Perceptions

Posted by jennifer gibson on Saturday, April 14, 2012
In my line of work as a photographer and writer, it seems to be a mandatory requirement to be a people watcher. No, not a peeping Tom, more like an Observer. Fringe fans will know exactly what that means. To get a good shot in photography, I find it necessary to quietly observe people, trying to capture the most dynamic and natural composition whether they are playing on the swing, chatting with others, or working on a project.  I'm not a big fan of posed shots since it seems so unnatural and stiff, namely forced.  It doesn't really reveal the true personality of the subject.  Children are excellent examples of just letting them go out and play, spinning in circles or rolling in the grass and letting the sun shine on their faces, wearing a blissful smile. That's real.  A moment of true of happiness and the feeling that no one else is watching, they are just being themselves. 

Wherever I go, I'm quietly watching others, wondering they are really like, what makes them tick, what makes them really smile.  This helps me gather useful information in describing body language, personalities, and overall characteristics for my books.  In a way, being hard of hearing makes this process so much easier since I can quickly tune out my surroundings since a lot of is already background noise.  Lately, I've noticed how easily those perceptions can drastically change from one person to another.  I was in line at a cafe, the barista seemed to be a quiet type of person, as if processing a lot of internal information, a serious thinker.  She didn't say much, simply processed my request and went to work. I got the impression that she was perhaps a bit shy.  Then I began to wonder if she was more concerned with something going on at home, maybe struggling with an issue at school.  Was the barista having a bad day? Tired? Had a headache? It didn't bother me at all, I was happy to get my order and stood to the side while I stirred in my organic sugar and added nutmeg to the frothy foam.  I observed the next person placing their order, paid for it then picked up their drinks.  On the way out, that customer remarked how rude the barista seemed to be towards them.  I stood rooted to the spot wondering how they got that impression.  There was virtually no difference in the way we were treated, it was the way that person viewed their service.  It was all about perception. 

Which led me onto another track of thought which left me wondering why we viewed the same person in a completely different light.  It was an astounding insight.  Was it because of our personalities?  The way we were brought up?  Did happen something in their childhood to drastically alter their viewpoint in regards to their ability to interpret information, the ability to interact with others?  It makes you wonder, really think about why we all respond so differently to a situation that happens in front of us. 

If you have ever witnessed an accident or injury at a sports event, you would most likely have seen a wide variety of reactions from the people in that area.  Some stood in shock, slack jawed in horror or clapped their hand over their mouth.  Others would've immediately rushed over to help, called for an ambulance and took control of the incident.  Some may have walked away, unable to do anything.  Others would've simply watched and discussed what happened, processing it.  Every single person responded in opposite ways.  It's simply amazing how everyone reacted so differently and it makes you wonder why they acted that way.  What are they really like as a person?  What were they like as a kid?

Which leads me to one of my favorite music videos that offers conflicting messages.  While I love the music and the band (Coldplay), there were several incidents in it that I didn't think was appropriate.  Mind you, it's just a story, simply a fun song about a group of teens having a wild night and essentially living life, embracing it.  However, I reacted very strongly to watching them break car windows, stealing it then playing with road flares, spray painting cars and engaging in reckless, dangerous behaviour.  I was not at all impressed with this message and there's a reason why - because I've seen it happen, I have had stuff stolen from my car.  And you know what? It's not fun to have someone vandalize your property.  Now, despite my objections to this, I still love this song and video, I'm head over heels in love with it.  Why? Because it's beautiful, not only visually but it also captures that endearing, sweet moment of youth.  It's all about innocent fun and it appeals to me very strongly.  I've never really lived that moment like they do, so in a way I'm living it through them. It makes my inner teen happy since I can easily see Jessie and Ethan doing the same thing, having a great time at a rock concert like that.  It means the world to me. (And it's a dream of mine to go to a Coldplay concert.)

Here's the official website for Coldplay:  http://coldplay.com/

Charlie Brown video > http://youtu.be/zTFBJgnNgU4

Lyrics:
I stole a key
Took a car downtown where the lost boys meet
Took a car downtown and took what they offered me
To set me free

I saw the lights go down at the end of the scene
I saw the lights go down and standing in front of me

In my scarecrow dreams
When they smash my heart into smithereens
Be a bright red rose come bursting through concrete
Be a cartoon heart

Light a fire, a fire, a spark
Light a fire, a flame in my heart
We'll run wild oh
We'll be glowing in the dark
We'll be glowing in the dark

All the boys, all the girls
All that matters in the world
All the boys, all the girls
All the madness that occurs
All the highs, all the lows
As the room a-spinning goes

We'll run riot
We'll be glowing in the dark

So we'll soar
Luminous and wired
We'll be glowing in the dark

(Please be aware that I'm only posting the lyrics to help others with a hearing loss follow the song - it helps understand what is being sung and it brings the music experience to a whole new level that we can enjoy.)



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