Where is the World Within?

Where is the World Within?

Friday philosophy time combined with a photo tip … a two-fer-one!

For me, so much of photography is about seeing the world within the world. Most photographs don’t jump out of the jumble in front of our eyes and say “here I am, take me!” Some do, but mostly not. Instead, I think of them as the answer to the question: if one piece of this scene before me was the entire world, what would it feel like? What would it have to say? What would be the essence?

One of my images that always seems to spark a response is Smoky Mountain Monet. This picture is hardly more than a puddle in the middle of the forest. I almost didn’t bother to stop, but the reflection in the water caught my eye. Despite its humble appearance, within that small world is all of autumn, with its colored leaves and smells and feelings and memories.

When you think about it, life is like that. So many deeply meaningful moments pass by within the context of ordinary life. And our actions that may significantly touch a loved one, or friend, or stranger, happen in the midst of hundreds of ordinary actions in an ordinary day.

So, back to the photo above. A winter panorama of downtown Gatlinburg. The Presbyterian church and the Fire Station down at the bottom left. The motels and the parking lot we always use during art fairs. The Park Vista Hotel in the distance, with the Smoky Mountains beyond.  Does this scene have a world within?

The World Within © William Britten use with permission only

The World Within © William Britten use with permission only

Yes!  Grab the telephoto, reach up into the mountains, and you’re miles away from civilization in a majestic winter wilderness. Ominous dark clouds threatening another snowstorm. A scene that would elicit emotions from most viewers.

As always, the water is hot for coffee or tea out at the William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN. Stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography.

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