Design Journalism Perspective

Windows To The Soul, The Eyes, Inability To Settle Title Disputes

A common cliche:
The eyes are the window to the soul.
But what does that mean?
And how reliable are our eyes?

My vote is: Highly Unreliable.

However, that doesn’t mean they are not a reflection of the soul/brain, especially when looking outward. It may be the eyes merely reflect and color our perspective of the world we live in, both inside and out, and that element may be more concrete than a brick.

Many have heard of the Classic film, Rashomon (1950), by Akira Kurosawa. Multiple persons witness the same crime and each provides a differing account of what they saw. It’s natural then to question Perspective, as it is influenced by more than what actually appears before us.

Here’s a more recent example:

When I was writing for a paper, I covered the unveiling of a new Logo for a suburban town. It was a big event and lasted most of the day. The logo was magnified at least one hundred times and mounted on an easel. I looked at it, while feverishly taking notes, while the designer explained the process of the design – conception and development – of the logo.

I should add that I am an excellent note taker, but I rarely go back and review them, unless I’m looking for a specific piece of information, something I didn’t observe or hear clearly.

The design was Abstract.

And many people spoke about the design, aside from the artist, including the village president and other staffers. And they expressed their enthusiasm for the logo.

Fast forward a couple of hours.
I’m sitting at my computer, writing the article. It’s pretty long and detailed, except for one crucial detail.

I submit the article to my editor and it gets published. The same day it’s published, the office gets a barrage of angry calls – from designer to village president.

It’s not a fruit-bearing tree!
It’s a people tree!

My editor calls me and tells me this, so I scroll through my notes, and discover I have recorded it meticulously, as it was described.

The paper issues an apology.

But for me it’s an interesting revelation about what we see. Regardless of what was described, my eyes saw something completely different. I looked at the design more carefully. And after some juggling of my perspective, I saw the abstract image of people, hanging like fruit, from the tree. And that’s when I realized how unique perspective is. I had done everything right, except interpret the image as it was intended to be perceived.

Perhaps my brain spontaneously dismissed what it considered as absurd – people, albeit abstract figures, hanging from the branches of a tree? Why would anyone produce such an image? And so it immediately dismissed that possibility.

But I also realized you cannot force the eye to see what it does not see. For me, it would always be a fruit-bearing tree.
And that’s what I told my editor.

A bit of a cliche.
But still.

Things That Never Made It Into Print

By Things That Never Made It Into Print

Keep it simple ... Radical ... Writer, Artist, Dancer, Musician, Chicago Betty

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