Photographing with a kaleidoscope lens is so much fun. Recently I spent a work lunch shooting the feet of sculptures with a kaleidoscope lens. The whole time I spent focused on the kaleidoscope effect.
My eyes and brain looked through this view so much, that on my walk back down Michigan Avenue, my brain felt like it was seeing things in a multi-faceted filter like a kaleidoscope.
Interestingly, it actually didn’t feel all that strange to me. Seeing everything in multiple facets is how I naturally see with my eyes.
One of my eyelids has ptosis, a drooping or falling of the upper eyelid.
My left eyelid is always lower, covering about half my eye. Thus, my eye naturally compensates by looking down more than the other eye. I have one eye that looks straight, and the other eye looks down a bit.
I don’t really notice, because my brain compensates for these two different views. Somehow, my brain just merges the vision from the two different directions. My brain is merging these two views all the time, non-stop.
Recently, I picked up a fascination with kaleidoscope photography. The end visual effect is pretty fun. The patterns are arresting. The way a subject matter gets sliced up is intriguing.
But now in addition to the end result, I find the actual live view through a kaleidoscope lens to be extremely familiar. My every day vision is essentially a kaleidoscope. My brain is constantly figuring out my kaleidoscope eyes. When I look through a kaleidoscope lens for an extended time, the process of everything being faceted in different angles feels so familiar.
I’m still processing what this discovery means to me—especially since I work in a such a visual field (graphic design). And my personal interests and passions are tied into visual art.
Kaleidoscope photography is something I’ve done for only two days. There are times where I feel like it’s a gimmick. A fun little parlor trick to make images look more funky. But then I think about how I personally relate to seeing as a kaleidoscope, and it seems there might be something worth exploring.