On Monday I did my first fashion shoot for the year. I was modeling my sister’s fashion line (she’s a fashion student at Sydney Tafe) with Gilbert Rossi, an amazing photographer who I’ve remained friends with over the years.
Rossi was standing about 8 metres away with a long lens, instructing me what to do. Holding myself in a ridiculously awkward position with my elbows out, one hand under a jacket hole, my feet crossed over and trying not to wobble on my ridiculously high heels, I had the most unexpected epiphany about “truth”.
You see, the photographer was seeing one version of the truth – a version edited by his lens, his lighting, his framing, and by his finger on the shutter.
But there I was, awkward as all get out, seeing and feeling a very different truth.
My sister was seeing a third version of the truth from a location of an outside observer. She could observe both my and Rossi’s truths, (seen in the photo above) and was also experiencing an entirely different truth that focused on how what she liked and didn’t like about her designs, and how she hoped they would look in the photo.
On one hand this could be judged as three relative truths: all three of us were obviously seeing a perspective of the “truth”, and each was seemingly a correct interpreting the shared reality, when one viewed at the situation from our positions.
How does this relate to the big question of the last fifty years of great thinkers: Does such a thing as an objective version of the truth also exist?
I think yes. Yes, the Truth with a capital T does exist. I think this Truth is one that encompasses all the relative truths, and more. It would come from the location an all-knowing perspective, that can completely comprehend the relative perspectives and combine them together in a bigger perspective.
Can we ever really know the Truth? I think not. Not unless we can become each of these people.
However, by learning about the other’s perspectives we can get closer to knowing the objective Truth.
Another thought I had was on the creation of the Truth. On Monday any of us could have changed the Truth, for example, I could have pulled a horrible face and created a bad photo. But experience has built a level of trust in the photographer’s perspective, so I didn’t pull a face, knowing that the temporary pain I experienced in awkward positions would be worth the photographic results.
Rossi reminded me of his perspective during the shoot, showing me a sample of the images he was capturing. This positive affirmation motivated me to hide my true feelings and create a better Truth (and better photos for my sister).
How does this apply to other situations? Well I guess when it comes to conflicting views, different understandings of reality, and the debate between modern and post-modern, it provides an analogical way to think about relative and objective perspectives.
If each party analyses their position in spatial and temporal terms – looking at where they are located, and the historical factors that brought them there; and if they do the same to understand the “other”s perspective, a dialectical relationships between the different perspectives will allow each relative position to move closer to an unattainable objective one.
The closer you can get to the objective truth depends on your ability to reflect on yourself and to empathise with others.
The more we “conscientize” as a scholar by the name of Lederarch calls it, the more we can gain awareness of our self-in-context, and others-in-context, the closer we can get to understanding the bigger context of our microcosmic-macrocosmic position: with universes seemingly existing both inside and outside our consciousness.
Some are a few images from my sister (Nicole Bennett – remember that name)’s new look book:
Photography & Copyright – Gilbert Rossi
Fashion – designed and produced by Nicole Bennett
Make up – Maria Buavo.
Behind the scenes with Gilbert, taken by Nicole on my iPhone.
Also this day I met Margaret, a 17 year old Aussie blogger who has built up an international following of her fashion blog: http://shinebythree.blogspot.com/ Pretty impressive stuff!