Thursday, August 08, 2013
My entire life I have been curious about how things work. I used to take things apart (if I could figure out how without breaking them) just to see what was inside - even if I didn't know what all those whozamajiggers did. At the time, I was just curious to see what the whozamajiggers looked like. Once, when I was 5 or so, my curiosity even figured out how to erase part of a pre-recorded cassette tape with the tabs broken out. I am the guy who will pay attention to - or at least look for - the man behind the curtain.
Today, I still have that same curiosity. I want to know how it works. I need to know how some small piece fits into a larger picture. When I send an email and it doesn't get to its destination, I want to know where it's been and why it came back or where it got stuck. That's why I learned to read message headers (hint: you read them from bottom to top). In networking your computer sends a signal down a wire, it goes to a box, some magic happens, then it ends up where it's supposed to be. I want to know what magic goes on inside the box.
But my curiosity goes beyond signal flow and systemic thinking. For instance, I have had cameras at my disposal since I was a child. I have taken many thousands of pictures in my life. Yet, many of my pictures are simply snapshots, not photographs. I understand a lot of the technical aspects of photography - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth-of-field, etc. - but somehow I haven't quite gotten the hang of composition. My eye sees a beautiful scene but somehow, when I click the shutter, I don't ever quite capture the emotion and excitement that comes with good composition.
It's like I'm seeing the Matrix code and it's just a bunch of random characters streaming down my screen. I recognize bits and pieces of code but I know it all means something. I want to see the matrix. I want to have a deep understanding.
Now, I know I can't know everything so there will always be parts of it streaming by that I don't understand - like quantum mechanics - but I want to be able to see the blonde, the brunette, the redhead, etc. (it's a movie reference for those who don't know) I feel like if I concentrate on one or two lines I'll begin to see it but there are so many many lines falling down the screen I keep losing track of the one I'm watching and getting distracted by others. Going back the my photography I want to see, in my mind, what the photograph will look like before I snap the shutter so that, when I see the captured scene, even if it's a little off it's not a surprise that it didn't come out or holds no interest.
Until then, I keep staring at the screen watching the pretty shapes falling down.