Looking At The Stars

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Oscar Wilde

It seems cliche for a photographer to write about perspective. It’s like a monk proclaiming to be a minimalist. As photographers, our job is to perspect. Duh.

But what better analogy for changing one’s perspective, than a photographer swapping lenses? The focal length of a camera plays an important role in the aesthetics of an image. My preferred lens is a 28mm. I like the subtle distortion of a wider lens. It also allows me to shoot from the hip (yet another analogous mode of being).

“You become what you give your attention to.”


Photographers have the ability to alter reality. We do this by zooming in/out, adding filters, layering subjects, various lighting & editing techniques, using prisms etc. In a similar way, you have the ability to choose how you perceive the world based on your thoughts. What thoughts do you allow to enter your mind? What ideas do you entertain? What news channel do you play on loop? What podcasts do you follow? Where do you assign meaning?

“It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.” 


Here’s a thought experiment: think about the last conversation you had with a friend. How many of your thoughts belonged to you? What percentage of your words were just things you heard on the news? Look around and think about how all the objects in your room were named by someone else. We are an amalgamation of other people’s thoughts, and concepts, and opinions, and biases. Our reality is essentially created by other people.

Think of it this way—I didn’t build my 28mm lens—but I have the freedom to choose which lens I put on my camera.

You have the freedom to choose your focal length—to choose how you view life.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Proverbs 23:7

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

Qui-Gon Jinn

Our greatest freedom in life is our ability to choose our thoughtshow we perceive the world. Our greatest currency in life is our attention. By purposefully deciding what to think and what to pay attention to, we have the freedom to alter our reality. And in some cases—create our own version of reality. So as the Jedi say, “be mindful of your thoughts“. You have the ability to choose what to think, and if you don’t decide for yourself—someone else will decide for you.

“We are all in the gutter—but some of us are looking at the stars.”

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s