Picture this. There is a photograph of three shadowy figures inside a house— a woman, with a deer and its fawn by her side. They stand facing the window, glancing out at the nearby woods as dusk falls.
I stood in a gallery, admiring this photograph in all of its simplicity. I stared at it for quite a while, searching for the meaning behind it. A girl next to me said, “She doesn’t know what she’s looking for,” referring to the woman. A thought occurred to me at that point. The woman knows exactly what she’s looking for, but can’t find it because she’s neglecting to look right beside her.
A man, in response to the girl’s comment, said with assertion, “They’re family.” He then added, “But it’s open to interpretation.” I thought, he must be mistaken, that’s what he got out of the photo? What would the photographer have to say about this explanation?
Looking back, it doesn’t matter whether or not I agreed with their interpretations, or whether or not they agreed with each other. Everyone sees things in a different light, solves problems in their own way, and approaches the world as no one else can— which means we may not always agree with someone else’s point of view, but this is what makes us unique.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned to voice my thoughts and opinions without fear of being wrong. Anyone that has told me I’m wrong, or incapable, or not good enough, has only pushed me further. I have learned to think critically and creatively, and to be confident in what I say and do. When someone voices an opinion that differs from mine, I try to see things from their perspective to understand where they’re coming from. The most valuable skill I’ve internalized is to keep an open mind.
One day, you might find yourself standing in an art gallery listening to a man tell a girl that the deer and the woman are family, and you might think he’s crazy, but it turns out he may actually be right, because it was his photo after all.