.  This photograph is one of my favorite shots that I’ve taken.

Why?  The perspective – here is an ambiguous tale of innocent, inquisitive, gentle, shy, engaged faces.  Some people ask me if they are twins.  Some ask if it is a reflection of one girl.

For me, it is an older sister courageously standing still with her younger sister, timidly, watching to see what this stranger will do with his camera.  The perspective in this shot shows two expressions, two approaches, but never hostile, afraid, or angry.  Two sets of eyes, each with their own story and own questions.

L #14969A Panama, Comprehensive Community Health Project by Chris Heckert

Perspective makes all the difference.  I could have taken a wide shot, showing the hammock in the background, or their grandmother.  But the close faces, tell of a deeper, more intense encounter.

In the same way, the perspective we hold in our day to day lives makes all the difference.  In a difficult situation we can zoom out and look at the bigger picture and realize that one troubled encounter, or a bad day doesn’t have to define the greater story of our life.  Or, it can be important to focus in on the small, seemingly irrelevant details around us.  We can slow down and zoom in on the laughter, the gaze, the beauty, or the intrigue around us.  We can allow the patient light upon insignificant moments in our lives, like waiting, reveal the texture, color and natural beauty that is around us.

We can also look upward at a situation, lifting up a hope that is beyond the current moment, held in the background, but yet imminently present like a promise given.

What is your perspective?  What do you see?


Categories: Art, Faith

Author:Chris Heckert

Senior Pastor of Haddonfield United Methodist Church Musician, communicator, husband/father, seeker of a better way through reconciliation by the healing power of God's love


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