Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4 Photo: Close-Up

One of the amazing things about human vision is how different something looks from far away than it does close up. Sometimes seeing something close up reveals its imperfections and shortcomings. A fancy ball gown worn by an actress on stage may look glamorous and beautifully made to the audience, but seen up close it is actually threadbare and many times patched and mended. Distance melts away the imperfections that being close up reveals.

But in other cases, seeing something close up reveals finer details that make an object more impressive or more interesting. For example, a shirt that looks purple from far away, when seen close up, may actually be a fine plaid of red and blue. Seen even closer, the plaid pattern resolves itself into dozens of individual fibers woven together in an even more intricate pattern. An ordinary insect like a ladybug or a dragonfly is pretty but simple when seen at a distance. But peep through a magnifying glass and it becomes a marvel of intricate and detailed engineering, with multiply-hinged legs, unbelievably delicate feathery antennae, and impossibly complicated veined wings.

And some things are beautiful both from far away and close up, just in different ways. Looking into my backyard on this dreary, rainy day, I am struck by the cheery bright gold of my lilies, and by the graceful curves of their petals. And as I brave the rain to look at them more closely through my camera lens, I am struck by the softness of those petals and the contrast of the fuzzy stamens with their coating of sticky pollen, the intricate pattern of dark spots radiating from deep within the blossom, and the shining raindrops on the leaves.
There is far-away beauty and there is close-up beauty in almost everything!
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