Looking through the macro lens

I did not have a strong affection for animals and let alone insects, although I did not detest them unless they are in my space and my way. I respect them having equal right on earth as I do but just let’s live a separate life.

During a recent trip to the nature park, I experienced photoshooting with a macro lens for the first time. In my usual ‘blur’ self, I signed up not knowing that the subjects are mainly insects and my heart sank a little when I found out during the briefing before setting off.

During the walk into the nature park, my teacher pointed out to a caterpillar on a tree trunk that was totally oblivious to me. It looked like a part of the tree trunk to the naked eye.

Through the macro lens, I saw with amazement the attractiveness of the caterpillar. Its shape, colors, the intrinsic details came alive. Like a little child, through the macro lens, my eyes glowed with awe at the beauty of the dragonfly and spider when these hardly noticeable insects were pointed out during my walk. As I started to train my eyes to look out for the little creatures in the nature park, my little world began to open up.

What will I discover if I wear a pair of a macro lens in my daily life? How many people who have been oblivious to me like the insects on the tree trunk, will stand out. He or she could be the aunty who cleans our toilets, a foreigner who keep our streets clean, an old man who puts away our dirty plates in coffee shops, even neighbors who share our lift and common areas, the officer behind the control station in MRT... They have been dressing so plainly and have been dutifully present around us that they blend into the backdrop of our everyday lives.

What will I see, if I set my focus on them individually through the macro lens like just before I press the shutter button? What are the colors of their joy, their pain, their struggle, their hope? Perhaps their simplicity in life warrants a beautiful shade of paint. What are the textures of their attitude, their values, their motivation, their outlook on life? Unless we look through a macro lens, we would not appreciate the richness of their lives.

Beauty is more than skin-deep. The unnoticeable small insects are part of the ecosystem. Each one of them is created to contribute to the food-chain, ecological community and their environment in their own unique way. An absence of any one of them will cause a disturbance to the ecological balance. Similarly, an absence of our fellow neighbors playing the unnoticeable roles which many take for granted will have a repercussion on our living condition and environment, and on society. This was experienced in 1979 when the dustmen in London borough of Westminster went on strike, rubbish was found piled up in Soho and Leicester Square causing a big negative effect on the life of Londoners and tourists.

While I will not be able to access the colors and textures of life of the people I walk past every day, I can at least learn to notice and appreciate their existence, and where possible, acknowledge their presence with a smile and their contribution with a “thank you”.