Three dimensional vision is highly over-rated. Who needs depth perception anyway? If you’re paying attention to that tennis ball flying at your head, you’ll notice that it gets bigger. There is no need for the parallax of two, slightly offset orbs of goo, rods, and cones to tell it is getting closer. At worst, the sudden impact will let you know when it has arrived. And that, friends, is how you start on a journey to become a one-eyed photographer.
We were between homes. The one my parents built and the one that would become home for close to forty years. It was a strange, off-kilter year for me, at least as I remember it now. I suspect that is why I seem to remember so many odd details about such a short time period. It was a significant change leading to significant change. The not-so-hard-boiled egg at Easter. A stamp collection on the inside of a closet door. Crossing a busy street to stop a bully from picking on a friend. Being shoved into a pole for my trouble. A library book that opened a door to a once-in-a-lifetime conversation with a grandparent. So much happened in what seems so short a time.
As the school year was nearing an end, I was playing in the backyard. There was a brick grill next to the patio. Behind that grill was one of a pair of clothesline poles that I would sometimes climb. This was one of those days. Unfortunately, my efforts to have fun were interrupted by what was supposed to become a game of “wall ball”, but I was in the way. “Move!” he said. As any self-righteous kid would say, I responded that I was here first and I redoubled my efforts to have fun climbing a metal clothesline pole.
Losing most of my sight in one eye, being blind for several days of my life as a result, changed my world view. This is a beautiful world despite its many flaws. None of us see it from exactly the same point of view which makes it all the more marvelous. Even when I capture the exact image I want to share with others, they will still see things in that photograph that I, the image creator, failed to notice.
The magic of being a photographer is in capturing far more than our eyes, even one-eyed, will ever see. In the best images, what we see was never in the picture to begin with. Rather, it is a fragment of an inkling that reminds us of a life once lived.