We must have gotten our first television when I was six or seven; boxy, ugly, imposing and fascinating all at once. The only problem was I had to sit very close to see the picture clearly. By the time I was eight, I was wearing glasses; boxy, ugly, imposing and fascinating all at once. Needless to say, the world got sharper. So for over fifty years now I have worn glasses to correct severe nearsightedness and a pronounced astigmatism in one eye. But I am far from alone. Turns out that well over 60% of Americans wear some type of corrective lenses (eyeglasses or contacts).
Two instances that occurred this week had a remarkable parallel and gave me pause and a chance to compare them. The first was the decision I made to revisit a few images I made in the 1970’s when I was getting my sea-legs as a photographer. The second was when I had my annual eye exam and, after getting a clean bill of health, I decided to shoot a quick image of my optic disks, a wholly unique self-portrait if you will. In that I make my living taking pictures it struck me that the images of my healthy optic disks represent a comforting link to the continuation of my love affair with photography and the joy I find in documenting my world. And a particular image I shot over thirty years ago dovetailed nicely with the images from my eye exam.
I decided to learn a little bit more about the images of my eyes and what the parts represent.The bright circle is the optic disk, the end of the optic nerve that inserts into the back of the eye leading to the brain; the yellowish area around the nerve is the macula, the part of the retina that fine tunes vision; and the red lines are the arteries and the veins (plenty more where this came from on Wikipedia).
A circle within a circle within a circle all allowing me to keep recording that hopefully fine-tuned vision, the same slightly more innocent vision that shot the circle within the circle within the circle. Sometimes I joke that eventually people will be born with a slot in their heads to allow a small digital card to be inserted so that every time you double-blink, the image you are looking at will be recorded. Uhhh, yeah right.