Pretty Pink Houses And The Lenses We View Them With

Perception is everything.

When I went adventuring with my pal Jerry last Friday, I told him that I wanted to walk to the lake shore for a better picture of “that bright pink house.”

He was quiet for a moment and inquired about the house.

That one over there, the pink one, I motioned.

He seemed perplexed when he responded he didn’t see a pink house.

That’s when I realized what was going on. I took off my sunglasses to reveal the house was not bright pink at all. It was vaguely pinkish but my sunglasses had made it appear much brighter.

Those sunglasses represent most blues, browns and greens accurately. Reds, pinks and yellows are exaggerated.

This got me thinking about the lenses with which we view the world.

We all have them. There’s no denying it. We all view the world through the lenses of our own experiences and what we are taught.

My exoerience as a reporter taught me there are multiple sides to every story and that my own ethics are vital to my happiness. Perhaps this is why my brand of documentary photography suits me so well. You won’t catch me photoshopping in a ray of sunshine into a portrait of a family standing in a gloomy wheat field.

I am a realist who is slow to judge. I see the world for what it is but always want more information. Facts, figures and original sources are the only things I care about. Someone’s opinion or emotions that have been triggered by a cable tv sound byte are useless.

In fact, I would argue that the modern American tendency to use emotions rather than fact accounts for a big part of our nation’s problems.

Whether you do or don’t like a politician doesn’t make you right about them. Just because your religion tells you to do something doesn’t make it right or fair and it certainly may not be the best choice for every person in the world. The fact that egging on the nastiness of this world appeals to something deep inside many people doesn’t make them people who should be followed.

In many cases, these things or these lenses become obstacles to reaching the truth.

Those lenses can get us into trouble.

Like my favorite pair of aviator sunglasses, listening, comprehension and the search for enlightenment should never go out of style.

Unfortunately, when it comes to things like religion or political party lines, it’s much harder to know you’re even wearing a colored lens. It’s even harder to recognize you need to do something about it.

It’s way easier when you can just take off the sunglasses and see that the house isn’t the pretty pink you first believed.