Here’s two versions of a photo taken looking back at Seattle from the Bainbridge ferry on my return from Alaska a few weeks ago: a reminder that urban landscapes can be as visually powerful as natural landscapes such as the Wrangell Mountains. Both urban and wild scenes embed infinite complex stories.
Take a look at the effects of subtle differences between these two versions. One is slightly compressed laterally, with some very slight perspective distortion. To me, that landscape is more inhumane, impersonal and alienating than the version which has objectively correct proportions. I presume that our brains are always modifying perceptions, perhaps similar to what can be done in Photoshop, to adjust what we see to fit preconceptions, hopes and fears. If I believe the city is alienating, do I see it visually consistent with and re-enforcing of that belief? What can be accomplished by training the mind to be aware of perception biases and able to consciously alter them?