Turning on the camera I peer through the viewfinder — long and narrow and bridging the gap between this self and that world. Looking through I place my left hand on the sturdy barrel, noticing that as I rotate the lens to the right I’m able to zoom out — to let more of that world move into the frame and with it the acquisition of a broader context, a broader understanding. Rotating the lens back to the left takes me deeper into the scene, closer to the concrete structures of that world, closer to the trees and to the flowers before collapsing in on the humane expressions of a people. I see less, but I see more.

Again I rotate right, broadening my perspective, and shuffling my feet slightly as I turn my body 360 degrees. My perspective stays the same but the scenes change with every shuffle. The heavy construction and littered streets move out of the frame as the green grass and trees of a small park slide in.  Just as quickly, the trees of the park move out of the frame and three young children move in, ice cream dripping in their laps as their mother bargains for brightly colored fruit at the make-shift store to their right. The childrens’ loot laughter bounces poignantly off the front of the glass lens but what cannot be captured through the glass of this camera has instantly been captured on the glass of my soul — a momentary memory received and stamped into the universe for all eternity.

I notice an ill-placed and hardly modest sports car forcing itself unabashedly into the left corner of my frame, watering my seeds of greed and desire and reminding me of a life of materialism. In the bottom right corner a pair of arguing tourists threaten to spray negativity on the glass of the lens as they meander unknowingly into my frame.

With my hands firmly gripping the camera my fingers slide within reach of buttons that I now understand empower me to shape the very perspective through which I see life. I zoom-in slightly to crop out the seeds of greed and desire, dial-down the aperture to silence the chaos of the littered streets behind, and center the composition, shifting focus away from the arguing tourists and onto the grins of the laughing children.

In the instant before the pressure of my finger collides with the shutter button the mother returns, extending her hand down to help her three children up. I pause, my index finger suspended above the shutter. All three children simultaneously stretch their hands up toward the strong mother who stands over them, who stands behind them, clenching different parts of a single mother’s hand as I make a last minute rotation to full-zoom, blocking out everything else and closing in on nothing but three ice-cream covered hands clenching that of another.


Be sure to also check out Poker: An Unlikely Path To Enlightenment.