thinking with pictures

The figure to ground relationship – where are you in the picture?

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Are you the figure (subject) or ground?

Are you the figure (subject) or ground?

There are times when one strides through the landscape, mostly unaware or unconcerned about the processes and purposes all around in that seasonal moment, time of day, or ecological context. Instead, everything becomes static background to one’s own narrative spreading across the year or forming one’s life trajectory. But by slowing down, or through aging, infirmity, or meditative discipline, there comes to be less self and thus more space to see, hear, smell and touch the textures, patterns, and rhythms all around. What once was out of focus background now becomes the main subject. What once was fly-over country, now becomes the center of the universe, at least for a moment. One’s self then blends with the larger process, metabolizing right along with everything in sight. At one extreme perhaps one’s physical self can be perceived as a literal background for the myriad small dramas played out on the skin’s surface or internal micro biome!


And so, the selective focus of self (close-up lens that gives a shallow Depth of Field) can be alternated with the slow exposure times and very widest depth of field to capture everything from near (self) to far (background). The result is a richer lived experience, less about action and achievement, and more about being part of the bigger picture; not a star performer, but an ensemble player in the complete cast of characters.


Author: gpwitteveen

Better Outreach is my aim. See to know more.

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