This photo challenge gave me an insight into the way I take pictures.
I’m a short person – only five feet tall. I can squeeze out an extra 1/4″ on a good day, but the fact remains that I shoot from a five-foot-tall person’s perspective. When I can’t get an eye-level photograph that I want, my first instinct is not to get higher than the subject and shoot down, but to get even lower and shoot up.
I started looking through my photo archives, and I have A WHOLE LOT of pictures from eye-level on downward. I have lain in the street to get a picture. It never occurs to me to get higher, borrow a ladder or something, and take photos from that level. I don’t see life that way. From my perspective, I’m looking up at things all the time – even things that are at eye-level for most people. So, I suppose it’s natural to just exaggerate that point of view and get lower and lower to take my pictures.
Once I realized that I’m constantly shooting from below, I wanted to challenge myself to find a place where I would be shooting down on something, for once. I drove around the neighborhood to find a high spot, but didn’t like anything I saw. I considered standing on top of our playground in the backyard. Then I realized that showing a picture of our backyard would blow my cover as a normal, middle-class person. (It looks like a white trash paradise back there – I think we treat it like an exterior closet that no one can see.) I drove to a local park where I know there’s a tall magnolia tree to climb, but as luck would have it, two families with kids were picnicking under its boughs.
So, I came home and poured through my archives again. And I did find a few shots that I took from a height above the subjects, while chaperoning a trip to Canada two years ago:
So, it turns out that I can turn the camera downwards, after all!
I’ll have to integrate more of this perspective into my photography. I’ll see the world in a whole new way…