Usually I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of a scene or life. Image:Marie Vonow
When I take photos I usually focus on something positive, something I consider beautiful or inspiring. Later, when I view the photos on my laptop I crop my shots, removing any distractions and negative aspects which may be on the edges. My approach to life is usually similar but there are exceptions.
I try to have a positive approach to life. Usually I look for the good in people and experiences. Even when things don't go the way I wanted I try to see something positive. It may be a lesson learned, personal growth or empathy for others who have had a similar experience.
However, there are times fears, sickness or tiredness overwhelm me and my focus isn't positive. That is part of life.
There have also been times when I have taken photos and chosen to focus on the negative. When I had to sell my first house after my husband and I separated I knew I was going to miss that house a great deal. We had lived there for nearly ten years and had put a lot of work into renovating the old place. We had made so many plans for further improvements and I had expected to live in that house into old age.
I decided to take photos concentrating on the faults of the house and yard. As I walked around the house I focussed on the salt damp, the cracks and gaps and peeling paint work. I took shots of the things we hadn't yet fixed such as crumbling plaster and rusty lacework. My reason for doing this was so when I glorified the house in the future and wished I was still living there I could look at the photos and see the aspects that weren't so great.
Some say humans have a tendency to remember the good aspects of the past and forget the negative. This would explain why many people talk about 'the good old days' and don't seem to remember all the disadvantages. (There is some research suggesting the opposite, that humans have a tendency to remember the negative more than the positive.)
Taking photos of the negative aspects of the house worked for me. It made it easier for me to move on and see the advantages of my next house and the changes in my life. By the way, I disposed of those snaps long ago, once they had served their purpose.
One day I was taking photos of a creek and I thought how different the resulting shots would be depending on what I chose to focus on. If I focussed on the water and the ducks and ducklings it would appear to be an idyllic setting.
Ducks and ducklings on the water. Image:Marie Vonow
On the other hand if I photographed the rubbish on the banks of the creek it would not be appealing.
Rubbish by the creek. Image:Marie Vonow
The same is the case for the river near my house which I love. If I photograph it in early spring, the nicest time, it looks beautiful. The water is flowing and there are flowers blooming on the banks. There is plenty of green grass and I may get a couple of birds in my photos. In mid summer when all the water has dried up and the grass is dead it is not so nice. To make things worse, there may be old tyres and a couple of supermarket trolleys in the dry river bed, making it look more like a rubbish dump.
While my usual approach to life is to focus on the positive, there can be a place for choosing to concentrate on the negative for a time. It may help me get a balanced perspective. It may make me aware of changes that need to be made. Then I can work on deciding what I need to do next and set some goals.
Sometimes choosing to focus on the negative for a while helps me appreciate the positive all the more. It reminds me there is much to feel gratitude for.