How Images Frame

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“When words become unclear I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~ Ansel Adams

Meaning “reflection in a mirror”, the word image is early 14th century. The mental sense was in Latin, and appears in English language in the late 14c.

What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel and who we are. Images can be impressive and compelling. They grab our attention. While reading takes work, the brain visually processes much faster.

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Images help educate. They enhance stories. And not surprisingly, vision is the far most active of the senses. Yet, do you intentionally create time to reflect on images and the empathy they can evoke? The teaching moment? Or the underlying sentiment?

When you seek to conjure memories or arouse emotions, do you find it challenging to find descriptive words? Rather than struggle with words, does an image more easily convey feeling, inspiration or thought? There is a reason that we are drawn to the works of photographers, illustrators and painters; there is promise, potential and reality in their renditions.

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Think about it. Would you rather go deaf or blind? To live in silence is difficult but to live in darkness would be devastating. There are messages in images, sometimes deep themes. Just as the adage “Stop and smell the roses” encourages us to pause and appreciate, perhaps some willful breathing space could awaken you to an image’s more nuanced meaning and significance. Just maybe?

When contemplating how you frame images or how images frame your perceptions, considering these points may be helpful:

  1. Images don’t actually change; only what we think about it has. There can be plausible, alternative interpretations.
  2. Be aware of intentional image use in marketing and advertising. The subliminal message may be far from the accompanying, pleasing visual.
  3. Your unique experiences leading up to the moment you encounter an image will shape your appreciation of it. Like what you like, even if you’re not sure why, or can’t put the reason to words.

To close, a warming (perhaps to some) image…

Opening photo: Il cielo in una stanza (2013) credit Loris Rizzi

Advice from Your Ego?

“How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, to be in your service, is the trick.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Your ego-mind needs no introduction. It knows you perhaps even better than you know it. It does such a good job that you are likely unaware of its guidance. But there is more intended for you than the ego-mind can provide.

When you are being you and making choices to live and share your life with the world, everything is easier, clearer, and enjoyable. You can follow your own plan or the default plan of your ego-mind. They will both work but the results will be quite different. The differences are between struggle, stress, and pursuing happiness (though never fully getting it) of the ego’s plan or the ease, peace, and joy of your plan.

The ego-mind limits your possibilities by its own limited purpose. Each day to the ego-mind is another day of survival, filled with thousands of moments needing your responses (thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and behavior patterns). Even when you are sleeping it continues its interpretations and responses with one objective: survival. This means always protecting and defending the ego-minds longtime held identity and reality. This narrow perspective on your experiences guides every aspect of your life through your responses to those experiences. Think: easiest and fastest.

To make different interpretations and utilize different responses you must have a purpose that guides you to be more than surviving, instead thriving, sharing and loving. But to change your purpose you have to know your plan and the beliefs, needs, and fears the ego uses as the foundation for choosing responses. Without knowing all this, the ego-mind will continue in the background to be your guide and be totally convincing at doing so.

Consider these three tips if you are interested in liberating yourself from your ego-mind:

  • Start questioning. Question what you’ve been told by your parents, your teachers, your religious leaders, your romantic partners, the media, and your friends. Check in with your intuition and ask yourself, “Does this feel right to me?” If the answer is “NO,” take some time to figure out what does resonate with you.
  • If you demand more, then getting less feels like a loss; so stop asking for so much from life. Stop demanding attention, loneliness will come at times, Stop demanding friends, separations come along, etc.
  • Make friends with the unknown. What if the unknown is simply what you haven’t created yet? You create moment-to-moment from a field of infinite possibilities. If you are really afraid of the unknown (as the ego-mind would like you to think), you should be screaming right now because you’re in it! It’s when you are constantly projecting a known past into an unknown future that you get stuck in your fears and limiting beliefs.