Tuesday, February 26, 2013

57/365 From The Side

"Handle On Life"

What makes someone think that photographing an everyday door handle is a good idea or even an interesting idea?  When challenged to photograph something " from the side,” most people would think profile - of a person.  I never said that my mind works in the same way as most people’s.  Or, for that matter, any people’s.

I took this picture a few days ago, but intentionally for today's prompt.  It is the handle, from the side, to our back door.  It was a rainy morning.  I had let the dogs in and out through this door several times already because they would not commit to their task on the first excursion out due to the rain.  Something about the light from the house and the rain hitting the handle drew my attention.  I spent more time than I am willing to admit trying to find exactly the right angle from which to take this picture.  There may be no other ordinary doorknob alive to have received that much focused attention!

The longer I stayed with this project the more I thought about this handle and the more metaphoric my thoughts became.  From this angle I can see both the inside and the outside handles.  I myself use them many times a day to move back and forth from inside to outside.  I also use each of them to aid others (mostly dogs) to move from inside to outside and vice versa.  Inside and outside are separated only by a relatively thin door and each is accessible because of these handles.  Traversing between our internal and external selves is also accessible via the “handles” that we have on life.

We all have an internal and external, or public and private, self.  There are parts of this self for which we grab the handle and open wide the door to let these parts run free.  Then there are the parts that remain locked behind a closed door, a door whose handle is out of reach and maybe even out of sight.  There are also external forces knocking at our door, hoping that we will grab the handle and fling wide the door to invite them in.  Likewise, there are thoughts, feelings and ambitions equally trapped on the other side of the door, in the room marked ego or fear.

What does it mean to "get a handle on life?" Simply stated, I think it means to use these handles to get "things " on the right side of the door, remembering that this is a two way process.  Things on the inside may need to be let out and others on the outside may need to be let in.  Our job is to know when to use which handle. 

I had quite an existential discussion with myself regarding this image.  Or perhaps, I was simply trying to rationalize taking pictures of a door handle.