Before digital cameras were created and cameras were installed in phones people had an understanding focal length. Photographers knew what focal length was and how to use it. The knowledge they have drastically effects the type of picture being taken; what is seen and how much is seen. In short, in photography, focal length is a measurement of what the angle of view will be. This is important to showing how much of an object is in view. The focal length measures how wide of an angle the photographer is capturing in a picture. The angle of view means how wide of an area is visible in the picture.
Focal length helps people see the right amount of image in picture. For a photographer using the right focal length is critical to helping communicate a message or story. What people see is important to what they understand to be true.
Having the right focal length can be significant in someone’s functioning in the world. To see the world clearly and accurately in times of struggle and in times of joy takes the right focal length. Clarity of sight is critical for healthy and resilient living. Photographers use cameras to capture what our eyes may or may not see. They capture an image so that it can be remembered. Our eyes have an amazing ability to see things that are close and relatively far away. Our knowledge and understanding of the world around us is impacted by what we see and what we experience.
What is the focal length of our understanding? Do we have a knowledge that allows us to understand easy things and complicated things? Humanities focal length is limited. We only have the capacity to understand a certain amount of information and use it appropriatly. Many times people are too obtuse or too acute in their thinking and rarely can move back and forth between the two in order to see things objectively or to see the full picture.
Photographs never tell the whole story because they can’t. A picture does a lot to help developing knowledge and understanding. The saying that a picture can say a thousand words may be true. What a picture says may be true but a picture can also fool people and not communicate the full message. Social media is full of images, but is it full of truth? Do the pictures communicate cleraly? Does the focal length that they have show enough? Too little or too much?
In a digital world where people try and communicate through pictures can cause much to be lost about context. Context, information, and knowledge about the world around can be illuminated by pictures but much can be lost if not enough of the picture is included or when something is left out.
Questions for more thought:
What is your focal length? How do you see the world? What are you not seeing when you are looking at a picture? What else should we be looking for when we see pictures or having conversations with people?
What type of information do we need to be better informed? How do our relationships, sense of self, and faith guide our understandings and help us see clearly?